Namaste or Namaskar is a Sanskrit greeting phrase and a gesture of reverence, respect, and gratitude, performed with two palms together in front of you. Namaste means “I bow before you” or “the God who dwells in me salutes the God who dwells in you.”

Namaste or Namaskar

According to Indian, Nepalese, and Buddhist cultures, Namaste is a sign of respect and goodwill towards the other. This gesture is used in everyday life when saying goodbye and greeting and during worship, in prayers, and in spiritual practices. It is also an expression of one of the most commonly used mudras in hatha yoga.

Etymology

Namaste is a combination of “Namah” + “Te.” Thus, the word Namah takes the form of Sandhi. It is the combination of “Namah” – ‘bow, worship, reverence,’ ‘greeting with a bow’ and ‘te’- a pronoun in the second person and dative case: ‘you.’

Namaste is a combination of "Namah" + "Te."

There is another version of the Namaste translation: “not for me, but for you” this message reflects the main essence of Karma Yoga as selfless service, when an act is performed for the benefit of others, without selfish motivation.

Namaste is equivalent to “Namu” in the Buddhist “Namu Amida Butsu.” In addition, this “Nanmu” means “Kie” in the Buddhist language, which means to believe in God, Buddha, and high priests and to rely on them both physically and mentally. The idea that everyone has a god in humans means giving thanks and salutes to the god who is in each human being.

Meaning of Namaste

Depending on the context, Namaste can have different meanings, among which are the following: “I bow to you with reverence,” “I honor your divine essence,” “I humbly bow to God in you,” and “I welcome the radiance of the divine light in you,” “I express gratitude to you.”

The Namaste gesture can accompany prayer and mantra recitation. Folding our palms in Namaste, we also express gratitude to the yoga teacher at the beginning of the class or lecture, recognizing him as a teacher. At the end of the class, we express gratitude for the valuable knowledge passed on to us or the lesson received.

But we can also thank with this gesture any person to whom we are grateful for the assistance provided, thereby directing the energy of gratitude from the heart.

Namaste also acts as a form of greeting that does not involve physical contact and intrusion into the energy space of another person, which is a sign of respect.

With this gesture, we express benevolent disinterestedness and appreciation for another person.

Spiritual Meaning of Namaste

The term Namaste not only opens the way for one soul to meet another soul but it is also used for morning prayer. According to scholars, a person’s right hand is more linked to faith, while the left hand is more linked to thought. By joining the two hands, these two forces unite.

This word represents the idea that we are all one: we are all of the same matter, and we have many more similarities than differences. According to tantric philosophy-which looks to the human body as a means of attaining knowledge-each person, thought, feeling, or experience is a perfect expression of divine consciousness.

When we remember who we are through this spiritual practice, we understand that there are no barriers between ourselves and others. We are all part of the same system.

Places where Namaste is widely Used

This greeting is used by members of various Asian faiths and religions: Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Taoists, Shintoists, and Buddhists, among others less popular.

In the cultures of Nepal and India, even among non-believers, it is used at the beginning of a conversation as a greeting. Sometimes, only a gesture with the hands is made without saying the word.

In the West, on the other hand, it is used exclusively in centers where yoga and meditation are done, where it is considered a mantra, that is the combination of sacred syllables that form a core of spiritual energy and that works a bit like a magnet to attract, or rather as a lens for concentrating spiritual energies.

Namaste and Namaskar

The Sanskrit words Namaste and Namaskar have a similar meaning referring to the expression of respect and reverence, accompanied by a gesture of folded hands. They are based on one word, “Namah, which means ‘worship, reverence.’ It is an expression of admiration and entrustment of oneself, trust, and self-surrender concerning the divine light source in each of us.

Thus, Namaste, which means “a respectful greeting to you,” consists of the words “Namah” and “te” (to you), as mentioned above. Namaskar, meaning “I bow with respect” or “I bow with respect to you, which is a manifestation of the divine essence,” consists of “Namah” and “kar” (kar – ‘do,’ ‘follow,’ ‘perform,’ ‘form’).

In the modern world, both words are used interchangeably, meaning a manifestation of respect for the divine principle in the other. However, it is believed that initially, when saying “Namaste,” they addressed a deity or a saint. At the same time, “Namaskar” was used only in relation to people who are one of the forms of manifestation of a single divine essence on earth. It is not worshiping another person’s ego but reverence for a particle of the Higher Consciousness in him.

Namaste in Yoga

Performing the namaste gesture in yoga, you stimulate the free movement of prana, subtle universal energy, within yourself. The free and unhindered movement of this subtle energy, prana, in the body is the key to your immunity and positive outlook.

The namaste gesture is also part of the ancient system of mudras. Although it is used daily as a greeting, it is correctly performed in a specific position and with a certain attitude.

Namaste in Yoga

The correct name for the namaste gesture is “Anjali mudra.” At its core, this gesture, “Anjali,” expresses humility and reverence. It is a gesture of gratitude and thanksgiving for the gift of life and for all that we have. This gesture also has many useful properties. So, with regular practice of this gesture, the joints of your palms and fingers will improve their elasticity. If you need to calm down and focus before an important meeting or exam, then “Anjali” will also come to the rescue. (Also Read – Your Hands Have The Power To Heal – 10 Powerful Mudras)

With the correct execution of this gesture, your mind will become peaceful; you will be able to more successfully deal with insomnia, anxiety, and depression that haunt us in the third stage of life, especially in our time of instability and problems. This gesture will help your mind tune in to the positive and correct the thinking process.

Conclusion

Namaste means complete modesty and dedication to the Almighty. Namaste helps to feel inner peace and achieve balance as it is believed that all energy flowing through the body is concentrated in the palms, solar plexus, and feet. Namaste is the recognition of other human beings as part of divinity. Who would have thought such a simple gesture had wide meaning and versatility!

(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)