In many places in the world people do not touch or shake hands when they meet. They may formally embrace or kiss the others lips, as in Eastern Europe and the Arab States. Or may bowing softly, the eyes focused on the ground, as in Japan and China. The Hawaiian greeting, termed “Honi” consists of placing the nostril gently beside of the greeted person; a kind of sharing of breath, which is life and Prana.
For the Indians and Hindus, naturally, “Namaste” is the usual greeting.
It is a respectful greeting said when giving a namaskar. Both hands are joined and taken close to the heart, as a prayer followed by a subtle movement of the head and shoulders, because “Namaste” is said and followed by head bowed in deference. Thus, Namaste is a greeting which is spoken and gestured, as a Mantra and Mudra.
The position of the hands in prayer is called Anjali Mudra, from the root Sanskrit – Anj, “to adorn, honor, celebrate.” The hands palms together mean unity of an apparently dual cosmos, unite spirit and matter, or the Self of each one. The right hand is the highest nature or what is divine in us, while the left hand represents the lower nature.
In Sanskrit “Namas” means “reverence, reverential salutation.” It comes from the root Nam, which carries the meaning of humility and bowing to something or someone, through submission and respectful silence. “Te” means ” to you”. So, literally, “Namaste” means “I bow to you.” The act of greeting is called “Namaskaram”, ”Namaskara” and “Namaskar” in the various languages found in subcontinent. Namaste has become an icon. This compliance is a small way to honor someone. So, you can see the difference between Western and Eastern culture.
Greeting by shaking hands leads us to reach the other outwards and horizontally, and Namaste reaches the other vertically, to recognize that, the other person is unique and special. Namaste is a spiritual gesture.
The gesture Namaste reveals the sacred in all of us, and it frees the intuition that all souls are divine in its essence.
We are saying quietly, “we see the divinity in each of us and we bow before them”, ” I recognize the sacred in you.” And when we sing the praises of Namaste, we should note as this gesture is efficient in mass communication. A politician or leader can greet fifty thousand people with a single Namaste. In such situation a greeting hands would be impossible to reach everybody and a hand waving could sound too frivolous.
Another more mystical significance to Namaste is that there is a subtle energy that converges by foot channel to the solar plexus (umbilical region), until hands. The flow of Prana (vital energy) runs through these channels and flows powerfully to the whole body.
The Anjali Mudra acts like a Posture (Asana) of Yoga, balancing and harmonizing our energies and keeping us focused, internalized and mentally protected.
The Namaste closes our aura, protecting us physical and emotionally, preventing that we express too many emotions or that we are affected by low energy; so we remain close of our intuitive nature.
- Some insights about Namaste:
- -it raises consciousness, remembering that all beings and existence are sacred.
- -it reveals that my inner divinity respects the divinity within from you.
- -it extracts the ego for a moment and inspires reflection on the deepest realities, by easing the relationship between people. It would be difficult to offend or generate feeling of animosity when someone offers the Namaste.
- -Namaste is a gesture of friendship and kindness, also of thanks or special recognition.
- -it is mystically called of “Namaskara Mudra”. The real gesture Namaste is accompanied by slight bow of the head and shoulders. This is a gesture which decreases our sense of self, requiring some humility to offer it. The gesture has a subtle effect on the aura system.
- -Namaste is a way to protect the purity.
Namaste is a charming, graceful and beautiful gesture.
By Jussara Corrêa