Here’s what Namaste really means and how to use it correctly
Despite what you may have seen or heard, Hello does not directly translate as “The light in me sees the light in you” but rather is a greeting that translates to “Greetings to you”.
According to Stephen Vose, Ph.D., a religious studies expert and visiting assistant professor at the University of Colorado at Denver, Hello actually two words, p swing translating such terms as “praise,” “honor,” “bow,” “reverent salutation,” and “worship.”
second word in, in this context means “to you”. So put it together and Hello means “Praise to you”, “Congratulations to you”, “Honor to you” or “[I] bow to you.”
Vose tells mindbodygreen about it Namaste or namaskara appear in Sanskrit literature dating back to Rigveda and Atharva Veda around 1500–1000 BC, and also appear in Mahabharata (400 BC to 400 AD) and Bhagavata Purana (10th century AD). Namaste also appears in major works of Sanskrit literature and in countless inscriptions, he adds.
“In modern usage in India, [namaste] carries the symbolic weight of “hello” in most contexts, unless one is praising one’s guru, teacher, elder, etc., Vose explains, adding that other greetings like ‘Jai Shri Krishna’ are becoming more popular in India today . than Hello.
Finally, it is important to note that Jains, Buddhists, and even Sikhs also used the term, so according to Vose, it is not exclusive to Hindus.