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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  • 14 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

      • Nepli:Namaste
        India:namaskar
        Its a difference

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

    3. it’s better.I agree with your answer. But you should have little more difference with their own importance.

    4. Generally namaste is female word and used for females and by female but namaskar is male word which used by male to male only

    5. Why would one bow to the divine entity over the supreme consciousness? Why are they not the same? Some people, including yogis, greet with namaste outside of divine activities, are they wrong?

    6. Te in Sanskrit means they.

      Not sure if I am wrong, hope Namah May be sankritam but not namaste

    7. Namaste is Hindi and Namaskar is Bengali; both languages originate from Sanskrit, so are similar in meaning and terminology…

    8. Namaskar author bro You are talking shit. 1. You represented India as origin that’s not true because these words were originated before India was and 2. The words meaning are also different. Namaskar is greeting when we meet. Comes from sanskrit Namo and iskar that means start. It symbolises a good start while on the other hand Namaste is formed of two words Namo and Asta. Asta means end. That is to greet at the end of meeting. namaskar says hi and namaste says bye. Ok namaste.

    9. This seems to be a fine distinction that eludes me. In the case of Namaskar, you indicate that the object is Supreme Consciousness; with Namaste is used for saluting the Divine Entity. What is the difference? Is it the difference between Supreme Consciousness and Divine Entity (which could be the same thing from my perspective)or is simply observing the object of the greeting vs. the act of saluting? Please clarify.

    10. Upon further reflection, I believe that the subtle distinction may be as follows:

      Namaskar indicates bowing to the Divine entity within all living (or maybe just all) things; whereas Namaste indicates bowing to the individual/physical being that is inhabited or animated by the Divine entity. So I either bow to the Divine, recognizing that it is present within all of us; or I bow to you recognizing that there is an element of the Divine within you. I would welcome other explanations and deeper cultural insights.

      Namaskars,

      Rolf

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