Why do we greet each other with Namaste?

Hindus greet each other with ‘Namaste’, by bringing both palms together and bowing down the head towards the person or persons they are greeting. We do so with anyone who is younger or older than us, to those that we learn from, to friends, acquaintances and even strangers. We acknowledge everybody with Namaste.

Scriptures mention five different ways of greeting but Namaste is prominent amongst all, even to the extent that it is equal to when we prostrate to an elder or to the lord at the alter in a temple.

In sanskit, Namaste means ‘I bow with respect before you or I welcome you’. In this way it also signifies the removal of the ego within us.

When two people meet, it really is a meeting of minds or hearts. The meeting of two palms is a symbolic of the meeting of two hearts and when you bow your head over your clasped hands, you crown the greeting with the removal of ego between yourselves and introduce the feeling of love and humanity into meeting.

We often add words of greeting such as Ram Ram, Haribol, Jaisiyaram, Om Shanti etc, when bowing our heads. We thus introduce the presence of God in the meeting. We also recognise God’s presence and his energy which flows through ourselves and every other living being.

Namaste is therefore not only an outward greeting but it is spiritual also and deeply rooted in Hindu culture.