By Nayaswami Narayan
June 11, 2019
Have you ever waved to a stranger and received a warm smile of acknowledgement and a wave back in return? It feels good, doesn’t it? What is it about waving that makes us feel a sense of brotherhood? I think we all know deep down that brotherhood (and I mean gender-neutral brotherhood/sisterhood/humanhood) is the only way to solve the world’s problems. Could world brotherhood start by raising our hand in greeting to strangers?
I remember the first time I met Swami Kriyananda. After a retreat weekend he led in Rhode Island, a group went to the airport with him to send him off. After Swamiji went through the security checkpoint, he looked back at us from about fifty yards away. He raised his right arm very high in the air and was almost on his tippy toes. He waved goodbye with great vigor, enthusiasm, and joy! His contagious inspiration enveloped me and I returned the favor and waved back energetically. This simple encounter made a deep impression on me. Until that moment, I never knew there was so much divine power through such a simple gesture.
But it wasn’t the wave. It was the way in which Swami did it. He was saying “YES!” to life through his body language. And he reminded me through his infectious positivity we are ever united through a field of divine joy. Swamiji’s goodbye wave filled me his spirit of friendship and goodwill. It was personal and yet at the same time had an air of what Paramhansa Yogananda called “distant closeness”.
Saints can heal our delusions in many ways: through a gesture, a look of the eyes, a silent radiation of their soul. I’m reminded of a story about Padre Pio. Prince Karl Klugkist, an exiled Russian aristocrat who lived in Florence and made a living as a painter had heard of this “friar saint.” He felt compelled to meet Padre Pio. During his confession with Padre Pio, Klugkist relates, “Slowly, in guttural tones, he (Padre Pio) recited a rhythmic prayer, a mystical formula, in an Oriental language unknown to me. I remember the words which recurred continually: ‘Adai nanda’ and ‘nanda.’” Having uttered this strange invocation, Padre Pio “raised his eyes, his face shone, and with a solemn gesture he gave an absolution.”
Similar to an absolution, many Indian Gods are pictured with their right hand up in blessing. This hand held up in blessing is a reminder of God’s eternal love and compassion. Swami Kriyananda wrote a beautiful song about one of Jesus Christ’s first miracles and how he “raised his hand in blessing” turning water into wine. The song is titled “His Mission Begins”:
To show that his care was for men everywhere,
Jesus started his mission at a wedding nearby.
When wine there was spent, to the servants he sent,
And requested them the jars with water to fill.
Then many jars full of water
Were brought before him with care.
He held his hand up in blessing,
And the water turned to wine!
The hands are associated with the heart center of divine love. So when we wave to people let’s remember it is a great opportunity to share God’s divine energy. If it is automatic and habitual, waving is devoid of meaning. Or it can be a true “HI!”, that is to say a “harmony initiator” in our hearts and in the hearts of mankind everywhere.
A Divine Hi and Goodbye to you!