and Benefits of Prostration to elders - Dhandavatha Pranam.
Namaskar - Namaskaram literally means a salute;
traditionally it is practiced from the childhood days, to train the children to
respect the elders and also to pay obeisance to the Lord God in temples. It is a
gesture of action used to indicate respect & reverence. Namaskar in
Military terms is a Salute, but it has other general populations use in
different way of salutes.
In the western countries, while such gestures as tipping one's hat as one passed others on the street
could be considered salutes, the most common civilian
gesture in Indian states can be seen, with each other greeting, that is
rendered to the Seniors and Elders alike. In the United States of America, a
civilians salute the flag by
placing their right hands over their hearts and saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
Traditional Hindu verbal
greeting of Namasthe & Namaskar are a kind of Mudra
posture, where the palms are joined together
and held at the level of their chest. This Mudra
is also known as "Anjali" Mudra. It is a kind
of devotion and a gesture made equally before a temple Deity,
Sadhus, Saints, Seers, Priests, or of
any such holy person, learned scholars, teachers & Guru, elders and
senior persons, or a newly acquainted elderly persons.
The hands held together connects the right side of the body with the left, and
brings the nerve and pulses (nadi) currents into poised balance, into a
consciousness of the suskhama, awakening the third eye known as gjyana Njanam), within the greeter to worship God
in the greeted. Now let us see what the actual benefits one gets by doing the
Namaskar - the Anjali Mudra. It is from a researcher that gives the inner
meaning & values for prostrating, paying obeisance and
doing sashtanga (falling flat) namaskar. The following article by Sri
Siddharth Dave, gives the fair
value, scientific meaning to an age old practice in this Indian
Sub-continent for ages.
is always recommended that while prostrating, a person has to do it
facing east and to whom it offered is to be facing the west. I hope
this bit of information help readers to understand the inner meaning
of Namasthe, the greetings each other make since time immemorial!
Reference : Sanatan's Booklet 'The Correct Methods
of Paying Obeisance'
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'.
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
Increase in humility and reduction of ego /
Enhancement in the spiritual emotion of surrender
and gratitude / Gaining the Sattva component and
faster spiritual progress.
We receive the highest amount of
Sattva component from the posture (mudra) of
Namaskar. By doing Namaskar to Deities or
Saints we receive subtle frequencies emitted by them,
e.g. frequencies of Sattva or Bliss.
How does one do Namaskar to an
individual of the same age group?
When meeting someone of the same age-group
do Namaskar by joining the
fingers and placing tips of the thumbs on the Anahat
chakra (at the centre of the chest). This type of
Namaskar increases 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.
What is correct method & science of doing Namaskar
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
4. The inner portion of the palms should not
touch each other and there should be some space
Note: The stage of awakening of spiritual
emotion (Bhav) is important to the seeker at the
primary level. Hence, for awakening spiritual
emotion (Bhava), 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 (Bhava).
joining the hands one should bow and bring the head
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
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
Science in this action:
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.)
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
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.
Why should one always do Namaskar to elders?
Meaning: When an elderly person arrives, the vital energy of
the young person starts rising and when he gets up and does Namaskar,
it returns to normal. - Manusmruti 2.120; Mahabharat, Udhyog, Chapter
(Section) 38.1, Sr. no. 104, 64-65
Explanation: 'As the sojourn of the elderly person is gradually
towards the southern direction, that is, towards the region of Lord
Yama (towards death), his body starts emitting raja and tama frequencies
on a high scale. When such an elderly person comes in the vicinity
of any younger individual, these frequencies start affecting the
younger person. A subtle magnetic field is created between the two.
Consequently, the vital energy of the younger person is pulled upward.
This way the younger person can suffer due to sudden momentum to
his vital energy. When this younger person doesNamaskar to the elderly
person, some amount of the Central channel of his Kundalini system
is activated and the Sattva component in it starts increasing. Consequently
the raja and tama components in him are influenced by the Sattva
component and the vital energy comes back to normal state.
Hence on arrival of an elderly person, it is customary
for the younger individuals to do Namaskar to them.'
Namaskar to Elders..
When travelling, prior to the commencement of a journey and upon
returning, why should one do Namaskar to elders in the family?
