The Meaning of Namaste

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What does Namaste mean? Is it just a customary greeting one says to another?  Does it translate to mean ‘Hello’ in Hindi?

Many of us would describe the word Namaste as a way of saying ‘Hello’ or acknowledging another individual. Little do we know that this simple word has an extremely profound spiritual meaning behind it and is not just a superficial greeting.

When somebody says Namaste, what the person is really saying is, ‘I bow to the divinity in you which is the divinity in me’ or to phrase it differently, ‘The divine in me honours the divine in you.

Literal translation from Sanskrit to English:  I bow to you.

  • Nama  –  bow
  • As        –  me
  • Te        –  you

The gesture or greeting firmly expresses the belief that there is a divine spark within all of us. Saying Namaste is recognising that we all share a common divinity and are therefore equal.

Now, what is the right way to perform Namaste? Firstly place your hands together at the heart. Now close the eyes and bow the head slightly. Your hands can also be placed in front of the area between the eyes also known as the third eye.

Although Namaste is usually said simultaneously with the gesture, the gesture alone carries the same meaning as the word and can therefore be performed without uttering the word.

The union of one’s palm is highly symbolic. The right hand represents the divinity within or the higher self. In contrast, the left hand represents the lower and worldly self. By joining the hands together, these two aspects are merged and is a pursuit to unify with the person in front. The bowing of head indicates deep respect or love.

There is more than meets the eye with this simple greeting. In a nutshell, it helps us recognise and honour God in all beings, accept equality amongst individuals and extend love, respect and peace to each other. We are one! 

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I honour the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honour the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One.”

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