While having darshan (Vision) of a Deity or after meeting a respected individual, our hands automatically join in obeisance. ‘Paying obeisance’ that is doing namaskar is a sattvik (Sattva-predominant) impression on the Hindu mind, an act of maintaining the rich heritage of Hindu culture. Paying obeisance is a simple and beautiful act of expression of Divine qualities like devotion, love, respect and humility that bestows Divine Energy.
Without humility no act becomes meaningful. Due to humility, the flow of Chaitanya (Divine consciousness) that descends for the benefit of the subtle body, transforms every act into sadhana (Spiritual practice), thus making the entire process meaningful.
The act of paying obeisance creates the impression of humility. The impression of paying obeisance is ‘a process of bowing unto the God Principle’. The posture of paying obeisance awakens the pind (Subtle-body). Awakening the pind means assimilating the Divine waves from the Universe in the self through the medium of appropriate gestures.
1. Benefits of paying obeisance
The main objective of paying obeisance to someone is to derive spiritual as well as worldly benefits from him.
A. Worldly benefits
By paying obeisance to a Deity or a Saint, unknowingly their virtues and capabilities come to our mind. Accordingly, we start emulating them, thus changing ourselves for the better.
B. Spiritual benefits
- Increase in humility and reduction of ego : While paying obeisance, when we think, ‘You are superior to me; I am the subordinate. I do not know anything, you are omniscient’, only then it helps in increasing our humility and reducing our ego.
- Enhancement in the emotion of surrender and gratitude : While paying obeisance when thoughts in the mind are like, ‘I do not know anything, you alone get everything done, grant me a place at your Holy feet’, they help in increasing the bhav (Spiritual emotion) of surrender and gratitude.
- Gaining sattvikta leading to faster spiritual progress : We imbibe greater amount of sattvikta from the posture of paying obeisance. By paying obeisance to Deities or Saints we receive subtle waves emitted by them, for example, waves of Sattva or Anand (Bliss). By paying obeisance to Deities or Saints we also receive their blessings. It helps in speedy spiritual progress
2. Why should we always pay obeisance to elders ?
As the sojourn of the elderly individual is gradually towards the south, that is, towards the region of Deity Yama (towards death), his body starts emitting Raja-Tama waves on a large scale. When such an elderly individual comes in the proximity of any younger individual, these waves start affecting the younger individual. A subtle magnetic field is created between the two. Consequently, the vital energy of the younger individual is pulled upward. The younger individual can suffer due to sudden momentum of the vital energy. When this young individual pays obeisance to the elderly individual, the Sushumna-nadi in the Kundalini system is activated to some extent and the sattvikta in it starts increasing. Consequently, the Raja-Tama components in him are influenced by the sattvikta and the vital energy comes back to the normal state. Hence on arrival of an elderly individual, it is customary that the younger individuals pay obeisance to them.