Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Dictionary


Home | Rel-Dictionary | Dictionary


Back to N

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P-Q  R  S  T-U  V-W-X  Y-Z


Namastey is an usual mode of greetings in India. When two people see each other, they join their palms together and put it near their chest and say Namastey to greet people just as others shake hands or kiss on the cheek. According to the western culture it means similar to "Hello!", but actually it is much more than only Hello.

Namastey is actually a Sanskrit language word, made up of NAMAH + AS ( us) + TEY - where ----
NAMAH means ---to bow
AS means------- ---- I
and TEY means------- you.     On the whole it means "I bow to you".

But why do we place our hands near the chest? In Yog one has to work on his Kundalinee which is a condensed form of the vital forces in a human body. It is a mysterious force. Lot of people today talk about the awakening of Kundalinee but they do not know what is what.

(It is NOT that easy to awaken Kundalinee and it can be also without proper guidance, so please do not try to awaken it just like that. You have to attain inner purification first ie purification in thoughts, mind, will, conscience and soul---by renouncing the very sense of "I", "ME" and "MINE" and be free of all malice and worldly desires. Can any ONE of us attain this?? No, we cannot, unless we renounce the world and become Yogee under the guidance of Poorn Guru - meaning one who himself has renounced the world and attained a connection with the Divine. Such Guru are not easy to find. Nor do they live in human congregations. They live in isolation.)

Kundalinee literally means 'that which is coiled' and it is often likened to a serpent, particularly since the ascent up the spine can often appear to be like the sinuous movement of a snake. For the human being to attain union with Brahm, the two polar aspects of Brahm, Shiv and Shakti, (Positive and Negative just like Yin and Yang) must meet. As long as the two are separate, the psyche cannot be whole.

The Kundalinee has seven principal Chakra are the energy points in the human body. One of these is the Anahat or the Heart Chakra (cardiac plexus) which is the source of Love and Compassion. That is why we keep our joined palms near the chest, near the heart Chakra!, near the energy point of love and compassion.. For the human being is considered to be a form of the supreme itself, we bring the hands together at the Heart Chakra to increase the flow of Divine love towards the other.

Namastey can also be done by placing our hands in front of the third eye - the Aagyaa Chakra - positioned between the two eyebrows. Aagyaa Chakra is considered as the Chakra of Mind. This is especially a deep form of respect. We bow to the Supreme in this manner when we close our eyes and bow down our head, It helps the mind surrender to the Divine in the heart.

The gestures itself signifies Namastey.... .so it is not very necessary to utter the word while bowing. Namastey is a symbol of gratitude and respect towards others, allowing the ultimate truth to flow. The truth that we are all one, when we live from the heart.

Taken from

The word 'Namaskaar' is derived from the root 'Namah', which means paying obeisance (Namaskaar) or salutation. From Science of Justice - 'Namah' is a physical action expressing that 'you are superior to me in all qualities and in every way'. This is Sanaatan Dharm's ritual greeting. The bowing makes one naturally humble and it affects the other person immensely. It instantly makes him comfortable and he feels like talking to the person greeting to him. Even he is angry or in a bad mood, he will be calm at least for a few moments. Thus by doing Namaskaar, instead of a handshake, one respects the other with humility which makes the other person also soft. While doing Namaskaar, one may or one may not pronounce "Namaskaar" or "Namastey". This is normally done to elder people, in age, in education, in status, or in other matters. 

Worldly Benefits - By doing Namaskaar to a deity or a Saint, or elders unknowingly their virtues and capabilities are impressed upon our minds. Consequently we start emulating them, thus changing ourselves for the better.

Spiritual Benefits - It increases the humility and reduction of ego / enhancement in the spiritual emotion of surrender and gratitude / gaining the Satwa component and faster spiritual progress. We receive the highest amount of Satwa component from the posture (mudra) of Namaskaar. By doing Namaskaar to Deities or Saints we receive subtle frequencies emitted by them, e.g. frequencies of Satwa or Bliss.

How does one do Namaskaar to an individual of the same age group?
When meeting someone of the same age-group, do Namaskaar by joining the fingers and placing tips of the thumbs on the Anahat chakra (at the center of the chest). This type of Namaskaar increases the spiritual emotion of humility in the embodied soul. Satwa frequencies from the universe are attracted by the fingers (which act as an antenna) and are then transmitted to the entire body through the thumbs which have awakened the Anahat chakra. This activates the soul energy of the embodied soul. In addition, by doing Namaskaar in this manner to each other, frequencies of blessings are also transmitted.

