Naming

  • By Jnana Prabodhini
  • April 2001
  • 7822 views

Introduction

According to Hindu tradition, human life is divided into four phases or Ashramas. The most crucial of them is the Grihasthashrama - the backbone of the social structure. That is why it is said “Regards for the householder’s life”. Giving birth to a child is a natural course in the life of a householder.  The parents impart to children the valuable wealth of thought and virtues, which they themselves inherit from their forefathers. In this sense giving birth to a child is not the only fruition of conjugal life, but freeing oneself from the indebtedness to one’s forefathers is the real fruition of married life.

Thus the birth of a child is regarded as a highly auspicious occasion because of its racial importance. The Hindus very early realized the importance of naming the newborn. The sacrament is performed on the 12th day after the birth or on any auspicious day thereafter either in the morning or in the afternoon.

The newborn child is welcome as a manifestation of Divinity. Its mother is specially honored for she brought the child in the world. Then the priest says that the child is “Veda” – Knowledge itself. However, for our pleasure and for convenience we give it a name. Then the name is declared. All the relations present bless the child and offer gifts to it and it’s parents. The blessings say that the child should become a great person like his renowned forefathers.

Though the child does not understand the meaning of the sacrament, its parents do. This helps them to develop the right attitude for bringing up the child. Those who attend the sacrament, young or old, understand the value of human life and the way to make it meaningful. Any senior person of good character of either sex, of any caste or creed or religion can conduct this sacrament.