First published in "On the Mat" September 2011
Namaste - though it literally translates as "I bow to you", some say it signifies "the Divine in me salutes the Divine in you".
First day of September was Ganesh Chaturthi this year. How apt! Lord Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles, is propitiated for all new beginnings, and spring is a great new beginning. It followed closely upon the birthday of Lord Krishna, Krishna Jamnasthami, on 22 August. 9 September is Onam, a harvest festival in the southern state of Kerala. Soon arising on the Hindu calendar are Navaraatri, the nine nights of celebration of the Goddess in her many forms, commencing 28 September, and Diwali, the festival of lights, on 26 October.
Always comfortable with paradox, Hinduism has many deities, yet still acknowledges just one Divine Presence. Whether we focus on the Divine Mother, powerful Shakti, the Remover of Obstacles or the Divine cowherd, all are aspects of the one, and the One is everywhere, including in ourselves.
When we salute the Divine in other people and in other life forms, and treasure it in ourselves, we have the foundation of Ahimsa, non-violence and compassion, first of the Yamas which comprise the first of the eight limbs of Patanjali's Yoga. To acknowledge the Divine flowing through us all, how could we not be compassionate.