Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A pure form of greeting

During my stay at Dakshineswar in Kolkata, I used to spend most of my evenings listening to the bajans. People from the neighborhood gather carrying their own muscial instruments to sing and dance in praise of Kali, Shiva, Radha, Krishna and Ramakrishna. On one such evenings, there was no singing, no dance and only silence prevailed is spite of the large gathering. I was told that, a women sanyaasini, who is from the order of Sarada Math is going to deliver a discourse and I noticed that she was sitting among the people. She had a radiant smiling face with a glow in her eyes; her shaved head covered with a shawl and her crystal clear compassionate words were captivating the gathering. My memory fails to remember her name.

One gentle man asked, “Why do we pray to god with the hands clasped and also greet a fellow human being in the same way.”

She said, “The five fingers represent the five sheaths or the shells that envelope the real self of a person. In Sanskrit, the five sheaths are called as

  • Annamayakosha – The Physical sheath – It is the gross physical body that is sustained by food
  • Pranamayakosha – The Energy sheath – It is the subtle body that is sustained by pranic force.
  • Manomayakoshsa – The sheath of mind – This is the perceptual body, a covering which is the result of the mind where all the impression and knowledge obtained from the external factors reside.
  • Vigyanamayakosha – The sheath of consciousness – This is the covering which is finer than the mind, where intelligence, instinct and intuition are dominant
  • Anandhamayakosha – The sheath of bliss – This is the transcendental body which is beyond reason and logic. This is where the subtle ego resides, on breaking which the self is realized.

Through the five fingers that represent the five sheaths, we reach the palm which represents the Self. When we clasp both the hands and greet, we say that I greet your real self from with my real self. Beyond these sheaths all of us are Gods and hence, we greet our fellow beings just as we greet our Gods.”

This purest for of greeting had however lost its significance with all these politicians blindly greeting the rising their clasped hands at the vote banks. This traditional way of greeting only exists during the marriages and at other domestic functions. The mere understanding will help us appreciate the divinity of our being, the profoundness and virtue of these practices and save them as treasures for the generations to come.

6 comments:

Shirsha said...

hey, my g'mom used t osay the same thing. She was a devoteee at dakshineshwar too...

Shiva said...

Looks like, you r saying I belong to your granny's generation! Scared of getting old buddy :)

Shirsha said...

no you dont have to be old to follow a religion/have a belief! I have many of her beliefs too :)

Shiva said...

Shirsha - You too Brutus! I'm being highly misinterpreted. I'm not following a religion or belief. Just trying to be in the moments.

priya said...

I am learning a lot from you here shiva...

Thanks for sharing..

Shiva said...

Thanks Priya.