Namaste is a greeting which originally came from India, and has now increasingly been embraced as a worldwide acknowledgement. It does not allude to a fixed time, such as good morning, good evening or good night, and can be employed both when you meet someone, and also when you take their leave. The salutation could be spontaneous or formal, a traditional gesture or an act of awe and love. It implies a humble but high form of spiritual respect and regard. It is also traditionally used when greeting the guru, deity and respected elders.
The word is rooted in two important Sanskrit words, which are 'nama' which means the 'name', or 'form' and 'isha', which is divinity. Thus 'namaste' is a way of honouring divinity. When employed as a form of greeting, you are implying 'the divinity within me honours the divinity within you','or 'I acknowledge the universal spirit within you which is also within me', or 'the divine light within me recognises the divine light within you'.
Bring your hands together at your heart, palms touching, fingers directed upwards, and thumbs near your chest. Bow your head slightly, and voice the word 'Namaste' as your greeting. In India, often the palms together and the nod imputes 'namaste', and the word 'namaste' may not be pronounced.
The mystical and esoteric implications in the greeting is also a portrayal of the aliveness of the body representing universal qualities of manifestation, with polarities, such as male/female, solar/lunar etc which are brought to neutral when the hands come together with the traditional namaskara gesture. Additionally, the energy is centred in the hub of the heart, which brings one into balance. This thus increases the power behind your purpose to meet and greet another by connecting with the spirit of everything within them and you, and acknowledging their inner wholesomeness.
When you consciously and thoughtfully acknowledge the sacred, universal spirit of divinity within everything, you are cancelling the superiority of the personal ego to find a spiritual meeting place where both of you can reside. It strengthens trust in the god-space of the person you are greeting, and your own. You discover yourself really meaning and accepting the deeper implications of this greeting.
I bow to the divinity within you and us. May our thoughts meet. Namaste.
Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.
Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography
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