By now the world is familiar with the traditional greeting of Namaste. The physical gesture of the folded hands is combined with the verbal greeting ‘Namaste’. It is a combination of the two Sanskrit words : Namah meaning a reverential bow and te meaning to you.
I like this interpretation of the word: The Spirit within me bows to the Spirit within you. I think that it is such a wonderful acknowledgement that all human beings are created by the Divine Spirit and are to be treated as sacred.
I remember Alan Cohen writing about a seminar in preparation for which he asked the participants to send him a picture of themselves as babies. He then got these pictures transferred on to T-shirts which he asked the participants to wear during the seminar. He instructed them that if they got angry with another participant they had to look at that person’s T-shirt and imagine that they were dealing with a sensitive baby rather than an adult. He told them to talk to the other with patience and love as they would to a child because everyone carries within them the inner child – that needs to be handled with care.
If we carried out this exercise in daily life and imagined that everyone was carrying not an inner child but the Divine Spirit within, how much more sensitive and careful we would be.
I know that in a recent interaction with another, I completely forgot to respect that Divine Spirit within the other person. I was too busy nurturing my inner child to recognize that I was hurting the other person. This is not the first time I’ve done this nor will it be the last. However, I’m becoming more aware and conscious of it and hopefully growing to be more sensitive and compassionate. It’s a long road, but I’m taking tiny steps.
Love this post, Corinne. What Mr. Cohen did is amazing- perhaps it could be a way of dealing with everyday angry situations – try to imagine the person you’re dealing with as the child they once were. 🙂 Namaste,
@Casey B Yes, Casey, the key is to remember to do it. But we’ll get there only if we begin, right? 🙂
corinnerodrigues 🙂 , 😉
Loved this post !
wrote something abt feelings
What Alan Cohen did with this group reminds me so of how Jesus emphasized how we must become like children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. That inner child is the Divine Spark! And, what a beautiful world this would be if every one of us greeted one another with “namaste” and truly meant it.
Great post, Corinne! Namaste!
@marthaorlando I hadn’t thought of that, Martha. But it makes so much sense, doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing.
@Janaki Nagaraj Thank you.
SAT SRI AKAL …
Namaste! Thanks for the inspiration!
You’re welcome, @Glori
Namaste! Thanks for this reminder…
You’re very welcome, @cathymbeebe
Namaste ~ beautiful post Corinne. Though I have always known the meaning of this word, I guess I never thought about it while using it. A beautiful reminder of some small but important steps we can take to change our life.
@privytrifles Yes, the meaning of the word made fresh sense to me in light of a recent event. It’s always the small changes that make the most difference, I think.
What a lovely post and reminder!!
@Tweetsmom Glad you liked it, Kathy.
This is beautiful, Corinne. What an excellent perspective – I will remember this!
Thank you @DawnStorey for your comment and for sharing too.
Oh, wow. I love this so much. Both the interpretation of the word and the baby t-shirt example. You help me so much on my spiritual journey, Corinne!
I loved the story when I read it too, Brynne. And suddenly yesterday I was inspired to make the connection. I’m glad it resonated with you, femmefrugality
Namaste ji. What a nice way to describe it.
@RituLalit Namaste to you too.
Why do we do Namaste?
Indians greet each other with Namaste. The two palms are placed together
in front of the chest and the head bows whilst saying the word Namaste.
This greeting is for all – people younger than us, of our own age, those
older than friends, even strangers and us. There are five forms of
formal traditional greeting enjoined in the shaastras of which
Namaskaram is one. This is understood as prostration but it actually
refers to paying homage as we do today when we greet each other with a
Namaste. Namaste could be just a casual or formal greeting, a cultural
convention or an act of worship. However there is much more to it than
meets the eye. In Sanskrit namah + te = Namaste. It means – I bow to you
– my greetings, salutations or prostration to you. 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. The real meeting between people is the meeting of their minds.
When we greet another, we do so with Namaste, which means, “may our
minds meet,” indicated by the folded palms placed before the chest. The
bowing down of the head is a gracious form of extending friendship in
love and humility. The spiritual meaning is even deeper. The life force,
the divinity, the Self or the Lord in me is the same in all. Recognising
this oneness with the meeting of the palms, we salute with head bowed
the Divinity in the person we meet. That is why sometimes, we close our
eyes as we do Namaste to a revered person or the Lord – as if to look
within. The gesture is often accompanied by words like “Ram Ram”, “Jai
Shri Krishna”, “Namo Narayana”, “Jai Siya Ram”, “Om Shanti” etc –
indicating the recognition of this divinity. When we know this
significance, our greeting does not remain just a superficial gesture or
word but paves the way for a deeper communion with another in an
atmosphere of love and respect.
@Vanita Kumta Thank you for adding value to the post, Vanita.
Hi, Corinne! ~
I like to think of people as the baby they were and also as the old person they will become, in addition to the person they are now — we are all these people (and many more). It is true that the perspective changes depending on which version of the person we believe we are dealing with.
For example, sometimes I get so mad at my ex-husband but then I remember a story he told me about going to school in Kindergarten and being the only kid who didn’t have Twinkies because his mother was from China and she didn’t know what they were. He would sneak into the coat closet and steal them out of the other kids’ lunches — haha! Even now it makes me feel so mushy to think of that sweet little boy and how could I stay mad?
Lovely post. I would like to share at https://www.facebook.com/DangerousLinda
@DangerousLinda I love your example, Linda and I’m sure he told you that story for a reason! Thank you for sharing.
I am more familiar with Shalom (Hebrew) and Salam (Arabic) ~ which, according to Wikipedia, have similar meanings. Does it mean giving ‘peace’ (in all its sense)? But understanding how you’ve described it, it’s very beautiful… I, not only give peace, but also recognize the Spirit in the other person.
This is very timely esp. that we’ve just celebrated the Trinity Sunday 🙂 It is said that our replies to the greetings would be changed into, “The Spirit is with you.” I like it better 🙂
It’s the first time I’ve heard of Alan’s creative work :), mentioning this, I also recognize the potential saint in every person I meet :)…I also recognize Christ in everyone (of course, this doesn’t happen all the time but I try :P)…
I guess we just have to be patient with ourselves 🙂 As Bonnie said, one baby step at a time :*
@MelissaTandoc I guess all of these words have the same intention – a salutation but also a blessing and an acknowledgement of the other. I’ve quite fallen in love with Alan Cohen – I find his writings so meaningful and yet so practical.
I loved this post Corrine.it’s been only two or three moths that I understood the meaning of this word. I love it because it shows respect to the Soul <3
@nikky44 I like your phrase ‘respect to the Soul’ – so true!
Like Melissa I am more familiar with Shalom (Hebrew)…but I’ve learned something new today!! Thank you for sharing 🙂 Cheers, Jenn.
@jennsonthego I’m glad this added to your knowledge, Jenn. I love the word Shalom too – such depth of meaning there.
excellent Corrine, I have also been practicing to be patient and this write up gives me the easy ways to do so. I am aware that it is easier read and said than done but the inputs are always welcome.
@meenakshi Thank you for your comment and you’re so right it’s much easier said than done. But I do believe that even an awareness of this could make a change in our way of dealing with people.
What a great spiritual statement “my spirit bows to your spirit”. I will have to make sure that I educate my children how important this respect is and practice it among those in my home. Thanks for sharing the spirit of peace I never knew what namaste meant before.