Namaste and the ritual associated with it has been with us for very long.
The more I researched about the word and the origin of Namaste, they mostly led to one thing. As we use this word very often, very few of us really know the meaning behind it and why it is used. Although the topic is huge if I dig in deeper, I will try to summarize it in the shortest possible way.
Namaste is derived from a Sanskrit word and is mainly composed of two words. If we break down those words it comes as Namas- which translates as to
bow or salutation and Te- meaning to you. So literally it means I bow to you. Once, I was in Osho Tapoban for a spiritual retreat I happened to meet a person. He was deeply influenced by our culture and he happened to explain to me the meaning of Namaste, According to him.
In spiritual context Hindus believe that : the divine and the soul is the same in everybody. Hence, whenever we say Namaste to other person it translates as –I BOW THE DIVINE IN YOU. My Guru from the tapoban further explained that when we join our both palms together and lift the arms closed to our heart with our eyes closed for a brisk moment is the correct way to greet as Namaste. In such a way, we are surrendering ourselves to greet others, hands behind can be associated with defense as the front person does not know if you mean harm or else as the hidden hands can conceal a weapon. Hence, joining the palms together and closing the eyes acknowledges we are in the mercy of the person we greet.
Also, in Hinduism we believe that every living being is a part of the great divinity. Hence, my saying Namaste one is recognizing the love and respect to the divine inner being of another. When the person greets by saying Namaste he/she is greeting you the goodness inside of you and respecting that part of you. This explains that no matter how much a person is evil but still deep inside there lies a goodness in him and Namaste tends to respect that goodness in the person.
Here are some of the beautiful translation of the word Namaste that has been derived from the various sources in the net.
- The divine light in me bows to the divine light within you.
- I honor the place in you where the entire universe dwells.
- I bow to the place in you that is love, light, and joy.
- When you and I bow to our true nature, we are one.
- My soul recognizes your soul.
- We are the same, we are one.
- I honor the place in you that is the same as it is in me.
So, whatever and how much meaning it holds we use this word quite more than often and I hope it has shed some light to the meaning of Namaste. But, my end note is will be still I have lot to learn in this simple one word that holds such a precious meaning.