Namaste or Namaskara is the traditional Indian form of
salutation. It is used while greeting friends and acquaintances
as also while paying obeisance to God. As a word it finds
its place in the invocation to our different Gods, for
instance we have Shri Ganeshaya Namaha Aum Namaha Shivaya,
Krishnaya Tubhyam Namaha etc.
Namaste could be an amalgam of Namsya (or Namaha) meaning
obeisance and 'Te' which means you or to you. Thus Namaste
as an amalgam of Namasyate could be translated as obeisance
involves the joining together of both palms at the level
of the breast. If the person being greeted is a senior
or if it is addressed to God, the Namaste is accompanied
with a slight bow.
bow can be termed a slight one for it is only a downward
inclination of the head unlike the Japanese bow where
the body is bent at right angles at the hip.
origin of this graceful and modest form of greeting can
only be guessed. Its literal meaning is an indication
of it origin. Namaste could be an amalgam of Namsya (or
Namaha) meaning obeisance and 'Te' which means you or
to you. Thus Namaste as an amalgam of Namasyate could
be translated as obeisance to you.
meaning implies a submission of one person to another.
Thus, Namaste as a salutation could have originated as
an acknowledgement of submission or surrender of one person
to another. Hence, it would not be erroneous to infer
that Namaste was in fact a declaration of submission.
fact that both hands have to be displayed to the person being greeted could have
its origin in the practice that when a person submits to another or when two strangers
hail each other they have to prove that they are unarmed and that their intentions
are peaceful. This inference may sound incredible, but social anthropologists
have established that different types of mutual greetings and salutations have
originated in actions of two or more persons (facing each other) which aim at
proving that all of them are unarmed and that they come in peace.
of the handshake has also been found to be a similar one. More so, the human smile
also is considered to have originated as a sign of submission.Incidentally,
this form of greeting has been transmitted from ancient India to the countries
of South-east Asia.