'Namaskar to the elders in the family is one way of surrendering
to the God principle in them. When an embodied soul bows in Namaskar
to an elder by surrendering to the God principle in him, at that
time a sense of compassion is created in his body. This compassion
percolates right upto his subtle body. At that time, energy of his
mind is activated and in turn activates the five vital energies,
which are located at the seat of the Manipur chakra (situated in
the Naval region). Transmission of these five vital energies all
over the body then awakens the soul energy. With the strength of
the soul energy, the Central channel gets activated and converts
the expressed energy of spiritual emotion to the unexpressed energy
of spiritual emotion. With the help of this unexpressed energy of
spiritual emotion, the embodied soul, through the medium of elders,
gains the required Deity's principle from the Universe. For this
purpose, while leaving the house on a
journey, the embodied soul should do Namaskar to elders and
with the strength of Sattva frequencies has to protect himself from
distressing frequencies in the atmosphere. Similarly, returning
from a journey, one should immediately do Namaskar to elders and
awaken the God principle in them, which would disintegrate the raja-tama
particles from the air around him, which might have been brought
What is the correct method of doing Namaskar to Saints?
1. The portion of head, which should be placed at the feet :
We can imbibe maximum Chaitanya through the Brahmarandhra (the seventh
chakra of the Kundalini system located in the crown of our head).
Since it (Brahmarandhra) cannot be placed at a Saints's feet, the
part of head beginning above the forehead is to be placed at the
feet of Saints. Due to this, maximum Chaitanya emanating from Their
feet can enter into the one doing Namaskar.
2.. The exact spot to place one's head on a Saint's feet:
The big toes of Saints emit maximum Chaitanya; hence we should place
our head on the big toe, than on their foot. If we are in a position
to touch both the toes, then place the head on the right big toe.
3. The position of hands when placing the head on a Saint's feet:
interlock their hands behind their backs at the waist and do Namaskar.
If we are in a position to touch both their toes, then we should
place the hands one on each foot and the head should be placed on
the big toe of the right foot. If we are in a position to touch
one of Their toes, then place both the hands on it and keep the
head on the big toe.
b. Some do Namaskar by placing hands on the ground. This is
also wrong because if the hands are placed on the ground then the
Chaitanya emanating from the Saint's feet are absorbed by one and
then returns to the earth through the hands of the one doing Namaskar.
Thus the person does not benefit from it.
c. Some cross their hands and place them on the feet of Saints,
that is, their right hand on the right foot of the Saint and their
left hand on the left foot of the Saint while doingNamaskar. This
is a crude imitation of the manner in which Christians place their
crossed hands on their chest. Instead, our right hand should be
placed on the left foot of the Saint and our left hand on the right
foot of the Saint. This is convenient also. However, if a Guru has
started some procedure in a particular sect, then the hands are
to be placed in that manner only.
d. The hands are to be positioned in such a way that the palms
are placed on the feet..
How to do Namaskar
to the wooden footwear (paduka) of Saints?
to the wooden footwear (paduka) of Saints
'The left paduka symbolises Lord Shiva and the right symbolises
Divine Energy. The left paduka is the un-manifest saviour energy
and the right is the un-manifest destroyer energy of the Supreme
God. The saviour or destroyer energy of the Supreme God emanates
from the 'pegs' of the paduka as per the need. When we do Namaskar
by placing our head on the 'pegs' of the paduka, some may experience
distress due to the inability to tolerate the manifest energy emitting
from it. Hence, while doing Namaskar to the paduka, instead of the
pegs, place the head on the foremost part i.e. the place where the
Saints place their toes.'
one do Namaskar to a dead body?
If this be so, should we do Namaskar to the dead bodies in Kaliyuga
only as a custom? If it is a custom, can we discontinue it?
A. One can maintain respect for the dead person by doing Namaskar
and in addition set an ideal with regards to respecting elders.
In Kaliyuga, from this one will benefit at an emotional level and
not at a spiritual level. However, one should not discontinue this
custom; instead one could learn how to get spiritual benefit from
it. Due to the deterioration of the Sattva component in embodied
souls, this practice has become a mere custom in Kaliyuga.
However, as per the saying, 'God exists where there is spiritual
emotion', while doing Namaskar to a dead body if we have a spiritual
emotion that we are doing Namaskar to the God principle in
it, then the God principle in the dead body awakens and we receive
God's blessings. This happens because the God principle is immortal
and has no limitations that a physical body has.
It is said that one should not do Namaskar to a sleeping person.
In Kaliyuga if one does Namaskar by touching the dead body, then
are the chances of getting distress from negative energies not higher?
