Tourists to India will be greeted at every step by Indians,
till foreigners have in their lips the word ‘Namaste’.
It’s not uncommon to find Indians greet each
other by folding their palms and bowing, when they meet
guests and elders. While North Indians say ‘Namaste’,
South Indians also adopt the same body language of
folding their pals and bowing, but may use the word ‘Namaskar’,
both meaning the same.
Indians are known for their hospitality and the words,
“Athithi Devo Bhava” reign supreme in the Indian
household. “Athithi Devo Bhava”, literally means
that our guests are akin to God! Thus, even a vagrant at
the door-step is never shooed away, instead is offered
left-over food. Of course, guests are cordially invited
and treated to the best delicacies available in the
kitchen and with utmost reverence. In olden days, a king
could appear in disguise to test the happenings in the
kingdom. European tales of yore are quite familiar with
angels in disguise, taking shelter in homes for the
night and blessing the generous and cursing the selfish.
Thus, one never knows who is who and how one would
benefit through another!
recognize the divine in you
Sanskrit is said to be the language of the Gods. It is still
regarded as the sacred language of the Hindus and is
taught in many Indian universities. The word Namaste
originates from the Sanskrit words ‘Namah’ and ‘te’,
which means, “I bow to you.” Every guest or even a
known person is divine and by greeting another human
with the word ‘Namaste’, meaning, “I recognize the
divine in you.” This recognition of the divine humbles
you, as well as the other whom you greet. When you raise
an individual to the level of divinity, not only do you
humble yourself, but also realize that this other person
who may be perhaps younger to you, has something to
teach you. When a teacher teaches, he also learns from
his students. Thus, the ego is humbled by the fact that
the same God resides in you resides in others. “The
God/ Goddess in me, acknowledges the God/Goddess in
Namaste also means ‘Na’ and ‘ma’, meaning ‘not
mine’. When ultimately we leave the world, there’s
nothing that we can take, not even our physical forms.
Thus, it means the dissolving of the ego.
Our Minds Meet!
When you fold your palms, all the five fingers of your left
hand meet the five fingers of the right hand and the
hands together form a conical shape, with the finger
tips raised heavenwards. This also means, ‘Let our
minds meet’! Meeting of minds is vital for any
relationship to blossom, whether be it between
strangers, friends or lovers. When minds meet, even the
bodies of lovers collaborate. In platonic relationships,
when minds meet, there’s no need for a sexual fruition
at all. However, when there is sexual chemistry between
two individuals, it may or may not last, depending
largely on the mental make-up of the two involved.
Therefore, it is extremely vital that minds of those in
the gathering, meet, in the absence of which conflict
and ego clashes are inevitable.
The folded palms raised heavenwards at the heart chakra
signify that greetings are heartfelt. When the folded
palms are placed in front of the eye-brows, it again
signifies the meeting of minds and when the person
greeting bows, it means that he is bowing or humbling
his ego in front of another, whose divinity he
recognizes. The convergence of both the palms
heavenwards signifies, “Let’s work towards a common
good of humanity”. That embodies the fact that
trivialities and pettiness of life, egos of each person,
individual tastes and likings and beliefs are obstacles
in this path towards the common good. When people meet
to discuss about the state or country or the home,
problems, differences of opinion, etc are bound to
arise, as the five fingers are different in length and
size. However, the meeting of each, towards the common
good is essential, as what needs to be done is far more
The five fingers being of different size and length means
that not everyone’s thoughts are similar and
discrepancies are bound to emanate. However, the joining
of fingers means dissolving such discrepancies for the
‘Na’ and ‘ma’ meaning ‘not mine’ also could mean
that all our ideas are not truly ours, but the
culmination of years of conditioning to others thinking!
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