I’ve been Indian my whole life. I mean, I was born Indian, so that’s sort of obvious. This phrase “namaste” never struck me odd or weird. I just kind of went along with it telling people namaste at whatever Indian function I was being dragged to growing up. Whatever, no big deal. I never really looked into the meaning of this pretty common phrase. I just thought I was saying “Hey, what’s up” to whoever crossed my path. Little did I know that there was so much more to that phrase than just a simple hello.

My curiosity of the meaning of this phrase started picking up when I began going to more and more classes. Why the heck were these yoga teachers ending class with a namaste? I mean sure, yoga started in India and namaste is an Indian phrase, but there has to be more to it than that. There is.

Namaste is not just a phrase to greet someone. It’s about humbling yourself and respecting the other individual. Usually when the word namaste is said, there is a small bow that goes with it. The etymology of the word literally means “I am bowing to you”. You are honoring the soul, the inner-dwelling God within that person, the thing that is greater than the individual, the capital S Self…whatever you want to call it. It’s not just a simple saying after all. What does it take to truly and sincerely greet someone with Namaste?

It means that you are putting that individual before yourself. It means you are seeing the positive over the negative. It means bowing down to that person, and acknowledging the greatness that person is, the greatness that that person brings to this world and this life. It means having to lessen your ego and put yourself aside to see and honor that person as part of the Supreme.

But what does all of that mean? Why is it generally hard to see the other person in this amazing light of seeing the purity of their true inner being? It starts with us. We are constantly forming opinions whether good or bad, and those opinions start to cloud our perception of who that person or thing or entity is. We start identifying them by our old opinions and judgements we’ve formed of them (either good or bad), and thus we have created a shell. We’ve created a shell around these people and things and entities that we start to identify them with, and it’s become so thick, that it’s hard to see through that shell.

This isn’t a bad thing, We all do it. It’s just the way our mind works. We create these opinions and we start relying on those opinions to help us remember. After all, all of our thoughts are just repercussions of previously conceived notions.

How can we start having a fresh perspective on someone each and every time we meet them, so that we can start chipping away at the shell we create each and every day? How can we start seeing people for what they really are and see their true inner being?

Let’s start shrinking our egos a little bit and put our self intentions to the side, and start thinking about the other person. Let’s start to actually care and feel and really be with other people instead of being in our own worlds. But most importantly, let’s start seeing our own selves for what we truly are.

We are the greatness that exists in this universe. We are a part of something bigger than these bodies and these shells we’ve created. We are pure and loving and caring. We are amazing souls. Let’s start honoring ourselves first for what we is real within us–what is real and permanent–our pure soul.

Life is pretty amazing, and once we start realizing that amazingness then we can be sincerely humble enough to start respecting ourselves and the incredible people and things and entities this world so lovingly surrounds us with.



One thought on “namaste

  1. Hershey

    The gesture (joining hands) is used for both greetings and farewells, but carries a deeper significance than a simple “hello” or “goodbye”. The joining together of the palms is said to provide connection between the right and left hemispheres of the brain and represents unification or “yoking”.[1][2] This yoking is symbolic of the practitioner’s connection with the divine in all things. Hence, performing anjali mudra is an honouring of both the self and the other as the gesture acknowledges the divinity of both practitioner and recipient.[2]


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