Indians greet each other with namaskar/Namaste. The two palms are placed together in front of the chest and the head bows pronouncing the word namaste. This greeting is for everyone: people younger than us, our own age, older than friends, even strangers and us.
There are five forms of formal formal greeting arranged in the shastras of which namaskaram is one. This is understood as a prostration, but in reality it refers to paying tribute as we do today when we greet ourselves with a namaste.
Namaste could be just an informal or formal greeting, a cultural convention or an act of worship. However, there is much more than what we see. In Sanskrit namah + te = namaste. Means – I bow to you – My greetings, greetings or prostration for you. Namaha can also be interpreted literally as “na ma” (not mine). It has a spiritual importance to deny or reduce one’s ego in the presence of another.
The real encounter between people is the meeting of their minds. When we greet another, we do it with namaste, which means “our minds meet,” indicated by the folded palms placed in front of the chest. The inclination of the head is a fun way to prolong friendship in love and humility.
The spiritual meaning is even deeper. The force of life, the divinity, the Being or the Lord in me is the same in everyone. Recognizing this unity with the meeting of the palms, we greet with an inclined head the Divinity in the person we meet. That’s why sometimes we close our eyes when we pay homage to a revered person or to the Lord, as if to look inward. The gesture is often accompanied by words such as “Ram Ram”, “Jai Shri Krishna”, “Namo Narayana”, “Jai Siya Ram”, “Om Shanti”, etc., indicating the recognition of this deity.
When we know this meaning, our salvation is not just a superficial gesture or word, but opens the way for deeper communion with the other in an atmosphere of love and respect.