'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Meno-Spirito; Soul Interpretation (pt 3)

The last two Thursdays, an exploration of 'what is in a name' has been undertaken. It arose from a simple question; 'what do you prefer to be called?'

We all identify with our names, is it not? One of the worst tortures which can be inflicted upon a human is to strip them of their name and assign a number. We can be left with nothing else, but our name holds us in place. Our name is a written expression of our ego-self, the independent personality which makes 'me' different from 'you'.

Image result for what's in a nameIn Western culture, for the most part, names are assigned according to family heritage, Biblical tradition or because Daisy the milch cow walked on the road and caused us to be born in the ambulance. There has been a surge in 'made up' or 'filmi' names being given to children. Hands up those who have cringed and said 'ooh how could XXX do that to their kids - imagine having to live with that name?!' This is because we all have a sense that a name matters, at the very least in a social context, and that to be different may have some emotional or psychological effect.

Rarely do we go beyond that though; and certainly, most parents in Western Culture will decide for themselves what to name their children.

Indian parents, (though this is starting to change somewhat), will consult their parents, then the family priest and, if pundit-ji is not himself a jyotisha ('astrologer' yet more), then call in an independent jyotisha.  Why? In order to ensure that the karma of the child, as determined by surprisingly  advanced mathematical formulae, is improved in this life, that the name will help pay off karmic debt whilst neutralising some of the forces which might incur further 'debt'.

When Indians introduce themselves to each other, the name will automatically be 'clocked' somewhere in each others mind - if not actually commented upon. There are many names which are 'common' insofar as they are numerologically 'safe'; for example Asha (Hope) or Priya (Beloved)... what destiny could not be improved with such names?! However, when the less common names come along, such as Yamini, the little grey cells of the person one has just made pranaams to are working on what kind of karma you are carrying and will it interact with them!

The other aspect is that each person takes seriously the praarabdha engendered by their given name and seeks to maximise its positives and minimise the negatives. In this way, 'self-improvement' is built in to the very fabric of being. It is the key to cultural difference of those who follow Sanatana Dharma and all others. Everything in every day becomes sacred; not in an overt, stylised fashion, but subtle and light. Does it suggest no free will? Of course not! Whilst we do have to pay debts from this and all previous incarnations, how we do that is left entirely up to us - or else there would be no need of 'karma' at all. The essence of it is that we are left to our own devices, but must live with the consequences. This engenders, it is hoped, increased levels of self-responsibility and high values, in order to avoid falling down the ladder of evolution.

Image result for what's in a name

How did we come to this esoteric point in response to a simple question regarding a name? There is no 'simple name', is why. Name is sound. Sound is vibration. Vibration has effects, no matter how incredibly subtle. This applies to all words in every language. Nothing vibrates stronger for us than our ego-name; no matter how humble we may be. This is one of the reasons that monks and nuns are given different names on taking robes. The new name not only means leaving the ego behind, but adopting the values indicated by the new name. In Sanskrit tradition, the idea is to rise above the ego and any name within oneself. The moniker remains only for the convenience of those around one.

What do I prefer? When addressing me in person, Yamini is best, but nothing is lost for being YAM - my initials, hence the capitals and thus the full name in a conjunction representing the whole... something Sanskrit is supremely designed for!


  1. I like the indian way much more than to pick a name by a teen-idol, the place of the "making" or because father/mother have the same name. I'm unhappy with my name, although my mom surely meant it well to name me after a tsarina... it sadly didn't work to become rich and famous just because of the name lol

  2. I am going to have to ponder on this ~ just having a name roll off of your tongue so easily that one had never heard before.
    Thanks for being a friend
    Sweet William The Scot


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