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Namaste Options
Posted: Saturday, September 23, 2017 12:00:00 AM
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One of the few Sanskrit words commonly recognized by non-Hindi speakers, namaste is an Indian gesture, greeting, and parting phrase. Derived from a Sanskrit phrase literally meaning "I bow to you," namaste is universally accepted in India and Nepal by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians. When said to another person, it is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with the hands held together in front of the chest. What is indicated by placing one's hands entirely above the head? More...
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A Mohiniattam dancer making a Namaste gesture

Namaste (/ˈnɑːməsteɪ/, Hindi: [nəməsteː])), sometimes spoken as Namaskar, Namaskaram is a respectful form of greeting in Hindu custom, found on the Indian subcontinent mainly in India and Nepal and among the Indian diaspora. It is used both for salutation and valediction.[1][2] Namaste is usually spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. This gesture is called Añjali Mudrā or Pranamasana.[3]

In Hinduism it means "I bow to the divine in you".[4][5][6] The greeting may also be spoken without the gesture or the gesture performed wordlessly, carrying the same meaning.

Etymology, meaning and origins
Statue in a Thai temple

Namaste (Namas + te, Devanagari: नमस् + ते = नमस्ते) is derived from Sanskrit and is a combination of the word nama and the second person dative pronoun in its enclitic form, te.[7] The word namaḥ takes the Sandhi form namas before the sound t.[8][9]

Namaḥ means 'bow', 'obeisance', 'reverential salutation' or 'adoration'[10] and te means 'to you' (singular dative case of 'tvam'). Therefore, Namaste literally means "bowing to you". [11] In Hinduism, it also has a spiritual import reflecting the belief that "the divine and self (atman, soul) is same in you and me", and connotes "I bow to the divine in you".[4][6]

A less common variant is used in the case of three or more people being addressed namely Namo vaḥ which is a combination of namaḥ and the enclitic 2nd person plural pronoun vaḥ.[7] The word namaḥ takes the Sandhi form namo before the sound v.[8]

An even less common variant is used in the case of two people being addressed, namely, Namo vām, which is a combination of namaḥ and the enclitic 2nd person dual pronoun vām.[7]

Excavations for Indus civilization have revealed many male and female terracotta figures in Namaste posture.[12][13] These archaeological findings are dated to be between 3000 BC to 2000 BC.[14][15]
Pressing hands together with a smile to greet Namaste – a common cultural practice in India.
A side view of man in Namaste pose.

The gesture is widely used throughout India, Nepal, Bangladesh, parts of Asia and beyond where people of South and Southeast Asian origins have migrated.[4] Namaste or namaskar is used as a respectful form of greeting, acknowledging and welcoming a relative, guest or stranger.[2] In some contexts, namaste is used by one person to express gratitude for assistance offered or given, and to thank the other person for his or her generous kindness.[16]

Namaskar is also part of the 16 upacharas used inside temples or any place of formal Puja (worship). Namaste in the context of deity worship, conclude scholars,[17][18] has the same function as in greeting a guest or anyone else. It expresses politeness, courtesy, honor, and hospitality from one person to the other. It is used in goodbyes as well. This is sometimes expressed, in ancient Hindu scriptures such as Taittiriya Upanishad, as Atithi Devo Bhav (literally, the guest is god).[19][20]

Namaste is one of the six forms of pranama, and in parts of India these terms are used synonymously.[21][22]
Regional variations

In the Hindi and Nepalese speaking populations of South Asia, both Namaste (/ˈnɑːməsteɪ/, ; Devanagari: नमस्ते) and Namaskar are synonymously used. In Nepal, people generally use Namaskar for greeting and respecting their elders. In Odia namaste is also known as ନମସ୍କାର (namaskār) General greeting[Hello-Namaskar]. In Kannada, Namaskara (ನಮಸ್ಕಾರ) for singular and Namaskaragalu (ನಮಸ್ಕಾರಗಳು) is used. In Telugu, Namaste is also known as Dandamu (దండము) or namaskaram (నమస్కారం) for singular and Dandaalu or namaskaralu for plural form.pranamamu (ప్రణామము) is also used in formal Telugu. In Bengali, the Namaste gesture is expressed as Nōmōshkar (নমস্কার), and said as Prōnäm (Bengali: প্রণাম) informally. In Assamese, Nômôskar (নমস্কাৰ) is used. In Tamil, Namaste is known as Vanakkam (வணக்கம்) which is derived from the root word vanangu (வணங்கு) meaning to bow or to greet. In Malayalam, Namaskāram (നമസ്കാരം) is used.
See also

Culture of India
Culture of Nepal
Añjali Mudrā
Sat Sri Akal


^ Sanskrit English Disctionary University of Koeln, Germany
^ a b Constance Jones and James D. Ryan, Encyclopedia of Hinduism, ISBN 978-0-8160-5458-9, p. 302
^ Chatterjee, Gautam (2001), Sacred Hindu Symbols, Google books, pp. 47–48.
^ a b c Ying, Y. W., Coombs, M., & Lee, P. A. (1999), Family intergenerational relationship of Asian American adoblescents, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 5(4), pp. 350–363
^ Lawrence, J. D. (2007), The Boundaries of Faith: A Journey in India, Homily Service, 41(2), pp. 1–3
^ a b K V Singh (2015). Hindu Rites and Rituals: Origins and Meanings. Penguin Books. pp. 123–124. ISBN 978-0143425106.
^ a b c Thomas Burrow, The Sanskrit Language, pp. 263–268
^ a b Thomas Burrow, The Sanskrit Language, pp. 100–102
^ Namah Sanskrit Dictionary
^ "Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon", Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries (search results), University of Cologne, retrieved March 24, 2012.
^ Namaste Douglas Harper, Etymology Dictionary
^ Sharma & Sharma (2004), Panorama of Harappan Civilization, ISBN 978-8174790576, Kaveri Books, page 129
^ Origins of Hinduism Hinduism Today, Volume 7, Issue 2 (April/May/June), Chapter 1, p. 3
^ Seated Male in Namaskar pose National Museum, New Delhi, India (2012)

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