“You would also do well to remember that what I say and how you perceive what I say can be completely different depending upon your awareness of yourself and the level of skill you have attained.”
Miyamoto Musashi translated by Stephen F. Kaufman

The Martial Artist’s Book of Five Rings



Namaste, as I know it, means something like “I recognize and cherish the eternal light that shines forth from you”. That’s a heavy load for a single word – which is why I don’t use it often. If I say it to you it means:

I am assuming that there is a higher force / god / quality

I am assuming that this higher presence resides in everyone including you and I

I am assuming you can contain my bringing it up

It indicates that at some point in our recent conversation I probably lost track of it

It indicates that I realized I was lost

It indicates that I found it once again

It indicates that I have experienced again that which we have in common and gives us direction in life

It indicates that I am grateful for having seen this through you

It indicates that I am grateful to you for having given me this gift

What do you mean when you say namaste?

This entry was posted in Expanding, inside. You are welcome to read 8 comments and to add yours


  1. Posted May 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I happen to be one of those people who never says it. I love the word and concept, and I always appreciate it when others use it with me–no problem there.

    But for some reason I don't feel comfortable using it myself. I haven't ever tried to figure out why, because it doesn't trouble me. It probably has something to do with overly assumed spiritual intimacy, like you imply in your blog.

    Bob Weisenberg

    • Posted May 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for stopping by Bob πŸ™‚

      I can easily relate to that. I am like that with the world "love" πŸ™‚ I never say "I love you". I prefer to put that into action and skip over the ground-into-thin-dust-thin words.

      As for Namaste, for me the combination of it being from a foreign language and the very specific context make it more accessible and useful for me. There is a small irony in this, because when I say it indicates "I just made a conscious choice not to be angry at you" when most people are thinking it's some kind of spiritual "I love you".

      I can at best be clear about my intentions – and now I put in words – so I can easily refer those that want to know to what I mean by it πŸ™‚

  2. Posted May 23, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    When I use the word, Namaste, I am saying that I respect you as a creation of God, as part of the divine. Personally, I love the word/greeting. It is overly used in the American yoga community and as Bob said, has some kind of assumed spiritual intimacy. In Nepal, it is simply a respectful greeting that warms the heart.

    • Posted May 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for commenting πŸ™‚
      Can you say what it is that prompts you to use it and not "overly" use it?

  3. Posted May 24, 2010 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    I guess, for me, I use it when I really mean it. I don't just use it haphazardly. When I "namaste" someone, I do it with divine intention and feeling. If I don't feel it, I don't say it.

  4. Posted June 14, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I found this through Fred's blog and I love this post.

    To answer your question – I use it often when I am in India, where it is the norm when I am in a traditional setting, especially with elders. I was taught, as a child to say "Namaskaram", the South Indian version of Namaste, to my elders. It means I salute the god in you. I believe every person had god in them. Even people who appear horrible have a tiny spark of goodness somewhere and by saying Namaskaram to them, I am not saluting the horribleness, but acknowledging that there is good in them too.

    Now, what stunned me when I came to your site is the Tat Tvam Asi on the right hand side. So few people understand what that means. It is an incredible, powerful phrase. In fact, I have named my production company Tatvam (different, but similar).

    Nice to visit your blog.

    • Posted June 14, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for taking the time to visit and relate πŸ™‚

      I don't always see the good in people. The idea of Namaste – whether or not I verbalize it – is a reminder to me to seek it out. I believe it's always there – sometimes it takes time, patience and digging to find it πŸ™‚

      "Tat Tvam Asi" is the only description of myself that I feel fits me πŸ™‚ Not many people notice it or comment on it – so thank so much for noticing πŸ™‚

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