Ever wondered why in India it is so widespread to greet each other with folded hands(Namaste) rather than the most famous salutation of all i.e handshake.
It is said that when you want an Indian to make happy in abroad, just greet them with a Namaste in an adorable Hindi accent. They will be flattered and ecstatic. It happened to me quite a few times when I was out of India and trust me it did bring a smile on my face.
But what is the significance of using Namaste, is it just a form of greeting or something more than that?
In India, no matter which habits or rituals you see people performing, there is a spiritual essence of it. Even though people, doing it doesn’t realize due to the advancement of technology & civilization or modernization of society, people are not aware or really interested in why the ancestors made any ritual or emphasized doing something in a particular way?
But the essence is still there, whether you know it or not? And many people are still following it unknowingly because it was passed by the ancestors to their descendants or have been mentioned in the good books of Hinduism.
If we try to unravel the meaning of Namaste, in Sanskrit, the word is Namah (to bow) and te (you), meaning “I bow to you”. So it’s a word which quintessentially can be used to respect or greet each other.
But there is a spiritual aspect of it too.
In Indian scriptures, there is a term called Runanubandha.
Runanubandha is nothing but the body’s memory. I mean, as of now, every memory we usually carry is more or less related to the things we feel or perceive through our five available senses i.e eye, ear, nose, skin, and tongue.
If there is no sense involved then there is no memory.
Runanubandha is collectively been called the body’s memory because unless and until we are not some mystic or highly accomplished yogi, our experience of life is limited to these mere five senses only and whatever we do or feel through those get stored inside us as a memory.
The fundamental reason for introducing this Indian style of salutation (Namaste) was to limit the use of senses as much as possible so the person has lesser memory to deal with and hence can attain liberation or salvation much easily.
If we do handshake instead of Namaste then we touch the other person and since touching a person is a more vivid experience than just folding hands, so does the intensity of memory.
This is why the use of Namaste was so encouraged or elevated in Indian tradition.
So next time when you do or see someone doing Namaste, acknowledge that this is not just a quintessential salutation but a tool which was designed to make someone less of a slave of their body and enable them to attain or comprehend the highest possibility of a human life i.e absolute freedom or liberation.