The True Meaning of “Namaste”

You may wonder…C’mon! Namaste “just” means saying “Hello”, but literally speaking it is much more than just saying “Hello”.

We all know that it is the most growing and fascinating term in the Western world. Namaste (नमः + ते = नमस्ते) the word has derived from the Sanskrit word “Namah/Namas” + “te” which means “Bowing + To You”.

Listen, don’t be tricked by Hindus when they say “Oh, it’s just a gesture to show respect to the person who is in front of you”. But know this that in depth it means a whole different thing.
When a person from a non-English speaking world (like myself) learns to greet people by saying “Hello, Hi, Hey”, then it indeed just means “HELLO, HI and HEY”! But it’s not the same with Namaste.

There is a lot to say about “Namaste” but I’ll try to summarize all of it in few lines below:
First, the pose or the folding hand gesture that is used while saying Namaste is “Anjali Mudra” which means “divine offering”, or “salutation”. This particular pose is done by the devotees during “every” Hindu worship/ritual. Before leaving Hinduism, I too did it all the time.

If you have noticed someone doing Namaste, you’ll see they bow, with their hands pressed together, palms touching close to the chest. The atman (soul) is considered to be the most divine of all. The goal of every Hindu/yogi is to find bliss within one own self (connect with the soul).

The purest consciousness is Brahman. But who is Brahman?
Tat Tvam Asi (that are you): Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7,
Aham Brahma Asmi (I am Brahman): Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.
Hinduism believes every person on earth needs to figure out that he/she is Brahman, aka the Cosmos.

Therefore, when you see a person bowing and doing Namaste, it originally means- “I honor the place in you where the entire universe dwells”, “My soul recognizes your soul”. How dangerous it is to think like that? Whom are they worshipping actually? To own self? Thinking they are the cosmos? How weird it is to believe that the atman (soul) is actually that Brahman? And that the person just needs to figure this out?

Isn’t it trying to be like God or equal to Him? Isn’t that jealousy? Isn’t that glorifying own self? Thinking that one is NOT dependent on a Supreme Creator but rather takes refuge in his own soul (atman)….. Oh! Wasn’t that what Lucifer wanted to become? To be equal with God out of jealousy? (Isaiah 14:12-17).

 (John 12:43) “For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”                   
 –  (Author: Pandit)

Namaste is commonly used in India as a normal greeting and most people don’t really use it to actually perform a spiritual ritual whenever they meet someone. However, this is for that country and the people of that culture. It is not meant to be used lightly by the west, as by doing so, you are indirectly doing the act of worship Namaste is based on.

For example, if you salute people with “As-salamu alaykum”, you are saying that the peace of Allah be upon you and confess that you are a Muslim. If you salute people with “Shalom”, you are saying that the peace of Jehovah be with you and you are a Christian. Most Evangelical Christians are recognized by salutations like “Praise the Lord” or if you are an Indian Born Again Christian, “Jai Masih Ki”.

It all might seem innocent and at the same time a little exaggerated to say that you are worshipping Brahma or yourself by saying Namaste. But it is this very ignorance regarding this matter that keeps many bound in chains by Satan. Therefore, if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, ask Him first before participating blindly in any activity or adopting any customs just because they are in fashion.

– Pastor Mahesh Shivnani