By November 8, 2014 17 Comments Read More →

The Meaning of Namaste: Many Translations, One Universal Intention

namaste-handsStephanie Lucas, Guest
Waking Times

Regardless of culture, humans seem to have a universal need to greet one another upon meeting and parting. Bowing in Japan, hand-clapping variations in African countries, and saying hello and shaking hands or hugging in English cultures – are just a few of the most commonly known salutations. While customs and traditions vary, there does seem to one greeting that is becoming more popular worldwide – that of Namaste.

Simplistic Gestures of Universal Oneness

Often used by Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, and other religions, Namaste is also revered within spiritual circles and meditation and yoga classes, and it’s being embraced far beyond its South Asian origins. You’ll often hear it spoken in combination with a slight bow and the Anjali Mudra – the placement of the hands together pulled close to the heart in a fashion similar to a prayer pose.

Use of the Mudra position to the heart and raised to the forehead is most often utilized in North and South India where formal versions of Namaste called Namaskar and Namaskara are common. Along with Namaste, these gestures represent surrendering ego to the spirit – recognizing that the life force within us as individuals is the same as that within everything and everyone.

Finally, a Word We Can All Agree On

Remarkably, the principle interpretations of Namaste have yet to be skewed by ‘new world linguistics’ or portrayed in a negative light. An example is the greeting ‘as-salamu alaykum,’ which is typically translated as ‘May peace be upon you,’ but is highly misinterpreted by fear mongers and those who aren’t ‘in the know’ so to speak. However, Namaste’s meaning is still universally recognized as one of peace, honor, and respect. So what does Namaste mean exactly?

The Meaning of Namaste: It’s a Spiritual Connection

The literal translation of this greeting varies with each language; however, they are all pretty much saying the same thing. In Sanskrit, the word ‘namah’ means bow, ‘as’ means I,, and ‘te’ means you, translating into “I bow to you.” A Hindi friend once explained that Namaskar is translated from ‘namoh’ and ‘sanskar’ translating loosely into English as “I bow to godly/good qualities within you,’ as her culture always tries to see the good in all things.

Some other popular translations and meanings of the word Namaste I hear frequently include:

  • The Divine light in me acknowledges the Divine light in you.
  • The God in me greets and meets the God in you.
  • I honor the spirit in you that is also in me.
  • The Diving wisdom in me recognizes and acknowledges the Divine wisdom in you.

Regardless of the language you speak, the word simply invokes a sense of sharing a spiritual connection and creates a sense and feeling of oneness and balance. Essentially, it’s a way that all humans can connect.

Raising Your Vibrations by Embracing Meaning of Namaste

There’s something about the universal recognition and the spiritual energy that accompanies the essence of Namaste that makes it a truly remarkable greeting. Just speaking the word Namaste – especially along with the Mudra posture – raises the vibrations of your intention to greet someone by honoring of their inner goodness/God/light. The kicker is, you’ll likely find yourself really meaning and accepting these positive thoughts when you say it – even if you aren’t particularly fond of your company at the time!

Embracing the spirit of Namaste can be a powerful manifestation tool, and we love hearing the various interpretations of the meaning of Namaste… What does Namaste mean to you?

About the Author

Stephanie Lucas – As an avid enthusiast of natural health and wellness, I do more than just write about healing stones and eating clay – I use both every single day. Much of what you read comes from hours of research, reading, and actual experience – so I always welcome questions or comments about stones and crystals or the practice of geophagy.

  • Hi Stephanie,

    Your wonderful article appeared in a Google search.

    It meets what I was searching for while writing a Whole Human blog post.

    Writing, as you know, can be self-revealing in many ways. Writing posts on a book, ‘The Impersonal Life,’ is the process which revealed to me what is being hidden by the illusion of separation — that ‘we are one being.’

    We – all that is
    are – in the present moment
    one – single, self-existent
    being – of pure consciousness

    The greeting which, when felt, dispels the illusion of separation, is ‘we are one being.’ A translation to many languages is on the Whole Human site.

    Namasté acknowledges the divine wisdom or God within each person, but ‘We are One Being’ speaks of a deeper, more foundational actuality which has been hidden from human awareness.

