Her name was Ayong. She was to be our guide in Korea. Pretty, petite and smiling she stepped up to me and said, “Namaste!”
“Namaste!” I replied, surprised she’d learnt the Indian greeting.
It was while we were in the bus she turned to me, “Do you know what it means?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said, “Namaste is a polite Indian gesture of greeting or farewell. In Hindi, the word literally means “bowing to you. But it actually means “I honor the sacred that is within you!”
“Wow!” she said, “That’s some meaning!”
She was silent for awhile and I wondered what was going on in her pretty head as her face had a far off look, “Have you ever had anyone honouring the sacred in you?” she asked finally and before I could answer she said, “I have!”
“Tell me!” I said and lowered the seat to listen to her.
“It was the day I moved from Seoul to Bhusan,” she said, “I went to the local store to do some grocery shopping and picked up food items so I filled four grocery carts full. I asked if I could pay with an out of state check. “I just moved here,” I explained, “and don’t have local checks yet.”
They said, “No problem!” But when I began looking for my checkbook, I discovered I’d left it at home.”
All of the groceries had been checked and packed. “I’m so sorry,” I said, “I thought I had it with me. If I could just leave the groceries here for a few minutes, I’ll run home and get the checkbook.”
“Don’t worry about it,” the cashier told me. “Take the groceries
home. The next time you’re in the store you can pay for them!”
“I had just moved from a large city and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! This clerk had never seen me before. But she treated me as if I was a VIP. She was honouring the divine in me!” said Ayong and I saw a tear appear in her eye, “Namaste means just that!”
I thought of Ayong a few months ago when I got onto a local flight. The airhostess at the entrance had a fixed smile as she looked into space.
“Namaste!” she said.
‘Namaste!” I told her happily, “Where is seat Thirty two E?”
“Namaste!” she said to the passenger behind me and I ploughed down the aisle to find my seat myself.
Ayongs voice came back to me, “Don’t you love it when you are treated like you are somebody? That even strangers can be treated with honor and respect?”
“Yes Ayong,” I said silently and looked back at wooden faced airhostess at the entrance, “What a remarkable thing it would be to actually honor the sacred that is within each person we meet! Even strangers. Nobody would go unnoticed and everybody would count!”
And then a thought struck me; when I’d replied ‘Namaste’ to the airhostess had I honoured the sacred in her in my reply or only thought of seat Thirty two E?
Would love to hear from you in the COMMENTS section below…and IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE BOB’S BANTER EVERYDAY, PLEASE SEND YOUR NAME AND WHATSAPP PHONE NO TO [email protected]