Indians are extremely courteous people and their ways of hospitality and treating their guests is world renowned. After all, it is the country that places guests on the same pedestal as Gods. India is incredible indeed.
Living in India, you get to listen to two words at a regular rate: Namaste and Namaskaara. While these words are often used interchangeably, it would be wrong to assume that they mean the same.
So, we decided to understand what the fundamental difference between Namaskara and Namaste is. Here is what we could muster:
Etymologically, Namaskar is made up of Namah (salutation) and Kara (to do). Like most words, it is derived from Sanskrit and generally, means ‘To do the act of greeting.’ Grammatically, it is used to address masses as well. You are more likely to say Namaskaara to a group of people than Namaste.
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That brings us to what Namaste could mean. If we break down the word, it is made up of Namah (salutation) and Te (to you). Just like Namaskaara, it comes from Sanskrit and roughly translates to ‘I bow to you with respect.’
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So, as we saw above, the words are very close in meaning to each other, except that they are not. Apart from being different in the very structure, they are distinct in the contexts that they are used. Namaskara is used not to bow down to a person but to the oneness within a person. Namaste, on the other hand, is widely used to address a divine entity and something that we respect, as a person. Apart from that, as mentioned above, Namaskaara is used to greet a group of individuals while Namaste is characteristically used during one on one rendezvous.
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So, there you have it. The subtle differences between two common ways of greeting people in India. Did you benefit from it? If yes, then let us know in the comments below. Namaste!
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