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Posted by Aastha Nagpal on April 2, 2013

Namaste is a common spoken valediction or salutation originating from the South Asian Hindus and Buddhist. It is a customary greeting when individuals meet, and a valediction upon their parting. A non-contact form of salutation is traditionally preferred in India and Nepal; Namaste is the most common form of such a salutation. When spoken to another person, it is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest. This gesture, called Anjali Mudra or Pranamasana, can also be performed wordlessly and carries the same meaning. Namaste is derived from Sanskrit and is a combination of two words, "Namaḥ" and "te."

Namaḥ means 'bow,' 'obeisance,' 'reverential salutation' or 'adoration'. Therefore, Namaste literally means "salutations to you.  'Namaskaar' is derived from Sanskrit and is a combination of the two words, "Namaḥ" and "kaar." As noted above, "Namaḥ" is a salutation. "Kaar" means 'form' or 'shape' and refers to the phenomenon that the other entity (person) presents. Namaste is a non-contact form of respectful greeting and can be used universally while meeting a person of different gender, age or social status.The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine Spark within each of us that is located in the heart. Namaste has a lot of significance for the people of India.

Namaste is the folding of palms close to your heart, as a way of greeting the other person. It is usually accompanied by slight bowing of head. The hands that are held in unison represent the meeting of spirits. It is often said that our right hand signifies our higher level divine nature and the left hand represents the lower level worldly nature. The gesture of greeting is called Namaste and the act of greeting is referred to as Namaskaram or simply Namaskar. Saying Namaste has become a veritable symbol of our Bhartiya Sanskriti. It represents the hospitality and deeper veneration of Indians. It is usually the younger ones, who wish Namaste to their elders. Elders reply back in a similar manner.

The word Namaste signifies that:

  • Your spirit is the same as mine and therefore there is no difference between you and me.
  • I welcome the place where you and I meet.
  • My energy salutes the energy lying within you.
  • I recognize the power of divinity that dwells in your heart.

The reason why we do namaste has a deeper spiritual significance. It recognizes the belief that the life force, the divinity, the Self or the God in me is the same in all. Acknowledging this oneness with the meeting of the palms, we honor the god in the person we meet.

The physical gesture namaste is sometimes accompanied by names of gods like ‘Ram Ram’, ‘Jai Shri Krishna’, ‘Namo Narayana’, ‘Jai Siya Ram’ or just ‘Om Shanti’ – the common refrain in Hindu chants.