In the painting below Vishnu reclines upon Ananta, the serpent of many heads, while Lakshmi massages his feet. This is a favorite scene for Hindu artists. They tend to portray it in the same manner, as if through a child’s eyes. Children accept whatever they see. It might take a child’s naiveté to fully enter into the charm of this scene. Otherwise it can seem very strange.
I had an idea about Vishnu’s feet. Why are the feet important? Massaging her husband’s feet is a conventional way for an Indian wife to express her love. Let us imagine that Vishnu’s feet are painful.
There is a custom in India---a disciple bows down before a guru and “takes the dust from his feet”. The disciple simply touches the guru’s foot. The body of an enlightened man or woman is like a battery and through touch there is an energy exchange. It is a karmic exchange that can be painful for the guru. There can be pain in the feet.
In the last universe Vishnu was an avatar many times and many disciples touched his feet. The next universe will be the same. Lakshmi absorbs the pain through her hands.