What Does Namaste Really Mean?

What Does Namaste Really Mean? May 15, 2015

It gives me a bit of a twitch when I see people giving super poetic translations of the greeting “Namaste.” Sometimes people say to me, “Wow, isn’t it amazing how much meaning can be packed into one word like that?” and I say, “No. That meaning might be implied but it’s not what the word literally means.”

A translation of “My divine soul recognizes the divine soul in you” is lovely and very much in keeping with Hindu belief. But the word by itself translates directly as “I bow to you.”

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Namah is the verb “to bow” in Sanskrit. Sanskrit uses a complex system of endings to show the relationships between words (unlike English, which uses word order).

When I was growing up we had a short prayer that we said before and after every activity: Om Param Atmane Namah

Param is supreme. Atman is Self, the -ne ending means “to ____”. Namah is bow. I bow to the supreme Self. (Because there seems to be some confusion in the comments, Self here means the Supreme Lord of Creation, the True Self of All)

-te is an ending that means “to you.”

So Namaste means “I bow to you.” It’s that simple. It’s usually accompanied by an actual physical bow.

Namaskar is another version, which is a bit more formal, I believe.

Now, as I said above Namah is a verb used when speaking to God as well as when speaking to human beings. So in that way it does imply that the respect you show others is the same as the respect you show God. (But then again in English we only have one word for “bow” also).

But for many, Namaste is nothing more than “hello.” I feel like assigning these dramatic definitions to Namaste is a way of exotifying another culture.

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So it can seem pretty odd when I see someone with a tattoo that says Namaste. I hope it reminds them to see God in everyone even though that’s not a literal translation.

 


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  • BackToVedas

    Good explanation!!!

  • HARRY

    Param is supreme. Atman is Self, the -ne ending means “to ____”. Namah is bow.

    I bow to the supreme Self.

    The above explanation is wrong

    Om Param Atmane namah

    I bow to the great (supreme ) soul of the universe.

    When you read this, it is different in sanskrit where param Atmane is one word, not two.
    It also translate to the LORD of this universe , which also can be defined as the god.

    The other mistake is stay in Namaste. It’s not Stay. It’s Ste . where e has a line on top. Even at this stage it’s still not correct because it sounds wrong when you say it the way it’s written.

    This is still same as putting square pegs in round holes.

    • Namaskāra, Harry.

      I was typing my comment when Discuss said “One new message available.” I didn’t see this until after I had posted mine.

      Of the last 4 vowels, I tend to pronounce the “e” and the “o” letters flatly, while I diphthong the “ai” and the “au” letters. Again, I’m coming from Saṃskṛtam, not the current south Asian languages like Hindi, Marathi, etc.

      I even have a keyboard layout on my Mac called EasyUnicode, which allows me to type IAST characters.

      Praṇāma

      • Chokra

        I think the author’s intention is to point out the meaning of the term, namaste, in common usage rather than teach how it should be spelled or pronounced. It will always be challenging for westerners to properly pronounce Sanskrit/Hindi words. Even for native Indians, accents change from region to region. However, Amba is right in correcting the American stress on MAH as in “namahste”, as the slight emphasis should be on the first letter N(a).

    • Ambaa

      I don’t see how your translation is different from mine. By Self I, of course, am speaking of the Supreme Self, the Lord of all Creation. Is that not clear?

      • HARRY

        It is different, I will explain how that is different, when you use the word in front that describes, great , big, super, supreme……. you are not allowed to chop the word in two parts. This also applies to Devnagri, Hindi Gujrati or even Punjabi. The language requires body in order to make sense of the reason. Mahatma Ghandhi had the title Mahatma because he was recognised as one, great soul , Maha=great and atma=soul where the rule of the language requires they both have to be together in order to use it as a title.

        The same applies in above prathna ,This is the only way it should be recited because it is a vaishnava prathna, where you have to start by Om Paramatmane namah…… I bow to the great (supreme ) soul of the universe. Where a supreme soul is seen as separate entity.

  • Namaskāra, Aamba.

    It’s my understanding that namaste is spelled “namaste” in IAST, not “nāmaste.” I think the capital A means to put volume stress on that first syllable, not to change the short “a” to a long “a.” Does it? And also, it’s my understanding that the last vowel is to be held flat, not said as a diphthong like “ai” as in “Vaiśnava” or something like that – as in “cake.” I pronounce the last vowel flatly partly because of my exposure to español in south Texas. I say namaskāra instead of dropping the last “a” vowel because I am writing from Saṃskṛtam, not from Hindi or another language that uses the Schwa Syncope Rule (a rule that directs you to drop the last vowel and drop vowels medially in certain situations – by the way, in Hindi, the Rule is not applied 100% of the time, only about 89% of the time, and that is a form of a shibboleth devised to catch foreign speakers who might be potential enemies and/or spies – writing rules and pronunciation appears to be stable and uniform in Saṃskṛtam, though I have to admit the Sandhi rules are a bit much for me).

