‘Namaste’ is both preventive, curative in case of COVID-19

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BY DR BIRBAL JHA
With the havoc of coronavirus, a contagious disease all around, people in common seem to be scared of it. They have a strong reason to be concerned for want of no sure cure. However, we can’t keep our fingers crossed saying that what can’t be cured must be endured. Rather, we need to realise the adage – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
A virus is spread through coming into contact with others, more particularly with air and droplets of sneezing, sniffling or spitting. English greetings that allow handshakes, hugging, kissing or other physical contact are apt to cause an infection like coronavirus.
It has taken the lives of more than 3,000 people in China from where the killer infection has stemmed and spread all across the world. Bat soup is reported to be the root cause. Media reports suggest that it has made an inroad into populous India also. So it is a national as well as international concern.
Take it from me, for precautionary and corrective measures India can lead the world, showing how Indian ways of greetings and lifestyles are both preventive and curative at this juncture of the global crisis. In pursuit of prevention is better than cure, what is needed to be done is to revert to or adopt the Indian practices of social graces, etiquette and lifestyles. Avoiding non-vegetarian food is more advisable in this situation.
‘Namaste’, a respectful greeting is conveyed when meeting a person or parting from him or her. This exclamation of salutation is derived from ‘Namaskar’, an Indian tradition of greeting or showing a gesture of respect to others.
When doing so, we bring our palms together either before the face or chest, tilting our head slightly without coming into any physical contact at all. This system is derived from the Rig Veda, one of the four epics of an ancient Indian scripture.
An advisory has been issued not to shake hands, embrace, hug or kiss given that each of these greetings, compliments, good wishes is prone to the outbreak of the virus. Here comes into play the ‘Namaste’ which asks you to maintain a distance of at least a meter and shower someone with your innermost feelings. Hence, a Namaste can never cause a contagion whereas the English greetings or Muslim embracing can.
The yogic Namaste, taken from Anjali Mudra of Pranamasana is used to mean ‘I bow to the divine in you’. Such is the great philosophy of the Indian culture that holds you in the highest esteem and paves the way for cheerfulness and the wellbeing of mankind.
Anjali Mudra is performed as part of our yoga to achieve several benefits associated with it. One of them is to alleviate mental stress and anxiety. It takes to the meditative state of mind that controls our body, emotions, feelings and overall our thought process. There is hardly any need to link it to Hinduism which the ignorant frown at.
It would not be out of place to mention the Sanskrit maxim here that says if you greet and respect your elders, such manners augur well for four things in your life – greater longevity, education, reputation and strength.
However, respecting elders and paying homage is a social practice all across the world. India too has its own prehistoric style of saying ‘Namaste’ providing a kind of immunity in case of coronavirus doing the rounds. The term ‘corona’ once associated with the germ virus is no longer a crown to long for. All you need to do is prevent yourself from any temptation or occasion linking to this bug.

(Dr Birbal Jha is an author and the Managing Director of Lingua Multiservices Pvt Ltd. The opinions are personal)