Many different belief systems extol the virtues of selflessness, and that’s quite notable considering we’re living in a time in history when selfishness is now a more profound part of the human identity. It’s a situation that’s grown out of the way that the world has adopted western ideals all over. It is what it is, but if people can find ways to be less about themselves and more about the collective good of humanity then we all stand to benefit. So how would this lend itself to a discussion of what is a Namaskar?
We’ve talked at length here about the practice of the Namaste salutation and all the roots it has in Hindu and Sanskrit culture, and how it’s been appropriated by other cultural groups around the world. Very notably with how it’s associated with yoga practice, and how that part of it is really selling it short in the terms of the relevance and significance of what it means to say ‘Namaste’. But with this entry, we’ll go in a different direction and define Namaskar.
There’s much the same in the intended meaning and message with putting the palms of your hands together in from of your chest and performing the shallowest of head bows as you say Namaste. But the part of what is a Namaskar that you’ll want to know is that it is slightly different. Here’s what we mean by that.
Namaskar comes from the Sanskrit word namaha, which translates to ‘not me’. Now you can see where we were going with making the connection to selflessness. We have talked about how the Namaste greeting works out to ‘I recognize and bow to the spirit in you, but with what is a Namaskar greeting it is a little different. We can define Namaskar and start by saying that it is used more formally than saying Namaste, and can be translated more accurately to ‘I pay my salutations to you’.
The use of the hands and the shallow bow is the same, but it’s important to know that if you bow your head deeply, instead the person may think you’re a bit of a bozo. So it’s important to use the Namaskar salutation in contexts where it is appropriate, and make sure you only head bow shallowly. The other difference between Namaste and Namaskar besides the level of formality is that with what is a Namaskar you are emphasizing the fact that this is what you are doing.
You want that person to understand you genuinely believe they are worthy of such reverence, and that’s the way it’s been with the cultural underpinnings of this expression for centuries now. It’s advisable to have a real understanding of the expression before you use it – as a salutation or otherwise.
As You Are Now
Conceptualism is very helpful when you are trying to understand what is a Namaskar. We can go further in an effort to define Namaskar by saying that it embodies the belief that you express your respect and reverence for the other person as they are now. Doing otherwise will not allow the person to experience something or someone the way they are right now, and this is very important.
The belief is that if someone comes in front of you, there is a need to be able to grasp them the way they are right now. All lives are works in progress, and you would want to have this same truth seen in you and your own spiritual growth and development. As you bow down with a Namaskar salutation towards them, you are in the bigger picture recognizing the source of creation within them. This adds a nice amount of depth to what is a Namaskar.
All of this has a greater connection to mudras as a whole, and the last thing we’ll add with this entry about what is a Namaskar and the ways to define Namaskar is that by putting your palms together as you offer the salutation you are actually orienting your energy meridians so that the salutation becomes much more real and vivid with the way the recipient receives it from you. It’s quite something and speaks to the way that these gestures really do offer positive spiritual energy to others.