    Praṇāma

    • Ambaa

      I perhaps should not have used “stay” as an example. The way I personally pronounce “Stay” is identical to “ste” but that is not always the case, I suppose. My point was that it is not the middle of the word that holds the emphasis.

      • Ambaa Choate

        I may be wrong about this, it turns out! I removed the section on pronunciation because some are saying that it is in fact the middle that should be emphasized!

  • Jay

    Your translation of Om Param Atmane Namah is wrong. Param
    Atmane is a one word and it represents the supreme soul or the universal
    consciousness.

    If you want to make Namaste, a simple “hellow” then it is
    your prerogative, a simplistic view. I still would like to say or think it as …. I
    bow to your divine soul, which like my soul is part of The Divine. If expressed
    with a conscious mind the greeting thus gives you and your friend an opportunity
    to elevate your thinking and yourself.

    • Ambaa

      I separated Param and Atman to make it easier for people to see the two parts of the word.

      • Jay

        Namaste Ambba,
        You may have a good interest. However, the result was bad translation and wrong meaning.
        Jay​

        • Ambaa Choate

          Well, my translation is completely literal. Nothing bad about it. Just the truth of what is present in the word. However, I definitely do think it can and should have a spiritual subtext to it. I just want people to understand that they are bringing a lot of the meaning to a simple word. It’s not a poem’s worth of translation.

    • Chokra

      But where’s is god or the divine in “namaste”? Why do you want to import something in when it’s not present in the original?

      • R_ Leakey

        No, originally the meaning of Namaste was quite theosophical. The Hindus believe that every atom is divine and projection of God. However, the namaste is used also among the atheist Buddhists, Jains and other schools of thought in India. Christians also learnt to do namaste while praying through the Syrian Christian Church which reached India long before in Western Europe.

        • Chokra

          Would you please care to provide a historical reference to your assertion in the first sentence?

          • R_ Leakey

            No, I can’t because it is an ahistorical cultural value. At least, I have not gone through the entire Hindu scriptures. I am not a theologian but an anthropologist. My research methodology is ethnography. However, my limited studies on Hindu theology and Indo-Aryan linguistics suggest that the term Namaste did not emerge from nowhere but from the underlying spiritual values of the population of given time and space. Namaste is made of two roots= Namah+ te. Namah stands for salutation and te means you. Salutation is different from Hi/Hello. Where salutation needs bowing (by body posture and spiritual) in contrast Hi/Hello does not need that effort. Hi/hello is called Oi in Latin. Sanskrit and Latin are closer to each other. Oi is also available in Indo-aryan vocabulary but it is used to attract second persons’ attention with informal greetings. Latin você (vós) and tu both mean second person but they have different significances. Similarly, oi and namaste both are greetings but they have different significances. Namaste is done to deities, elders (in kinship), peers and strangers! Oi is done to peers and inferriors! However, oi is considered much impolite in South Asia. It is social explanation but in spiritual world, there are no difference between superiors and inferiors or peers. I cannot remember the source but I remember a story in which Hindu Lord Rama says Namaste to Hanuman. Hanuman is monkey god and serves Rama. Rama says ,”Although you are my slave I greet you because our souls are equal”. I hope I satisfied your query.

      • kiran2

        God is there in Namaste. Whether in your literal translation the name of god does not come up is irrelevant.
        You bow.
        Who do you bow to?
        It is surely another person.
        Who is that person? A soul. A soul where God resides. BG15.15 [[“Sri
        Krishna said: O Arjuna, I am seated in everyone’s heart…].
        So to say Namaste has nothing to do with God or has no meaning therein is false. It has everything to do with God.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    To me it’s always been either “I honor the Presence of God within you,” or “I honor the expression of God that you are.” I don’t see either of those as mutually exclusive, but just works for me.

    • Paul Julian Gould

      As my wife and I were discussing… the “Namas” is of a different quality than a simple “Howdy.” An illustration that seems to work for me is much like in the Bible, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” Now, I’m not one that interprets that as being frightened or intimidated by God, but that there really isn’t a valid expression of the profundity of respect owed the Supreme Absolute, so “fear” is probably as accurate as any… And “Namas” is a whole different level of greeting than a mere “Hiya, you look nice today.”

