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Namaste - Meaning and Usage

Author: Anja Heij

The term Namaste is commonly used within new-age, yoga and reiki circles. It is a respectful greeting, both as a welcome and a saying good-bye.
This Sanskrit word was brought to the western world by spiritual seekers in India and Nepal. I’m sure it has become so popular because this salutation addresses the inner man, where western greetings focus on attention for the outer person.

Here are several translations for Namaste:

“I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells.
I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, and of Peace.
When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, We are One. “

“The God(dess) in me greets and honors the God(dess) in you.”

"I salute the divine qualities in you."

"I salute the God within You."

"My soul bows to your soul.”.

"The Great Perfection within me honors the Great Perfection within you".

As you will notice the salutation Namaste fills one with reverence. The first time I was welcomed with Namaste was on a trip in Nepal, and this greeting called forth feelings of respect, acceptance, openness and love.

Traditionally Namaste is said while bringing together both palms of the hands before the heart in prayer position, and lightly bowing the head and shoulders. Herewith you surrender your ego, show that your hands are unarmed, and that you come in peace. The hands folded in prayer position also symbolize celebration and honor. The left and right hand brought together depict Union and centeredness.

In Namaste you pay honor to the sacredness of all. In this holiness you become still for a moment. While meeting the other one on the level of the heart and soul, the separation between you and me crumbles into pieces; no longer is there another one – there is only One.


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For example, namaste “I am bowing before you” denotes an activity of non– verbal The literal meaning of a greeting in most cases is completely irrelevant.
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