The beauty behind the word ‘Namaste’


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)

Akriti Mattu


  1. Namaste!
    See, though the concept behind the gesture is sound, the main thing for its effect to take place is to mean it. And its not impossible but really rare for us to encounter someone like that
    Nice post

  2. Akriti, this was written beautifully. Namaste, my friend.

    I love this part, “The word has its 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.”

    I am Buddhist and I say this often. It is my way of acknowledging our oneness, shared through our breathing as humans. Namaste knows no color, religion, or creed. To me, it is simply respectful and kind. <3

    I am reblogging this, so others will understand the true meaning. Namaste. <3

  3. Namaste! Thank you for explaining this humble greeting of honour. During difficult personal struggles when self-worth is challenged, I find this a way to also keep me connected with the world. May I reblog this post to my blog, please. Oliana

      • I work on a crisis line. Today I had a phone call from a young woman who is struggling with emotional issues.Afterwhile towards the end of the phone call, She talked about being very proficient in yoga. I said Namaste and I could hear her smile. and then we talked about how it was important for her to see the light within her as well. I could not help but think that I read your post just at the right time. But I don’t believe in coincidence… Thank you

  4. Long ago my yoga teacher gave us a little addition to think of as we created the mudra. As you lift one hand, thinking, “The God in me” and as you lift the other, “Greets the God in you” and as you bring your hands together, “And we are one”. If I stay mindful of that as I do it, it really helps me focus on the deep meaning.
    I love the additional information you’ve provided.

  5. Wow! such a fantabulous article.We keep on replicating others’ culture unaware of the myriad
    and rich tradition that dwells in our own nation.There is a need for people like you to propagate and make people aware about the heritage we possess.
    Namaste(in toto,as ur article says)

  6. My little two year old grandson puts his hands together and greets people with “namaste.” He brings smiles to every stranger’s face. There’s a lovely message in the gesture regardless of religion, culture, and tradition. Thanks for sharing. Namaste.

  7. It is so great of you to put this up here. Many of us, Indians, use it even without knowing of its origin and significance.
    I learned something myself too!

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