    • Chokra

      It looks neat, but where is “God” in namaste and why one should bring God in everything?

      • Paul Julian Gould

        Call the presence what you will… my point is that the “namas” is a much more profound statement than a mere “‘sup?” on the street.

        I merely stated the definition that seems to work for me among a multitude of definitions contained within the statement.

        • Chokra

          I agree that namaste is more profound than a mere “sup” or “hello” but it does not warranty the its spiritualization.

          • Paul Julian Gould

            And I’d posit that differentiating between a soul on the street and the subject of the “namas” is quite a metaphysical distinction… The labels “spiritual” or “metaphysical”, or even more, “God” or whatever the “you” is that’s being addressed misses the forest for focusing on the trees.

            Words do matter, of course, but labels are subjective.

          • HARRY

            If you were born in the Indian and Hindu community then you would understand this.

      • HARRY

        The universe is part and parcel of the great divine where everything is permeated from, therefore everything is seen as part of god in Hindu understanding . This is where god comes into an equation where we are also part of the same divine. Thus God in everything.

        • Chokra

          If God is in everything and in all humanity, then, how come God is not in a dalit human being? Why is dalit not bowed to? Why no Hindu would bow to a dalit? Why a dalit, a fellow human being, not allowed to enter a Hindu temple and bow to God, the Supreme Being?

          • HARRY

            Who says god is not in dalit. Even I am not allowed in certain temples and I am not a dalit, lol. It’s not about one being a dalit.

          • Ambaa Choate

            I think it’s absolutely wrong to exclude dalits. I would bow to a dalit. They have God in them the same as I do.

      • Jay

        Namaste in Hindu philosophy means I bow you. That you is your
        Atma = soul, which is a part of Paramatma or God. Thus, because God is present in every soul you bow to God. Wakeup call Chokra!

        • Chokra

          That’s your spiritual interpretation and philosophizing not warranted by a simple greeting term, namaste!

        • Chokra

          If God is present in every soul, then, what’s the problem in bowing to a soul, a human being? Why should there be always a bowing to God? And how does it matter in daily lives?

          • kumar91amit

            according to hindu religion.. everything in this world destroys with time except for soul. Soul are said to be fractions of god which is present in everyone and when the body destroys, soul still remains. This is why when we say namaste we bow to the undestructable and ever-present soul present in the body in other words god and not to the body.

  • Lyric Kali

    I cringe when most people say namaste, that of course meaning most of the people I’m experiencing are not hindu, usually white, typically new age yoginis. I don’t partake, thanks.

    • Jane

      I have no problem with it. It’s a simple greeting & gesture of goodwill telling you they wish you well & “bless you”. Whats not to like?

    • oscargom

      Aren’t you making an assumption of what the mean/intend when they greet someone with they word? Wouldn’t it be easier and wiser to assume positive intent when people express any warm greeting to us rather than presume and judge those intentions? They may indeed be using the word a bit too flippantly but you still have the ability and choice to accept any positive intentions behind it – rather than judge

  • Hector Lugo

    I see this often in other instances where mantras, for example, are interpreted to almost painful levels. I have often looked up the definitions of some and found myself shaking my head, and no, it isn’t all white people, it is also Indian Yogis and such who seem prone to doing this.

    I suppose it is natural for a language as old as Sanskrit to receive this kind of over interpretation, but sometimes I just want to know the actual definitions of the words so that I can decide for myself what to make of them. It is, I think, more intellectually honest to share the actual meaning of the words rather than overly wrought interpretations.

    Thank you.

    • Jay

      Namaste Hector,
      I share your opinion. Sanskrit is a complex language and it is not easy even for the people from India to read and understand it. For this reason I always like to see the original work in Devnagri script and then try to understand the meaning.
      Jay

      • Hector Lugo

        It’s great that you can read it that way. I can make out a lot of Latin, as I speak a couple of Romance Languages, but the Indian Languages are beyond my current understanding.

    • Shesh

      Panini Astaadhyi and Patanjali Mahabhasya will help you to understand the real meaning of words and vedic scriptures. Take the help of people who are well versed in the above two sctptures. Other books will not help you much!

  • Clem fandango

    Religion – Can’t even agree on translation of a word for last 5000 years, and they claim of meeting god or the one via moksha;)

    • Jay

      cheap shot!!

      • Clem fandango

        Truth.

