Much like the English ‘Hello!’, Namaste is a courteous way of greeting people in India. Derived from Sanskrit, it’s a combination of two words: Namah, which means ‘bow’ or ‘adoration’, and te, which means ‘to you’. In its literal sense, the word translates as ‘I bow to you’. The gesture involves pressing both the hands together and gently bowing your head.
Derived from the word Sandhya, which means evening, saanjh is an important part of the day in Hindu culture. It is essentially the time when day meets night, and many believe that god enters the house at this hour to bless people. Several houses in India have made it a regular practice to light a lamp to welcome god and stave off evil forces outside the house.
Untranslatable to English, Jijivisha is a beautiful word that represents feelings of optimism or hope for life. It is often used to talk about a person who loves life and lives it to the fullest, come what may.
Also known as mukti, moksha is a spiritual term in Jainism and Hinduism that is equivalent to Nirvana in Buddhism. Etymologically, it is derived from the Sanskrit word muc, which means to free or to let go. It means freeing oneself from the worldly shackles and from the cycle of life and death (called Saṃsāra) that is determined by the law of Karma. The Indian city of Varanasi is considered to be the gateway to moksha.
They say that a mother’s love is unconditional and this word beautifully captures that feeling. Vatsalya is one the five bhāvas (feelings or attitudes) of bhakti (devotion) that is usually associated with Yashoda, the foster mother of Lord Krishna, who loved him as her own child.
When you have been deeply touched or moved by a person or an experience, that feeling is called prerna. Derived from Sanskrit, the word – a popular name for girls – can also mean inspiration or to seek inspiration.
Translated into desire, wish or hope, the word asha is associated with aisha (life) in Swahili and asher (happy) in Hebrew. This powerful word is connected to the ash tree to symbolise protectiveness and is also a popular name for girls in India.
This word captures the essence of the rainy season. Literally, it means the pitter-patter of a light shower or drizzle and, figuratively, represents the happiness and joy that rain brings. In Bollywood parlance, it is associated with romance, and you’ll frequently find the word in poems and songs.
A derivative of the Sanskrit word ‘Priya’, meaning loved one or beloved, the verb pyaar means love. It can be used in all sorts of situations and among many individuals regardless of their relationship.
Another popular name among girls in India, pavitra is associated with anything that is holy or sacred. Meaning pure in its literal sense, pavitra can be linked to objects, plants, animals, places or people. Symbolically, the word is used to assert moral superiority.
Rooted in the Sanskrit language, sundar is used to describe an individual who is attractive and beautiful, or a piece of work that is elegant and captivating.
Parakram is the quality associated with a person who faces difficult or dangerous situations without any fear. It involves a sense of bravery, strength and honour. A person with this quality is called Parakrami.