Namaste or Namaskar the better way to greet, coronavirus or not
As deadly as the coronavirus has been, it has also taught us some invaluable life lessons.
It has shown us that some of our habits (or ways of life) need to change. The obvious one is that wild animal markets are best avoided. Even better would be to go vegetarian.
However, apart from the obvious lessons, there are other norms which we have had to let go for our own safety, such as handshakes as a form of greeting. With COVID-19 being so highly contagious, handshakes are definitely to be avoided, as are kisses and hugs as a form of greeting.
Ideally, any norm such as our manner of greeting should be event-proof. This means that if we have to change the way we greet each other due to events such as a virus outbreak, then it indicates that it isn’t the best way to greet long-term.
Handshakes found best for transferring bacteria
Dave Whitworth, a biochemist from Aberystwyth University in Wales and his team conducted experiments to see which form of contact greeting was the worst when it came to transfer of bacteria. In the experiment, one person dipped a glove into an E. coli solution, allowing a dry film of bacteria to form on the glove. The wearer then performed a fist bump, a high-five and a handshake with another person who was wearing sterile gloves. Studying the amount of bacterial transfer, the handshake was the clear winner.
This is because the way the contact is made between two hands, the handshake transferred the greatest number of germs.
On the lighter side, elbow bumps, fancy foot taps, the salute and the wave are some of the new ways of non-hand greetings being adopted around the world. However, given that we have been advised to sneeze into the inside of our elbows, the elbow bump may just help the virus pass on.
World leaders switching to namaste
In recent days, images of country leaders and royalty such as Donald Trump, Prince Charles, Benjamin Netanyahu, Emmanuel Macron and Leo Varadkar opting to use the Indian greeting of ‘namaste’ over a handshake have gone viral. The namaste is something that the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been advocating to the world to adopt especially after the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
With hands joined almost like in a prayer posture, the traditional Indian namaste does a few things – it helps people to greet each other, convey respect and also maintain a safe distance. Any newcomer adopting the namaste would immediately be able to benefit from these aspects of the namaste.
Why namaste / namaskar is better than other non-contact forms of greeting
Namaste or namaskar originates from the Sanskrit language. What many people do not know is that there is a much deeper spiritual meaning which is the foundation of namaste.
Yes, there are other popular non-contact form of greetings such as the Japanese bow and the hand-wave. However, its spiritual basis is what sets ‘namaste’ apart from any other greeting we have researched.
Even though people proudly identify with their culture or religion, we are all one – the human race. As per the science of Spirituality, the same God principle is in each and every one of us regardless of race or culture. The genesis of namaste or namaskar was to enable the greeter to acknowledge and pay obeisance to the Soul or the God principle in the person being greeted (regardless of race or culture). The right way to do the namaskar mudra (hand posture) is by joining the fingers and placing tips of the thumbs on the heart chakra or Anahat-chakra (at the centre of the chest).
When namaste is said with the spiritual emotion of acknowledging and paying obeisance to the Divine in the other, it enhances spiritual positivity and attracts Divine consciousness (Chaitanya). By taking up this posture, one feels humility and it also attracts positive subtle energy.
Spiritual risks of a handshake
In the case of a handshake, apart from the transfer of bacteria, remember that there is always an exchange of subtle energy between two people as their hands lock into each other. You may have experienced a bad or eerie feeling after shaking some people’s hands. This is because if a person whose hand you shake is affected by negative energy, then negative energy would almost certainly have passed on to you in that brief handshake moment. Spiritual research findings indicate that when greetings include physical contact with others, the ease of transfer of subtle energies increases by 100% as compared to a non-contact greeting.
The namaskar mudra is like a win-win greeting. Being contactless, it substantially minimises the chances of being affected by any negative energy present in others. Also, because it is designed to attract positive energy, one is actually benefitted at the spiritual level every time one uses it with the right spiritual emotion.
Consider switching to namaste
If you haven’t tried the namaste form of greeting, then do try it. You will be pleasantly surprised how good it feels compared to a handshake. There is less ego and more humility associated with it and in most cases, you will get a smile from the person you greet.
- Coronavirus – Spiritual protection with healing chants (mantra)
- Handshakes – spiritual perspective
- Definition and meaning of Namaskar (Namaste)