        • HARRY

          Hinduism is not a book Base religion. People who understand sanskrit will know what I am taking about.

          • Clem fandango

            Hinduism has its books, and its a book based religion, all the teaching and supertitiosious rituals of the religion comes from its books, all good and bad in the religion, everything comes from those books. Yeah, some practices might be specifically mentioned in the books.

          • HARRY

            You know this because the pastor said so.

    • HARRY

      No one claims meeting gods. This concept is only part of Abrahamic religion, not in Hinduism, if you were one then you would know.

      • Clem fandango

        Moksha.

        • HARRY

          Moksha is not about meeting with God either. It’s about ones own liberation from the bondage of the world. This clearly shows how much you know about Sanatan Dharma and it’s principal. You should do some research on what is cultural and what is religious before you comment on the subject instead of throwing few words about.

    • Lokesh

      Namaste simply means “I bow to you”. Everyone agrees with that.

      why would someone bow to someone else?

      because there is divinity in everyone, thus the other meanings like “I bow to divinity in you” and such.

      “they claim of meeting god”
      Doesn’t that mean God is separate, we believe God-the consciousness is present in all animate and inanimate objects like “the canvas in paintings”, background of everything

  • belleweather

    I think Namaskar is a more southern indian version, influenced by the Dravidian languages. We were taught to say “Namaskaram” (or “Namaskaramu”, to respected elders) when I studied Telugu a few years ago.

  • I understand your point, but at the same time it is most certainly true that classical Sanskrit is indeed packed with dense meaning. Each syllable had a meaning and those meanings/syllables are combined to form word/ideas. One can often take words apart in several ways to reveal deeper meanings and descriptions. The meanings given with a mantra to an initiate by a Guru is an example of this.

    I agree there are a lot of people who get overtly flowery and go too far with this, and I agree that in common daily use some words such as Namaste have simple meanings that should not be dissected. But one should be cautious not to say that in study, dissection of the Sanskrit to reveal the deeper meaning often encoded in the language, mantras and slokas is incorrect or shouldn’t be done at all.

  • SXB

    It is strange… but the word has a similar meaning in Greek. Namaste means “to exist in some sort of a state together in the future.”

  • I write from India and am a person who as per official records is a Hindu. I would like to categorically state that the writer of this article has been befooled or is fooling. Her whole understandings about the religion Hindu is based on some deliberate propaganda or is deliberate propagada.

    I would stick to only the Namaskar (Namaskaram) part. The social understanding of this action is not what the writer seems to imagine or contend. It is deeply connected to the feudal languages of the Indian peninsular region. In that in every non-formal communication, one side is addressed and referred to in the pejorative and the other side as the gold. It is the Thoo verus Aap or the Neenu versus Neevu, or Nee versus Ungal, or Nee versus thangal or Inhee versus Ningal. Namaskar is a requisite behaviour from the lower placed, suppressed individual towards the higher person.

    Trying to connect the feudal social communication of the Indian peninsular region with the Vedic and Puranic times might be correct to the extent that even the old languages of the place was quite feudal and discriminatory. But not much beyond that.

    However since some of the Continental European languages also are feudal to some extent, the idea might not impossible to understand for the Continental Europeans. However native English speakers wouldn’t get any head or tail of the information mentioned above.

    In fact, there have been many other ‘White’ English persons who have made the mistaking of not understanding the true contents of ‘Hinduism’.

    Namaskaram in the native Indian nation social ambience is just a feudal exhibition of obeisance to social or positional or age-wise superiors. It is self-degrading, and leads to loss of self-esteem. However, at the levels of formal equals, it is just a display of pretended mutual respect and affability. However, it has no such meaning in the wider social interaction.

    For instance, it is an expected behaviour when a common Indian enters an Indian police station.

    For more on this, check SHROUDED STATNISM in FEUDAL LANGUAGES Chapter 48 [item 54] and Chapter 22

    White Hindus do not get to know much about these realities, unless and until they also get subordinated to the dominant groups of India. Searching: J B JUNCTION INTERVIEW WITH GAIL on Youtube might give an insight.

  • Prakash Abraham

    You have offended the writer’s feelings, you have offended every feudal lord in this world by an undiplomatic criticizm, doesn’t matter this blog or that blog, saying the writer cannot feel the pain of the subjugated and feudal effect on languages or doing a deliberate propaganda. When we express our views, whether right or wrong always give a chance for other person to save their face, especially when western societies are open to feedbacks, so they make course corrections, which is inbuilt for civilised. western societies of TODAY, unlike some highly FEUDAL EASTERN, MIDDLE EAST societies etc you are referring to….. Those who are intolerant in words ( *like Namaste ) or in deeds shall be building walls and dividing societies; wish if the readers recognise this from the painful real life in any retrograde feudal societies.

