The Universal Greeting
“Namaste” You hear it all over the country of Nepal; in busy Kathmandu, in a rural village, on a trail or in a school or shop. It is a beautiful greeting that is used throughout the gentle country of Nepal.
When you say “Namaste” you pair it with the Ajali Mudra, the placing of your hands together at the heart. You make eye contact, smile and say “Namaste.” Everyone uses the greeting; adults, teen and young children. The youngest are often provided assistance with parents, teachers or older siblings guiding their small hands to the Ajali Mudra position and encouraging them to look up and say “Namaste.”
Namaste is a Sanskrit word that is roughly translated as “I bow to the God within you.” or “The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you.” Namaste is really the recognition that the life force within us as individuals is the same as that within everyone else.
In the last year, Nepal experienced a devastating earthquake that destroyed thousands of houses and schools and killed over 8,000 people. Then the country was under siege with a blockade at the Indian border of all fuel, cooking gas, medicine and basic supplies for four months.
Despite all of the hardships of the past year, the people of Nepal still smiled and said “Namaste” to me everywhere I went on my recent trip. The practice of kindness and compassion is deeply embedded in the culture of Nepal. It is a gift I receive each time I visit.