While visiting places of worship and viewing the Deities or after meeting a elderly or a respected person our hands are automatically joined together in Namaskar. Namaskar is a sattva predominant impression on the Hindu mind, an action that maintains the rich heritage of Hindu culture. Namaskar is a simple and beautiful act of expression of divine qualities like devotion, love, respect and humility that endows one with Divine energy.
Nowadays, perhaps due to ignorance about the Science of Spirituality or the increasing influence of the western culture, many people shake hands.
There are various ways in which one can do Namaskar. The various mudras or positions and methods along with the intention with which one must do each form of Namaskar are discussed and explained in this series.
Origin and the meaning of the word ‘Namaskar’
The word ‘Namaskar’ is derived from the root ‘namaha’, which means paying obeisance (Namaskar) or salutation.
From Science of Justice – ‘Namaha’ is a physical action expressing that ‘you are superior to me in all qualities and in every way’.
The main objective of doing Namaskar to someone is to derive spiritual as well as worldly benefits.
By doing Namaskar to a deity or a Saint, unknowingly their virtues and capabilities are impressed upon our minds. Consequently we start emulating them, thus changing ourselves for the better.
Increase in humility and reduction of ego
While doing Namaskar, when one thinks, ‘You are superior to me; I am the subordinate. I do not know anything, you are omniscient’, only then does it help in reducing the ego and increasing humility.
Enhancement in the spiritual emotion of surrender and gratitude
While doing Namaskar when thoughts like ‘I do not know anything’, ‘You alone get everything done’, ‘Grant me a place at Your Holy Feet’ come to mind, only then does it help in increasing the spiritual emotion of surrender and gratitude.
Gaining the Sattva component and faster spiritual progress
a. We receive the highest amount of Sattva component from the posture (mudra) of Namaskar.
b. By doing Namaskar) to Deities or Saints we receive subtle frequencies emitted by them, e.g. frequencies of Sattva or Bliss.
c. By doing Namaskar to Deities or Saints we also receive their blessings in a subtle form. This helps in hastening spiritual progress.
Why is it not appropriate to shake hands?
In short, in a handshake, the raja-tama components in one person will get transferred to the other person, thereby lowering his sattvikta (Purity levels). While practicing Spirituality, our objective is to perform acts which increase our sattvikta.
What is correct method & science of doing Namaskar to
A. ‘While paying obeisance to God, bring the palms together.
1. The fingers should be held loose (not straight and rigid) while joining the hands or palms.
2. The fingers should be kept close to each other without leaving any space between them.
3. The fingers should be kept away from the thumbs.
4. The inner portion of the palms should not touch each other and there should be some space between them.
Note: The stage of awakening of spiritual emotion (Bhav) is important to the seeker at the primary level. Hence, for awakening spiritual emotion (Bhav), he should keep space in between the joined hands, whereas a seeker who is at the advanced level should refrain from leaving such space in between the palms to awaken the unexpressed spiritual emotion (Bhav).
B. After joining the hands one should bow and bring the head forward.
C. While tilting the headforward, one should place the thumbs at the mid-brow region, i.e. at the point between the eyebrows and try to concentrate on the feet of the Deity.
D. After that, instead of bringing the folded hands down immediately, they should be placed on the mid-chest region for a minute in such way that the wrists touch the chest; then only should the hands be brought down.
Underlying Science in this action
Subtle picture while offering Namaskar (1)
Subtle picture while offering Namaskar (2) A. The fingers should not be stiff while bringing the palms together because this will lead to a decrease in Sattva component from the vital and mental sheaths and thus increase the raja component in them. By keeping the fingers relaxed, the subtlest Sattva component will get activated. With the strength of this energy, embodied souls are able to fight powerful distressing energies.
B. In the Namaskar posture, the joined fingers act as an antenna to assimilate the Chaitanya (Divine consciousness) or the Energy transmitted by a Deity. While joining the palms, the fingers must touch each other because leaving space between the fingers will result in accumulation of energy in that space. This energy will be immediately transmitted in various directions; therefore the seeker’s body will lose the benefit of this potent energy.
C. About the space to be maintained between the palms:
For a seeker at the primary level, it is advisable to leave space between the palms; it is not necessary for a seeker at an advanced level to leave space between the palms.
D. After joining the palms, bow a little. This posture puts pressure on the navel and activates the five vital energies situated there. Activation of these vital energies in the body makes it sensitive to accepting sattvik frequencies. This later awakens the ‘Atma shakti’ (i.e. soul energy of an embodied soul). And later, Bhav is awakened. This enables the body to accept in large measures the Chaitanya emitted by the Deity.
E. Touch the thumbs to the mid-brow region. (Please see images above.) This posture awakens the Bhav of surrender in an embodied soul, and in turn activates the appropriate subtle frequencies of Deities from the Universe. They enter through the ’Adnya chakra’ (Sixth of the 7 chakras in the Kundalini) of the embodied soul and settle in the space parallel to it at the back interior of the head. In this space the openings to all the three channels converge; namely, the Moon, the Central and the Sun channels. Due to the movement of these subtler frequencies in this space, the Central Channel is activated. Consequently it facilitates the speedy transmission of these frequencies throughout the body, leading to purification of both the gross and subtle bodies at the same time.
F. After doing Namaskar, to completely imbibe the Chaitanya of the Deity (that has entered the hands by now), instead of bringing the folded hands down immediately, place them on the mid-chest region in such a way that the wrists touch the chest.
The ‘Anahat chakra’ is located at the centre of the chest. Akin to the Adnya chakra, the activity of the Anahat chakra is also to absorb the Sattva frequencies. By touching the wrists to the chest, the Anahat chakra is activated and it helps in absorbing more of the Sattva component.
Effect of this Posture
By doing Namaskar in this manner, the Deity’s Chaitanya is absorbed to a greater extent by the body, as compared to other methods of doing Namaskar. This gives maximum distress to negative energies. The negative energies that have manifested in a person are unable to touch their thumbs at the mid-brow region in Namaskar. (The negative energies are subtle. But at times they enter an individual’s body and manifest it. – Editor)’
Q. What is the reason for not wrapping a cloth around the neck while performing circumambulation, doing Namaskar, ritualistic worship, sacrificial fires, chanting and while visiting Guru and deities?
A. When a cloth is wrapped around the neck, it does not activate the Vishuddha chakra (in the throat region) and hence an individual gets less benefit of the Sattva component. (More information on this is given in Sanatan’s Publication ‘Part 3: Vol 29: Bhaktiyoga 4: ‘Spiritual Science in the ritualistic worship with sixteen substances’.)
If at all they do Namaskar by joining their palms, it is done just as a formality. As the act is not based on faith, the benefit derived from it is minimal. Along with faith it is essential that every religious act be correctly performed according to the Science of Spirituality, so that it gives complete benefit. In this series, as with the others, along with information on various methods of doing Namaskar, the Science in them is also explained. Understanding the Science will help in strengthening faith in the act. Such an act correctly performed with faith, will yield corresponding benefits.
A. When meeting someone of the same age-groupdo Namaskar by joining the fingers and placing tips of the thumbs on the Anahat chakra (at the centre of the chest). This type of Namaskarincreases the spiritual emotion of humility in the embodied soul. Sattva frequencies from the universe are attracted by the fingers (which act as an antenna) and are then transmitted to the entire body through the thumbs which have awakened the Anahat chakra. This activates the soul energy of the embodied soul. In addition, by doing Namaskar in this manner to each other, frequencies of blessings are also transmitted.
(Ref: Sanatan’s Publication – ‘The Correct Methods of doing Namaskar’)