  • ∩⌂∫⅓∂Ψ

    Namah + te = Namaste. I bow to “the divine” in you.

  • Michael John Miller

    Thank you, this is very informative.

  • Susan

    Thank you so much for this explanation. It rings true.

  • Ranjit Ballal

    In Hindu thought a person is identified as an individual body that houses the divine consciousnesses which is ‘Atman’. You do not bow to an individual as a body but to an individual who is embodiment of divine. Hence ‘I bow to you’ means I bow to the divine or Atman (consciousnesses) in you. Hope this explanation helps. (Nameste=Namh+as+te, Bow I to you or I bow to divine in you.)

  • Alicia Anderson

    I hear this everywhere I go. New age hippies or “hipsters” saying this to people. They have no idea what they’re actually saying, and that makes me sad. I sure wish people would educate themselves about what they’re’ saying. Next time someone tells me they bow to me I am going to order them to get me food. There’s no other way to show me you love me than to get me food. Seriously, educate yourselves!!

    Thank you for this explanation, Ambaa!

    • Jane

      I am no hipster or hippie tho I have studied sanskrit, teach tai chi & do yoga & meditation. I see no problem with people – no matter their background – using Namaste as a greeting. It’s a lovely way to say hello & no different than saying bonjour, hola, hello “evening” “morning” howdy G’day etc Sometimes the whole “cultural appropriation” uproar goes too far. It’s a nice way to say hello & convey a bit more about your respect or good will towards the other person. Why be insulting & angry about those who choose to do that?

      • Actually it literally means “I bow to you” as if in worship. Maybe do a little research about what you participate in before you get defensive.

        • Jane

          I’m really not sure why you’re so hostile but I will try to help you understand my point so you might feel less angry about it. The “literal” meaning of a word is not the same as the USAGE of a word. The beauty of language is how flexible and multi-faceted even just one word can be. So a word like “namaste” can be used in many different ways in different contexts – the important thing is its meaning to the person speaking and the person they are talking to. To take a similar example from a different culture: “Bless you” can carry great spiritual gravitas for a Christian in certain circumstances, can be a deeply felt expression of gratitude in others, or be a simple throw away line when someone sneezes. But in any case, nothing I said previously was contradicting the original article that you agreed with so I am at a loss to see why you reacted so badly to my comment. Peace.

          • Jane, I actually agreed with the definition of “Namaste” as it was stated in the article. I’m not sure why you think I’m outraged by this. It’s annoying and the people that bow to others to fit in with the hipster era are annoying and frankly, stupid. Using a word with a specific meaning as a cute greeting isn’t using language fluidly, it’s not knowing how to use language effectively. It’s kinda pathetic how many people don’t look up true meanings nowadays, especially because google does all the work for you. “Namaste definition” in the search bar will give you the ACTUAL definition, not some hipster greeting.

          • Jane

            LOL The usage of “Namaste” has been around for decades – it’s not a “hipster era” word. I really don’t know how else to explain things to you so I’ll just leave it at what I’ve already written in these comments and hope one day you will read back over the article and many of the comments here and understand. I’m pretty sure no-one who uses the word in any sense now or in the past ever meant any harm so it’s all good. Please try not to assume & judge others so harshly. Peace.

    • Reggie Harrison

      It is only in cultures of domination and control that a bow means subservience and/or worship. To think it so does indicate the mindset one follows regarding the equality of their fellow man; power over others. Cultures with high regard and respect for one another motion with a bow for that regard; power with others. Namaste is far older than decades long, stemming from a time where we were in closer communion with Source energy, recognizing that Source was in all of us. It is not merely some new fad word and motion stemming out of the recent times. It is the recognition of Source in another that one would bow(show respect and honor) to. Though, as I respect the source within you to create your world and understanding as you see fit, you are free to believe and feel however you like about the gesture.

  • Lanie Dreer

    I appreciate that someone is caring enough to say it. At least they are trying. In Hawaii, everyone gets on the ‘aloha’ bandwagon, and no one tries to analyze every syllable of the word. Please people, be at peace. Love your neighbors. And try to appreciate when they love you.

    • Jane

      THIS comment is so refreshingly nice and accepting. Thank you for just taking things in the spirit they are intended without judging.

