Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Namaskar and Namaste

Namaskar vs Namaste

Namaste and namaskar in general terms refer to the same expression of respect. People use the word interchangeably. Both namaskar and namaste are Indian ways of greeting people and showing respect. When saying namaskar and namaste, it is accompanied by holding the palms upright in front of the chest. In Western style, people greet each other by saying “hello” and shaking the hands.

The two words have been derived from Sanskrit and have a deep meaning in Indian culture and tradition. Most of the English dictionaries refer to these words as synonyms. So is there actually any difference between the two?

Both namaste and namaskar have the Sanskrit root word “namah”, which means “salute or bow.” Namaste is the derivation of the words “namah” and “te.” The word “te” means “to you.” As such, namaste means “I salute or bow to you with respect.” “Namaskar” is the combination of words “namah and “kar.” The word “kar,” which has been derived from the verb “kri” means “to do.” As such, “namaskar” means, “I do the act of saluting or bowing with respect.”

In namaskar, the object is the Supreme Consciousness that lies within a person. So when people say “namaskar” when greeting others, it is not that they are greeting a fellow human being but referring to the oneness within. Namaste is generally said to be used for saluting the divine entity. But people using these two gestures of respect use it interchangeably without knowing the actual usage. They may greet another by saying “namaste” and not as namaskar.

The difference is very specific in yoga traditions. In yoga, namaste is used for only divine activity and not or greeting others.

Summary:

1.Both “namaskar” and “namaste” are Indian ways of greeting people and showing respect.
2.With namskar and namaste, it is accompanied by holding the palms upright in front of the chest.
3.“Namaste” is the derivation of words “namah” and “te.” The word “te” means “to you.” As such, “namaste” means “I salute or bow to you with respect.”
4.“Namaskar” is the combination of words “namah and “kar.” The word “kar,” which has been derived from the verb “kri” means “to do.” As such, “namaskar” means, “I do the act of saluting or bowing with respect.”
5.In namaskar, the object is the Supreme Consciousness that lies within a person. Namaste is generally said to be used for saluting the divine entity.


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3 Comments

  1. i agree with everything you said accept one thing when you said namaskar and namaste is Indian way of greeting when Nepalis do it as well so not trying to make you feel bad or anything just wanted to let you know that you need to check your facts a little more next time. thank you for taking your time and reading this

    • Hi Kala,

      I believe author meant to be “Bharat Varsh” as a nation when he mentioned about India (or Indostania as pronounced by Yavans/Greeks and Romans / Western nation or Hindustan as pronounced by Persians and central asians) – probably not the current Republic of India (or Bharat) as the current country.

      1000 years of Islamic rule at Delhi and Deccan didn’t change one-ness of the nation in spite of having several kingdoms/states (means, countries) by several kings- but 200 years of British Raj and Western amalgamation skewed the entire perception of taxonomies and ontologies by mis-mapping the context and mistaken mappings of language semantics.

      Just thought of sharing my 2 cents.

      Bhavadeeya

  2. It is a way of greeting person in south asia especially in Nepal and India

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