--> Skip to main content

Why Do Hindus Say Namaste? - Meaning - Symbolism

Hindus greet with two palms placed together in front of the chest and says namaste bowing the head and shoulders slightly. In Sanskrit, ‘namaste’ means ‘I bow to you.’ There is deep meaning and symbolism attached to this simple act of folding the hands and bowing the head. In the various regional languages in India, Namaste becomes ‘Namaskar,’ ‘Namaskaram,’and ‘Namaskara.’

On the spiritual plane, it is a negation of one’s ego. Hindu religion believes that Brahman, the Supreme Soul, exists in all animate and inanimate. The folded palms placed before the chest symbolizes that the divinity in me and you are the same. The bowing down of the head and closing the eyes is worshipping the divinity in you.

Some Hindus prefer to use ‘Ram Ram’ instead of ‘namaste’ and this again is recognizing that the life force in me and you are the same.

Namaste – Meaning Symbolism

My soul honors your soul.
I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides.
I honor the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you, because it also within me
I sharing these things we are united, we are the same, we are one.
At the mental level, namaste is the total surrender - dropping of the I - and accepting the Supreme Truth in all animate and inanimate. It is merging with the Universal Truth.

The coming of the palms together is again symbolic. Due to maya we believe that there is the other. But reality there is no second - all that is here is supreme truth. By bringing together palms we are indicating that there is only One - everything rises and sets in that single One.

"Prostration means 'subsidence of the ego'. What is 'subsidence'? To merge into the source of its origin." – Sri Ramana Maharshi