(The Asian Independent)
– Professor (Dr.) M.M. Goel*
To prove Namaste as positive impact of covid on global etiquette, I wish to draw attention of the world citizenry that it is a sentiment more than greeting in my beloved Bharat called India in English dictionaries as independent nation declared in August. In the health protocol of social (physical) distancing, the shaking hand and hugging each other is not allowed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Meaning thereby, Namaste is being practised not only by WHO in its online meeting but the entire globe has started greeting each other with this beautiful salutation.
Namaste is a Hindi word for saying “Hello” or greeting some person is used both at the time of meeting and taking leave in my beloved India. Sometimes spoken as namaskar and namaskaram also. The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another.
According to Wikipedia (free encyclopaedia), the gesture is widely used throughout the Indian subcontinent, parts of Asia and beyond where people of South and Southeast Asian origins have migrated in some contexts, Namaste is used by one person to express gratitude for assistance offered or given, and to thank the other person for his or her generous kindness.
It is usually, when someone may be relatives or friend comes to our house or we meet them in parties or functions, we greet them by saying “Namaste”. It is pertinent to mention that religious and secular culture come together in the increased use of Namaste (pronounced \NAH-muh-stay\) in English, the term is associated with both Hinduism and yoga. The word comes from Sanskrit and literally means “bowing to you” or “I bow to you,” and is used as a greeting more attractive to handshaking and hugging around the world.
Namaste is used as a respectful form of greeting, acknowledging and welcoming a relative, guest or stranger on all occasions. In some contexts, Namaste is used by one person to express gratitude for assistance offered or given, and to thank the other person for his or her generous kindness. When one says Namaste to someone, one is not only saying hi to him/her but also giving proper respect. So, I think it is perfectly fine to say Namaste to someone instead of Hi or Hello even on phone or social media.
Namaste is usually spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. This gesture is called añjali mudrā; the standing posture incorporating it is pranamasana. Anjali mudra is performed as part of a physical yoga practice with an aim to achieving several benefits. It is a “cantering pose” which, according to practitioners, helps to alleviate mental stress and anxiety and is, therefore, used to assist the practitioner in achieving focus and coming into a meditative state
It needs to be noted that Air India launched its Namaskar Seva in October 2019, a meet and greet service where an airline personnel will assist and take care of passengers.
In Hinduism, Namaste means “I bow to the divine in you”. Meaning of Namaste conveys that the divine in me respectfully recognizes the divine in you. Namaste invokes the feeling of spiritual oneness of heart and mind, with the person one is greeting. The fear of coronavirus made Namaste as globalised etiquette due to health protocol of social (physical) distancing which is a good omen for internationalization of Indianization. It gives me great sense of satisfaction as nationalist thinker.
* Former Vice Chancellor and known Professor as ‘Needonomist’ (economist for needs) retired from Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra.