According to Sanskrit Namaste is Split as Namah + teAccording to Sanskrit the word "Namaste" is split as namah + te which literally means i bow to you my greetings, obeisance or prostration to you. Nama also means to bend, to bow, to sink, to incline and to stoop. It is a traditional practice among the Indians to greet each other with the gesture of Namaste. Namaste is done by placing the two palms together in front of the chest and then bowing the heads down and utter the word Namaste added with a smile to the face. Namaste is not restricted to any particular age group for it is the greeting to all who are younger to us, the same age group, people who are older than us and also strangers. Namaskaram is one of the five forms of the traditional greeting in India.
Namaskaram is the Action of Bending Oneself-Namaskaram is the action of bending oneself with respect which is more of paying homage as we do today when we greet each other with a namaste. We also prostrate before the Lord by lying stretched out on the ground which is also a form of offering our Namskaram to God. Namste can be a friendly or a formal welcoming, a cultural tradition or an act of rendering our worship. However there is much more to it than meets the eye. Namaha can also be literally interpreted as "na ma" (not mine). It has a spiritual significance of negating or reducing one's ego in the presence of another. It is actually the meeting and welcoming of two minds of two different people. Thus when we greet each other we literally mean our minds meet and this is more specifically indicated by folded palms placed before the chest.
Showing Our Greeting With Love and Humbleness -
-The gentle bending down of our head is a courteous form of showing our greeting with love and humbleness. When we look deep into it namste gives a much more spiritual meaning where the life force, the divinity, the Self or the Lord in me is the same in all. Recognizing this oneness with the meeting of the palms, we salute with head bowed the person we meet. This is the reason why sometimes we automatically close our eyes as we bend forward to greet a revered person or the Almighty. The Hindus mostly along with Namaste add words like "Ram Ram", "Jai Shri Krishna", "Namo Narayana", "Jai Siya Ram", "Om Shanti", etc which is nothing but showing the identity of the presence of the divine being in the person who is greeted.
Main Significance of Doing Namaste-Thus the main significance of doing Namaste is not merely an external action or word but gives way for an intense communion with the other person in a surrounding of love and esteem. In the science of Yoga, Namaste is a mudra which is a greeting extended with humility directly from the soul and reciprocated accordingly. Thus it can be simply stated that it is the process of submitting oneself to another, with complete humility. The word Nama has parallel meanings in other languages like the Greek nemo, nemos and nosmos; to the Latin nemus, the Old Saxon niman, and the German neman and nehman. Though the languages differ the meanings stand the same for it means reverential respect, special honour and reverence.
The Act of Namaste Can Also be Said BhakthiThe word Nama also indicates the term not mine which means that the soul of each human being is owned and controlled by the Supreme soul which is recognized as dwelling in the individual to whom Namaste is directed. Vedas say that there is nothing in this world which can be claimed as personal to anybody and thus in that context when we consider namaste it is the necessary rejection of "I" and the associated phenomena of egotism. The words ma in Nama means spiritual death and when this is rendered invalid it symbolizes nothing but immortality.The action of doing Namaste spreads out at three different levels namely mental, physical, and verbal denoting the total or a thorough mental submission or surrender of oneself to God. The act of Namaste can also be said Bhakthi in front of a selected deity. The person who thus worships with complete self-surrender is considered to partake the positive qualities of the person or deity before whom he or she performs this acceptance.
Greeting to a Person Helps in Recognizing the Divine Glimmer
Agamas, one of the most ancient texts has lot of notes about Namaste which says that a devotee of a deity should first become spiritually divine, for otherwise worship as a transaction would become disabled for it is equal only between those individuals who share something in common. Thus the action of Namaste or greeting to a person helps in recognizing the divine glimmer in him. When we take part in such greetings or the divine qualities like saying Namaste it help us to realize the good features residing in ourself. Thus the ancient text Agama says the meaning of Namaste as,
" The God in me greets the God in you The Spirit in me meets the same Spirit in you" In other words, it recognizes the equality of all, and pays honor to the sacredness of all.
The Action of Namaste Involves Five Fingers-According to ancient texts the action of Namaste involves five fingers of each hand and hence when both the hands are put together a total of ten fingers are achieved. The number ten is said to be a number of perfection and it inspires sense of spiritual mystery of completion and unity. Most of the ancient traditions of almost all the religions believed in this mystical value of the number ten which is got when the action of Namaste is done.
Ten is the number of the Commandments revealed to Moses by God. In the Pythagorean system, ten was a symbol of the whole of creation. Thus this perfectly balanced number indicates the action of Namaste as perfect to reach the almighty. The action of Namaste is distinct in the sense that the gesture is always accompanied by the utterance of "Namaste" which is considered to be parallel to chanting of mantras. The quality of the saying of the sacred sound is believed to have a quasi-magical value creating a positive energy in the atmosphere.