The gesture used when bowing in namaste or gassho is the bringing of both hands together palms touching in front of the person.. I would like to know the origin and significance of this Indian culture.............
Posted On : 4/13/2009 3:33:10 AM
Chetan Juneja Reward Points : 55100 Member Since : Monday, April 28, 2008
The gesture used when bowing in namaste or gassho is the bringing of both hands together, palms touching, in front of the person usually at the chest, or a higher level such as below the chin, below the nose, or above the head. This gesture is a mudra, a well-recognized symbolic hand position in eastern religions. One hand represents the higher, spiritual nature, while the other represents the worldly self. By combining the two, the person making the gesture is attempting to rise above his differences with others, and connect himself with the person to whom he bows. The bow is symbolic of love and respect. Particularly in Hinduism, when one worships or bows in reverence, the symbolism of the two palms touching is of great significance. It is the joining together of two extremities the feet of the Divine, with the head of the devotee. The right palm denotes the feet of the Divine and the left palm denotes the head of the devotee. The Divine feet constitute the ultimate solace for all sorrows this is a time-honored thought that runs through the entire religious ethos.
Namaste is one of the few Sanskrit words commonly recognized by Non-Hindi speakers. In the West, it is often used to indicate South Asian culture in general. Namaste is particularly associated with aspects of South Asian culture such as vegetarianism, yoga, ayurvedic healing, and Hinduism. In recent times, and more globally, the term namaste has come to be especially associated with yoga and spiritual meditation all over the world. In this context, it has been viewed in terms of a multitude of very complicated and poetic meanings which tie in with the spiritual origins of the word. Some examples: I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me. I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One. I salute the God within you. Your spirit and my spirit are ONE. - attributed to Lilias Folan s shared teachings from her journeys to India. That which is of the Divine in me greets that which is of the Divine in you. The Divinity within me perceives and adores the Divinity within you. All that is best and highest in me greets/salutes all that is best and highest in you. I greet the God within. That said, these are all arguably simply attempts at translating the same concept, which does not have a direct parallel in English. In Buddhism, the concept may be understood as Buddha nature. Also used as Namo Buddhaye.
Namaste and its common variants namaskar, namaskaara or namaskaram , is one of the five forms of formal traditional greeting mentioned in the Vedas. This is normally understood as prostration but it actually refers to paying homage or showing respect to one another, as is the practice today, when we greet each other. Namaste could be just a casual or formal greeting, a cultural convention or an act of worship. However, there is much more to it than meets the eye. The real meeting between people is the meeting of their minds. When we greet one another with namaste, it means, may our minds meet , indicated by the folded palms placed before the chest. The bowing down of the head is a gracious form of extending friendship in love, respect and humility. he reason why we do namaste has a deeper spiritual significance. It recognizes the belief that the life force, the divinity, the Self or the God in me is the same in all. Acknowledging this oneness with the meeting of the palms, we honor the god in the person we meet. uring prayers, Hindus not only do namaste but also bow and close their eyes, as it were, to look into the inner spirit. This physical gesture is sometimes accompanied by names of gods like Ram Ram , Jai Shri Krishna , Namo Narayana , Jai Siya Ram or just Om Shanti the common refrain in Hindu chants. This is also quite common when two devout Hindus meet - indicating the recognition of the divinity within ourselves and extending a warm welcome to each other.
Posted On : 4/13/2009 11:27:12 PM
Prerna Gupta Reward Points : 17400 Member Since : Wednesday, June 25, 2008
In Sanskrit Namas means, bow, obeisance, reverential salutation. It comes from the root Nam, which carries meanings of bending, bowing, humbly submitting and becoming silent. Te means to you. Thus namaste means I bow to you. the act of greeting is called Namaskaram, Namaskara and Namaskar in the varied languages of the subcontinent. Namaste has become a veritable icon of what is Bharatiye. Indeed, there must be a Bharatiye law which requires every travel brochure. calendar and poster to include an image of someone with palms pressed together, conveying to the world Bharat s hospitality, spirituality and graceful consciousness. You knew all that, of course, but perhaps you did not know that there can be subtle ways of enhancing the gesture, as in the West one might shake another s hand too strongly to impress and overpower them or too briefly, indicating the withholding of genuine welcome. In the case of Namaste, a deeper veneration is sometimes expressed by bringing the fingers of the clasped palms to the forehead, where they touch the brow, the site of the mystic Third Eye. A third form of namaste brings the palms completely above the head, a gesture said to focus consciousness in the subtle space just above the Brahma-randhra, the aperture in the Crown Chakr a . This form is so full of reverence it is reserved for the Almighty and the holiest of Sat Guru s . Namaste is cosmically different. Kings do namaste, Sat Guru s namaste and mothers namaste to their own family. We all namaste before the Almighty, a holy man or even a holy place. The namaste gesture bespeaks our inner valuing of the sacredness of all. It betokens our intuition that all souls are divine, in their essence. It reminds us in quite a graphic manner, and with insistent repetition, that we can see Paramatma everywhere and in every human being we meet. It is saying, silently, I see the Deity in us both, and bow before Him or Her. I acknowledge the holiness of even this mundane meeting. I cannot separate that which is spiritual in us from that which is human and ordinary.