NAMASKARAM –THE ANJALI MUDRA
There could have been no better time than the current pandemic situation to stress upon the importance & significance of the most popular & widely accepted Mudra – Namaskaram/Namaste/Namaskar (also called the Anjali Mudra in Dance).
Since Namaste is a non-contact form of greeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested using the gesture as an alternative to hand shaking during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic as a means to prevent the spread of the virus.
With the corona virus pandemic spreading across the world, the Indian form of greeting – Namaste, has taken a big leap towards international recognition.
While Indians might be happy to see the Namaste greeting gain acceptance in the West, many are unaware of the significance of this joined palm mudra.
In our everyday life we are using many mudras without being aware of the name or the significance of that particular hand gesture. It has a deeper spiritual meaning as is with everything Indian.
The Anjali Mudra (Namaskar) is widely used throughout the Indian subcontinent, parts of Asia and beyond where people of South and Southeast Asian origins have migrated.
Namaste or namaskar is used as a respectful form of greeting, acknowledging and welcoming a relative, guest or stranger.
Namaste can be a casual or formal greeting, a cultural convention, or an act of worship. However, there is much more to it than meets the eye.
In some contexts, Namaste is used by one person to express gratitude for assistance offered or given by a person or a Higher Universal Power, and to thank the other person for his or her generous kindness.
This simple gesture is related to the brow chakra, which is often referred to as the third eye or mind center. Meeting another person, no matter how casual, is really a meeting of the minds. When we greet one another with Namaste, it means, “May our minds meet.” The bowing down of the head is a gracious form of extending friendship in love, respect, and humility.
It can also mean farewell or departure.
In Sanskrit, the word is namah (to bow) and te (you), meaning “I bow to you.” In, other words, “greetings, salutations, or prostration to you.”
Sanskrit is a truly magical language because its words represent concepts that don’t have English equivalents. Because no single word in English can summarize the meaning of Namaste, the process of unpacking it can be a spiritual quest of the heart.
The word namaha can also be literally interpreted as “na ma” (not mine). It has a spiritual significance of negating or reducing one’s ego in the presence of another.
Sadguru Yogiraj Siddhanath says, Namaste means “I bow to the indwelling spirit residing within you.”
Swami Chinamayanand ji explains Namaste as “it means the spark of life in me, and the spark of life in you, these two spiritual essence is one and the same. And to that one Almighty Lord, my Namaskar.”
Sadguru of Isha Foundation says, “If you hold namaskar and look upon someone or something with loving attention, you harmonize.”
How and Why to Use “Namaste” or the “Anjali” mudra
Namaste is more than a word we say, it has its own hand gesture or mudra. To use it properly:
- Bend your arms upwards at the elbow and face the two palms of your hands.
- Place the two palms together and in front of your chest.
- Utter the word Namaste and bow your head slightly toward the tips of the fingers.
Know more about Anjali Mudra and other types of pranamams in the next part.
THE HEALING POWER OF MUDRAS