  • Michael Costigan

    Release all the Sanskrit words you like and want. But finally, ETERNAL DIVINE LIFE AND PURE PEACE IS A PERSON ! That’s right, LIFE is a PERSON…think about that for awhile. And who is this PERSON ? He is the Eternal Son of the Living God, JESUS (means SAVIOR) the CHRIST of GOD (Greek)…and MESSIAH for the JEW.
    The word Cristo and Messiah mean Savior and also Divine Annointed One.. Jesus said he came to earth that we might have LIFE (Zoe), meaning Divine Eternal Life. Jesus also said that:”I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE, no man cometh unto The Father but by me.” John 14:6. If you believe and receive JESUS into your Life here on earth, HE promises to forgive your sin, (as HE paid for that on Calvary in HIS Death, ) wash your soul, deliver you from evil, set you free and give you Eternal Life with HIM in Heaven.The Father grants this PROMISE to those who believe & follow Christ and HIS teachings, also becoming a member of HIS Kingdom and finally a true Son (adopted) of God. This great Promise is for everybody who Repents and Believes in Jesus, the Eternal Son and Creator Himself. John 1.

    • Jane

      I prefer to see the divine in the people and animals I interact with rather than attribute everything to a mythical “man” in the sky. Jesus was simply trying to tell everyone that the divinity is within each of us not in him or some other being. Christians and others simply missed the point.

      • Jane you obviously haven’t read the Bible. Jesus was telling us He is God in the flesh. That’s why He said “I am God”…..

        • Jane

          actually I have read the Bible – several versions. Extensively

          • Then you would have read that Jesus is God and that humans are not divine.

  • Dawn Harman

    Thanks for the teachings.

  • Jane

    I think it’s one of those words where yes there is a basic “all purpose” meaning but it has more to it and it’s open to people to interpret it. It’s a basic greeting but it has a lot more to it than just a casual “yeah hi”. Like Shalom or an English person saying “Bless you”. It isn’t necessarily any God thing or whatever, but from my understanding of Sanskrit & religious/spiritual connections to the language it does have a spiritual context, not a purely secular one

  • Michael Costigan

    hahaha…nothing but confusion with Hindu’s and Buddists…The TRUTH has already come to earth in the person of Jesus…follow HIM and LIVE FOREVER ! “He that believeth on the Son hath Everlasting Life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3:36 It’s not what you think…but it is what God said that will prevail. Be careful with Eternal Life!

  • Michael Costigan

    hahaha…nothing but confusion with Hindu’s and Buddists…The TRUTH has already come to earth in the person of Jesus…follow HIM and LIVE FOREVER. “He that believeth on the Son hath Everlasting Life: and he that believeth not the Son will not see life; and the wrath of God abidith on him !

  • Nick Kler

    Why would you bow to me if I have nothing special within me? Maybe you are bowing to my true self or my pure soul? Or maybe you are bowing to God that resides within me? Unless you have reason to believe that you are bowing to something superior within me that reciprocates, I don’t see a reason for you to bow to me or vice a versa ………………..

    • Reggie Harrison

      It is through the idea that we are all divine, all facets of the creator. Bowing is a sign of respect for that facet as a powerful creator of one’s own reality, one’s own world. “I bow(see and respect) the divine source within you”. Whether you see yourself as special doesn’t negate the fact that you are indeed special. You have simply have yet to find out how much so.

  • Reggie Harrison

    So, I agree with you to a particular degree. There is indeed a lot of appropriation of terms, meanings, practices within the “new age” movement. However, there are also a lot of people who give reverence to the meanings of certain concepts. The hangup I’m finding regarding your twitch is the difference in how language is perceived across cultures. Yes, from an english perspective, the language that is literal upon its mental conception and construction, the meaning of things can be somewhat dry and two or even three dimensional in its existence; A means B, this is that, don’t color outside the very narrow lines. However, other languages, from a linguistic standpoint, derive from more of a metaphorical basis within the mental conception and construction of meaning; fourth and higher dimensional concepts. Translations into english make literal, make limited, that which may not have been meant to be perceived literally, but felt within the expansiveness of that word/sound’s being, their full vibratory expression. So, in our times, people have lost so much the energetic intricacies of our sounds that we use words by way of rote utterance to convey our more base wishes. This is evident through the sayings we hold to that have been passed down from times of old. Now, I don’t think everyone with a Namaste tattoo understands this, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t those who do. Poetic translations may actually be the best way one can put words to an energetic concept, like describing a feeling birthed from the vibration of the sound within you.
    Love and peace.