What Is the Spiritual Meaning of Namaskar?

Sadhguru: When you see a person, whether it is in your workplace, on the street, at home or anywhere else, the nature of human intellect is such that the moment it sees, it will make a judgment – “This is okay in that person, this is not okay in that person. He is good, he is not good, he is beautiful, he is ugly” – all kinds of things. You do not even have to consciously think all this. These assessments and judgments happen in a moment, and your judgments may be completely wrong because they all are coming from your past experiences of life. They will not allow you to experience something or someone the way they are right now, which is very important. If you want to work effectively in any field, if someone comes in front of you, it is most important to be able to grasp them the way they are right now. How they were yesterday does not matter. How they are this moment is important. So, the first thing is you bow down. Once you bow down, your likes and dislikes become mild, not strong, because you recognize the source of creation within them. This is the intention behind doing Namaskar.

The moment you place your hands together, your dualities, your likes and dislikes, your cravings and aversions, are all leveled out.

There is no piece of creation without the hand of the creator operating in it. The source of creation is operating within every cell and atom. This is why in Yogic culture, if you look up at the sky, the culture taught you to bow down. If you look down at the earth, you bow down. If you see a man, a woman, a child, a cow, a tree or whatever, you bow down. And it is a constant reminder that the source of creation is within you too. If you recognize this, you are paving the way towards your ultimate nature every time you do Namaskar.

The Science Behind Namaskar

There is another aspect to this. Your palms have a lot of nerve endings – something that medical science has also discovered today. Actually, your hands speak more than your tongue and your voice. There is a whole science of mudras in Yoga. Just by holding your hand in certain ways, you can make your whole system function in different ways. The moment you place your hands together, your dualities, your likes and dislikes, your cravings and aversions, are all leveled out. There is a certain oneness to the expression of who you are. The energies are functioning as one.

Namaskar is not just a cultural aspect. There is a science behind it. If you are doing your sadhana, every time you bring your palms together, there is a crackle of energy – a boom is happening. On the level of your life energy, there is a giving, or you are making yourself into an offering to the other person. In that giving, you will make the other being into a life that will cooperate with you. Only if you are in a state of giving, things around will work out for you. This is so for every life. Only if it gets the cooperation of all life around itself, it manages to prosper.


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Namaskar is simplest form of yoga. The entire physical world is a product of polarities. There is masculine and feminine, yin and yang, Shiva-Shakti, whatever you want to call it. Just put these two hands together and look upon something or someone that matters to you – your wife, your husband, your child, your mother, father, a tree, a rock, a cloud, sun, moon, whatever you like – look upon something with loving attention for three to five minutes, you will see your system will begin to harmonize in a wonderful way. 


Editor's Note:  As Sadhguru has explained in this article, Namaskar is a core part of Yogic culture and has a deep science attached to it. Here are some aspects related to Namaskar that you may find interesting:

Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation Benefits

Surya Namaskar is probably the most widespread and well-known Yogic practice. Comprising of a series of twelve asanas or postures, it is no coincidence that the first and last asana incorporates the Namaskar mudra (hand posture). Learn all about the importance and benefits of Surya Namaskar in this article by Sadhguru.

Open Your Heart to Life with Namaskar

Did you know that while doing Namaskar, the palms of both hands are held together and the thumbs press into the Anahata or the soft spot below where the ribcage meets? In this article, you can read all about Anahata, as explained by Sadhguru.

Start a Yogic Practice

Traditionally, daily Yogic sadhana always starts with Namaskar and an invocation. This is done to express gratitude to the great masters who have transmitted this knowledge down the generations. It is also a simple way to make the sadhaka more receptive to the process.

Looking to bring Yoga into your life? Start here…

Indian Cultural Values

The subcontinent of India has been steeped in the Yogic culture for many millennia, therefore many aspects of Indian culture are deeply influenced by the spiritual process. Greeting everyone with Namaskar is a very common practice and an integral part of Indian culture.

Read more…