What is correct method & science of doing Namaskar to God?
(1) While paying obeisance to God, bring the palms together.
--The fingers should be held loose (not straight and rigid) while joining the hands or palms.
--The fingers should be kept close to each other without leaving any space between them.
--The fingers should be kept away from the thumbs.
--The inner portion of the palms should not touch each other and there should be some space between them.

Note - The stage of awakening of spiritual emotion (Bhav) is important to the seeker at the primary level. Hence, for awakening spiritual emotion (Bhav), he should keep space in between the joined hands, whereas a seeker who is at the advanced level should refrain from leaving such space in between the palms to awaken the unexpressed spiritual emotion.

(2) After joining the hands one should bow and bring the head forward..
(3) While tilting the head forward, one should place the thumbs at the mid-brow region, i.e. at the point between the eyebrows and try to concentrate on the feet of the Deity.
(4) After that, instead of bringing the folded hands down immediately, they should be placed on the mid-chest region for a minute in such way that the wrists touch the chest; then only should the hands be brought down.

Underlying Science in This Action
(1) The fingers should not be stiff while bringing the palms together because this will lead to a decrease in Satwa component from the vital and mental sheaths and thus increase the raja component in them. By keeping the fingers relaxed, the subtlest Satwa component will get activated. With the strength of this energy, embodied souls are able to fight powerful distressing energies.
(2) In the Namaskaar posture, the joined fingers act as an antenna to assimilate the Chaitanya (Divine consciousness) or the Energy transmitted by a Deity. While joining the palms, the fingers must touch each other because leaving space between the fingers will result in accumulation of energy in that space. This energy will be immediately transmitted in various directions; therefore the seeker's body will lose the benefit of this potent energy.
(3) About the space to be maintained between the palms: For a seeker at the primary level, it is advisable to leave space between the palms; it is not necessary for a seeker at an advanced level to leave
space between the palms.
(4) After joining the palms, bow a little. This posture puts pressure on the navel and activates the five vital energies situated there. Activation of these vital energies in the body makes it sensitive to accepting Saattwik frequencies. This later awakens the Aatm Shakti (soul energy of an embodied soul). And later, Bhav is awakened. This enables the body to accept in large measures the Chaitanya emitted by the Deity.
(5) Touch the thumbs to the mid-brow region. This posture awakens the Bhav of surrender in an embodied soul, and in turn activates the appropriate subtle frequencies of Deities from the Universe.
They enter through the Aagyaa Chakra (Sixth of the 7 Chakra in the Kundalinee) of the embodied soul and settle in the space parallel to it at the back interior of the head. In this space the openings to all the three channels converge; namely, the Moon, the Central and the Sun channels. Due to the movement of these subtler frequencies in this space, the Central Channel is activated. Consequently it facilitates the speedy transmission of these frequencies throughout the body, leading to purification of both the gross and subtle bodies at the same time.
(6) After doing Namaskaar, to completely imbibe the Chaitanya of the Deity (that has entered the hands by now), instead of bringing the folded hands down immediately, place them on the mid-chest region in such a way that the wrists touch the chest.

The 'Anaahat Chakra' is located at the centre of the chest. Akin to the Aagyaa Chakra, the activity of the Anaahat Chakra is also to absorb the Satwa frequencies. By touching the wrists to the chest, the Anaahat Chakra is activated and it helps in absorbing more of the Satwa component.

Effect of this Posture - By doing Namaskaar in this manner, the Deity's Chaitanya is absorbed to a greater extent by the body, as compared to other methods of doing Namaskaar. This gives maximum distress to negative energies. The negative energies that have manifested in a person are unable to touch their thumbs at the mid-brow region in Namaskaar.

What is the reason for not wrapping a cloth around the neck while performing circumambulation, doing Namaskaar, ritualistic worship, sacrificial fires, chanting and while visiting Guru and deities?
When a cloth is wrapped around the neck, it does not activate the Vishuddh Chakra (in the throat region) and hence an individual gets less benefit of the Satwa component.

Why Should One Always do Namaskaar to Elders?
When an elderly person arrives, the vital energy of the young person starts rising and when he gets up and does Namaskaar, it returns to normal.
Manusmruti 2.120;  Mahaabhaarat, Udyog, Chapter 38.1, Sr. no. 104, 64-65

As the sojourn of the elderly person is gradually towards the southern direction, that is, towards the region of Lord Yam (towards death), his body starts emitting Raj and Tam frequencies on a high scale.
When such an elderly person comes in the vicinity of any younger individual, these frequencies start affecting the younger person. A subtle magnetic field is created between the two. Consequently, the vital energy of the younger person is pulled upward. This way the younger person can suffer due to sudden momentum to his vital energy. When this younger person does Namaskar to the elderly person, some amount of the Central channel of his Kundalinee system is activated and the Satwa component in it starts
increasing. Consequently the Raj and Tam components in him are influenced by the Satwa component and the vital energy comes back to normal state. Hence on arrival of an elderly person, it is customary for the younger individuals to do Namaskaar to them.

