This is a word you may be hearing more and more, as the wave of people who are attracted to yoga and meditation practices increases in the West. In Sanskrit, the word ‘namah’ means bow, ‘as’ means I,, and ‘te’ means you: translating into “I bow to you.” It is a formal greeting usually used in the Hindu culture.Not all people in India use Namaste as a greeting. Punjabi people say Sat Sri Akaal – Which means “Truth is the Ultimate God” or “God is the Ultimate truth”.
This idea is too big for me today.
Let’s stick to the beautiful simplicity of Namaste.
Every culture has a standard verbal greeting of course. In french we say Bonjour, in Spanish we say Hola, and in Italian we greet with Ciao and we leave with Ciao.
Namaste however is an old and magical word. It comes from and represents so many ideas and intentions that when someone greets you with “Namaste” it is as though thousands of years of tradition are being bridged into one beautiful unifying moment – the simple recognition that we have something the same within us. It is a conveyance of unity.
It’s not a religious word. Don’t confuse culture and religion, as we are so often doing to our detriment.
Culture is a set of habits and behaviours born from thousands and even tens of thousands of years of adapted necessity.
Culture is what we believe, what we think, how we dress, think, act and speak. Our food, music and our education system all represent what we believe about the world – and the rules that come from those beliefs, are what create our culture.
Culture encompasses the entirety of the human experience.
Religion – conversely is a set of man-made dogmatic rules which aim to separate humans from their source of being.
Namaste is a word we have created to recognize that we are MORE than our culture.
Namaste recognizes the interminable connection between people. The force of life that runs through us all -one that is so enormous and beyond our capacity to intellectually comprehend, that – we cannot really give it a name, or a set of rules.
Just a word.
Popular culture today, Western trained yoga and meditation teachers, will tell you that Namaste means “The light within me (or spirit) recognizes the light within you” or more easily translated – We are One.
“It is used both for salutation and valediction. In Hinduism it means “I bow to the divine in you”.”(1)
Since every aspect of culture is designed to individualize ourselves, compete with one another and spend our lives achieving illusory goals – we come to believe we are separate from each other and from nature and other alive things. But this is simply not true.
And behaving like we believe this is true – is what’s killing us and our planet.
Namaste reminds us that alive is not a relative term. Alive is alive – and everything alive on this planet works together, in unison.
You, me, the birds the air the waters the land.
And what you think – IS the root of all evil 😉 or good, which we create – together, always.
What I do for me (or to me) – I do for you (and to you).
If you really love others, therefore, you will be kinder to yourself.
It’s not complicated.
Namaste simplifies this idea for us.
The Namaskar – is the traditional greeting of putting the palms together in spiritual greeting, on the chest near the heart. This physical gesture is very much a representation of the meaning of Namaste.
Bring all of your energy together, at your heart and humbly offering it to the person you are greeting.
The word Namaste arises from Namaskar.
Namaste naturally dissolves our barriers to allow us to recognize that we are all just alive things, doing our best in whatever way we know how to understand what it is exactly we are.
Each of our experiences is designed only to reveal ourselves to ourselves.
Everything else – well you know the old saying – “you can’t take it with you”.
So, when you put the INTENTION of seeing yourself and another in unity, together with the physical GESTURE of hands palms together on the heart, then you are creating the recognition of unity between you and another alive thing:
All that in just one little word.