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The Concept of Namaste for the Holidays
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The Concept of Namaste for the Holidays

Namaste, to all my vegan and non-vegan friends at this holiday season.

Why Namaste, instead of a traditional holiday greeting? Because my good wishes go out to everyone, of every faith or, belief. Namaste does not differentiate or discriminate. It is a word which simply acknowledges the divine within each of us.

If you don't believe in a divine creator, just consider Namaste as acknowledge of a shared energetic origin. It's all good.

It is my understanding that Namaste is a word in Hindi, derived from and earlier Sanskrit word. Literally translated it means, "I bow to you". However the use of the word is generally accepted to be an acknowledgment of the divine which exists within each of us.

Vegans might relate to Namaste as also applying to all beings, human, and non-human alike. The concept of oneness can't be limited to a single species. In my view it is entirely appropriate to extend Namaste to every living being everywhere life exists.

There's something hidden within Namaste which makes it even more significant. It is a greeting which goes deeper than a simple acknowledgement, and if made earnestly, thoughtfully and consciously, reminds us how magical and extraordinary every life really is.

As a vegan this kind of acknowledgement can reinforce why we became vegan. This single powerful word penetrates beyond the superficial reasons for being vegan. It speaks to the most basic of all reasons to be vegan – the love of life, all life.

Namaste is a recognition of that unseen force that reflects back to us when we look into the eyes of another being, human, and non-human alike. The word offers us a means of remembering that, in spite of many differences, the essence of life is what we share in common.

The Prana, Chi or Ki which flows into everything, from which all life springs. It is that energy which binds us together. For me, remembering that, is more important than simply wishing happiness. Namaste offers a central thought, on which vegan-ism rests.

This holiday season represents two of the worlds major faith groups, Jews and Christians. At this time we wish each other Happy Hanukkah, and Merry Christmas as a matter of tradition. Each phrase carries with it symbolism which goes well beyond the words. In their own way they are a unique expression of a certain set of beliefs and a cultural and religious identity.

Namaste, on the other hand cares not about difference we see between us. Namaste is an observation that the way in which we characterize ourselves is largely irrelevant.  It speaks directly to the individual as a unique expression of universal energy.  

My wish for this special time, is that we look into the eyes of our fellow beings, and reflect on the meaning of Namaste. In that moment may your heart be filled with love, peace and the joy of life.

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  1. kristo
    I enjoyed reading this! Interestingly, the Hindu holiday Galungan was celebrated from Dec 17th-27th this year so "Namaste" is actually said quite at bit around this time :) Voted
    1. Marvin Double
      Marvin Double
      Thanks for that additional information. I always enjoy learning something new. In point of fact no one is quite sure of the exact date on which Jesus was born. December 25th was originally a pagan holiday. There are a number of older pagan holidays associated with Dec 25th the winter solstice, which was seen as the death and rebirth of the sun. Placing the Christmas celebration on the 25th was a means of borrowing an established pagan holiday and replacing it with a Christian one. In that sense. In that sense Christmas is simply a practical date, not specific to any actual specific event, except as an official acknowledgement of the birth of Jesus for the benefit of Christians. I am sure there are those who who suggest that because Namaste does not include the word Christ, as does Christmas, it is somehow sacrilegious. To those people I would say, Namaste is very reverential and consistent with the teaching of Jesus, who is quoted as saying we should love our brothers, as ourselves. Namaste takes this idea further by acknowledging that the divine exists in each of us.
  2. Veronique Perrot
    Veronique Perrot
    Very beautifully put:)


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