Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Namaste



Namaste! A warm welcome to the first post of the blog. Honestly, writing is not my forte. I like symbols more, when a lot can be expressed without trying to waste a lot of energy in speaking or writing. Moreover, one can interpret and understand symbols in more than one way, which make them altogether very flexible.
Though this thought or the idea is not limited to symbols, in a similar way, an idea can be flown across from one mind to another, in the form of pictures, signs, and even subliminally.

Anyways, not to bore the visitors of my first blog post, I would like to start with what I have already started with. Namaste!
We go on living our lives practicing certain customs, follow certain traditions without even knowing or wanting to know the reason or the logic behind them. For me, every tradition or a custom has a reason, and though knowing it won’t stop me from doing it, or won’t force me into doing it, but certainly worth knowing what the inceptor of that tradition had in mind. Now, we all do a hand-folded Namaste whenever we meet someone elder, or when someone would visit our home. Ever thought why we do it? Anyone?

While there are various theories related to folded hands and the reasoning, each one of pretty much denote the same thing, respect.

Symbolically, one hand represents the soul of the bearer- or jeevatma, as it is called. The other hand represents param-atma, or the divine power. So, folding of hands is actually a Mudra, which symbolizes the union of jeevatma with Paramatma. The act denotes total surrender before the divine lord, and thus while praying, denotes total devotion to the lord. The Mudra is also known as 'Anjali Mudra'.

In cosmic terms, both the hands symbolically denote left forces and the right forces. While it would be wrong to term those as negative and positive forces, they in a way, can be termed two sides of the same coin. Folding hands denotes fusion of both the energies, where we are perfectly balanced between the two extreme forces while offering our prayers to the lord.

Literally, Namaste can be broken down into Namah and Te, which would mean I bow to you. Nama itself could be broken down to Na-Ma, where Na means negation and Ma means mine, Nama meaning 'not mine'. This symbolizes complete devotion to the Lord. The body, the soul, the entire existence is not mine. Ma also means death, Nama thus symbolizing immortality.

Physically, the act is much richer in symbolism. We touch all the five fingers of one hand, with the other. While the fingers of left hand denote the five senses of Karma, those on the right denote five organs of knowledge. As mentioned in the Bhagvad Gita, knowledge without action is incomplete, and action without knowledge is meaningless, the Namaste denotes completion of the union of knowledge and actions.

In some ways, Namaste is also equivalent to the Ardha-Narishwara form of Shiva. Two distinct forces unified by one symbol.

Now, in Hinduism, a guest is considered equivalent to God, so doing Namaste, in a way is symbolic of our respect for our guest. By doing a simple gesture, we not only demonstrate sheer respect, the entire setup of folding hands and uttering 'Namaste' is equivalent to chanting a Vedic Mantra.

Now, how does Namaste score over the more famous hand-shakes? Firstly, you never shake hands with God, you fold hands in front of him, and so Namaste symbolizes respect for the person. Moreover, a leader or a CEO won’t be able to shake hands with all his audience, or all his employees. A better way is to either wave his hands or fold them in a 'Namaste'. And now if you ask me, no one can write all the symbols or advantages of waving hands, when compared to Namaste.

So, go on, go along...meet new people, welcome new guests and do a Namaste......

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23 comments:

  1. An extremely good post to begin with. I believe in the cosmic energy in and around us and reading your post makes complete sense to you ! Looking forward to reading your future blogs. Namaste :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for such a positive reply. Hope not to disappoint you with further posts!!
      Namaste!

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  2. Very nice insight Indeed! Deep thought.

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  3. Namaste Sapan...Very Nice ... perfect start.. God bless you...

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  4. Hi Pankaj, Thanks a lot for the kind words....Hope I post something better next

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  5. Its true that nobody even bothers to know the reason or logic behind such regular and customary practices. Great research work!! looking forward for more such posts :)

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  6. Great work! Sometimes when I meet a foreigner who wants to learn Hindi, greets everybody with a 'Namaste'. At the same time I see that people from our own country who always speak Hindi greet each other by a 'Hello' or 'Good Morning'.

    Namaste from me to you!

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  7. Namaste Prabal!!
    I think now we Indians find it embarrassing to use Namaste when greeting friends and colleagues. It would need more practice than usual to get it into normal usage...but it would certainly be worth it

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  8. Vey nice thought for the above commonly spoken valediction. I never thought 'NAMASTE' has so deep and unique meaning.

    Monali

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    1. Hi Monali,
      Thanks for the feedback!!

      Delete
  9. Namaste Sapan,

    Thanks for the link, here's mine :) ... 'Namaste - meaning and significance', written by Bridgie8

    http://bridgie8.hubpages.com/hub/Meaning-of-Namaste

    Best wishes and happy writing!

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    Replies
    1. Namaste!!
      Needless to say, you have touched upon a few things, which only a few would have pondered upon, like the Avatar similarity.
      I liked your post and thought of sharing mine!!
      Best wishes to you too

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    2. Thanks Sapan.

      In another article, which I didn't publish on the web but sent as a newsletter to my database, I compared Namaste and Avatar's 'I see you' with one of our local languages, Zulu (indigenous to South Africa and widely spoken here). The point being, the origin of Namaste is rooted in Sanskrit but the significance and meaning has branched out into numerous languages around the world :) ... quite beautiful I think!!

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    3. Well, Sanskrit as such is said to be the mother of all languages, and the way numerous languages around the world took inspiration from it, and formed their own vocabulary is indeed beautiful

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    4. Hi Sapan,
      Further to my previous comments above, I have since written another Hub, 'Namaste and Sawubona, a Zulu greeting'(http://bridgie8.hubpages.com/hub/Namaste-and-Sawubona-a-Zulu-greeting) I hope you'll enjoy reading it :)
      Best,
      Bridget

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    5. Hi Bridgie,
      Yes I did enjoy reading your article. The more various attributes of cultures are explored, the smaller the world seems to get

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  10. Welcome to this bloggers world...a great start to be said,
    nice post...didn't Know this concept of Namaste, thanks for sharing.
    Nicely written...well explained.

    just need little theme modification in your blog site and pic of Namaste would be good :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi!!!
      Thanks a lot for the words of appreciation and for the suggestions for the blog theme...I added one and a pic too!!

      Thanks a lot!!

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  11. सर्वप्रथम नमस्ते.
    A very well researched article.Since i know how good your sense of humour is so it was surprising for me,actually i was expecting satire n humorous article. I never anticipated that you will write on Namaste .A very insightful post and keep it up.Eagerly waiting for your next post.

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    Replies
    1. Namaste Saurabh!!
      I hope to come up with something even better next time. Thanks a lot!!

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  12. Very good post. I will be going through some of these issues as well.
    .

    my homepage - meaning of existence

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