Significance of Namaste
By Bhesh Jung Badal --
Namaste is a formal and traditional way of greeting widely prevalent in Nepal and India. Unlike 'Good morning , ‘Good bye‘, ‘Good night ' in English and Asla-walikum, 'Khudda Hafiz "Sabhakhaie” in Urdu, “Sebaru” in Limbu, “Tashidelek” in Sherpa, “Jo Jo lapa” in Newari , Namaste can be used both at the time of meeting as well as departure. Secondly, it can be used for any time of the day in the morning, afternoon and at night.
According to Spiritual Foundation organization, namaskār, also known as namastē, is used both while greeting and upon parting company. When a person greets another with namaskar, the greeting is accompanied by a slight bow made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards and closely positioned in front of the chest. The word ‘namaskar’ or ‘namaste’ is said to the person who is being greeted.The Foundation endorses the namaskar (namaste) as the most sattvik form of greeting and should be adopted as far as possible.
This practice of greeting each other has been handed over to us from generation to generation. It has been a part of our culture. The underlying significance in doing Namaste in its true spirit i.e. folding the palms of two hands has gone to oblivion for many of us because we perform this custom mechanically and as a matter of habit. A greeting of this nature performed mechanically has no sincerity in it.
We find many other customs and traditions among the people in Nepal. They have also a deep significance behind them. But they have been discarded either in the name of modernity or some of them have lost their significance in the modern context.
In Manusmriti, greeting each other is not only considered a good manner but also a means to attaining peace, progress and happiness in life. Namaste is made of Sanskrit words -Namaha and the meaning 'I bow to you.' That's why when a person does Namaste; he bows his head a bit besides joining two palms of hands together. While doing Namaste we bring the folded hands towards the breast over the heart.
All the people of Nepal belonging to various ethnic groups do Namaste using their own language but the uttering the words is accompanied with action i.e. joining the palms of the two hands together. The practice of Namaste has given many foreigners who visit Nepal a feeling of warm reception and they greet back with Namaste quite naturally. It is a mutual way of recognizing each other's importance and an expression of well wishing as well as unity of each other.
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