Let me take this opportunity to say "Namastey" to all the readers of this column.

The pandemic COVID -19, has united the world to fight this virus that has attacked the globe. "NAMASTEY" is replaced by handshakes and hugs!

Namastey is usually 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; the standing posture incorporating it is Pranamasana. It means "I bow to the divine in you".

Definition of Namastey:  "Nama" means I bow to you. Therefore, Namastey, literally means "bow me you" or "I bow to you."

Voice of faith is “Namastey”. It is a respectful form of greeting, when two persons, male or female, when they meet and depart.

“Namaskar” and “Namaskaram” are different versions also used for courteous greeting.

“Namastey” is a combination of words derived from Sanskrit that mean “I bow to you.” "It is a noncontact form of greeting", as opposed to hugging or shaking hands. It is quite proper if a person from a different culture uses this form of salutation to another person.

Namastey has spiritual overtones:-

 Hindu God Kubera, with a person in Namastey pose (13th century Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura, Karnataka, India). Namastey or Añjali Mudrā are common in historic Hindu temples.

 Entrance pillar relief (Thrichittatt Maha Vishnu Temple, Kerala, India).
Namaste (Namas + te) is derived from Sanskrit and is a combination of the word namas and the second person dative pronoun in its enclitic form, te.[5] The word namaḥ takes the sandhi form namas before the sound te.[6][7]

 "Namas" is found in the Vedic literature. Namas - krita and related terms appear in the Hindu scripture Rigveda such as in the Vivaha Sukta, verse 10.85.22[8] in the sense of "worship, adore", while "Namaskara" appears in the sense of "exclamatory adoration, homage, salutation and worship" in the Atharvaveda, the Taittiriya Samhita, and the Aitareya Brahmana. It is an expression of veneration, worship, reverence, an "offering of homage" and "adoration" in the Vedic literature and post-Vedic texts such as the Mahabharata.[9][10] The phrase Namas-te appears with this meaning in Rigveda 8.75.10,[11] Atharvaveda verse 6.13.2, Taittirya Samhita and in numerous other instances in many early Hindu texts.[12] It is also found in numerous ancient and medieval era sculpture and mandapa relief artwork in Hindu temples.[13]

 Residents of Okhaldhunga District used, Namastey an every day gesture!

In the contemporary era, "Namaḥ" means 'bow', 'obeisance', 'reverential salutation' or 'adoration'[14] and te means 'to you' (singular dative case of 'tvam'). Therefore, Namastey, literally means "bowing to you".[15] In Hinduism, it also has a spiritual import reflecting the belief that "the divine and self (atman, soul) is same in you and me", and connotes "I bow to the divine in you".[16][1][17]

 According to sociologist Holly Oxhandler, it is a term which means, "the sacred in me recognizes the sacred in you".[18]

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 second person plural pronoun vaḥ.[5] The word namaḥ takes the Sandhi form namo before the sound v.[6] 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 second person dual pronoun vām.[5]

 According to a belief, God is transcendent, as well as imminent. Divine spirit is everywhere, even within our inner most self. Divinity is present in all.

 When I greet you, I greet the divine spirit in you. I bow to you with folded hands, the same way I pray to God; you are a “temple of God” to me.
Because of its spiritual connotation, and a sense of oneness in all, the "Namastey", greeting is being revered and is getting wider global attention.

Swami Vivekananda echoes this and defines God by stating, “The only God to worship is the human soul in human body. The moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God within him, that moment I am free from bondage (ego).”

The spiritual meaning of Namastey, conveys that “the divine in me respectfully recognizes the divine in you.” Namastey invokes the feeling of spiritual oneness of heart and mind, with the person one is greeting.

 With the increasing popularity and acceptance of yoga and meditation as a way of life, Namastey has become a popular mode of greetings. It's expression of reverence, respect, humility and unity; the essential qualities in every human interaction. When understood in a spiritual context, Namastey can be a proper greeting for us all.

Namastey to all my friends, brothers and sisters in the world!

Neelam Singh 
(The author was a History  Professor, researcher and scholar, in the University of Delhi. She's done research in Ancient Indan History. The etymology of the word Namastey, is derived in this article).

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