(This is is the first a several postings inspired by our recent trip to India.)

Everywhere we went in India, we were greeted with the Sanskrit word “Namaste,” along with the gesture of palms together right at the heart, a slight bow of the head and the connection that comes with direct eye contact (and the eyes were often sparkling).

Namaste (pronounced, “Nam-ah-stay”) means so much more than a mere “howdy!”

I have been aware of the word and its meaning for decades, having practiced yoga and meditation in my early 20’s.  In fact, my car has a “Namaste” bumper sticker.  However, traveling in India, the true spirit of the word, gesture and connection between people and souls took on deeper meaning.

According to Wikipedia, “Namaste is one of a small list of Sanskrit words commonly recognized by Non-Hindi speakers.”  The following are various interpretations offered in the listing:

  • “I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me.” — attributed to but not claimed by author Deepak Chopra.
  • “I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One.”
  • “Your spirit and my spirit are ONE.” — attributed to Lilias Folan’s shared teachings from her journeys to India.
  • “That which is of God in me greets that which is of God in you.”
  • “The Divinity within me perceives and adores the Divinity within you.”  First spoken by Indira Sankrishzahara to Michael Gratiot upon his arrival in Lhasa, Tibet.”

Our modern and Western expression in The Power of TED* – and which is intended to convey the same spirit – is “To the Creator in you!”