Namaste: What is The Meaning and History of Namasté?

Namaste pronounces Nah-mah-stay is an Indian act of greeting one another. Anywhere they are, when Hindus meet people they know or foreigners with whom they want to start a conversation with, “namaste” is the customary courtesy greeting. It is often used as a greeting to end a reunion.

Meaning and History of Namaste
Meaning and History of Namaste

This simple action is related to the brow chakra, often referred to as the third or mind center

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Namasté can be an unpremeditated or formal greeting, a cultural convention, or an act of worship. But, there is more to it than meets the eye.

The Meaning/Definition of Namaste

In Sanskrit, the word namah is (to bow) and te (you), which means “I bow to you.”

In other words with the same meaning include, “salutations, greetings, or prostration to you.”

The word Namaha can also be literally translated as “na ma” (not mine). It has the spiritual value of ignoring or diminishing one’s self-esteem in front of others.

Namasté is not a superficial act or a mere word, it is a way of showing respect and equality. With respect and dignity, Namasté is a way of seeing and respecting the genuineness of others.

The Origin & Spiritual Significance of “Namasté

The reason we use Namaste has deep spiritual significance as well. It is aware of the belief that the life force, divinity, personality, or God in me is the same for all.

By appreciating this unity and equality and the coming together of the palms, we honor the god to whom we meet.

It applies to everyone you meet, from young and old to friends and foreigners.

Although it has its origins in India, Namaste is now well-known and widely used worldwide. Much of this has been due to its use in yoga. Namasté is more than just a term used to end a yoga session.

You hear this word at the end of all yoga classes, but do you know what it means?

Once you bow your head and say namasté at the end of practicing yoga, you have the opportunity to do more than just mark the end of a session.

The revelation of the spirit is on the other side of a truly felt namasté and therefore, in the spirit of higher learning, look into the deeper clarification of this oft-heard, but a normally over-simplified piece of yogic wisdom.

The Essence of Namasté

At the basic level, the namasté is a salutation of reverence and respect. This traditional Indian greeting translates as “I bow to you” (namah or namas, meaning bow, te meaning you).

In India, the action of Anjali Mudra (the position of hand prayer) is not only consistent with the word but also with its meaning. Passersby, family members greet one another, children greet their elders, and strangers meet for the first time all join their palms together and bow their heads in mutual respect.

How to Perform the Namasté Greeting

Western yogis have embraced the tradition of closing their yoga classes with a bow of namasté.

At the outward level, it is a way for teachers and students to appreciate time well spent, and to close the sacred bowl of yoga practice.

The palms and all ten fingers touch, with the thumbs joining in front of the heart space or brow. It is common for the teacher to say it first, and then the students repeat it.

In Japan, the gesture is “Gassho” and used similarly, typically in prayer and healing practice.

What Is The Beautiful Translation Of Namasté?

One of the most common translations of namasté is “The divine light in me bows to the divine light within you.” Though, a simple Internet exploration offers many good explanations and translations of namasté, such as:

  • 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.


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