The Importance of Namaste

Our generation is heavily influenced by the Americans: we dress like them, drive like them, eat like them, watch movies like them, shop like them, read like them, build like them and also greet like them.

One day, at an immigration counter, a Turkish lady was asking everyone (for fun) how to say “bye” in their language. When she asked me, it struck me that we don’t have an equivalent for “bye” in India. We just fold our hands on meeting or parting with someone. From north to south, east to west, this is a tradition we share without even sharing the same language or even words.

In my many attempts at reading the Bhagvad Gita, which is said to be the nectar of Hinduism, I noted that it is often mentioned that the whole world is covered by the veil of Maya because everywhere there are dualities in the world and only when one is able to drop this veil of Maya, they realise unity and become one with the Absolute. Now, there are many ways described in the Upanishads as to how to overcome this duality, but one simple way is to fold your hands in Namaste.

When you fold your hands in the Namaste position, bringing your palms together, the right and left hemispheres of the brain connect. In the yogic system it is referred to as balancing of the prana between the Ida and Pingala nadis. In Taoism, it is called the union of yin and yang. In nature, it is the balance of the solar and lunar. In Hinduism it is called the union of Shiva and Shakti.

Do you recall the sense of unity you have with your partner when you hold hands? It perhaps creates a stronger connection than by touching any other body part. Similarly, when you join your hands together in Namaste, a unity and balance is created within you. Next time, fold your hands and looks towards any person or thing that matters a lot to you for a few minutes. You will notice the connection between the two of you will become more profound.

Indian culture was consciously designed both for yogis and even simple householders who couldn’t go off to the mountains. Let’s not forget or lose it.

 

 

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Ambika Gupta
Ambika is a Hatha Yoga teacher and an aspiring Health Coach. Her desire is to help people rediscover their health through right eating and living consciously. Ambika is also an MBA and engineering graduate and previously worked in the field of consulting with multinational IT companies.

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