Why should one do Namaskar to elders in the family when travelling, prior to the commencement of a journey and upon returning?
Namaskaar to the elders in the family is one way of surrendering to the God principle in them. When an embodied soul bows in Namaskaar to an elder by surrendering to the God principle in him, at that time a sense of compassion is created in his body. This compassion percolates right up to his subtle body. At that time, energy of his mind is activated and in turn activates the five vital energies, which are located at the seat of the Manipur Chakra (situated in the Navel region). Transmission of these five vital energies all over the body then awakens the soul energy. With the strength of the soul energy, the central channel gets activated and converts the expressed energy of spiritual emotion to the unexpressed energy of spiritual emotion. With the help of this unexpressed energy of spiritual emotion, the embodied
soul, through the medium of elders, gains the required Deity's principle from the Universe. For this purpose, while leaving the house on a journey, the embodied soul should do Namaskaar to elders and with the strength of Satwa frequencies has to protect himself from distressing frequencies in the atmosphere. Similarly, returning from a journey, one should immediately do Namaskaar to elders and awaken the God principle in them, which would disintegrate the Raj and Tama particles from the air around him, which might have been brought along.

What is the correct method of doing Namaskaar to Saints?
(1) The portion of head should be placed at the feet : We can imbibe maximum Chaitanya through the Brahm Randhra (the seventh Chakra of the Kundalinee system located in the crown of our head). Since it
itself (Brahmarandhra) cannot be placed at a Saints's feet, the part of head beginning above the forehead is to be placed at the feet of Saints. Due to this, maximum Chaitanya emanating from Their feet can enter into the one doing Namaskaar.
(2) The exact spot to place one's head on a Saint's feet: The big toes of Saints emit maximum Chaitanya; hence we should place our head on the big toe, than on their foot. If we are in a position to touch both the toes, then place the head on the right big toe.
(3) The position of hands when placing the head on a Saint's feet: Some interlock their hands behind their backs at the waist and do Namaskaar.
(a) If we are in a position to touch both their toes, then we should place the hands one on each foot and the head should be placed on the big toe of the right foot. If we are in a position to touch one of their toes, then place both the hands on it and keep the head on the big toe.
(b) Some do Namaskaar by placing hands on the ground. This is also wrong because if the hands are placed on the ground then the Chaitanya emanating from the Saint's feet are absorbed by the person and then returns to the earth through the hands of the one doing Namaskar. Thus the person does not benefit from it.
(c) Some cross their hands and place them on the feet of Saints, that is, their right hand on the right foot of the Saint and their left hand on the left foot of the Saint while doing Namaskar. This is a crude imitation of the manner in which Christians place their crossed hands on their chest. Instead, our right hand should be placed on the left foot of the Saint and our left hand on the right foot of the Saint. This is convenient also. However, if a Guru has started some procedure in a particular sect, then the hands are to be placed in that manner only.
(d) The hands are to be positioned in such a way that the palms are placed on the feet.

Should We do Namaskaar to a Dead Body?
If this be so, should we do Namaskar to the dead bodies in Kali Yug only as a custom? If it is a custom, can we discontinue it?
One can maintain respect for the dead person by doing Namaskaar and in addition set an ideal with regards to respecting elders. In Kali Yug, from this one will benefit at an emotional level and not at a spiritual level. However, one should not discontinue this custom; instead one could learn how to get spiritual benefit from it. Due to the deterioration of the Satwa component in embodied souls, this practice has become a mere custom in Kali Yug.

However, as per the saying, 'God exists where there is spiritual emotion', while doing Namaskaar to a dead body if we have a spiritual emotion that we are doing Namaskar to the God principle in it, then the God principle in the dead body awakens and we receive God's blessings. This happens because the God principle is immortal and has no limitations that a physical body has.

It is said that one should not do Namaskaar to a sleeping person. In Kali Yug if one does Namaskaar by touching the dead body, then are the chances of getting distress from negative energies not higher?
Yes it is; but while doing Namaskaar it is important that the action be performed with correct spiritual emotion. Since Namaskaar is done to the God principle in the dead body instead of activating Raj and Tam components, it activates the Godly principle in the dead body and bestows Satwa corresponding to the degree of spiritual emotion.

