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By now the world is familiar with the traditional greeting of Namaste. The physical gesture of the folded hands is combined with the verbal greeting ‘Namaste’. It is a combination of the two Sanskrit words : Namah meaning a reverential bow and te meaning to you.

I like this interpretation of the word: The Spirit within me bows to the Spirit within you. I think that it is such a wonderful acknowledgement that all human beings are created by the Divine Spirit and are to be treated as sacred.

I remember Alan Cohen writing about a seminar in preparation for which he asked the participants to send him a picture of themselves as babies. He then got these pictures transferred on to T-shirts which he asked the participants to wear during the seminar. He instructed them that if  they got angry with another participant they had to look at that person’s T-shirt and imagine that they were dealing with a sensitive baby rather than an adult. He told them to talk to the other with patience and love as they would to a child because everyone carries within them the inner child – that needs to be handled with care.

If we carried out this exercise in daily life and imagined that everyone was carrying not an inner child but the Divine Spirit within, how much more sensitive and careful we would be.

I know that in a recent interaction with another, I completely forgot to respect that Divine Spirit within the other person. I was too busy nurturing my inner child to recognize that I was hurting the other person.  This is not the first time I’ve done this nor will it be the last. However, I’m becoming more aware and conscious of it and hopefully growing to be more sensitive and compassionate. It’s a long road, but I’m taking tiny steps.



  1. linda Prin linda Prin July 1, 2016

    What a great spiritual statement “my spirit bows to your spirit”. I will have to make sure that I educate my children how important this respect is and practice it among those in my home. Thanks for sharing the spirit of peace I never knew what namaste meant before.

  2. namaste namaste June 19, 2012

    […] Namaste! […]

  3. meenakshi meenakshi June 6, 2012

    excellent Corrine, I have also been practicing to be patient and this write up gives me the easy ways to do so.  I am aware that it is easier read and said than done but the inputs are always welcome.

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 13, 2012

       @meenakshi Thank you for your comment and you’re so right it’s much easier said than done. But I do believe that even an awareness of this could make a change in our way of dealing with people. 

  4. jennsonthego jennsonthego June 5, 2012

    Like Melissa I am more familiar with Shalom (Hebrew)…but I’ve learned something new today!!  Thank you for sharing 🙂 Cheers, Jenn. 

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 13, 2012

       @jennsonthego I’m glad this added to your knowledge, Jenn. I love the word Shalom too – such depth of meaning there.

  5. nikky44 nikky44 June 5, 2012

    I loved this post’s been only two or three moths  that I understood the meaning of this word. I love it because it shows respect to the Soul <3

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 13, 2012

       @nikky44 I like your phrase ‘respect to the Soul’ – so true!

  6. MelissaTandoc MelissaTandoc June 4, 2012

    I am more familiar with Shalom (Hebrew) and Salam (Arabic) ~ which, according to Wikipedia, have similar meanings. Does it mean giving ‘peace’ (in all its sense)? But understanding how you’ve described it, it’s very beautiful… I, not only give peace, but also recognize the Spirit in the other person.
    This is very timely esp. that we’ve just celebrated the Trinity Sunday 🙂 It is said that our replies to the greetings would be changed into, “The Spirit is with you.” I like it better 🙂
    It’s the first time I’ve heard of Alan’s creative work :), mentioning this, I also recognize the potential saint in every person I meet :)…I also recognize Christ in everyone (of course, this doesn’t happen all the time but I try :P)…
    I guess we just have to be patient with ourselves 🙂  As Bonnie said, one baby step at a time :*

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 13, 2012

       @MelissaTandoc I guess all of these words have the same intention – a salutation but also a blessing and an acknowledgement of the other. I’ve quite fallen in love with Alan Cohen – I find his writings so meaningful and yet so practical. 

  7. DangerousLinda DangerousLinda June 4, 2012

    Hi, Corinne! ~
    I like to think of people as the baby they were and also as the old person they will become, in addition to the person they are now — we are all these people (and many more).  It is true that the perspective changes depending on which version of the person we believe we are dealing with.
    For example, sometimes I get so mad at my ex-husband but then I remember a story he told me about going to school in Kindergarten and being the only kid who didn’t have Twinkies because his mother was from China and she didn’t know what they were.  He would sneak into the coat closet and steal them out of the other kids’ lunches — haha!  Even now it makes me feel so mushy to think of that sweet little boy and how could I stay mad?       
    Lovely post.  I would like to share at 

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 13, 2012

       @DangerousLinda I love your example, Linda and I’m sure he told you that story for a reason! Thank you for sharing. 

