“The divinity in me bows to the divinity in you.”
When the meaning of the word ‘Namaste’ was first explained to me, it moved me quite profoundly. A single word defines in its entirety, the relationship of one person to every other being on earth.
It is both humbling and glorifying. When a person bows in recognition of divinity’s presence in the other. It humbles the greeter as he glorifies the other. And yet, as the greeting is given back the greeter is in turn glorified as the other bows in recognition of divinity of the first greeter.
Think about it. Here lies the formula of all perfect relationships. As soon as a person recognizes that divinity exists in all other beings, then he treats all beings with reverence. And by showing reverence for all others beings he expresses his own divinity that in turn commands for it, reverence.
If you have relationships you would like to improve, try bowing to the divinity in that person. When dealing with that person, try acting as you would, if you were in the presence of Divinity. If you don’t know how you would act in the presence of divinity, then consider how you would act in the presence of someone you hold in very high esteem, where you would take pains to look good, talk well and be gracious.
As relationships get older, we often shed all these niceties and begin acting more like our “normal self”. This in itself is not bad. You know you have a really good relationship when you can be yourself without being judged. You are accepted and loved as you are, both the good side and the bad. This only becomes harmful to a relationship when we begin to believe that this is what we are entitled to, that this is what the other person owes us.
If we have this ‘entitlement’ mindset in a relationship, we demand love and respect unconditionally from the other, without feeling any duty to reciprocate.
“I am your husband, you must respect my wishes.”
“I am your father, you must obey me.”
“I am your boss, do as I say.”
“Shut up and listen to me.”
We all have had, at some point, to put up with this. Yet deep inside, we all recognize this oppression that we know we are not meant to accept. And somehow we feel a deep and painful injustice when we allow ourselves to endure it. Even young children instinctively sense this violation, and react against the oppressiveness.
The fundamental flaw in this thinking is this: Love and respect can never be demanded from anyone. It can only be given as a willing gift to another. The wonderful paradox is that the more you give love and respect, the more love and respect comes back to you. The more you demand it from others the less you feel you have of it. You can shout, insult, threaten or coerce people into submission but none of this will guarantee their love or respect.
In the end it is the giver who decides to give and no matter how entitled you believe you are to the love and respect of others, you cannot ever make anyone love or respect you. And so it goes, if you bow to the divinity in others, that is, you recognize that they are deserving of your love, respect and reverence, then it is the divinity in you bowing to the divinity in the other.
If we all took seriously to heart the wisdom behind the greeting ‘Namaste’, we would all be living in perfect harmony, divine with divine no one the lesser.