The significance of greeting, in general, in any tradition (not just hindu or buddhist) is the transfiguration of the being or aspect welcomed and the inner relation to the Truth beyond appearances in relation to the being or aspect welcomed.
Contrary to what most people believe, it is not the person or the aspect that is greeted that needs our greeting, but we need it, a well-done greeting being the gateway to a deeply ineffable state, that is, indescribable in words.
Basically, when we make “Namaskar” we do not glorify or salute that person or aspect, but his deep, essential nature, which is above any appearance of himself or ours.
“Namaste” is an old practice present in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions from which this greeting originates – namely that in each of us there is a divine spark from the Supreme Consciousness (or the Supreme Void) and through this we are all connected or have the same fundamental nature.
Namaste it is a greeting formula derived from the Sanskrit language and represents the combination of two words: “namah” and
Namah means worship, adoration or glory, and you, it means to you, that is: I worship you, in your essential aspect and of divine nature, infinite and not subject to change!
The greeting can be addressed to a deity, person, an object, a statue, a space – room, building, demarcated area or even a landscape or a mountain and the like.
Effects and Benefits
The moment of greeting is a privileged moment for us, and depending on our inner preparation and the depth of practice, it can be a moment of instant illumination.
“Namaste” is thus an effective conjunctural method and, anyway, necessary for everyone, because we are forced to socialize and greet each other.
The greeting “Namaste” awakens the soul, amplifies the state of humility, reduces identification with the ego and transcends it, develops a power of conscious abandonment and gratitude in the face of the Universal order, amplifies merit and spiritual evolution.
The greeted person will feel, if he is attentive, the outpouring of a beneficial energy into his being and the amplification of the sattva aspect.
When we practice the greeting “Namaste” to a deity or a particular aspect of the Divine Consciousness, we will receive high subtle vibrations and a Grace that pours out on us.
Especially when it is addressed to another person to whom we are not, moreover, obliged to show a real or formal respect, the greeting is usually accompanied by a slight bent towards the front, with the hands together in front of the chest, the palms touching with the tips of the fingers pointing upwards, in a position that in yoga is known from Prarthanasana (the posture of illumination) or (not at all by chance) from Suriya Namaskar, the yogi salute of the Sun.
In connection with the gaze, there are two options:
– with the gaze in the eyes of the greeted person or with the eyes closed and with the main attention in our Inner Heart or Essence,
– with eyes closed and with the main attention in the Heart, living in a flash a state of Identity at a fundamental level with the being welcomed and even with the Supreme Consciousness, the One or the Void of the Heart. This gesture can be made without being accompanied by words, it having the same meaning.
In everyday life, “namaste” is considered a greeting with mystical meanings. In any case, “namaste” is the greeting that in Sanskrit, signifies this:
“I worship, greet and recognize the presence of the One within you!”
In some cases, in order to access a deep humility and a very high state, the hands are posted together, next to the forehead, at the time of performing the greeting or just above the head.
This variant of greeting in which the clasped palms are brought to the level of the forehead or, especially, above the head helps a lot the transcendence of the current individual spiritual condition, through the inner attitude described by the words:
” I recognize your deep nature as being far above anything I think I am or that I hold as qualities apparently”.
This is based on the mystery of transfiguration, because it is much easier to tend to intuit the presence of the Infinite in a being that appears to us externally than in ourselves.
In fact, as I said before, the moment of greeting is a privileged moment for us and, depending on our inner preparation and the depth of practice, it can be a moment of instant illumination. “Namaste” is thus an effective conjunctural method and, anyway, necessary for everyone, because we are forced to socialize and greet each other.
In the most simplistic way, “Namaste” can be external, marked by a simple “Hello” or, even, by an exclusively inner greeting, silent, unnoticed from the outside and yet very effective as a spiritual experience.
Namaste is also considered as a friendly gesture in written communication, or generally among the people we come in contact with, for example within a spiritual group.
This gesture is a mudra, a well-known symbolic position of hands in eastern religions. One of the hands represents the high spiritual nature, while the other hand represents the human, worldly nature. Combining the two, the person who makes this gesture is supposed to rise above what makes us different from each other and can connect on a deep level with the one to whom the greeting is addressed.
Particularly in Hinduism, when one makes a reverence or greeting, the symbolism of the united palms takes on a greater importance, representing even the union of the two extremities – the foot of the Divinity, with the head of the one who adores him. The right palm signifies the foot of divinity, and the left palm represents the head of the devotee. The feet of Divinity constitute the ultimate relief for all the pains of this world, and it is a faith found in the entire religious ethos.
Nowadays, especially in Western culture, the term
has become associated with the ensemble of spiritual paths, with yoga, and meditation. In this context appeared a series of numerous meanings that enriched and nuanced its meaning.
Here are some examples:
“I salute the Spirit within you that is also found in me!” – this explanation is attuned to Deepak Chopra.
“I honor the place where the entire Universe resides, I honor the place in you where Love, Integrity, Wisdom and Peace exist. When you are in that place within you, and I am in that place within me, we become a whole!”
“I salute the God in you!”
“Your spirit and my spirit are ONE” – attributed to Lilias Folan from his travel diary in India.
“That which is Divine in me greets that which is Divine in you”.
“The divinity in me feels and adores the Divinity within you”.
“All that is best and highest in me greets/honors all that is best and highest in you.” – Socrates