INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Definition -- A question


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Definition -- A question May 30, 2003 10:49 a.m.

Can anyone tell me what "Namaste!" means? I understand that it is a greeting, but does anyone know its meaning in a more specific sense?
Re:Definition -- A question May 30, 2003 11:12 a.m.

I believe its derived from namaskar or namaskaram, which basically means "saluatations". This is more informal, pretty much "hello". Hope I'm right on this!
Re:Definition -- A question May 30, 2003 11:33 a.m.

According to George Ruckert's The Classical Music of North India, volume one:
Namaskar (or namaste) is a gesture with many variations. When used in greeting people of any age, both palms are brought together in front of the chest, and the head is inclined slightly downward. One might also say "namaskar"("namaste"). When meeting someone for the first time, or saying goodbye, it is the commonly used gesture. The meaning of this approximates "God-in-me-greets-God-in-you." Today, of course, the handshake has become a common form in greeting in India as well. (end quote)



Re:Definition -- A question May 30, 2003 12:11 p.m.

Thanks Remco. I never did know the proper Indian ettiquette for greetings or goodbyes. Only what I could observe at distance. And like you say, the medieval european handshake is replacing this more meaningfull gesture. So, when performers use this gesture to the audience at the end of a concert, is the meaning about the same do you think?
Re:Definition -- A question May 30, 2003 04:26 p.m.

well, when a preformer says namaste with his hands folded he means two things. One is that he is saying the literal term of namaste (i slute the divine in you) and the other is that he is thanking you for listening to his music. Today though most people do not understand the definition and simply take it as a traditional ritual, similar to asking 'ijazat hai?' if there is a more experienced musician or your own teacher nearby.
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