Namaste and the Significance of Greeting

Greetings to you…

“Hello”

“Bonjour/Hi”

“How are you?”

“How have you been?”

“Good Morning, Good evening”

“Nice to meet you.”

“What’s up?

“How’s it going?”

“Hola”

“Hej”

“Olà”

“Ciao”

“Aloha”

“Ni Hao”

“Shalom”

“Salaam”

Greetings are an important social skill and play an essential role in how we communicate with others. Communication starts with acknowledging each others presence and sets the tone for all interactions, from making friends to dealing with customers.

Greetings are the most basic form of communication. We all have universal human needs. 

As social beings, we have the desire to feel appreciated, respected, and valued, as well as to connect to other people and to have a sense of belonging. 

Everyone understands or has experienced the power of a greeting; it can bring a smile to your face, instantly lift your spirits and change the way you feel about yourself and others. 

A small gesture with such a big impact!

On the other hand, nothing can be considered more offensive than someone who ignores you. It has become a disrespectful trend. Most people have become so caught up in their heads and on their phones that they fail to acknowledge your presence, even as a gesture of common courtesy and good will. Mindless interactions lead to less satisfaction and more disconnection in relationships and in life.

Greetings come from the root word, “gher,” an Old English word, that means “to call.” It used to be common practise to announce your presence with a call so as to not startle anyone.

Greetings are as varied as the many different cultures from around the world. In addition to  verbal greetings, most are accompanied by physical gestures ranging from the typical handshake to rubbing noses and kissing on the cheeks.

With the Covid pandemic, many other gestures like the fist or elbow bump have gained popularity since most people have been avoiding handshakes and physical contact with others. 

Apart from the increased interest in yoga, Namaste has also become a popular Pandemic greeting today. It is also more than just a salutation you hear at the end of a yoga class. 

It is a traditional Indian greeting and is derived from the Sanskrit words; 

“Namas” – bowing and “Te” – you; thus literally meaning, “I bow to you.”  It is a respectful way of saying hello and goodbye. It is accompanied by joining the palms and fingers of your hands together and pointing upwards with your thumbs against your chest and bowing your head.

Namaste’s meanings include:

“I bow to the divine within you.”

“The divine light in me bows to the divine light within you.”

“The divine in me honours the divine in you.”

“My soul recognizes your soul.”

Namaste offers a more profound and meaningful way to greet others.

It is an expression of appreciation and respect towards other people, as it recognizes the divine light within you and acknowledges our true nature. We are all one. We are all equal. We are more the same than different.

It provides a more spiritual sense of togetherness, love, acceptance and gratitude. We are blessed for all that we have experienced along our life’s path.

This makes for a stronger heart-to-heart connection through our emotions and spirit as we put our mind and ego aside.

Every greeting, when done intentionally, is an opportunity to show respect for others and acknowledge their presence. We can express kindness, and see the goodness in others, as well as bring positive energy to everyone around us. In today’s world, we could use more compassion and less judgement towards people.

Regardless of where you come from or who you are, we can all understand the language of love and seek a more powerful way of expressing ourselves beyond words. The life force in you is the same as in all of us. Becoming aware of this oneness allows us to honour the divine within us and others. A genuine and sincere greeting that is heartfelt makes everyone feel special and what better way to celebrate the life force that connects all human beings?

Namaste

Antoinette Giacobbe