Shaking hands23

In the East we greet each other with folded hands, but the Western world knows only how to break the hands! When I am compelled to shake hands with people, very lightly and delicately I do it, but they try to show how strong they are. They really press my hand hard and then I suffer. I also have a little strength in my hand, but they quite often press very hard, very hard.

Fifteen years ago, when I returned to India, one of my main mentors said to me, “Oh, you lift weights! Let me see.” He grabbed my hand so hard and started pressing and pressing.

The Western way is to shake hands. The Hindu way is to greet one another with folded hands. Muslims touch their heart. Immediately they enter into their heart. Their heart’s feeling they are offering to us as they invoke Allah. Russians go another way: they embrace. Again, our Hindu way is to fold our hands and say Namaskar or Pranam. We do it even on the phone, when we speak to our dear ones. We do not say “Hello”; we start with Namaskar.

The Western method for us is very funny! Of course, in a sense it is better. When two people shake hands, they are on the same level. You and I are on the same level, no matter how great you are or how insignificant I am. We are at that time not on the psychic level, not on the heart level; everything is taking place on the dynamic vital level. When the Muslims touch their heart, it is only on the heart level; and when we Hindus fold our hands, it is on the heart level. That is my way of understanding. You can have your own way of understanding it, but that is what I feel.

So many times after lifting people, when I give medallions, I see that they want to shake hands. Even yesterday, one man asked, “May I shake your hand?” I said, “Fine!” Then I gave him my hand and he grabbed it and pressed it quite hard. I had lifted him up and he weighed 180 or 200 pounds. He wanted to show me that he was also strong!

WSI 26. 7 February 2002, Nexus Resort Karambunai, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia