Namaste is equivalent to hello. You must have done Gayatri Mantra in your school times. And as well as in your daily lives. You do it by joining your hands and placing them in front of your chest. It is to give more respect to another person. Namaste has derived from three words, nama meaning bow, as meaning I, and te meaning you. So Namaste means that ‘I bow to you’.
Namaste is not only a yoga pose. Rather it also connects your soul with another soul. The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a divine spark within each of us. And it is located in the heart chakra. Namaste is an ancient Sanskrit greeting. It was a part of Indian Culture. But, now it has become part of the whole world. It is due to the rising pandemic in the world. Namaste is sometimes said as namaskar or namaskaram.
How to do Namaste?
It is very simple to do Namaste. Place your hands together at the heart chakra. Then close your eyes and bow down your head.
One more way to do Namaste is while doing gayatri mantra. And, doing that yoga poses which includes Namaste.
According to the ancient texts, the action of Namaste involves five fingers of each hand. When both hands are put together, a total of ten fingers are there. The number ten is said to be a number of perfection. And it inspires a sense of spiritual mystery of completion and unity. Most of the ancient traditions of almost all religions had a belief in this mystical value of the number ten. And think they get when the action of Namaste is done.
Origin of Namaste
Namaste has been part of Indian culture since ages. In Hinduism, it also has a spiritual import. It reflects the belief that “the divine and self is the same in you and me”. And it connotes “I bow to the divine in you”. Once a sociologist, Holly Oxhandler, quotes Namaste is a Hindu term which means “the sacred in me recognizes the sacred in you”. In the West, Namaste is inappropriate as a general meeting or slogan. The archaeological findings which dated from 3000 BCE to 2000 BCE have shown the excavations of Indus Valley Civilization. They have revealed many male and female terracotta figurines in the Namaste position.
Anjali Mudra is a very common salutation pose or Namaste position. It is often practiced throughout Southeast Asia. It associates with Indian religions. Also, it is a sign of respect and greetings in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bhutan, Nepal. It also associates with several yoga postures. A formal traditional greeting which gets a mention in Vedas is also named as namaskaara, namaskaram.
Usage of Namaste in various countries-
In India, Namaste is a form of deep prostration. Everyone gets a lesson from childhood to say Namaste when meeting a known or known person in their life. And also when saying bye. Even in the schools, students are following the rules to stand in the Namaste position while doing the prayer. In Kannada, the same greeting is Namaskara and Namaskaragalu; Tamil, Kumpitu; Telugu, Dandamu, Dandaalu, Namaskaralu, and Pranamamu; in Bengali, Nomoskar, and Pronam and in Assamese, Nomoskar.
In Japan, the gesture is “Gassho” which is used in a similar fashion. It is used in the prayers and healing practices. Even the houses in Japan are called “Gassho-styled” houses. It is because the shape of the large roofs resembles this pose. It is also used in various Buddhist traditions.
In Thai, the greeting is wai which consists of a slight bow. And it is done with the arms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion. It has its origin in the Anjali Mudra, like Indian Namaskar. The higher the hands are held in relation to the face and the lower the bow, the more respect, and reverence the giver of wai is showing.
The Cambodian greeting, Sampeah is a way of showing respect. It is very similar to the Thai Wai. Both Sampeah and Wai are based on Indian Anjali mudra used in Namaste. While performing the Sampeah, the person places their palms together in a prayer-like fashion while bowing slightly. It is also a common way to say thanks or apologize.
Significance of Namaste-
The main significance of doing Namaste is not merely an external action or word. Rather it gives way for an intense communion with the other person in a surrounding of love and esteem.
It is also an expression of gratitude and thankfulness. It tells what we should get and achieve in our life, to all the blessings and all the experiences that help us grow in this life journey. We use it during worship and while praying to God. And, even while asking for help from somebody.
It means that we devote ourselves to inclusiveness, awareness, and wholeness. When we practice devotion to the divine, we surrender and let go of all our identifications and feelings of separateness to that consciousness, with a Namaste. Both hands come from a different direction. But eventually, they meet. And they go in the same direction, together.
Difference between “Namaste” and “Pranama”
Most people get confused between Namaste and Pranama. They often say Pranama instead of Namaste. They should know that both are different, but not too much. Pranama is also a gesture and salutation among the Hindus. It literally means “bowing forward” with respect to their deity or an elder.
Namaste or Namaskar is one of the six types of Pranama. The six types of Pranama are Ashtanga, Sashtanga, Panchanga, Dandavat, Abhinandana, and Namaskar.
Spiritual significance of Namaste
It has deep spiritual significance. It recognizes the belief, that life force, the divinity, the self, or the god in me is the same in all. During prayers, people not only do Namaskar to god. But they also bow their heads and close their eyes to look into their inner spirit.
It is a very good way of meditation. It connects your heart chakra to your mind with the inner soul of our body. It makes your body cool down.
While doing Namaskar to another person, your inner soul connects to the other person’s inner soul. This shows the respect of one person to others.
Saying Namaskar has become a veritable symbol of our Bhartiya Sanskriti. It represents the hospitality and deeper prostration of the Indians. It is usually the younger ones who wish Namaskar to their elders. And in return, the elders also reply in the same manner.
The word Namaskar also signifies that my energy salutes the energy lying within you. And, your spirit is the same as mine and there is no difference. You can also say the act of Namaste as Bhakti in front of a selected deity. The person who thus worships with complete self-surrender is to partake the positive qualities of the person or deity before whom he or she performs this acceptance.
Significance of Namaste in Yoga
When the instructor and students enter the class, the instructor greets students with Namaste. The instructor also asks others also to greet each other with Namaskar.
When we say “Namaste”, we are also bowing to the divine teacher within ourselves. This refers to as the “Guru” within. The root “Gu” means darkness, while “Ru” means light. Hence, we are bowing to and embracing the light and the darkness that exists within us all.
You can also do at the starting of Sun Salutation and also end with the Namaskar. Even when the yoga class ends everyone stands by saying Namaste. The main principle of yoga is to create an atmosphere of equality regardless of the type of yoga.
Namaste has become very popular nowadays. We all know, It is a non-contact form of greeting. And, also the current situation. So, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is suggesting to use the gesture as an alternative to handshaking. At last, It is a good gesture that connects the inner souls of one person with the other person.