This blog is mainly for the readers of Bharath! [ Bharath is not just a geographical area, it is an idea, a lifestyle, or in other words, Bharath is a culture!]. And I’m writing this because of what I’ve experienced when I say “Namasthe”. Some people say “Hi” even after they’ve heard what I’ve told [I don’t know, do they think it is religious?], and when I answer a call and say “Namasthe”, the other person acts as if my voice isn’t audible to them, as if there’s something wrong with the call connection when all they are is confused and second-guessing whether they’ve called the right person. Why so? Is “Namasthe” new? Is it strange?
Namasthe is not just a symbol, a gesture, a tradition, or a part of religion. Of course, it is all that but not just that. “Namasthe” is something beyond all that. Namasthe is a reminder!
Namasthe is not just merely about acknowledging someone’s presence. It should remind us of many aspects of life.
When we meet anyone and say ‘Namasthe’. We are bowing, at least figuratively, and embracing the fact that there is a possibility of knowledge you do not have residing in the person you just met. In simple words, you are acknowledging the possibility that the other person may be wiser than you. It is an opportunity for us to practice humility!
The greatest philosophy of Bharath is oneness. You might call it “Advaitha” in the spiritual sense, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” in a social sense, or say “we are earthlings” in a more general or biological sense. But essentially, in all those views, we all are one. That is, a yogi, in the Advaitic sense, acknowledges that all are one because the ultimate consciousness within is one. A socialist may see everyone belonging to one group, one family, one nation, one humanity, or one world. Or a scientist or a reformer might acknowledge that we all are essentially made up of the same materials and hence we are one. Essentially we are one. And every time we say “Namasthe” let us try to remind ourselves of this Oneness.
When there is oneness, there’s no discrimination, there are no biases, no dislikes. One will be compassionate to all. Namasthe is an opportunity to be compassionate. Each time we say “Namasthe” we must try to remind ourselves this, to be compassionate.
Each time we say “Namasthe”, we’re trying to see GOD (divinity) in the other person by bowing (at least figuratively) to him/her. So, where does that lead us to? To a culture that sees divinity in every individual!
Humility, oneness, compassion, divinity. Think about it. How great would a society be with all these qualities installed in every individual’s heart? And I’m not asking you to imagine something that I’ve cooked up. This has been our culture for more than hundreds of centuries. We’ve just forgotten, that’s it. Every time you say “Namasthe” (optimally before and after any conversation), you should be reminded of this great culture – Sanathana Dharma, and be proud to be a part of this great culture!
Instead, what do we do? We say “hey”, “hello”, “hi”. Do these words have meaning? Does it instill (if at all) greater values than “Namasthe”?
I’m not saying this to joke about or downgrade other cultures. Sure, hey, hi, hello may be used to greet others. It’s their culture, they can surely follow that. But is it a wise choice to swap this culture for your own culture? Are those cultures worth overshadowing Bharath’s culture?
Are you ashamed of this great culture? Or, aren’t you courageous enough to be part of this culture in the public?
Do not be ashamed to say Namasthe instead of saying “Hi”, “hello”, or “hey”, do not be ashamed to join your palms instead of shaking hands. Initially, it may seem hard or it might even lead to some socially awkward situations, but continue to respect your culture by continuing to practice saying Namasthe. If you’d like to wish someone “Good morning, good afternoon, or good day” sure you may, but after “Namasthe”. You can WISH after you acknowledge all that “Namasthe” stand for.
Of course, I must admit my case too. I greet “Namasthe” most of the time, to my friends, colleagues, or relatives. But I still forget to say it sometimes. Like, when I say “hi” when the person greets me with a “hi” first [which I think is fine because by that you’re respecting the other person’s greet, but still..]. Or when I forget to say “Namasthe” while leaving, I tend to say the automatized reply “bye”. So, I’m also a work in progress, nevertheless, I’m continuously treading on the path that I just mentioned.
So, through this blog, I urge you to remember the great culture you are part of and try to live that culture, starting by installing “Namasthe” as your default way of greeting. Be it in a digital chat, or humane scenario. And every time you say “Namasthe”, try to remind yourself or reflect on the points I mentioned – humility, oneness, compassion, divinity, and our culture!
Sanath Kumar Naibhi