By: Gautam Jayasurya
Greetings are always special to us, Asians. We love it, respect it and above all we mean it. Indians who are on race to catch Uncle Sam, never tried to know what the greetings like “good morning”, good afternoon’ or “good night” in our own languages actually meant. We forgot our own ‘namaskar’ or ‘vanakam’ which was a door to door part of our culture and tradition. The irony is that even western world has now begun showing their inclination towards ‘indianization’ which includes Yoga, Ayurveda, vegetarianism which can be attributed to the erosion of values and spiritual development.
‘History repeating itself’!!!
Before going to Japan for my higher Secondary Studies, I never tried to find out the genuine meaning behind these ordinary phrases. In the busiest of streets we meet someone whom we know and then we wish them, “Hello” or “Hai”. You feel happy and delighted. Have you ever thought about the logic behind this sensation?
During my stay of two years in Japan, I was invited to a number of interactive sessions with the Japanese students of primary and elementary schools. All they wanted from us was to teach them our greetings. So three of my Indian batch mates and couple of Taiwanese and Thai friends started to interact with them and later taught them ‘namaskar’, ‘vanakam’, ‘nihou’, ‘sawadeekap’ etc. In return the children used to teach us the Japanese scripts which were unknown to us. Technically speaking our Japanese language skills were no higher than the Japanese elementary students. This language and cultural exchange continued still the end of our stay.
Japanese culture taught me the importance of Aisatsu or greetings. It’s really interesting when we look into the origins of greetings. As we go deep into it, it reveals a hidden story throwing light into the Japanese culture existed in the ancient times.
Through greetings, Japanese culture teaches us mutual respect and altruism. They teach us that greetings mean a lot to those people, to whom they are wished, and much more to the wisher himself.
Finding it so silly?
You might wonder why I am explaining all these small bits of daily life which nobody cares. Remember the story of karma in Mahabharata? Let us not be Karnas in our lives.
Japanese bow their heads whenever they wish somebody; this is called as ‘le’. It is mode of showing respect, no matter who you are, what are your age is or what profession you are doing. This might feel awkward to strangers but there is always an air of attachment and self respect between the both. They believe that ‘Whoever be the stranger, they should be respected’. You will find it similar with our own thought of ‘adhithi devo bhava’.
- Whenever I open a door I say “shisture shimasu”which means I am causing trouble to you.
- Whenever I go out I say “ite kimasu” which means I will come back soon.
- Whenever I comeback from a long journey I say “tadayima”which means I am safely back home.
- Whenever we are going to receive some service from somebody we say “onegai shimasu”which means I am grateful to your service.
The positive energy that you gain when you greet someone has a reviving effect on your immediate surroundings. Things rarely tend to go wrong as the positive energy flows from one to the other. We can learn a lot from the Japanese way of greeting people. It teaches you that even a minutest of change in your wishing tone shall make wonders in your life.
Have you ever been desperate to be wished by somebody?
Have you ever felt that your life lacks energy?
Have you ever felt that the life is too monotonic?
Show more energy! Do more wishing! You can feel the warmth that spreads around you even in the chilliest of days.
Profile of the author :Gautam Jayasurya,
3rd Year B.A (Hons) LLB,
Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law,
SSRN Author Page: <http://ssrn.com/author=1385329>