One Hand Touching the Temple Steps
Action: Touch the temple step with fingers of right hand and move the same hand over head.
Science: 'The area around the temple is charged with frequencies of Deities which leads to an increase in the Satwa component. The presence of Divine consciousness in the area charges even the stairs in a temple. Climbing steps is one of the activities, which increases the Raj component in the body. Hence, the Raj component is already activated in the body of an embodied soul so by touching the steps with the fingers of the right hand, the Satwa component and peace from the charged premise, get transmitted to
the body through the right hand. In addition, from this action, the activated Raj component in the body can be controlled through the medium of the Soorya Naadee (Sun channel). This means that, for a moment, the activities of the Sun channel can be stopped. From this process, the embodied soul learns to enhance the Satwa component through Raj dominant actions. Therefore, it is very essential to perform the appropriate Saatwik actions at each corresponding level, hence the method of touching the steps with
fingers of the right hand and then moving the fingers or palm over the head.

Even the dust present on the steps is charged with Chaitanya and so we must respect it and derive spiritual benefit from it.. If the embodied soul harbors the spiritual emotion that the Chaitanya from the steps be transmitted all over my body from the dust on my hand, then it will give increasing benefit to the embodied soul. In addition, if the ego of the embodied soul is less at that time then it gives even more benefit. When any action is performed devoid of ego or 'I'ness it is treated as a 'non-action' (A-karmaa Karm).

Do's and Don'ts while doing Namaskaar
Why should the eyes be closed while doing Namaskaar?
Joining hands while bowing the head amounts to saluting God or the divinity in the person in front. The eyes are closed while doing Namaskaar to God or any respected person, to enable one to have the vision of God within us.
Why should the footwear be taken off while doing Namaskar?
While sitting, partaking meals, sleeping, wishing and doing Namaskaar to Gurus and other elderly people, footwear should not be worn. - Gautam Smriti 9.
1. Footwear increases the raja-tama components in a person.
2. Paying obeisance (Namaskaar) with high Raj-Tam components will not help in activating the Kundalinee (centre in the spiritual energy system).
3. The ability to absorb the Satwva component too is reduced, due to an increase in the Raj-Tam components, leading to little benefit from a Namaskaar.
4. Doing Namaskaar to a Deity, with footwear on, may also invite the wrath of the Deity.
Why one should not hold any object while doing Namaskaar?
1. While doing Namaskaar if an object is held in the hands, usually the fingers and their tips are in a curled position and not straight. As a result, the Satwa component received is unable to enter the tips of the fingers.
2.. The Satwa component emitted towards the seeker, strikes the object held and bounces back. Also, at times, instead of the person absorbing the Satwa component, the object may absorb it.
3. If the object in the hand is Raj or Tam predominant, and if it is touched to the forehead or chest while doing Namaskaar, then the Raj-Tam components from it may enter the body of the one who is doing Namaskaar.
Why are men not supposed to cover their head, whereas women are advised to cover their head while doing Namaskaar?
One should not do Namaskaar with footwear on, covering the head or holding any objects. (But women should cover their head with their Saaree and only then do Namaskar)
- Apastamb Dharm Sootra

While doing Namaskaar the Kundalinee gets activated at the Chakra which is touched by the folded hands. This leads to the absorption of the Satwa component in greater proportion in the body. Sometimes due to the activation of the Kundalinee, Satwa component starts entering the body through the head. But at times the distressing energies try to take advantage of this and mix black energy with the Satwa component. The potential to activate the Kundalinee is higher in men as compared to women. Hence they are hardly affected by this negative energy. Contrary to this, as women are more vulnerable, they get affected by distressing energies to a greater extent and thus they can experience distress. That is why, when doing Namaskaar, women are advised to cover their head with the ends of their cloth. This creates a barrier between the head and the distressing energies and prevents them from penetrating the body of the woman. However, to some extent this also blocks benevolent frequencies from entering the women. (Benevolent frequencies are subtler than negative frequencies; hence they enter a woman to some extent
even though the cloth covers her head.) However, the proper posture of Namaskaar gives maximum Satwa component to an individual and hence women too get required benefits. This shows how God takes care of every devotee.

Doing Namaskaar without these restrictions is equally effective if the devotee does it with spiritual emotion.


Home | Rel-Dictionary | Dictionary


Back to N

Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 06/09/11