Do you find this Indian way of welcoming people fascinating?
Hands are joined at the heart, and the body remains in a steady but firm posture, while the head bows a little as you hear-” Namaste”! You reciprocate at the face brimming with a brilliant smile only to realize that you have stepped on the land of Maharajas and this unique way of welcoming people is a symbolic act from the cultural heritage.
Namaste: the entire world is one family
How does Namaste convey the Indian cultural ethos?
As the great savant masters of India have said- “Vasudevam Kutumbakam” meaning the entire world is one family, a “Namaste” means a deep, divine salutation to another member of the family. “Namaste” does away with the distinctions among nations, individuals, and culture and takes everyone in the fold of brotherhood and friendship.
Namaste- the divine Yogic salute
“Every creature has a soul” - declares the mighty scriptures of India. Body is the cloth that the soul wears for each birth, and yet within the body, there is the divine spark in the heart. So when the hands are closed together in the unique pose where the divine chakra is located, it becomes a spiritual interaction between the souls, greeting each other at the inauguration of a meeting.
Namaste: I bow to thy spirit
The wise in India explain “Nama” means “bow,” “as” means “I” and “ste” meaning “you.” The common meaning goes that it is a gesture of greeting, conveying a meaning of “welcome” to the newcomer.
But yet spiritually it has a greater meaning. This gesture makes clear that when someone turns up at your doorstep with the intention of friendship, you bow to his spirit with this matchless expression of love and conviviality.
Namaste: the perfect Yogic posture and asana (exercise)
When the body is straight without bending, and hands are joined in the pose of “Namaste” and your eyes keep the perfect contact it is one of the “mudra” or “pose” of perfection in Yoga. When you continue to stand in this stance for some time feeling your incoming and outgoing breathing, it gives you concentration, focus, and unlimited mental tranquility.
Namaste- the real Indian Maharaja
As you receive the warmth of “welcome” by this courtesy of greeting, that opens the doors of Indian hospitability. Every Indian believes in the precept that “athithi deva bhavo” meaning “a guest is the true God,” he welcomes even the complete stranger with food and drinks. It opens the hearts giving the guest the feeling of being “at home” even in an alien culture.
“Namaste” is the real royal courtship- the true Indian Maharaja.
By Srikant Mohanty
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