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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Pratyabhivāda literally means ‘returning the salutation’.

If abhivādana or bowing down to elders and superiors is obligatory for the youngsters and inferiors, it is equally obligatory for the latter to respond to it appropriately. This response is called pratyabhivāda.

This generally takes the form of a blessing like ‘āyuṣmān bhava[1] and ‘saubhāgyavati bhava’[2] to a woman. The name of the person is also added at the end and the last vowel is lengthened to pluta.[3] For instance:

‘āyuṣmān bhava devadattā.’

It is interesting to note that social hierarchies are meticulously kept up in this act, the way of response being dependent upon the social status of the respondent vis-a-vis the person who bows down first.


  1. Āyuṣmān bhava means ‘May you live long!'.
  2. Saubhāgyavati bhava means ‘May you remain dear to your husband!’.
  3. Pluta means three mātras.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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