Monday, November 26, 2007

Are you your name?

I came across this riddle when I was in primary school. I think it goes like this :)

"What is one thing that is yours, that you carry with yourself but you yourself hardly use it?"

Take a guess.

The answer is - your name. The name is yours but you hardly use it. It is used by others to address you.

Our name is such an integral part of our life. We are so much attached to it that there are people who get upset if you call their name in a different way or spell their name incorrectly.

On the same lines, if you have seen this movie named - the Namesake, the protagonist of the movie (Kal Penn) is named Gogol, after the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol who wrote some controversial books. So the hero of the movie changes his name because he couldn't face his peers with his original name.

There are thousands of such cases. Laskman Prasad Sharma becomes Lucky; Venkateswarulu gets converted to Venki; Krishna Reddy becomes Krish.

So whats with this name thing anyway? Why do we want some stylish names? Why are people sensitive about their names?

Simple reason! Our name is what we identify ourselves with. If someone asks you, 'Who are you?', what is your first reaction? Our immediate reply is - 'I am XXX.'

Our name is the first thing that we identify ourselves with. Next our name is also channel for others to identify us. It is way with which society recognizes us. This is what makes us very sensitive about our name.

We constantly seek attention from society and our name is a mode for society to recognize us. That is the reason why we want our name to stylish or modern. We equate our names to the real person inside us and hence we are concerned about our name.

In simple words, holding to our name is holding onto our ego. An enlightened master knows that our name is the first thing that we clutch to. He knows that our name is the crutch on which our entire ego stands, our complete identity stands.

Swami Nithyananda gives spiritual names to his disciples and asks them to legalize the spiritual names. When we tell this to people, you can imagine the reactions - how can you change your name? Why is that necessary for someone to follow a spiritual path? What is this whole thing about changing name?

The fact is people cannot digest the fact that someone who is 25 years old can actually change his or her name at that age. They are perfectly fine to change the name of a 2 year old kid if an astrologer says the kid has some defect due to the name but a young person of 25 years, in his or her prime, how can he/she?

This is because, we have built a solid identity by that time. We have a strong foundation called - NAME and the world knows us, addresses us by that name; our ego has already created the "name and fame" around that name. That is the reason we hold on to it and an enlightened master like Swami Nithyananda cuts exactly that - ego.

Going beyond ego, the spiritual name is not just any name. An enlightened master studies the energy of the person and gives a name that suits the energy of the person. It gives the path of the person which leads him/her to realize the Truth. We have personally seen people with spiritual names given by Swami Nithyananda and we can clearly see how apt the names are. Not only that, we have seen how they have progressed in the path unique to them, that the name contains. When we were given our spiritual names, we were flabbergasted to see how much it resonated with our beings. Swami Nithyananda meditates on each and every person and gives the spiritual name. It is a tool that keeps on reminding us about our path and about the Truth.

Even a spiritual name can bloat up our ego. Swami Nithyananda says, 'you should not hold on to your spiritual name either. Let it just be a reminder. That's all.'

The point is whatever the name may be, one thing is certain - we are more than our name.


Multinamous said...

Yeah! That's why I prefer to introduce myself with a new name each time! How can I be equated to just one name! Right?

ramya said...

Guys, I am seriously thinking of officially changing my name to Pepy - I identify so completely with it - I feel truly Pepy-ish - Ramya has nothing to do with me....think it's a good idea? Sounds a bit silly perhaps, but I have great affection for Pepy....reminds me of my childhood, my family, places I've lived, my whole life....

Ma Nithyananda Arpana said...

Hey Pepy,

Well, spiritually speaking, it is all about un-clutching from all things that reduce our identity to this physical form. Because you are more than just this body-mind that you currently identify yourself with.

However, if you feel like changing it go what your heart says, not what others might :)

Ma Arpana