The Meaning of Namaste

by Melissa West on June 4, 2013

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What does Namaste mean to Melissa?

The-Meaning-of-Namaste: Today’s question comes from Stan from my blog and he says:

Melissa, your ancient and modern, rolled up in beauty. My question is this…I’m interested in the godhead within. i just read thats what namaste means when bowing your head…also i learned years ago thats why zen buddhists bow and japanese people….could you expound and enlighten us on “The GodHead Within”?
thank you, stan…

I’ve always loved Ram Das’ translation of Namaste:

“I honor the place in you
where the entire Universe resides.
I honor the place
of love, of light, of truth, of peace.
I honor the place within you where
if you are in that place in you,
and I am in that place in me,
there is only one of us.”

In yoga there is something called the Atman. The Atman is the True Self, the Divine Self. The Atman is often referred to the non-material, never changing self. It is distinct from our minds and our bodies. So this part of ourselves is separate from the designations that we normally give to ourselves such as race, gender and nationality. The way that I like to think of it is that there is part of us that is perfect, whole and complete and remains unscathed in this lifetime no matter what happens, that is the Atman – that is the Godhead within.

This past weekend I was at a yoga workshop with Karuna Erickson and she used the metaphor of yoga being like cleaning a mirror. I love this metaphor. You clean the mirror so you can see your True Self or the Godhead within.



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