Hey! Hello. Wassup? Dude, babes, aren’t these words very familiar to us? We use these words for greeting each other frequently. “Hello dude, what have you been upto?” It sounds cool to us as compared to greeting someone with “Jai Shri Krishna”, “Ram Ram” or by “Namaste”. Using these greetings could make one get mocked or laughed at.
Contrarily, the western youth is taking a keen interest in understanding the Indian culture and values. Why such a dilemma? Isn’t it a shame we are denying our value system and blindly copying without understanding the significance of the western culture? We get a sense of pride when we are tagged being “modern”.
Since the Vedic times, Indians have always greeted each other with Namaste. There is a deep spiritual significance to the word “Namaste”. The word “Nama” means to bow, negating with one’s ego. We extend friendship, love and form a connection with the person to whom we bow. The “as” implies “I” and “te” means you. It means I bow before you and greet you by heart.
Everything is an art, isn’t it? To do any job or exercise we need to know the steps of performing it. Can we do yoga or exercises haphazardly? No. Similarly, while greeting people with Namaste, there is a peculiar manner of greeting. We join our hands, close our eyes, and bow the head. Alternatively, we can also place our hands near the third eye, bow the head, and then bring the hands downwards to the heart.
“Namaste” has mythological significance as explained by Yudhishtara in Mahabharata. He has asserted that no matter however big we become we will always need the blessings, knowledge and the experiences of our ancestors, elders, guru and the lord. We should be humble. Namaste forms an instant connect for initiating or concluding the conversations among strangers, young, old, friends and acquaintances.
Let’s visualize a scenario when two people come and greet you in two different ways. One says “Namaste” and other “hello” What do you experience? Probability of you feeling and instant connect with person saying Namaste is greater than hello. Hello might sound very casual form of greeting used to greet any Tom, Dick or Harry. It sounds casual.
In some Indian communities they recite or chant the name of lord while greeting with Namaste as it’s been mentioned in Vedas each one is a part of the deity. When we bow we are greeting the lord within each of us.
In Indian culture and value system each custom has a very deep significance and not just blindly followed. The need is to understand its significance and reason behind it. More we understand it, more we’ll appreciate our culture.