'Namaste': what does it mean exactly?
Jul 16, 2021
If you have the privilege of being a person entering the world of relaxation and you practice some disciplines such as yoga, you may have noticed that instructors often use an intriguing word: Namaste.
In the same way, it is also very common that you have heard the same term on some occasion in certain environments of deepening in the spiritual and in certain cultures of Asia. But what is the meaning of this word?
What does the word 'Namaste' mean?
Namaste (you can also find it written as ‘Námaste’, with an accent in the ‘a’) is a term that comes from the language sans christ (the classical language of the India), and its meaning is unknown to most people for precisely that reason: the term Namaste originates in lands far removed from any Spanish-speaking region.
So, in today's text we will take care of discovering the history and applications of this beautiful word.
The origin of Namaste
The etymological roots of the word Namaste are found in the atavistic culture Hindu. One of the many languages spoken in the Indian and Nepalese geography is the
The term Namaste, therefore, it is used as a traditional form of greeting, both in a moment of meeting and in farewells, and the gesture of bringing the palms of the hands together in front of the chest when pronouncing (gesture called mudra). It is also used to give thanks or to ask for something, and always as an unequivocal sign of respect towards the interlocutor.
The meaning of Namaste
The etymology of the word Namaste reveals that there are two roots that make up the term. The first of them, namas, is a neuter noun that means something like 'greeting', 'reverence' or 'courtesy', and is a particle derived from the stem nam, whose meaning is: ‘bow down’ or ‘reverence’.
The second root of Namaste is made up of the pronoun tea, which is the second person singular of the indirect object: “a ti”. For this reason, an exact translation, etymologically speaking, of Namaste could be: "I greet you", or "I bow before you."
Currently, the Hindi language and many of its dialects use the term regularly, being one of the many ways of say hello or goodbye someone's.
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Spirituality, yoga and Namaste
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Being the meaning of Namaste something so concrete, Why is it so often used in the oriental disciplines of relaxation and meditation?
The spiritual and philosophical meaning of Sanskrit gives Namaste a look that escapes its purely semantic definition. The buddhism incorporates this word into his spiritual tradition.
According to experts, the particle ‘namas’ can acquire the meaning of “Nothing from me”, Proving that the ego of the person who enunciates the term is reduced to nothing, this being a sample of the attitude of absolute humility with respect to the interlocutor. When the Namaste greeting is done from the authenticity of the soul, they tell, a genuine bond is created between the two people, beyond interests, expectations and social roles.
Divine essence: Buddhism and purification of the soul
Another interesting feature of the spiritual significance of this word lies in the belief that there is a divine essence in each person. Therefore, according to the religious traditions in which this term is rooted, when saying the word Namaste while accompanied by the mudra (hands joined in prayer position and a slight inclination of the trunk forwards, whose cultural meaning comes from the Eastern religions), we are attesting to the presence of the essence of God in oneself and in the other person. The divine essences recognize and greet each other.
Although in yoga sessions Namaste is usually used as a farewell, at the end of the class, the truth is that it is more of a greeting than a way of saying goodbye. In fact, practitioners of the eastern disciplines of self-knowledge recommend that Namaste be used in the introduction and the first exercises of each session, by way of mantra (although there is no reason based on scientific method why the word Namaste should be used in one context and not another). This expression is often used in the Western world as a way of expressing good wishes towards the other.
However, yoga teachers prefer to use the mantra at the end of the class, since that is the moment when the environment and psyche of each of the students are in a more inclined situation to benefit from Namaste.
The secular use of this term
Of course, it is not necessary to believe in the Buddhist faith to use this term. However, it must be taken into account that since the practice of many forms of meditation usually occurs in environments associated with Buddhism, it can be an element that helps to set the mood for the sessions and increase their power of suggestion.
Do not forget that in tasks related to the regulation of attention focus the aspects associated with suggestion are very important, which is why it is worth taking advantage of their potential to achieve the desired effect and facilitate the work of those who participate in these experiences.
- Borges, Jorge Luis with Alicia Jurado (1976). What is Buddhism? 2000. Madrid: Editorial Alliance.
- Gethin, Rupert (1998). The Foundations of Buddhism. Oxford University Press.