Namaste : I bow to the God within you
learning namaste in Mother India
"...at thirty years of age I was in Old Delhi, India- Mother India- and had been there for three months, unable to leave, because I was going mad on loneliness, Old Monk Rum, freedom, torpor, and words.
India, Mother India, a land of madness and miracles, where nothing is reasonable, and everything belongs, because in India there is no norm, no paradigm, no structure, nor concept upon which to base any idea of right or wrong, for the Mother accepts all, and is all. If you go to India and try to fit in, you never will, because no one fits in there, not even Indians. And that, I suppose, is why the Indians greet you as if you were a deity- as one for whom there is no duplicate, because to be unique is to be eternal, as eternal as God- which is why they greet you with namasté: I bow to the God within you.
At the time of writing this book I have been to India a number of times, and yet to this day the only word I have learned which I continue to use, besides chai, is namasté. It is a word I am still learning, and perhaps a word I will never finish learning. Namasté, I bow to the God within you.
It is a word which has no similarity with any salutation from the occident, and its closest approximations are the Hawaiian word Aloha, and the Alaskan Upik word Chamai, both of which have also been pathetically mistranslated into the banal English word ‘hello’.
Namasté; it is a word which destroys this world, and creates another. In an instant. For, the moment we greet or part in this way, the entire fabric of the universe is re-woven and becomes an infinitely unpatterned unity where entropy and order, the sacred and profane, and the spirit and flesh are no longer opposites, for there are no opposites, and everything is singular, secular, and sacred, and all blemish is honored as a unique addition to the gyrating, cornucopic menagerie flung out from the fecund womb of ruleless creation.
When first I stepped foot on Indian soil, I felt as if I had landed on the moon. Never had I encountered a country whose impact shook me to the very core, like India. Of course, I had arrived before 1992, which meant that the Indian government was still refusing to allow any foreign products into the country- a moratorium which had been sustained for the previous forty years, as a further Ghandian step to remove all external influences, and help return the culture to its purest state, which was impossible, of course, but it provided the likes of myself with a destination which was so thoroughly unique and untainted by the rest of the world’s offal, that it was, as I said, like arriving on the moon.
At that time India was an insular, inviolable, independent entity, both economically, and spiritually. Nowhere on earth was the seething chaos so uninterrupted, so organic, so thickly perfumed with the contiguous, ever-present Great Self, animating all, choreographing all, birthing all, burning all, and being all, as in India. Even unto this day, nowhere else is God so lost within the struggling microcosm, and so found within the panoramic whole.
On my first trip I had arrived both heartbroken and with a terrible fever, which is how I always seemed to arrive at any of the destinations I chose for an indefinite overseas trip, after I had said goodbye to all I had known, sundering the chords of love and malice which bound me to others, and so launching my shuttle out into the fabulous cosmos, to whirl about until landing God knows where for an unlimited length of time.
That first trip I stayed for six months, and by the time I left the mystic land, I was a part of India, and India was a part of me, and thus it would be now and forever."