Monday, August 25, 2008
Namast้ or Namaskar (in Hindi, from Sanskrit nama te; Pronounced Nah-mah-stay) is a South Asian greeting originating in India, which is used when both hello and goodbye would be used in English. The meaning is quite different, however.
Sanskrit nama means "bow, obeisance, reverential salutation, adoration". Te is the dative of the personal pronoun tvam, "you". A literal translation of nama te is thus "reverential salutation to you." It is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with the hands pressed together, palms touching, in front of the chest.
In a religious context this word can be taken to mean any of these:
The Spirit in me meets the same Spirit in you.
I greet that place where you and I are one.
I salute the Light of God in you.
I bow to the divine in you.
I recognize that within each of us is a place where Divinity dwells, and when we are in that place, we are One.
My higher energy salutes your higher energy.
In other words, it recognizes the equality of all, and pays honor to the sacredness and Ainterconnection of all, as well as to the source of that interconnection. Namaskar is the term for such greetings, and is also used as a greeting itself.
I honor the place in you
In which the entire universe dwells,
which is of peace, love, truth, light and beauty
And when you are in that place in you
And when I am in that place in me
We are in the same place
The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. "Nama" means bow, "as" means I, and "te" means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means "bow me you" or "I bow to you."
To perform Namaste, we place the hands together at the heart charka, close the eyes, and bow the head. It can also be done by placing the hands together in front of the third eye, bowing the head, and then bringing the hands down to the heart. This is an especially deep form of respect. Although in the West the word "Namaste" is usually spoken in conjunction with the gesture, in India, it is understood that the gesture itself signifies Namaste, and therefore, it is unnecessary to say the word while bowing.
We bring the hands together at the heart chakra to increase the flow of Divine love. Bowing the head and closing the eyes helps the mind surrender to the Divine in the heart. One can do Namaste to oneself as a meditation technique to go deeper inside the heart chakra; when done with someone else, it is also a beautiful, albeit quick, meditation