Namaste (The Indian Greeting)-Meaning and Significance

“Namaste” – what does it mean ? Why is it said? What is the significance? These questions must have came in your mind sometime, especially If you are an Indian or have been around an Indian , you must have surely heard the word “Namaste”. It’s the Indian Hello 🙂 . On a serious note it is an Indian way to greet when you meet someone. You bring your both palms together in the way that fingers of each palm touch each other pointing upwards , thumbs closer to your chest and you gently bow down your head a little bit.

Why I decided to write about “Namaste”? Well, my kids were lucky enough to go to a school that has very varied diaspora. Quiet obvious when you are part of such varied community, as much as you learn about other cultures, you are answerable to your own culture too :-). WhenNamaste I had to tell what “Namaste” truly stands for I decided why not to share it with all .

The word “Namaste” (नमस्ते ) is combination of two Sanskrit words “Namah” (नमः ) and “Te” (ते ). “Namah” means Salute or Bow or Adore. Literal meaning of “Te” in sanskrit is “They”  , but in here it’s used as You or You all. Hence, Namaste means “I Bow to you” or ” I Salute You”. In Vedic culture it was believed that there is GOD(supreme power) within every living oraganis/zm. Namaste meant I Bow to the God within you.Another way to explain it is ,and which I personally believe, is better way to explain is : Let’s discuss a situation, you go to a party and start greeting people, what are the first few thoughts in your minds …. (The looks of the other fellow, the kind of dress/clothes the person is wearing, how they are carrying themselves, the way they are talking/eating etc.) The point is that we immediately try to analys/ze a person and start being judgemental, before even trying to know the person. When you say “Namaste” it means “I bow/salute the Supreme power within you“. Not judging you as an individual , I am keeping my mind open and ready to welcome you.

The word “Namah” can further be segregated in to “Na” and “Ma”. Na –  meaning no/not/negating and Ma – meaning Mine. Hence meaning, its not mine. It negates the feeling of supremacy or the ego of an individual. Thus, making the person humble enough to accept /welcome the other individual.Joining the palms together signifies we all are one.

Another word quiet commonly exchanged with “Namaste” is “Namaskar”. Namaskar (नमस्कार) is again made of two Sanskrit words “Namah” ( नमः )  and “Sanskar”(संस्कार) .Namah – I already mentioned above and Sanskar – The words literal meaning is hard to find but its a process of transforming a person in to outstanding personality by guiding/developing good conscious, good thoughts, good conducts in him/her. Namaskar hence meaning I bow to all the good qualities within you.

When you greet a person by saying “Namaste” not only it enriches the environment with positivity but also the  danger of passing germs is reduced significantly. It certainly is not just a gesture of respect but a sign of gratitude too. When greeted with its true essence it surely brings positivity between the two individuals.

Hope the next time you greet some one it is in the true essence and when some one asks you about Namaste , you are ready with a detailed answer 🙂




  1. 2 thoughts on “Namaste (The Indian Greeting)-Meaning and Significance

    Very nice write up Preeti……read it out to my kids also.Proud of our rich Indian culture & practices.U should seriously think abt sharing more on ur blog…..luvd reading it.

    • 2 thoughts on “Namaste (The Indian Greeting)-Meaning and Significance

      Thanks a lot Preethi.. surely will try to share more info.

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