Hi! Hello! Or Namaste? Which among these would you like to be greeted with? Most likely, one of the first two. But for me, I would I opt for Namaste, anytime. Literally translated, Namaste is ‘I bow to you,’ where ‘Namas’

means “to bow” and ‘te’ means “to you”. Here are some more insights into this magical word.

Usually, the gesture accompanying a Namaste is a bow of the head, and sometimes, the upper body. The other important aspect of a proper Namaste is bringing together of the palms of the hands with the finger-tips pointed towards the middle of the forehead, the location of Lord Shiva’s third eye. But it’s largely up to the person doing it what style to adopt. The point is not so much the gesture itself but the sentiments attached to it.

Namaste is a universal greeting. Whether one person is being greeted or many, and irrespective of their caste, creed and status, one can throw up their hands, plonk their palms

together, and utter Namaste! This simple gesture means so much more than a brisk handshake or a nonchalant wave. When addressing a mass, for instance, a wave can often be interpreted as apathetic and there is also no possibility of shaking hands with each and every person of the crowd. However, a simple Namaste does the trick. It expresses both humility and respect for the people.

As a Hindu, I see Namaste as recognition of a work of God and the eternal balance between the one being greeted and God that helps bring balance and order in this world filled with misery and chaos. But rather than going into what the gesture means literally, the focus should be on maintaining the integrity it calls for.

Each of us may be able to dig up new meanings of the word. But this gesture, also a manifestation of the respect we accord to our cultural heritage, should not go empty. It is equally important to be aware of the implications of this sacred gesture — as we should be aware in the use of colloquialism and aphorisms.

If someone asks: “Why do you say Namaste?” one must be able to enlighten the inquirer of the significance of this pious token of Eastern culture. Before I put my pen down, I just have enough time to greet all of you with a heartfelt Namaste!