Namaste

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
A youth giving a Namaste greeting, by pressing his palms together. This form of greeting is common in South Asia.[1]

Namaste (/ˈnɑːməst/ NAH-məs-tay; Hindi: [nəməsteː] ( )), sometimes expressed as Namaskar or Namaskaram, is a customary greeting when individuals meet or farewell.[2][3] It is a form of greeting commonly found among people of South Asia, in some Southeast Asian countries, and diaspora from these regions.[4][5] Namaste is spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. This gesture is called Añjali Mudrā or Pranamasana.[6] In Hinduism it means "I bow to the divine in you."[4][7]

Namaste or namaskar is used as a respectful form of greeting, acknowledging and welcoming a relative, guest or stranger. It is used with good byes as well. It is typically spoken and simultaneously performed with palms touching gesture, but it may also be spoken without acting it out or performed wordlessly; all three carry the same meaning. This cultural practice of salutation and valediction originated in the Indian subcontinent.[8]

Etymology, meaning and origins[edit]

A Mohiniattam dancer making a namaste gesture

Namaste (Namas + te, Devanagari/Hindi: नमः + ते = नमस्ते) is derived from Sanskrit and is a combination of the word "Namaḥ" and the enclitic 2nd person singular pronoun "te".[9] The word "Namaḥ" takes the Sandhi form "Namas" before the sound "t".[10]

Namaḥ means 'bow', 'obeisance', 'reverential salutation' or 'adoration'[11] and te means 'to you' (dative case). Therefore, Namas te literally means "bowing to you".[12]

In principle Namas te is to be used only when a single person is addressed (since in Sanskrit "te" is singular).

A less common variant is used in the case of three or more people being addressed namely Namo vaḥ which is a combination of "Namaḥ" and the enclitic 2nd person plural pronoun "vaḥ".[9] The word "Namaḥ" takes the Sandhi form "Namo" before the sound "v".[10]

An even less common variant is used in the case of two people being addressed namely Namo vām which is a combination of "Namaḥ" and the enclitic 2nd person dual pronoun "vām".[9]

Pressing hands together with a smile to greet Namaste – a common cultural practice in India

Excavations for Indus-Sarasvati civilization have revealed many male and female terracotta figures in namaste posture.[13][14] These archeological findings are dated to be between 3000 BC to 2000 BC.[15][16]

Uses[edit]

A statue depicting the Namaste pose at the entrance of New Digha beach.

The gesture is widely used throughout Asia and beyond.[4]

In Bengali , it also means Nōmōskär, (নমস্কার). The people around Bengal used to practise it since 2000-3000 BCE. It's usually denoted by joining hands and greeting. More roughly it can be said as some sort of greeting that prevails in Southern Asia. In Bengali often said as Prōnäm (Bengali: প্রনাম) informally.

Namaste or namaskar is used as a respectful form of greeting, acknowledging and welcoming a relative, guest or stranger. It is used with good byes as well.[3] In some contexts, namaste is used by one person to express gratitude for assistance offered or given, and to thank the other person's for his or her generous kindness.[17]

Namaskar is also part of the 16 upacharas used inside temples or any place of formal Puja (worship). Namaste in the context of deity worship, conclude scholars,[18][19] has the same function as one in greeting a guest or anyone else. It expresses politeness, courtesy, honor, and hospitality from one person to the other. This is sometimes expressed, in ancient Hindu scriptures such as Taittiriya Upanishad, as Atithi Devo Bhav (literally, the guest is god).[20][21]

In Tamil culture, the gesture is known as Kumpiṭu (கும்பிடு),[22] which is composed of two words Kumpu (கும்பு) meaning 'to cup hands' and Iṭu இடு meaning 'to do';[23] while an equivalent of the salutation would be வணக்கம் (vaṇakkam), which is roughly translated as 'greetings'.[citation needed]

Namaste is one of the six forms of pranama, and in parts of India these terms are used synonymously.[24][25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ B Bhasin, Doing Business in the ASEAN Countries, ISBN 978-1-60649-108-9, pp 32
  2. ^ Sanskrit English Disctionary University of Koeln, Germany
  3. ^ a b Constance Jones and James D. Ryan, Encyclopedia of Hinduism, ISBN 978-0-8160-5458-9, pp 302
  4. ^ a b c Ying, Y. W., Coombs, M., & Lee, P. A. (1999), Family intergenerational relationship of Asian American adolescents, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 5(4), pp 350-363
  5. ^ Bhatia, S., & Ram, A. (2009). Theorizing identity in transnational and diaspora cultures: A critical approach to acculturation. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 33(2), pp 140-149
  6. ^ Chatterjee, Gautam (2001), Sacred Hindu Symbols, Google books, pp. 47–48 .
  7. ^ Lawrence, J. D. (2007), The Boundaries of Faith: A Journey in India, Homily Service, 41(2), pp 1-3
  8. ^ D. Ikeda, D. & V.P. Nanda (2004), The Spirit of India: Buddhism and Hinduism (2), Journal of Oriental Studies, 14, pp 3-47
  9. ^ a b c Thomas Burrow "The Sanskrit Language", pp. 263-268
  10. ^ a b Thomas Burrow "The Sanskrit Language", pp. 100-102
  11. ^ "Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon", Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries (search results), University of Cologne, retrieved March 24, 2012 .
  12. ^ Namaste Douglas Harper, Etymology Dictionary
  13. ^ Sharma & Sharma (2004), Panorama of Harappan Civilization, ISBN 978-8174790576, Kaveri Books, page 129
  14. ^ Origins of Hinduism Hinduism Today, Volume 7, Issue 2 (April/May/June), Chapter 1, pp 3
  15. ^ Seated Male in Namaskar pose National Museum, New Delhi, India (2012)
  16. ^ S Kalyanaraman, Indus Script Cipher: Hieroglyphs of Indian Linguistic Area, ISBN 978-0982897102, pp 234-236
  17. ^ Joseph Shaules (2007), Deep Culture: The Hidden Challenges of Global Living, ISBN 978-1847690166, pp 68-70
  18. ^ James Lochtefeld, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Volume 2, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1, pages 720
  19. ^ Fuller, C. J. (2004), The Camphor Flame: Popular Hinduism and Society in India, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, pp. 66–70, ISBN 978-0-691-12048-5 
  20. ^ Kelkar (2010), A Vedic approach to measurement of service quality, Services Marketing Quarterly, 31(4), 420-433
  21. ^ Roberto De Nobili, Preaching Wisdom to the Wise: Three Treatises, ISBN 978-1880810378, page 132
  22. ^ Korean studies 8. University Press of Hawaii. 1984. p. 44. 
  23. ^ Civattampi, Kārttikēcu (1995). Sri Lankan Tamil society and politics. New Century. p. 25. 
  24. ^ R.R. Mehrotra (1995), How to be polite in Indian English, International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Volume 116, Issue 1, Pages 99–110
  25. ^ G. Chatterjee (2003), Sacred Hindu Symbols, ISBN 978-8170173977, pp 47-49

External links[edit]