In India, many greet each other with the word “Namaste” – this is joined usually by a slight bow and palms touching in front, sort of like a prayer gesture.
Namaste means literally “I bow to you”. But the way it’s used, or the meaning behind it is “I bow to God (Īśvara) in you” or “I bow to that in you which is God (Īśvara)“.
And it’s actually written namaḥ te. With saṃskṛtam sandhi, it becomes “namaste”.
Many people in spiritual circles have adopted this expression and use it constantly. I suppose many don’t truly understand the significance. IF they did, their search would be over instantaneously. 🙂 To most, especially in the West, it’s just another thing, along with beads and chants, to feel more spiritual.
This expression “Namaste” honors the individual (Jīva), which is an expression of the Divinity (Brahman) – and points to the fact that in essence – YOU ARE THAT Divinity. Which I am also. Thus it’s Divinity acknowledging Divinity.
So this expression is a teaching – actually a potent pointer. When grasped it can eradicate the idea of the false individuality (body-mind-intellect)… and point towards the fact that you are THAT ESSENCE (Brahman). That (Brahman/Consciousness) FROM WHICH the individual (Jīva) comes and goes.
So the Indians, even if they don’t understand it, are pointing towards that simple recognition each time.
Namaste, my friends.