This is the sixth Vedic Sacrament and as the name of the sacrament implies it is accomplished for the naming of the new-born.
The Vedic Philosophy leading up to this sacrament
The Vedic sacrament as has been stated in our previous issues , is a special spiritual prayer to the Omnipresent Protector wherein we seek His grace and guidance in modifying our lives with spiritual and ethical attributes and noble social behaviors.
A newly wed couple have many ideas and aspirations in the establishment of a happy and prosperous family .
They now recall their own steps taken in keeping the whole process as holy as possible . They had faithfully performed the sacrament for conception. In the days following the conception they had refrained from indulgences and had followed the rules of celibacy. They spent the leisure hours in religious fellowships. They had the priest perform the punsavanam sacrament at the second month of the pregnancy in the presence of the family members, relatives and well-wishers. The vows thus were renewed.
They further recall that on the fourth , sixth and eight months the simantonayan sacraments were performed for the welfare of the mother as well as the child in the womb. Throughout the pregnancy the tempo of the religious fellowships were enhanced. They had maintained honesty and transparency in all their activities which again had the embodiment of sacrificial motives. They gave donations in kind and in money to the needy and poor. They also gave due respect to the elders. These are positive values. At the birth of the new-born the Jaat Karam sacrament was accomplished with the father of the family-unit leading the ceremony. With arrival of the child efforts were made to further improve the physical, psychological and religious environments to allow for the attainment of positive values as much as possible .
Such were their personal accounts, and with these glad feelings they are now making all the due preparations for the Naam Karan Sanakar .
They wish for a name which in a nut shell very adeptly would reflect their own inner feelings and would then become a beacon for the growing child to follow the chosen path. Whenever his/her name would be called out affectionately, the very sound of that name would ring the bells for a chain reaction in his/her mental processes for positive responses. The intensity of such responses would gain with age and eventually a personality would take shape which would then be endeared by all around him/her. These are some of the reasons why in the Vedic culture and philosophy the accomplishment of Naam Karan Sanskar is so vital and significant.
What is in a name? The letters in a word create the name which in turn spells out the meaning of that name . All names have either a positive or a negative effect depending upon the word chosen. One should remember that this particular name, this very name , would become the life-long identification mark of that person . Therefore it is very imperative that an utmost of intelligence and wisdom is exercised to choose this name and assistance should be sought from the learned and the wise.
The choice of a name
The choice of a name is of immense significance . In our choices we visualize a situation -a word- where all our aspirations are encased. The name when uttered should have the weight and authority to impinge an effect. The loudness of the name so uttered would also signal a message to all around in the family, relatives, all well-wishers and members of the community, that a person of certain characteristics is now a focus of attention among them. There is a sense of a proclamation to all and sundry to hear and listen. In the growing child himself / herself there is intensity of reaction to this loudness of the name so uttered. The Vedic scriptures state that this very name then has the potentials of moulding a person's character and personality. Due diligence should be exercised when choosing a name. Name should not resemble and represent the name of animals , trees, rivers, flowers or any material object. Names should have connotations of high ideals and aspirations, which in addition to identifying the child with ease should also create in him / her a sense of immense responsibility.
The name chosen should be easy and gentle, and which could be easily and readily pronounced. A name with many syllables is inappropriate and becomes cumbersome in pronunciation. The name may thus be wrongly emphasised giving a distorted hearing perception .
The Choice of an Auspicious Day for the Naam Karan Sanskar
The “ Sanskar Vidhi “ text clearly stipulates the timing of the sacrament. There are three different times but the importance is given to the first one. It should be performed on the eleventh day (counting the day one -the day the child was born); on one hundred and one days later; or on the first anniversary of the child.
Eleventh Day: If the birth had been normal without any ill effect to the mother - assuming that the child is well and healthy and the mother can actively participate in this ceremony .
One Hundred and One days : When the mother has some physical and mental failings and illness it is envisaged that she will be well at the end of three months. On the First Anniversary: There are occasions when the parents would prefer a larger number of relatives from distant places to arrive, and they would be able to meet the deadline on the 1st anniversary .
It is very important that the Naam Karan Sacrament should be accomplished as soon as possible so that the psychic impact is maximised as early as possible ; and the process of identifying the child by name becomes practical and unhindered. Without a proper name others begin to give odd names and / or nicknames and this process creates adverse psychic impact. And when the proper name is given much later in time some adverse psychological reactions tend to develop due to the change in the name. That is why it is prudent to have this sacrament accomplished on the 11th day.
It is observed that even after the Naam Karan Sacrament , nicknames are given and sometimes it is more than one nickname. This attitude is not appropriate and for obvious reasons the effect of the real name is nullified and the whole purpose of the Naam Karan Sacrament is defeated and will lead to deleterious = harmful effect on the child‘s mind . It is prudent to seek the assistance of the learned and wise people in the community when the choice of name is made.
The day the Sacrament is to be performed there should be rejoicing all around, and everyone should be happy and in joyful mood. Relatives , friends and well-wishers should be invited and welcomed accordingly with seating arrangements and provided with refreshments and food.
The father is now seated on the right side of the mother - this procedure places the father in the leading role in this Sacrament as laid down in the “ Sanskar Vidhi “ text. The ceremony is officiated by the Vedic Priest . The father joins in the performance of the Havan -Yaj, and on indication by the priest the father announces the chosen name . It is important that the meaning of the name and its subsequent significance is properly understood by the parents , family members . the relatives and friends and as the child grows the subtle meanings of the name is made known to him / her, and this measure should be repeated on various occasions to have a meaningful effect on the child .