The Meaning of The Word Namaste

Regardless of culture, we humans seem to have a universal need to greet one another upon meeting and parting. Bowing in Japan, hand-clapping variations in African countries, Kissing on both cheeks in France and saying hello and shaking hands or hugging in English cultures – are just a few of the most commonly known salutations. While customs and traditions vary, there does seem to one greeting that is becoming more popular worldwide – that of Namaste. A word which I find both beautiful and pleasing in sound.

Often used by Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, and other religions, Namaste is also revered within spiritual circles and meditation and yoga classes, and it’s being embraced far beyond its South Asian origins. You’ll often hear it spoken in combination with a slight bow and the Anjali Mudra – the placement of the hands together pulled close to the heart in a fashion similar to a prayer pose.

Use of the Mudra position to the heart and raised to the forehead is most often utilized in North and South India where formal versions of Namaste called Namaskar and Namaskara are common. Along with Namaste, these gestures represent surrendering ego to the spirit – recognizing that the life force within us as individuals is the same as that within everything and everyone.

Namaste’s meaning is still universally recognized as one of peace, honour, and respect. So what does Namaste mean exactly?

The Meaning of Namaste: It’s a Spiritual Connection

The literal translation of this greeting varies with each language; however, they are all pretty much saying the same thing. In Sanskrit, the word ‘namah’ means bow, ‘as’ means I,, and ‘te’ means you, translating into “I bow to you.”   Namaskar is translated from ‘namoh’ and ‘sanskar’ translating loosely into English as “I bow to godly/good qualities within you,’ as Hindi culture always tries to see the good in all things.

Some other popular translations and meanings of the word Namaste I hear frequently include:

  • The Divine light in me acknowledges the Divine light in you.
  • The God in me greets and meets the God in you.
  • I honour the spirit in you that is also in me.
  • The Diving wisdom in me recognizes and acknowledges the Divine wisdom in you.

Regardless of the language you speak, the word simply invokes a sense of sharing a spiritual connection and creates a sense and feeling of oneness and balance. Essentially, it’s a way that all humans can connect.

Raising Your Vibrations by Embracing  Namaste.

There’s something about the universal recognition and the spiritual energy that accompanies the essence of Namaste that makes it a truly remarkable greeting. Just speaking the word Namaste – especially along with the Mudra posture – raises the vibrations of your intention to greet someone by honoring of their inner goodness/God/light. The kicker is, you’ll likely find yourself really meaning and accepting these positive thoughts when you say it – even if you aren’t particularly fond of your company at the time!