What You See Is What You Get. This is a journal blog, an explore-blog, a bit of this and that blog. Sharing where the mood takes me. Perhaps it will take you too.

Meno-Spirito; Soul Interpretation (pt 2)

Last Thursday you read how I came by my current name. Unlike the birth name, though, there was a need to know more. Why did I get it? A name can be just a name, or we can embrace its meaning.

Emm picked me up on the Friday evening to go over to the ashram for the weekend residential workshop. Neither of us had ever been there before - that is why she wanted company! Her son had been attending some youth classes there and encouraged her to attend, but Emm felt she needed someone she knew to go with. Of Sri Lankan birth, though her late father was Hindu, Emm had mainly followed her mother's faith of Roman Catholicism.

The minute we entered the main hall, my eyes were drawn to the corner where four, metre-high figurines stood on a plinth. Having quietly followed up on the story of Rama since that night, I knew them to be the sacred parivar (family); Lord Rama, His wife Sita, brother Lakshmana and devoted soldier-servant, Sri Hanuman. As I moved towards it, a sensation came on which made me turn around. I was looking into the eyes of an older gentleman and they were  most definitely looking into me... From a photograph. My heart melted at that moment as I gazed into the depths of the person I would come to know as 'Gurudev' - and I knew I was 'home'.

When it came to the evening formal session, Br Gopal-ji gave a short welcome and advised that we were all to open our ears and minds in shravanam, (there was that word!!!), which meant active and attentive listening so that we could then move into mananam, deep consideration and absorption of the knew information, which would lead into niddidhyaasanam, the meditative state. So many new and exotic words, but I loved their sound! We were invited to introduce ourselves.

Until that very second of opening my mouth I was Ali. "Good evening all, my name is Yamini."

No effort. No afore-thought. No plan at all. Emm stared at me, blinked and moved on with her own intro. I was called Yamini-amma throughout that weekend and never once faltered in responding to it. Gopal-ji advised me that there was much in the name and it would reveal itself to me, as the night rolls back to reveal the day. Barely a year later, I undertook an official name change to Yamini Ali MacLean. Not losing, only gaining.

Almost exactly four years after that first meeting in the ashram, I was sitting in Sandeepany Sadhanalaya embarking on the deepest, most profound study program one can imagine.

I will never be a grand scholar of Sanskrit. But I learned enough to break open words.

यामिनी ; yaa-min-ee. "of the darkness". There are different ways to break this.

या ; yaa (f). approach/travel/religious meditation/support/moving/arrive/...to find out
मि ; mi (v). to fix (as in make steady)/to build
नी ; nee (adj). leader or guide
= a guide who can steady one in the finding out/travel/meditation.

यामि ; yaami (f). sister/aunt/woman of rank or respectability
नी ; nee (adj). leader or guide
= a woman to be relied upon and confided in

यामि ; yaami (f). Goddess - sister of Yaama, Lord of     Death/lady of the river Yamuna
नी ; nee (prep). of
= being of Yaami... and by association, of the darkness.
Yaami is said to have guided the spirits released by her brother from their earthly bonds and brought them to their resting place in the lokas. In Hinduism, death is not perceived 'darkly'; indeed, it is seen only as that bridge across into the light. It is always darkest just before dawn.

या निशा सर्व भूतानां तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी ।
यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतः मुनॆः ॥ २.६९ ॥
yA nishA sarva bhUtAnAM tasyAM jAgarti saMyamee |
yasyAM jAgrati bhUtAni sA nishA pashyataH munEH || 2.69 ||
"That which is night to all beings, in that state, the wise one is awake." (Bhagavad Gita)

All Indian names have this depth and complexity and are chosen with a great deal of consideration and consultation on the part of the parents, for it is understood that elements of their praarabdha will be demonstrated through it. For ease, the general meaning given for Yamini is 'night'.
My name is Night; I reach for the Light.

...tbc... WHAT - MORE??? That's logical and philosophical processing for you...


  1. As I have always just been my name (which my parents picked because they liked the sound of it, nothing more) I hadn't thought about this. In your heart you are clearly Yamini.

  2. The whole idea of a name changing to represent a significant change in a person's life is something we've (mostly) lost in modern (OK, Western) society. After all, it's all over in the Bible, countless examples! I love that this is the story of your name and that it carries such depth in its meaning. The only meaning to my name is what comes up when it's Googled. Thank you Yamini!


  3. Crikey Aunty ..... I like the way you got your name better than the way I got mine. If you read my very FIRST post, ever, you'll find out why!!!!! http://charliedownunderinoz.blogspot.com.au/2014_01_01_archive.html

  4. Names must fit otherwise you will get a nickname that does, mine must fit as I never had a nickname that lasted very long.

  5. that was great to read, specially about the names. I like it that names have a serious meaning and aren't inspired by teen-idols, actors and by "uh-man-I-had-no-idea"...

  6. Thank you; that was so interesting. I will always think of you as Yamini or just our beloved Yam. xx

  7. You are such an interesting person! I so laud your journey. Mine was incredibly WASP, and lived in a box.
    (ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!


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