Questioner: Sadhguru, in the Indian culture, people always eat and receive with the right hand, and even in the West, it is encouraged to do things with the right hand rather than with the left. I am wondering why this is so.

Sadhguru: One reason is that our cardiac system is on the left side. The human system is designed in such a way that you should not use your left as much as you use your right. This is relevant for activities like throwing a ball. But why receiving or giving with the right? Left and right are very different in quality. Whether you keep the right hand or leg over the left, or the left over the right makes a big difference. In the yogic culture, except for certain types of activities that are generally considered as occult, we always keep the left leg tucked in.

The left is the feminine in you – it needs to be protected and nurtured. The right is the masculine in you. Everything that you want to do outside, you should do with the right. The right is more robust – the left more sensitive. If I want to feel you out, I will always open my left hand, because it is receptive and sensitive. You want to keep the left soft and nice so that it receives well and feels things out well. If you use it for other activities, it will lose that sensitivity. You use your left hand only if something needs a very subtle touch. To give an example – it takes a certain amount of getting your masculinity out of your mind to play golf. That is why I end up using my left hand most of the time. To go furthest, you do not need power – you need a subtle touch.

For all survival processes, we use the right hand. If you do something very subtle, you should use the left hand.

That is the nature of the feminine, and the left is feminine. Because most people have killed the feminine in themselves, they do not notice any difference. Had they kept the feminine active within themselves, they would. But today, our idea of equality is to level everything. There has been a huge effort in Western societies and now everywhere else in the world also, to level the masculine and the feminine, which is most unfortunate and crude. Women are becoming less feminine, which is a tragedy. Somewhere, we perceive being feminine as weak because we are ruled by gross values.

Only the masculine can survive when economics is the sole value you have. Economics is essentially survival process. We are elevating survival process as the greatest value on the planet, which is a foolish way to live. Once you do this, there is not much room for the feminine, because providing for yourself and people around you is essentially a masculine process. It is not that women should be incapable of that, but in terms of qualities, we are destroying one quality completely, and then we are wondering why the world is so brutal and gross. With the values we are setting in today’s societies, it cannot be any other way.

For the feminine to function, the left has to be kept gentle and alert. The right hand is for doing things in the world – to earn a living, throw a ball, or whatever else. For all survival processes, we use the right hand. If you do something very subtle, you should use the left hand. Some people are born with their heart on the right side. Just like that, some people are born left-handed. Their energies are such that they invariably use the left hand. But otherwise, naturally, you can do more activity with the right hand than the left. The left needs to be kept in a different way because it is designed for a different purpose. This does not mean that you should for example only exercise with the right hand. It is just that you should not use your left side as aggressively as you use your right side. It must be preserved for receptivity. Otherwise, there will be no receptivity in you.

Find out more about the wonderful intricacies of Indian culture in this collection of Sadhguru’s articles on the subject.

Indian Culture

Editor’s Note: This article is based on an excerpt from the December 2014 issue of Forest Flower. Pay what you want and download. (set ‘0’ for free). Print subscriptions are also available.