My "Most Significant Other," Malathi, for a quarter of a century, was the person who introduced me to the term "namaste" (pronounced "NAM-mas-tay) in Sanskirt. She told me, in her native India where she was born and reared, that her name means flower. She also told me about and demonstrated the meaning of namaste, a common spoken greeting in India that is used as a salutation greeting and as a complimentary closing goodbye just before departing company with another person. Malathi said when using this greeting either when meeting or saying goodbye, a person makes a slight bow while pressing both hands together, with palms touching and fingers pointing upward in front of the chest. The gesture is called "Arijali Mudra" (or pranamasana), can be performed without words and conveys the same meaning.
Several months ago I wrote a poem (published on AuthorsDen, Nov. 23, 2010) with the title, "Greetings! - My Salutation of Choice." While greetings continues to be my salutation of choice, increasingly namaste is my second most expressed greeting, especially when I count the times I use it as goodbye or farewell.
To further emphasize the meaning and significance of namaste which is a salutation that expresses goodwill or courtesy by word or gesture and as a goodbye or farewell, a concluding remark or greeting or parting expression "Get along well," it is also like unto "complimentary close" also called "complimentary closing" words (as sincerely yours) that conventionally come immediately before the signature of a letter expressing the sender's regard for the receiver. It is the alpha and omega greeting, the first and the last; the beginning and the ending.
Namaste is a powerful greeting both as a salutation and as a goodbye. Because when performed it is accompained with a slight bow and hand gesture, considered to express reverence, something generally not conveyed with a handshake, and even though there is not any physical touching between persons this greeting - as salutation or goodbye - connotes spirituality or sacredness.
To my Most Significant other, whose abode is where flowers never die, and to all people, throughout the whole wide world, I greet you namaste.
Since the departure of my Most Signifcant Other I have said namaste more than a few times as I bided farewell to departed people who impacted my life meaningfully.
Thank you Malathi for introducing me to namaste and all that you imparted and put into my soul during the quarter of a century we were together, creating, nesting, and loving each other. Namaste!
Copyright 2011 by Uriah J. Fields
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Uriah J. Fields