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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Naming a Child.... name and call him "Narayana"

Mankind’s desire know no limits…. You study to earn and become rich; you aspire to get married ~ have kids – bring them up – save or keep wealth that would last for few more generations and in between you keep re-revising your earlier targets as ambitions [unbridled wishes] keep growing.

When a child is born or much earlier to that, parents start thinking of naming the child.  The Naming ceremony is celebrated on different days in different fashion ~ many have religious significance.   In Hinduism, naming is considered sacred ~ called Namakaran, it is an elaborate festivity.  It is usually done on the 10th day.  For orthodox the mother and child get more purified after the naming ceremony. 

Now with people’s increasing faith in many faith, including Nameology, a particular alphabet is chosen as considered to be lucky depending on the birth star, the month, and more.  For many, picking the right name for the child is a daunting task. Some adopt fancy names, which the children might find a tad difficult as they grow.. some students would claim that names starting with alphabet ‘a’ places them in some disadvantage as their name would be called first in many forums, tests by the teachers at school.  There are host of websites, books, suggestions and more in finding out the names ………. There are baby name finder tools and baby name inspiration lists too…  There are lots of considerations when one decides on a name, such as appeasing relatives, avoiding embarrassing initials or nicknames, and steering clear of monikers associated with bad memories are perhaps some to be thought of.

Some say that one needs to check how the  name sounds and whether it is compatible ~ is it melodious or harsh ! is it unique or is it too unusual….the thought process could spread endlessly. Then you also read ‘what is in a name’ – a rose by other name would also smell the same…. in India, there is the tradition of naming them after grandfathers and there could even be a clash between the father and mother’s sides ~ and you know which side will win any way !!

Now read elsewhere that there are babies named in more strange fashions including naming after ‘cartoon characters’, famous sportspersons and more… the hot flick ‘finding nemo’ has inspired some to name their child ‘Nemo’ ~ some other bizaree male names include :  Sailor, Buzz-Bee, Zed and Blade.  Out-of-the-ordinary girls’ names included Tinkerbell, Buttercup and Bliss. In UK, reportedly Harry topped the list of 100 most popular boys followed by Jack, Charlie, Oliver… while Amelia, Olivia, Emila, Jessica, Sophie, Lily topped that of girl child.  The desire to make their ward ‘classroom standout’ made some name their child – Bentley, Zico, Diesel and the like………

In Vaishnava tradition, naming is mostly after the presiding deity of the famous temples……… thus you have so many Balajis, Srinivasans, Parthasarathis, Narasimhans, Devarajans and after Acharyars like Ramanujan……

It is worth recalling the immortal words of Sri Periyazhwar when he says ~ it is nothing great to name a mortal child born to a mortal mother and call him by a mortal name. Name him after Maha Vishnu as Govinda, Vaikuntha, Madhava, Govindha and keep calling Him, the mother of Narayana will never go the hell. 

மானிட சாதியில் தோன்றிற்று ஓர் மானிட சாதியை*
மானிட சாதியின் பேரிட்டால் மறுமைக்கில்லை*
வானுடை மாதவா கோவிந்தா என்று அழைத்தக்கால்*
நானுடைநாரணன் தம் அன்னை நரகம்புகாள்.*

Periyalwar also questions the madness of naming and calling the child by names which carry no meaning.   He reiterates that ‘call your children by the name of the pleasant ‘Lotus eyed Lord’ – Narayana’s own mother would never go to hell.

நம்பி பிம்பியென்று நாட்டு மானிடப் பேரிட்டால்
நம்பும் பிம்புமெல்லாம் நாலு நாளில் அழுங்கிப்போம்
செம்பெருந்தாமரைக் கண்ணன் பேரிட் டழைத்தக்கால்
நம்பிகாள் நாரணன் தம் அன்னை நரகம் புகாள்.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


  1. Excellent article.. strike slap on those vaishnavaites who name their child fancifully - Aradhana

  2. I was tired of being towards to end in the attendance list in schools so named my child starting with alphabet A. It so happened we moved overseas after that where the listing was by surname hence with V for the surname my child ended up being last in the list. Truly man proposes God disposes.