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Published by Pradeep Tiwari

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Published by: Pradeep Tiwari on Jul 24, 2011
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Namasté or Namaskar is the internal sandhi between nama
and te) is aNepali and Indian
greeting as well as a gesture
. Namaskar is considereda slightly more formal version than Namaste but both
express deeprespect
.It is commonly used in Nepal and India by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains andBuddhists, and many continue to use this outside the Indian subcontinent.In Indian and Nepali culture,
the word is spoken at the beginning ofwritten or verbal communication
: The word is
derived from Sanskrit (namas): to bow
, obeisance,reverential salutation,
and (te): "to you"
. Taken literally,
it means "Ibow to you"
: A
slight bow made with hands pressed together, palmstouching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest
. Thegesture can also be performed wordlessly and carry the same meaning.
: To greet another person a friend or acquaintance, to pay respectto an elder, a holy person or a temple deity.
: In Hindu view, Brahm dwells in the heart of each being as theindividual self. The joining of hands symbolizes the idea that in themeeting of two persons, the
Self actually meets Itself
Joining hands also symbolizes humility.
Thus when a Hindu joins his hands and says namaskar, he actually says inhumility, "I bow to God in you; I love you and I respect you, as there is noone like you."And humility is the greatest virtue taught by every religion.
Uses in South Asian culture
For greeting a peer
, a "namaste" with hands in front of chest and aslight bow is considered polite.
To indicate deep respect,
one may placethe hands in front of the forehead
, and Reverence for a god or theholiest of persons
may be indicated by placing the hands completelyabove the head.Namaste is also used as
a friendly greeting
in written communication, orgenerally between people when they meet.The proper greetings for Muslims and Sikhs are “Assalamu Alaikum” and“Sat Sri Akaal” respectively. But namaste is accepted in India by Hindus,Muslims, Sikhs and Christians (in fact all religions).However in Sri Lanka, this usually has a somewhat different meaning. Thegesture is used to greet (as well as a parting remark) people with theverbal "Aayubowan", hence it's called Aayubowan. Aayubowan roughlymeans 'may you live long'.
Symbolism in Hinduism
The gesture is a Mudra, the bow is symbolic of love and respect.Particularly in Hinduism, when one worships or bows in reverence, thesymbolism of the two palms touching is of great significance. It is the joining together of two extremities—the feet of the Divine, with thehead of the devotee. The right palm denotes the feet of the Divine andthe left palm denotes the head of the devotee. The Divine feetconstitute the ultimate relief for all sorrows—this is a time-honoredthought that runs through the entire religious ethos.
Meanings in global culture
Namaste is one of the few Sanskrit words commonly recognized by Non-Hindi speakers. In the West, it is often used to indicate South Asianculture in general. "Namaste" is particularly associated with aspects ofSouth Asian culture and Hinduism.It has been viewed in terms of a multitude of very complicated and poeticmeanings which tie in with the spiritual origins of the word. Someexamples:

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