Namaskara means salutation, and salutation means that you are connecting with, respecting and honouring the other person.
You can acknowledge another person, smile and say, “Good morning. How are you?” or you can ignore them and keep walking with a grumpy face. It indicates that you are either humble or arrogant. If you are arrogant, be ready to receive the result of your arrogance, from people who will not accept your arrogance. That is how conflicts are created.
Swami Sivananda says in his autobiography that as a rule in his life, he would always say ‘Om’ to anybody he saw. When walking on the road, he would greet everybody with ‘Om’. Every man, woman or animal he saw on the road, he would bow to them mentally. That was his awareness and attitude, expressing humility and not rigidity or arrogance. That was his inspiration. It was not an intellectual concept; it was an inspiration that he lived, and what a beautiful way of living it was.
Just smile at everybody, greet, respect and honour everybody. Namaskara is an indication of humility. When you practise namaskara, humility is expressed and arrogance recedes to the background. Greeting is an expression of the senses that connects you with a feeling and a mood. When you greet somebody, when you say ‘Hari Om,’ when you look at people and smile, you actually bring happiness into their lives. If you frown and are angry, you don’t bring happiness. What harm is there if you smile at somebody? It can actually work miracles.
When you are walking on the street and come across a complete stranger, look at him and give a big smile. For the whole day that person will be thinking, ‘Who was that person who smiled at me this morning?’ Whenever this person remembers the smile, he will become happy. Maybe the next day he will smile at somebody else. Then, this third person will smile at somebody else. In this way, with respect, honour and humility, the world will become a better place.