Some of you came back to me after yesterday’s blog. How do we know if a name is authentic? And anyways, why so much fuss over a name? A kid will eventually get used to it, they said.
True. So does a kid named Tom, Dick or Harry.
I guess it boils down to culture. In some places, a name is used as an identifier – a way to uniquely (although there are many many Toms) identify this individual, rather than giving him a number or a bar code for instance. It serves an important purpose, but just one purpose nevertheless.
In India however…
नाम्यते अभिधीयते अर्थोऽनेन इति नाम – that whose meaning encompasses the characteristics of a person, is a name.
Namakarana is a very important samskara in Sanatana Dharma. A person’s personality is seen through the eyes, but is heard and understood through the name. A person or thing’s first experience is usually had through the eyes, and it’s understanding or interpretation is usually though the name.
And this is why in our culture, a name is not arbitrarily assigned. In fact, it is only decided upon after the baby is born. Parents and elders take 11-14 days to observe the characteristics of the baby, it’s tendencies and gunas (sattva, rajas and tamas) and then after careful consideration, the names are assigned.
I said names. Because, one name cannot define everything about a person. The greater the personality, the more names they have. This is why we have the Vishnu Sahasranama – even one thousand names are not enough to define the universal consciousness.
For us mortals, 4-5 names are usually assigned.
The name by which the baby will be addressed by the world at large, the legal name – is called Vyavahārika nama. Everyone wants a unique name for their baby, and so did we. And so, we did a lot of research to arrive at the name that our baby would eventually be known as.
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Suggest you spend a bit more time on it:)
See you tomorrow!