The Complete Idiot’s Guide to doing Namaste
Neo suffered from a rare form of “prostrate cancer”, i.e. the inability to figure out when and how to prostrate himself and perform Namaste.
This is the guide he wished he had read then.
How to do Namaste (a.k.a. namaskar)
There are two major techniques:
1. The I’m-feeling-particularly-humble-today technique: That’s how. Practice it at home. If you’re a guy, make sure your triceps are strong enough to push you back up without embarrassment. Having to use your knees to raise yourself up from that position will probably render you unmarriageable to any girls who are watching. The dhoti is optional, but if you are wearing it on the way down, make sure it comes back up with you.
2. The cop-out technique: If you’re going through a rough proud patch, this is an alternate form you can try (although you do really need someone to get you back to humility – Neo recommends having a “phone-a-friend” setup. Calling your mom will work fine too.)
(If you are a girl, Neo hopes that you don’t have the sort of “affectionate” uncle that exists in every family. Lets just say Neo’s younger female relatives would much rather pay their respects to “Vijay Uncle” from a distance.)
When to do Namaste
Right away! If you are currently reading a crumpled printout of this guide while someone older is staring awkwardly at you, stop reading, fall forward, perform namaste and read the rest of this guide later.
Once, Neo waited so long that Neo’s mother actually had to use her knees to push Neo down to the floor into the my-mom-wants-to-show-off-how-humble-her-son-is namaste position while Neo was nonchalantly untying his shoe-laces. (Neo sustained minor injuries to his nose, and major injuries to his ego due to the discovery that his mom was stronger than he was).
Safety tip: If the subjects you are about to perform Namaste on are in a moving vehicle (e.g. a bus), allow them to safely disembark before diving for their feet. Also, make sure they see you approach.
Whom to do Namaste to
It is just better to not be too picky about this. At his wedding. Neo was doing bulk-namaste – this involves bending down and then doing a a rapid-fire namaste to all nearby relatives without coming up for breath (this is an advanced technique outside the scope of this guide). One of the lucky recipients of Neo’s namaskar was not a relative, but instead the postman who happened to be standing there, waiting for his wedding bribe baksheesh.
There was no harm done, but neither Neo’s namaste nor the baksheesh money was enough to convince the postman to deliver the mail on time.
Why you should do Namaste instead of a handshake
Well, because it is scientific! Everyone (or at least everyone who reads Hindu Jaagruti Samiti, which is practically everyone) knows that a handshake can expose you to the “black rays emmited from the hand of a person having distress of negative energy” [sic]! (Perhaps the black rays even caused the creator of this graphic to lose his grammatical and spelling skills! Also, the guy on the left probably needs to wash his hands more often than once a year.)
Still don’t believe that handshakes are harmful ? Check out this video (if you don’t speak Marathi, get a friend to translate. Of course if you had any Marathi friends you probably wouldn’t need this guide.).
No system is perfect (even if it is scientifically superior). Clearly for each humble namaskarer like you, there must be a namaskaree, usually an elder, who has to stand around all day receiving namaskars and by definition cannot be as humble as you. It follows then, that the Indian system, by itself, makes it impossible for all Indians to be simultaneously humble. It’s a rat race to the top (or bottom?) of the humility organizational chart!
So (with humble respects to Albert Einstein), and this guide in hand, you are now free to try to make yourself as humble as possible, but no humbler!
(Or you can skip this whole guide and just do what Neo actually does, i.e. offer fist bumps to everyone)