If you interact with others starting by stating that you honor, recognize, and appreciate in them the same divine within you, how could you not treat others ethically and with loving kindness?
"Namaste" is a Sanskrit word used in the contemporary era, where "namah" means 'bow' and "te" means 'to you'. Strictly speaking, it means ‘I bow to you’.
In Hinduism, it also has a spiritual connotation: "the divine and self is same in you and me", and connotes "I bow to the divine in you".
Some of the ways it has been translated are:
✧ I bow to the place in you that is love, light, and joy.
✧ I honor the place in you where the entire universe dwells.
✧ When you and I bow to our true nature, we are one.
✧ My soul recognizes your soul.
✧ We are the same, we are one.
✧ I honor the place in you that is the same as it is in me.
The first time I heard "Namaste", something inside me resonated in recognition.
Back then, I had developed some sort of aversion to the whole India idea, because almost everyone I met at work ––I used to work internationally since I was 19–– asked me if I had lived in India, as they found parallels between something I had said and something commonly said in Hinduism. Every time I would reply that my thoughts and my understanding of life were mine only, and that no, I had nothing to do with India.
I can still remember the first day I started studying in India, many years later ––life tends to do that to you, so never say never. All the cells in my body activated and started yelling “yes!” to every single word I heard in each of the classes. It was as if I already knew, deep down; it all made so much sense. For maybe the first time in my life, I felt understood, I felt I had found my place in the world, I felt it was valid to stand for what I believed in, I felt my life had a clear purpose.
Hinduism is a rich array of philosophies, traditions, and practices, with a core of essential beliefs that speaks about a universal order and suggests a way of life. One of these beliefs is that the soul is eternal and the physical body goes through many birth and death cycles, following the laws of karma, until the soul reaches purification.
"Namaste" supports this belief as it reminds us to do the right thing for us and others: by seeing the divine within, it conveys the idea that all are one. This affirms that beneath the outer makeup that makes you seem different from others, you are one and the same. Yu are sacred, no less. And if you see the sacred in all, then you are likely to treat everyone with compassion, respect, and care.
By dropping the walls that divide us, we can all feel the pain, the suffering, the hunger of those around us, and also their joy and happiness.
Even though this one word encompasses the essential teachings of Hinduism, it transcends Hinduism and practicing Hindus, as it offers a very important message for humanity.
Because of this, maybe we all should embrace it regardless of our spiritual or religious tradition.
Maybe, it can start with you?
~ L, 🙏🏻.