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In India, we salute people with our palms together to greet them respectfully. Unsplash

Dr. Devakinanda Pasupuleti

Namaste, sometimes spoken as namaskar and namaskaram is a customary, non-contact form of Hindu greeting. In the contemporary era, it is found on the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and among the Indian diaspora worldwide. The gesture is widely used in the parts of Southeast Asia where Indian religions are strong.


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Ashtottaram #17

17) OṀ NAMASKĀRABHŨMYAI NAMAH

OṀ (AUM)-NA-MA-SKAA-RA-BHOO-MYAI–NA-MA-HA

ॐ नमस्कारभूम्यै नमः

(Namaskāram: Salutations, to bow, reverential obeisance, greetings)

In India, we salute people with our palms together to greet them respectfully. The Sanskrit root verb ‘nam’ meaning ‘to bow.’ Namaskāram means to bow our head in front of a person. By doing so, we not only show respect but also humility and obedience. There is also a deep spiritual meaning when we join our hands to salute others, reminding them of monism from duality. We also greet people verbally with namaskāram. There are many symbolic meanings to this, one of them being: I pray to the God within you.

Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: जानिए फेसबुक हानिकारक कंटेंट का कैसे पता लगाता है


Namaskar is widely used in the parts of Southeast Asia where Indian religions are strong. Unsplash

Our āgama shāstrās, dharma śhāstrās, and purāṇās have mentioned many ways to show respect to elders. There are many ways one can perform namaskāram and it varies from one situation to the other. There are different names for namaskaram– like Abhivandanam, Praṇāmam and Anjali. For God, teacher, spiritual guru, and parents we offer namaskaram in the form of prostrations (the action of lying stretched out on the ground). Hindus also circumambulate in clockwise rotation around a temple as a form of namaskaram to God.

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When we traditionally greet elders, they offer their blessings by saying swasti (all auspiciousness), vardhasya (enhancement), subhamastu (let it prosper), or āyushmānbhava (long live). If it is a newlywed couple, the elders bless them with putra pautrābhi vruddhirastu (bless with children and grand children), and dērghasumangaḷībhava (May you have a long and happy married life) for the woman. Hindus strongly believe that the blessings of elders are akin to God’s blessings.

The greatness of endowing this honorable word and symbol to the world belongs to our nation, our ‘Namaskāra Bhūmi’.


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