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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!

I 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 you!”

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.

Let 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 important.

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 common good.

‘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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