Spirituality Behind Handshakes – A Spiritual Perspective of Handshake as a Greeting

What is the Spiritual Perspective of Greeting Someone by Handshake?

Handshake is a gripping and shaking of each other’s hands in greeting, farewell, agreement, etc.It is a short ritual in which two people grasp each other’s right hand, often accompanied by a brief up and down movement of the grasped hands. For centuries upon meeting, handshake has been used as a symbol of greeting, parting, offering congratulations, expressing gratitude, or completing an agreement. In sports or other competitive activities, Handshake is a sign of good sportsmanship. A firm handshake conveys trust, good faith, and equality.If it is done to form an agreement, the agreement is not official until the hands are parted

Modern Customs

There are various customs surrounding handshakes, both generically and specific to certain cultures. Unless health issues or local customs dictate otherwise, usually a handshake is made with bare hands. However, it depends on the situation.

  • In Anglophone countries, in business situations. In casual non-business situations, men are more likely to shake hands than women.
  • In The Netherlands and Belgium, handshakes are done more often, especially in meetings.
  • In Switzerland, it is expected to shake the women’s hands first.
  • Austrians shake hands when meeting, often with children as well.
  • In Russia, a handshake is performed by men and rarely performed by women.
  • In some countries such as Turkey or the Arabic-speaking Middle East, handshakes are not as firm as in the West. Consequently, a grip which is too firm will be considered as rude.
  • Hand shaking between men and women is not encouraged in the Arabic world.
  • Moroccans aso give one kiss on each cheek (to corresponding genders) together with the handshake.
  • In some countries, a variation exists where instead of kisses, after the handshake the palm is placed on the heart.
  • In China, where a weak handshake is also preferred, people shaking hands will often hold on to each other’s hands for some time after the initial handshake.
  • In Japan, it is appropriate to let the Japanese initiate the handshake, and a weak handshake is preferred.
  • In India and several nearby countries, the respectful Namaste gesture, sometimes combined with a slight bow, is traditionally used in place of handshakes. However, handshakes are preferred in business and other formal settings.
  • In Norway, where a firm handshake is preferred, people will most often shake hands when agreeing on deals, both in private and business relations.
  • In South Korea, a senior person will initiate a handshake, where it is preferred to be a weak handshake. It is a sign of respect to grasp the right arm with the left hand when shaking hands. It is also considered rude or disrespectful to have your free hand in your pocket while shaking hands.
  • Related to a handshake but more casual, some people prefer a fist bump. Typically the fist bump is done with a clenched hand. Only the knuckles of the hand are typically touched to the knuckles of the other person’s hand. Like a handshake the fist bump may be used to acknowledge a relationship with another person. However, unlike the formality of a handshake, the fist bump is typically not used to seal a business deal or any formal business settings.
  • The hand hug is a type of handshake popular with politicians, as it can present them as being warm, friendly, trustworthy and honest. This type of handshake involves covering the clenched hands with the remaining free hand, creating a sort of “cocoon”.
  • Another version popular with politicians is a “photo-op handshake” in which, after the initial grasp both individuals turn to face present photographers and camera men and stay this way for several seconds.
  • Scouts will shake hands with their left hand as a gesture of trust, which originated when the founder of the movement, Lord Baden-Powell of Gillwell, then a British cavalry officer, met an African tribesman.
  • In some areas of Africa, handshakes are continually held to show that the conversation is between the two talking. If they are not shaking hands, others are permitted to enter the conversation.
  • Masai men in Africa greet one another by a subtle touch of palms of their hands for a very brief moment of time.
  • In Liberia, the snap handshake is customary, where the two shakers snap their fingers against each other at the conclusion of a handshake.

Handshake Variables

In order to differentiate one handshake from another, there are some parameters/variables through which we can judge a handshake. Handshake variables include:

  • Strength (weak – strong)
  • Temperature (cold – hot)
  • Moisture (damp – dry)
  • Fullness of grip (full – partial)
  • Duration (brief – long)
  • Speed (slow – fast)
  • Complexity (shake – dance)
  • Texture (rough – smooth)
  • Eye contact (prolonged – intermittent – none)


One can do a handshake with different styles.Every style is different and conveys something different.Every handshake has a different spirituality associated with it.For example:

  • A firm grip shows confidence, whilst a limp grip may indicate timidity, particularly in men (women are expected to be more gentile). A firm grip by men also indicates they are more sensation-seeking.
  • Keeping the other Palm down, indicates dominance and a feeling of superiority (‘I am on top’). Palm sideways indicate equality. Palm up indicates submission.
  • A long hand-shake can indicate pleasure and can signal dominance, particularly if one person tries to pull away and the dominant person does allow him to do so.
  • Dominance may also be shown by using the other hand to grip the person, such as at the wrist, elbow, arm or shoulder. This may also be done by gripping the shaking hand with both your hands. This may also indicate affection or pleasure (which allows for an ambiguous signal).
  • A variant of the dominant hand-shake which is used by politicians who are being photographed and hence shake hands side-by-side is to stand on the left hand side of the other person. This means your hand will be on the outside and it will look like you are the dominant party to those viewing the photograph.
  • Responses to the dominant handshake include counter-touching (use your other hand to hold their hand, wrist, elbow, arm or shoulder), hugging (pull them in), thrusting (push them away by pushing your hand towards them) and stepping aside.
  • Hand-touching is also used, for example the ‘high five’, where open palms are touched high in the air, or where closed fists are tapped.



Spiritual Perspective on a Handshake

Archaeological ruins and ancient texts show that handshaking – also known as dexiosis – was practiced in ancient Greece as far back as the 5th century BC. A physical handshake involves two people and shows an acceptance of the other person and what they are offering. In creates a physical connection with that person.The handshake is believed by some to have originated as a gesture of peace by demonstrating that the hand holds no weapon.

What is the Spiritual Perspective of Greeting Someone by Handshake?
Handshake and Transfer of Negative Energy

A handshake makes us more prone to the negative energy existing in the other individual and also provides us with a means to transfer our negative energy in the other individual. In fact, this type of greeting with physical contact makes us twice as vulnerable to an attack by the negative energies in the other person when compared to a greeting without contact. The drawing based on subtle-knowledge below drawn by a subtle-artist shows the play of subtle-energies when two average people who are affected by negative energies lock hands in a handshake.What is the Spiritual Perspective of Greeting Someone by Handshake?

When two people’s hands are locked into each other’s hands, the RajaTama vibrations emitted from their hands get accumulated in the space/cavity created between their palms. There is an increased subtle-friction in this region and the RajaTama energy generated enters each person’s body through their palms. The exchange of energy spills over into the immediate vicinity adding to the subtle Tama component of the environment.In greetings that involve touch , a ring of subtle Alluring (Mohini) energy is often created in and around the people involved in physical contact. Alluring (Mohini) energy is a type of negative energy which creates an obstruction for pleasurable vibrations, and is in fact detrimental to the people associated with it.
An average person, due to minimal sixth sense ability will,in most cases, not be able to experience this exchange of intangible black energy. But the increase in the Tama component of the environment can have various ill-effects, such as- fogging up of the intellect, irritating thoughts, heaviness in the head, nausea, etc.

You may be thinking, “Is it really possible that a mere handshake could be so negative ?  Research from Spiritual Science Research Foundation has shown that without regular spiritual practice of higher levels, the effect of being in constant contact with a person, who is possessed, is very detrimental and degrading for the self as well as the environment. It is the same as being in touch with a person who has a contagious or a communicable disease. With passing time, as people continue to get covered with higher proportions of black energy, they become less sensitive to the perceptions of this black energy exchange.

What can we do about the Spiritual Ill-effects of a handshake?

Ideally it is best to refrain from using the handshake as a form of greeting. The Indian ‘namaskār‘ as a means of greeting is the best alternative of a handshake.But, since handshake is so widely used across the world, it may be difficult to NOT shake a person’s hand, especially if they extend their hand in greeting or in friendship. An average person cannot understand if the person being greeted with a handshake is possessed or he himself is possessed or affected. But still, there are a few things that one can do to minimize the spiritual ill-effects of a handshake. Chanting the Name of God on a regular basis helps in creating a protective spiritual sheath around us and hence one is less prone to negative energy attacks. A prayer before a handshake can also help. The prayer can be along the lines of, “Lord, please insulate both the other person and me from any negative energy attacks as a result of this handshake and let my spiritual practice not be affected.

All customs and traditions (from a simple handshake, to festivals such as Halloween to the custom of burying the dead) help in increasing the subtle Tama component in society at root level. By putting a thought in some person’s mind, a custom is born and then endorsed and adopted by others. By having a higher proportion of ‘subtle Tama-component’, the world becomes an easier place for negative energies to exert their control over mankind. Over time these traditions become a part and parcel of our lives and the accepted norm. Ironically then, the more sattvik custom is generally ignored or at times even looked down upon. By increasing our spiritual practice and our subtle-ability, one is better able to perceive the Tama component in various customs and traditions.

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