And to achieve these goals is nothing but fulfilling your ego: “I am higher than anybody else, better than anybody else. I am the first, everybody else comes after me.” In such an atmosphere, bowing down to the feet of a master is impossible; it is against the very ego.
You can see in small things how East and West have developed – out of the same human material, the same human energy – different patterns.
In the East you welcome each other with folded hands. In the West you shake hands. Do you see the difference?
When you greet someone with folded hands you are saying, “I bow down to the divineness in you.” When you are shaking hands there is no question of divineness. In fact shaking hands was developed to be sure that you are not holding some weapon in your right hand, to be certain that you are not an enemy. You offer the right hand, you show that your right hand is empty – “I am not your enemy.” At the most, that is what it says: I am not your enemy. It does not say, “I am your friend.” And it keeps you on the same status; you both shake hands. But it has no mystery in it; it is just a strategy, a diplomacy.
The right hand is dangerous, it can hold a weapon; and if you don’t see it clearly open, hold it, feel it, then there is suspicion, the man can deceive you. This shaking of hands developed in the West out of distrust. Now the Western historians are agreed about it, about the origin of shaking of hands.
But bowing down to each other with folded hands takes you to a totally different level. It has a different context; it makes you feel respected, honored, and not in an ordinary way, but in the most extraordinary fashion. It reminds you of your divinity, of your godliness. Those folded hands are not for you or for your ego. They are for something hidden behind you, beyond your ego – your essential nature, your very soul.
Secondly, the folded hands also signify that I am bowing down to you not half-heartedly, that both sides of me are together as a totality – not as a split personality, not holding anything back – because, when you shake hands, it is only with one hand. It is only representative of one side, half of you. What about the other half? The other half may not be in agreement with the hand that you have given in friendship. It is a split, divided, half-hearted reception – and you can feel it.
When you shake hands with someone, you can feel whether the hand is cold or warm, whether the hand is alive or just like a dead branch of a tree. If it is half, it cannot be warm; if it is half, it cannot be alive. It can be only formal, just etiquette – it has no depth. Only once in a while will you find some hand with warmth, and then it generally happens that whenever the hand is full of warmth, the other hand will also come to catch hold of your hand; both your hands will be together.
Both the hands folded – in the same way that the East worships the ultimate, the absolute, with no difference at all; it receives the human with the same folded hands.