I had a discussion with an American woman recently. She asked me if it was ok for Christians to use the word, ‘Namaste‘ , since the word has it’s origin in Hinduism. For starters, i told her that , “have we become so intolerant now that we don’t even have space for a single word from another religion? Whatever happened to Humanity – the greatest religion of all ?” I started explaining to her the significance of the word and she was mesmerized. Not only she but about 9-10 more people , (all of whom were Christians) said that it was a beautiful concept . In fact many of them use it often. Especially the ones taking Yoga class. It is a norm to use it there. I was happy i could put the message across and i thought of sharing it here too.
On the surface of it , ‘Namaste‘ is a word that is used to greet each other. This is accompanied by folding of both hands and slight bowing down of one’s head .But this is not it. The word has a greater significance. The word has it’s origin in the Sanskrit language where ‘Namaste‘ is a combination of 2 words – namah + te which means “I bow to you”. In other words, “i offer my respects to you.” The joining and folding together of hands of the palms symbolizes oneness. When said with mindfulness and understanding, it serves to negate our sense of separateness or ego from others. 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 (symbolic or ritual gesture) posture – raises the vibrations of your intention to greet someone by honoring of their inner goodness.The deeper spiritual purpose of the Namaste greeting is to remind ourselves and others of the absolute oneness and divinity of all life and to keep this thought and knowledge established each day in our consciousness. When the word Namaste is spoken and the hands are held in prayer over the heart, the person will bow forward as a sign of respect and humility. When we recognize the Divine Light in each other we are humbled by the greatest of that which creates us and that which we truly are.
When we know its purpose and spiritual significance, the greeting paves the way for a deeper, divine communion with others, complete with love, honour, and respect.
(With inputs from the Katha Upanishad)