What You See Is What You Get. This is a journal blog, an explore-blog, a bit of this and that blog. Sharing where the mood takes me. Perhaps it will take you too.

Menoculayshunal; A Place Called Om

हरि ॐ Hari Om

You have all seen me begin any comment or email or greeting in this manner. I have explained before that it is a more specific greeting than that of 'namaste'. The latter literally means "I bow to you" and was originally used for the purely spiritual before the altar. As Sanatana Dharma is not merely a religion but a whole life philosophy, the greeting extended into society as politeness and acknowledging the divinity in all. 

Hari Om literally means "the manifest and the unmanifest". It is used in greeting by Vedantins, who have studied and understand that there is no separation of these two things - that is to say, All Is One. Used in greeting, the speaker is declaring unity and communion with the greeted.

This much I had learned even from that very first meeting at the Sydney centre. I also learned that it was to be used every morning to first meet someone or used to acknowledge an instruction from the teacher or complete a prayer... Hari is the breath from which arises sound. OM is the originating sound and without which no breath emerges. Hari Om is the very essence of consciousness and, therefore, life. It must be spoken with full understanding and intent (usually shown by the folding of the hands, or at least by touching one's breast over the heart centre).

Arriving at Sandeepany prepared with this greeting and now well used to it, I had not been as ready as I thought... for when greeted by the aachaaryas, the full blast of their gaze upon one, there was also the sense of being seen. Truly seen. The unity was properly felt. Over several dozen pages, one might convey the sense of this to the reader but in a brief blog post that is a near impossibility. 

Just think about the difference you might feel between the cashier at the supermarket muttering 'have a nice day' as part of their customer service script and without even looking at you and then coming home to a dear one who looks at you, assesses you however subtly and engaging your eyes asks, 'did you have a nice day?' with a clear intent of wanting your response.

Even though one might see one's batch-mates for hours on end each day, it never grew tiresome to greet them with 'Hari Om!' and meet a direct look on every occasion and have the greeting returned. The connection and the warmth it created spread well and unified the batch quickly and meaningfully. At times when seva (service of cleaning, or attending the staff's need or other work for the ashram which was not study-related) involved groups of shishyas (students), you might hear spontaneous chanting of the phrase as a mantra and time took on another dimension, removing the 'chore' from the task being undertaken.

Writing out the Devanagri script, meditating upon it, weaving it around one as if in dance all help bring a sense of peace and calm. If one learns no other Sanskrit than this, Hari Om will serve one well... The whole of Sandeepany was nestled beneath a 'cloud' of Hari Om and - despite being in suburban Mumbai with all the noise and smells and pollution that entails - was a true sanctuary. Even in the toughest times (and there were a few), it always felt safe and nurturing. 

If ever one was out and about, one couldn't wait to ..." hurry 'ome..." 😍


  1. Hari Om Yamini! We hope you had a marvellously happy weekend! We did.

  2. Hari Om!
    Never thought so much could be written to define it. Thank you 🙂

  3. When I go to store I try to engage more than have a good day. Although it not big conversation either.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

  4. The sense/feeling of being seen is what I got after reading this post. And an inexplicable sense of being home. Thank you for this post today Yamini.
    Hari Om. xx

  5. Excellent and enlightening. I was wondering about Namaste the other day; it was, of course, heard everywhere in Nepal when I visited in the Nineties - so long ago now it seems...

  6. supermarkets are a kind of warzone this time... but I always try to be polite anyway... to be angry would mess up my day too and every day is a good day, if we think it is ;O)

  7. Thanks for the useful stab at a 'Hari Om' explanation!

  8. What a beautiful photo of you YAM and as always the knowledge you share
    Hugs Cecilia

  9. Thank you for shopping Walmart, have a nice day is one of my favorite rants and peeves... as is the Hi, how are you, with answer Just fine, how are you.... that said, people here might freak out if I said Hari OM , but I can say Hari Om to you . I love what one of my friends says, Hey Girl, How ya doin?

  10. What a wonderful and heartfelt greeting!

  11. Hari Om. We often wondered what that meant - thanks for the wonderful explanation.

  12. You have lived your way into full feeling for the greeting, marinated in its meaning and made it part of you. I think we would feel false or superficial using it without some of the depth you have developed through your associations and use of it. xxx Mr T & F

    1. Hari OM
      Well, that would be true were it not for the fact that one has to start somewhere and starting always feels strange - I had been introduced to it three years earlier and it did indeed feel odd. Working one's way through the unfamiliar is part of the growth - no matter the subject.

      However, there is no expectation that any of you take it up - if anyone feels moved to, that's fine, but it wasn't an instruction, simply an expansion and explanation of why I use it. Yxx

  13. This is really interesting. I know little about all this. Still struggling this week. xx

  14. A truly luminous photograph. Clearly, this path has been a good one. /Fay


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