    May I quote from your article in a Whole Human post? The blog is at

    Blessings and Namasté,


  • Kate

    Thank you for the article. So in conclusion basically its just a word said in spiritual greeting. A pleasant, loving and respectful connection with others. I cant see anything at all wrong with saying it to whoever, whenever, if that is your belief. After all, in religion people hope ‘the lord is in our hearts’. Whoever you feel that may be im sure that anger and hate over a word isnt part of the plan. Namaste!

  • flawed individual

    The speller in me recognizes the speller in you. I loved the article. With love and politeness wanted to mention the spelling error of diving instead of divine. Thanks for writing this. Really enjoyed it.

  • Jojo

    Thank you for a generous and beautiful article. My understanding of the translation is that regardless of our beliefs, experiences or paths in life, at a moment in time we are connected, and namaste honours that sameness in a way that transcends ego, religion, righteousness or anything else that might usually create a barrier.
    Sadly this meaning can be completely lost on a few who would rather spend their energy in darkness, fear and hate (as demonstrated above), but thankfully the large majority are humble and open to the great teachings we can draw on from all traditions in order to love and grow spiritually and experience the fullness of this life.

  • Tom

    God! We, People of the West, do NOT need to look for unity in Hindu or Moslems, or any other religion.

    We ALREADY have our own Native Western methods.

    What do the Hindus have to offer us, when they have and cannot break out of, the central core of their belief, which is – the Caste System, together with the idea of Karma. No matter what the official law of India is, in banning the Caste System, if you’re a Hindu, it’s there in your belief.

    Neither do the Moslems, with their Shariah laws, have anything to offer us, in the West. Shariah – an inflexible, rigorous, system, includes both religion and Statecraft.

    Neither of these two religions have compassion or mercy, not to their own and certainly, not to those outside. But, we, in the West, have evolved beyond these two religions, and have broken out of the forced confirmity, to have individual thoughts, and allowance to live our own way.

    Hindu religious practices was the vogue several decades ago, and there’re still remnants, but we did have our own practices, Native to Europe, let’s focus on these.

    To look to the the East, is to retrograde. Please, let’s stop this already.

    • MTWW

      I must say that I agree with you totally on muslims and Shariah law. Its a repressive religion/cult that has no tolerance to anything or anyone outside Shariah. I sincerely don’t know why the west hasn’t condemned the muslim religion/cult as a barbaric and dominate cult against women and other religions. The sole goal of the muslim cult is to dominate the world.

      I also believe the christians in the west also have a radical side as well. They’re intolerant to anything that isn’t followed by the bible. They condemn others that don’t strictly follow the bible and many clergy including the catholic church for the exterminations of LGBT people. Lets not forget that thousands of gays were killed in the death camps and experimented on during during the holocaust. When the jews were freed from the death camps by the Americans the gays were still left in death camps and most weren’t able to return to their families due to shame.

      I believe in Christ and his teachings but the bible has been written and rewritten many times. I don’t see why Nameste is such a bad word. Its merely a greeting or word that represents a positive message. I can’t say that for most christians or any muslims. I see all muslims as radical or in waiting for radicals to take over. That is simply their sole motive.

    • Judy

      Because the Western peoples have become more hypocritical and greedy. God frowns on that. I am talking about the ones who use their Bible as a symbol of being hateful, prejudice and hypocritical. You see this a lot in the political world.

  • Benny deKreep

    I agree with Drew. Also, True Believers prefer “Maranatha”; the Lord cometh. If you don’t know “which Lord” by now, well then, I won’t be seeing YOU on The Other Side. TTFN, or “ta-ta for now”, as Snaggletooth used to say.

  • Drew

    More new age nonsense.

    The proper greeting is namaskar, since westerners are not “enlightened” because they wear a sari and drink indian tea.

    Stupid new agers make me sick.

    • Alan

      Doesn’t sound like you’re in a good place.

    • Anonymous

      too negative. You are not embracing your light. namaskar.

    • Anynonomous

      Why have you bothered to read this article if it annoys you? Your comments are extremely negative….you’ve made your feelings heard…sorry for you

    • Anynonomous

      It appears you’ve read this article only to make negative comments..sorry for you

  • Earth Child

    Namaste: “I see through you”. It is a greeting of humbleness. Namaste

  • I have come to understand Namaste as meaning my soul honours your soul or the spirit in me honours the spirit in you.
    Thankyou for posting, beautiful article.



  • [ Smiles ] The word, “Namaste,” is one that most people on the planet are familiar with.

    Thank you for posting such a beautiful and enlightening article!