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ਨਮਸਤ੍ਵੰ ਅਕਾਲੇ ॥ ਨਮਸਤ੍ਵੰ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾਲੇ ॥

I bow to You, the Immortal, I bow to You, the compassionate,

ਨਮਸਤੰ ਅਰੂਪੇ ॥ ਨਮਸਤੰ ਅਨੂਪੇ ॥

I bow to You the Formless; I bow to You the Only One.

– Jaap Sahib, Dasam Granth

Folding the palms together in front of the heart is a universal gesture of reverence. It helps connect the head to the heart and brings a moment of reflection. The bow of the head symbolizes the ego surrendering to the deep inner wisdom of the soul. The head is humbled to the heart in this quietly profound salute. In that same salute, we also humble ourselves in recognition of the divinity within others. When the two palms touch, it is believed that in this expression, or mudra, one hand denotes the higher spiritual nature while the other denotes the worldly self. Joining the hands represents integration of spirit and matter.

Namasté often is used as a word of greeting or parting, expressing mutual good will, appreciation and respect. In India and South Asia, it is often used when either “hello” or “goodbye” would be used in English, but the meaning of namasté is much deeper. The word namasté, or the more respectful form, namaskar or namastun acknowledges that the other is regarded as a teacher who deserves love and respect and thus we all have infinite capacity for learning. Some other interpretations are as follows:

Reverence to the divine within you
The light in me sees the light in you
The spirit in me recognizes that we are one.

Inspired by the above sentiment, this pastel and pen painting reflects on the power of the word Waheguru, – ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ – is pronounced “Wah-hay-guroo.” Wah means Infinite, hay means Thou, and Guru means Higher Self, or the Divine Teacher within each sentient being, which makes the prayer within to the other. I love to think of the folding hands as a form of salutation to the divine when in prayer to commune with the presence.

ਆਉ ਜੀ ਤੂ ਆਉ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਹਰਿ ਜਸੁ ਸ੍ਰਵਨ ਸੁਨਾਵਨਾ ॥

Please come, O please come into the home of my heart,
that I may hear with my ears the Lord’s Praises.

– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1018

The ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ mantra has been lovingly handwritten minutely in the painting to portray the omnipresent Divine energy.