Namaste, Have a Nice Day, Good Morning

“Namaste” is a word I hear quite frequently these days, usually from someone who’s taking yoga or Ti Chi classes. I tend to be around “spiritual seekers” of one kind or another a lot and know the word seems to always be spoken positively in the context of a blessing and good wish. I got curious about what “Namaste” really means.

Namaste, is a common spoken valediction or salutation originating from the Indian subcontinent. It is a customary greeting when individuals meet, and a valediction upon their parting. A non-contact form of salutation is traditionally preferred in India and Namaste is the most common form of such a salutation.

When spoken to another person, it is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest.. Wikipedia

Namaste, when simply put, means ‘I bow to you’. It is a respectful salutation and is used as a courtesy greeting. When two people greet each other with a Namaste, it is an act of recognizing the presence of divinity in the other as it is in oneself. Therefore, Namaste is a not just a greeting but a reminder that a higher Spirit resides in you as it does in me. So, an alternative definition for Namaste would be ‘I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me’. This definition is attributed to author Kabir Chopra in the book ‘Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment’ by Deepak Chopra.

Namaste also has another meaning. The ‘NA’ in Namaste signifies a negation; ‘MA’ means ‘mine’ and ‘TE’ as mentioned earlier means ‘you’. When put together, it simply means ‘not mine but yours’. Thus, saying Namaste is a subtle way of giving up one’s ego and surrendering to the Supreme Spirit that is recognized to be present in the other person.

In coming to know the true meaning of Namaste it seems similar to “bless you” frequently heard in western countries. My curiously continued pushing me toward the roots of this expression as well. What I found was the term “bless you” actually comes from an ancient superstition that a person who sneezes might actually sneeze their soul out of their body. Ok, how about “have a nice day”?

Some say “have a nice day” itself first appeared in the 1948 film “A Letter to Three Wives”. According to Roland Dickison of California State University “have a good day” first appeared in Geoffrey Chaucer’s 1387 “The Canterbury Tales”.

What about “Good Morning”? As we use it started as a greeting, “have a good morning” with a shortened version of “good morning”‘ dates from around 1400, as “gode morwene”.

Now I have some relatively useless information stored in my head to dump onto others at opportune moments. Interesting I can remember such trivia for years and years, but can’t remember a phone number more than 12 seconds.

“Namaste, have a nice day and good morning” seems to cover my bases on wishing everyone a meaningful day. I am grateful to get to share my thoughts and ramblings here every day!

Lord I know I’m not here to stay,
but thanks for waking me up today.
Prepare me for what may come my way.
Cee Lo Green