Recently one of our newer members asked me “What does Namaste mean?”.
I told him that it means, the divine light shines within me and it recognizes that the same divine light shines within you. When we both recognize this within each other, we are one.
“Whoa,” he said. “I don’t know if I am ready for all that.”
Fair enough. I understand; but let’s take a look at “Namaste”.
The literal translation varies depending on your 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.” Actually it implies ‘I bow to the divine in you”.
The most common meanings of Namaste are:
I see and celebrate the love that you are; the light in me recognizes the light in you;
I honour the light and love within you;
I greet that place where you and I are one;
I see and honour in you the place where the universe resides; when you are at that place in you, and I am at that place in me, we are one.
Regardless of the language you speak, the word simply invokes a sense of sharing a spiritual connection, creates a sense and feeling of oneness and balance. Essentially, it’s a way that all humans can connect.
Namaste as a harmony:
Yoga, is like being in a chorus or a band or any sort of tribe. It helps us to work together as a beautiful symphony. We feel this symphony of the body when we practice poses (asanas). And, just like playing a musical instrument, the more yoga you practice the better you get. Over time you feel the harmonies. No single player is more important – everyone is of equal value. This is a non-dualistic view of life where we acknowledge that everyone is valuable in their own way and we all contribute to make wonderful music. Namaste as remembrance:
Wolfgang Von Goethe writes, “Remembrance of what is good keeps us high in spirit. Remembrance of what is beautiful is the salvation of the mortal man. Remembrance of what is dear will be happiness, if it remains alive.” In class, or even by yourself, when you unite your hands, palms touching, think to yourself Namaste and it helps us remember how amazing life is!
Namaste as respect:
Namaste is typically accompanied with a “bow”. Often, people see the action of bowing as “worship”. However, to bow to an elder, friend, teacher, guru, or even a stranger is a sign of respect rather than devotion.
The bow of respect contributes tangibly to the path away from attachment; the attachment to ones ego is literally crushed. And, it’s polite!
Maybe we have been mistreating each other for far too long; because we rarely recognize our own divinity, much less the divinity in others.
Do we live the consciousness of Namaste? Not enough!
Much of the time we are distracted, busy with something, or just plain tired. In those times we forget who we are, forget who others are.
Remember, we are always divine whether we see it or not. In order to live our namaste we must come together to namaste everyone. It is not just something we say before or after yoga class, it is a way of living life with a deep intention of respect, remembrance and appreciation that promotes harmony in the whole of the world. Love yourself, love your neighbour, love and namaste your life!