  8. Vanita Kumta Vanita Kumta June 4, 2012

    Why do we do Namaste?
      Indians greet each other with Namaste. The two palms are placed together
      in  front of the chest and the head bows whilst saying the word Namaste.
      This greeting is for all – people younger than us, of our own age, those
      older  than  friends,  even  strangers  and  us. There are five forms of
      formal   traditional   greeting  enjoined  in  the  shaastras  of  which
       Namaskaram  is  one.  This  is understood as prostration but it actually
       refers  to  paying homage as we do today when we greet each other with a
       Namaste.  Namaste could be just a casual or formal greeting, a cultural
       convention  or  an act of worship. However there is much more to it than
       meets the eye. In Sanskrit namah + te = Namaste. It means – I bow to you
       –  my  greetings,  salutations or prostration to you. Namaha can also be
       literally  interpreted  as  “na  ma”  (not  mine).  It  has  a spiritual
       significance  of  negating  or  reducing  one’s  ego  in the presence of
       another.  The real meeting between people is the meeting of their minds.
       When  we  greet  another,  we  do so with Namaste, which means, “may our
       minds  meet,” indicated by the folded palms placed before the chest. The
       bowing  down  of  the head is a gracious form of extending friendship in
       love and humility. The spiritual meaning is even deeper. The life force,
       the divinity, the Self or the Lord in me is the same in all. Recognising
       this  oneness  with  the meeting of the palms, we salute with head bowed
       the  Divinity in the person we meet. That is why sometimes, we close our
       eyes  as  we  do Namaste to a revered person or the Lord – as if to look
       within.  The  gesture is often accompanied by words like “Ram Ram”, “Jai
       Shri  Krishna”,  “Namo  Narayana”,  “Jai  Siya  Ram”,  “Om Shanti” etc –
       indicating   the  recognition  of  this  divinity.  When  we  know  this
       significance, our greeting does not remain just a superficial gesture or
       word  but  paves  the  way  for  a  deeper  communion with another in an
       atmosphere of love and respect.

  9. RituLalit RituLalit June 4, 2012

    Namaste ji.  What a nice way to describe it.

  10. femmefrugality femmefrugality June 4, 2012

    Oh, wow.  I love this so much.  Both the interpretation of the word and the baby t-shirt example.  You help me so much on my spiritual journey, Corinne!

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 4, 2012

      I loved the story when I read it too, Brynne. And suddenly yesterday I was inspired to make the connection. I’m glad it resonated with you, femmefrugality 

  11. DawnStorey DawnStorey June 4, 2012

    This is beautiful, Corinne. What an excellent perspective – I will remember this!

  12. privytrifles privytrifles June 3, 2012

    Namaste ~ beautiful post Corinne. Though I have always known the meaning of this word, I guess I never thought about it while using it.  A beautiful reminder of some small but important steps we can take to change our life.

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 4, 2012

       @privytrifles Yes, the meaning of the word made fresh sense to me in light of a recent event. It’s always the small changes that make the most difference, I think.

  13. cathymbeebe cathymbeebe June 3, 2012

    Namaste! Thanks for this reminder…

  14. Glori Glori June 3, 2012

    Namaste! Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. Janaki Nagaraj Janaki Nagaraj June 3, 2012

    True…nice post.

  16. marthaorlando marthaorlando June 3, 2012

    What Alan Cohen did with this group reminds me so of how Jesus emphasized how we must become like children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  That inner child is the Divine Spark!  And, what a beautiful world this would be if every one of us greeted one another with “namaste” and truly meant it.
    Great post, Corinne!  Namaste!

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 3, 2012

       @marthaorlando I hadn’t thought of that, Martha. But it makes so much sense, doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing. 

  17. Casey B Casey B June 3, 2012

    Love this post, Corinne. What Mr. Cohen did is amazing- perhaps it could be a way of dealing with everyday angry situations – try to imagine the person you’re dealing with as the child they once were. 🙂 Namaste,

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 3, 2012

       @Casey B Yes, Casey, the key is to remember to do it. But we’ll get there only if we begin, right? 🙂

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