Having explained the rationale behind Lighting a Lamp daily before the altar of the lord or before start of any auspicious functions as well as having Prayer room in our houses , I now explain scientifically , rationally and logically the significance of :-
I ) NAMASTE GREETINGS –
Indians greet each other with Namaste ( नमस्ते ). The two palms are put together in front of the chest , and the head bows whilst saying the word namaste. This greeting is for all people viz young , of our own age , old , friends and even strangers.In Sanskrit Namaste means – I bow to you – my greetings , salutations or prostration to you. The real meeting of people is the meeting of their minds. When we greet another person with namaste it literally 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 love and humility.
The spiritual meaning is even deeper.The life force , the divinity , the self or the lord in me is the same in all. Recognizing this oneness with the meeting of the palms , we salute with head bowed the divinity in person we meet.That is why we sometimes close our eyes as we do namaste to a revered person or the Lord – as if to look within.The gesture is often accompanied by words like “ Ram Ram “ , “ Jai Shri Krishna “ , Jai Shri ram “ etc – indicating the recognition of this divinity.
When we know the significance of namaste , our greeting does not remain just a superficial gesture or word but paves the way for a deeper communion with another in an atmosphere of love and respect.
II ) Prostration before Parents & Elders –
Indians prostrate before their parents , elders , teachers and noble soul by touching their feet. The elder in turn blesses by placing his or her hand on or over our head. Prostration is done daily , when we meet elders and particularly on important occasions like beginning of new task , birthdays , festivals , new year etc. Touching the feet in prostration is a sign of respect for the age , maturity , nobility and divinity that our elders personify. It symbolizes our recognition of their selfless love for us and the sacrifices they have done for our welfare. It is a way of humbly acknowledging the greatness of another. This tradition reflects strong family ties , which has been one of India’s enduring strengths.
The good wishes and blessings of elders are highly valued in India. We prostrate to seek them.Good thoughts create positive vibrations.Good wishes coming from heart full of love , divinity and nobility have tremendous strength. When we prostrate with humility and respect , we invoke the good wishes and blessings of elders , which flow in form of positive energy to envelope us.
The different forms of showing respects are :-
Pratuthana (प्रतुथाना ): Rising to welcome
Namaskara (नमस्कार) : Paying homage in the form of namaste
Upasangrahan (उपसंग्रहण ): Touching the feet of elders or teachers
Shaashtaanga (शाष्टांग ): Prostrating fully with the feet , knees , stomach , chest , forehead and arms touching the ground in front of the elders
Pratyabivaadana ( प्रत्याबिवादाना ) : Returning a greeting.