A. Yes it is; but while doing Namaskar it is important that the
action be performed with correct spiritual emotion. Since Namaskar
is done to the God principle in the dead body instead of activating
raja, tama components, it activates the Godly principle in the dead
body and bestows Sattva corresponding to the degree of spiritual
hand' touch to the Temple Steps
Touch step with fingers of right hand & move same hand over
Science: 'The area around the temple is charged with frequencies
of Deities which leads to an increase in the Sattva component. The
presence of Divine consciousness in the area charges even the stairs
in a temple. 'Climbing' steps is one of the activities, which increases
the raja component in the body. Hence, the raja component is already
activated in the body of an embodied soul so by touching the steps
with the fingers of the right hand, the Sattva component and peace
from the charged premise, get transmitted to the body through the
right hand. In addition, from this action, the activated raja component
in the body can be controlled through the medium of the surya nadi
(Sun channel). This means that, for a moment, the activities of
the Sun channel can be stopped. From this process, the embodied
soul learns to enhance the Sattva component through raja dominant
actions. Therefore, it is very essential to perform the appropriate
sattvik actions at each corresponding level, hence the method of
touching the steps with fingers of the right hand and then moving
the fingers or palm over the head. Even the dust present on the
steps is charged with Chaitanya and so we must respect it and derive
spiritual benefit from it.. If the embodied soul harbours the spiritual
emotion that 'the Chaitanya from the steps be transmitted all over
my body from the dust on my hand', then it will give increasing
benefit to the embodied soul. In addition if the ego of the embodied
soul is less at that time then it gives even more benefit. When
any action is performed devoid of ego or 'I'ness it is treated as
a 'non-action' (akarma-karma).'
and Dont's while doing Namaskar
should the eyes be closed while doing Namaskar?
'Joining hands while bowing the head amounts to saluting God
or the divinity in the person in front. The eyes are closed while
doing Namaskar to God or any respected person, to enable one to
have the vision of God within us.'
Q. Why should the footwear be taken off while doing Namaskar?
While sitting, partaking meals, sleeping, wishing and doing Namaskar
to Gurus and other elderly people, footwear should not be worn.
- Gautamsmruti 9.
1. Footwear increases the raja-tama components in a person.
2. Paying obeisance (Namaskar) with high raja-tama components will
not help in activating the Kundalini (centre in the spiritual energy
3. The ability to absorb the sattva component too is reduced, due
to an increase in the raja-tama components, leading to little benefit
from a Namaskar.
4. Doing Namaskar to a Deity, with footwear on, may also invite
the wrath of the Deity.’
Q. Why is it not advisable to hold any object while doing Namaskar?
1. While doing Namaskar if an object is held in the hands, usually
the fingers and their tips are in a curled position and not straight.
As a result, the sattva component received is unable to enter the
tips of the fingers.
2.. The sattva component emitted towards the seeker, strikes the
object held and bounces back. Also, at times, instead of the person
absorbing the sattva component, the object may absorb it.
3. If the object in the hand is raja or tama predominant, and if
it is touched to the forehead or chest while doing Namaskar, then
the raja-tama components from it mayenter the body of the one who
is doing Namaskar.
Q. While doing Namaskar, why are men not supposed to cover their
head, whereas women are advised to cover their head?
One should not do Namaskar with footwear on, covering the head or
holding any objects. (But women should cover their head with their
saris and only then do Namaskar) - Apastamb Dharmasutra 18.104.22.168.
While doing Namaskar the Kundalini gets activated at the chakra
which is touched by the folded hands. This leads to the absorption
of the Sattva component in greater proportion in the body. Sometimes
due to the activation of the Kundalini, Sattva component starts
entering the body through the head. But at times the distressing
energies try to take advantage of this and mix black energy with
the Sattva component. The potential to activate the Kundalini is
higher in men as compared to women. Hence they are hardly affected
by this negative energy. Contrary to this, as women are more vulnerable,
they get affected by distressing energies to a greater extent and
thus they can experience distress. That is why, when doing Namaskar,
women are advised to cover their head with the ends of their sari.
This creates a barrier between the head and the distressing energies
and prevents themfrom penetrating the body of the woman. However,
to some extent this also blocks benevolent frequencies from
entering the women. (Benevolent frequencies are subtler than negative
frequencies; hence they enter a woman to some extent even though
the sari covers her head.) However, the proper posture of Namaskar
gives maximum Sattva component to an individual and hence women
too get required benefits. This shows how God takes care of every
devotee. Doing Namaskar without these restrictions is equally effective
if the devotee does it with spiritual emotion.
source & Reference : Sanatan's Booklet 'The Correct Methods of Paying