Namaskara means salutation, and according to Swami Niranjan, salutation means connecting, respecting and honoring the other, controlling arrogance and ego and expressing humility.
According to the dictionary, Salute means a word, expression, gesture or any other act that a person directs at someone when they meet or say goodbye, showing signs of attention, courtesy or affection.
When we greet, we connect with each other from the heart, from the emotion, from the affection, from the joy of seeing someone who has been out of sight for a while. It is not necessary that pass a lot of time to feel the joy of the reunion, the closeness, the company, the gratitude of knowing that this person is part of our life.
The simple act of joining hands, bowing to the photos of Swami Niranjan and Sw Satyananda and saying “Hari Om Swamijis” generates great joy, great connection. Connecting with the family in the morning with a “Good morning” expresses affection and attention. Greeting or smiling at a stranger on the street connects us with courtesy, respect, and honoring the other. The greeting connects us, makes us visible and makes others visible, as the definition says through the greeting we show attention and affection towards others.
The greeting is not only given between people, it is given at all levels with living, animate and inanimate beings, for example dogs express their joy of seeing us by approaching and flapping their tails. By appreciating the sunrise we automatically feel connected with a higher power, with the imposing beauty of nature, with the sun, the trees, the mountains and the sky, it is greeting the new day. In our own house we can greet the plants and the objects that inhabit it.
Sw Sivananda said “There is life in everything, even a piece of stone. So smile with the flowers and the green grass. Play with the butterflies and the cobras. Talk to the rainbow, wind, stars and sun. Converse with the running brook and the turbulent waves of the sea. Develop friendship with all your neighbors, dogs, cats, cows, humans, trees, in fact, with all of nature’s creation.”
The other aspect of Namaskara is that of controlling arrogance and ego and expressing humility. Here we must be very alert and aware of our reactions to others and the states of mind of others in order to control our arrogance and express humility. Many times we meet people who are irritated, upset and aggressive, if we manage to be aware of their state of mind without getting hooked, without feeling attacked and without automatically reacting negatively to their hostility, we can mentally greet that person and connect with them, recognize that their state of mind has nothing to do with us and bow to them, mentally we can say several times “I bow to you, I bow to you” this simple action will have a positive effect on the other person by not finding hostility in us and will allow us to maintain our peace of mind and internal harmony.
In this same sense, sometimes we meet someone and feel spontaneous hostility towards that person, if we are not alert our arrogant mind will be filled with negative thoughts and animosity will grow in us, but if we are alert and aware of our hostility we can lean mentally before that person with humility, dispel our negativity and our arrogance and maybe in a while we will find ourselves sharing with the person in total harmony.
Swami Sivananda greeted everyone with “Om”, every man, woman or animal he saw on the road, bowed mentally to them, expressing humility and not arrogance.
Namaskara brings harmony and joy to our life and to the life of others, we only have greet them from the heart and bow with humility.