O Lustrous Lord, kindle the fire within us which may burn all evil and give us strength to make sacrifice for the meek and the weak and save them from the evil oppressors

Yajur Veda 18.61

Sacrament Naamkaran

Fourth Sacrament - Naamkaran Sanskar

(Naming Ceremony)

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When God created this universe he gave name to everything. Not only God gave name to all lifeless objects but he ordered that all human beings should have a name for people to address him/her. So the learned priests decided to give a name to all individual children which is meaningful, sweet and easy to pronounce.

Naam Chasmai Dadyuh: - Paaraskar Grih Sutra - everyone should have a name - this is what has been called as Naamkaran sanskar. This Sacrament should be performed on 11th day, 101 day or second year of the birth of the child. According to their convenience parents can perform this ceremony any day after 11th day of the birth of their child. It will be ideal if parents can perform this ceremony on the above days of the birth of their child. According to Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati parents must perform this ceremony whenever convenient to them.

Yugmaani Tveva Punsaam, Ayujaani Strinaam - sanskaarvidhi by Maharishi Dayanand: In these Grih Sutras Maharishi Dayanand has suggested that boys names should have even numbers of alphabets for example 2, 4, 6 and girls names odd numbers of alphabets like 3, 5 etc. But this suggestion can be changed according to prevailing times. Quite a few Rishis names are opposite to this suggestion for example Gautam, Kapil, Kanad, Ashok, Vidur, Narad etc. Similarly Anusuya, Sita, Ganga, Yashodhra, Gargi etc. are famous women names are opposite to this suggestion. Parents should select such a name for their child which is meaningful, sweet to hear and easy to pronounce (call). Addition of surnames of parents after the first name of childlike Sharma, Verma, Gupta and Daas et cetera can also be used to follow the suggestion of Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati. In Aashwalaayan Grih Sutra there is provision of writing Surname of Sharma for Brahaman, Verma for Kshatriya, Gupta for Vaisya and Daas for Shudra. In Naamkaran Sacrament the surname of the child will be the same as of his/her parents. But after the completion of Gurkul education and when the profession of a person is known then Acharya will decide the caste of that person. This was the system followed in Vedic period. But now days a child automatically belongs to the same caste as his/her parents. Still, on basis of Vedic teachings, a caste of a person can be changed according to the qualities, deeds and nature of that person.

Tadhitaanta Naam - Nishedh: A name selected on the basis of name of parents or Gotra (lineage) is called "Tadhita" for example Pandava, Raghav, Konteya, Bhargava, Vaasudev, Jaanki et cetera. Although these names have been applied for a group of people but are based on parents or lineage. So these are Tadhita. Pandava is not for an individual name but all Pandava sons. So this name is not correct. A name given to an individual is the correct thing.

Date - Devata and Star - Devata consideration: During the procedure oblations are offered in the name of these. These oblations direct us to the birth time of the child. So it is important to follow the date and it’s Devta, star and its Devta and offer oblations under the guidance of a qualified priest. For the guidance of this procedure Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati has written a list about these in his book "Sanskar Vidhi".

Date - Devta: 1-Brahman, 2- Twastu, 3-Vishnu, 4-Yam, 5-Som, 6-Kumar, 7-Muni, 8-Vasu, 9-Shiva, 10-Dharma, 11-Rudra, 12-Vayu, 13-Kaam, 14-Anant, 15-Vishvedeva, 30-Pitar

Star – Devata: Ashvini-Ashvi, Bharanii-Yam, Krittika-Agni, Rohinii-Prajapati, Mrigshish-Som, Aadrra-Rudra, Punarvasu-Aditi, Pushya-Vrihaspati, Aashlesha-Sarpa, Magha-Pitri, Purvafalgunii-Bhag, Uttrafulgunii-Aryaman, Hasta-Savitri, Chitra-tvastta, Swati-Vayu, Vishaakhaa-Indraagnau, Anuradha-Mitra, Jyeshtaa-Indra, Mul-Niriti, Purvashaadhaa-Ap, Utraashadhaa-Vishvedeva, Shrawan-Vishnu, Dhanisthaa-Vasu, Shatbhishaj-Varun, Purvaabhaadrapadaa-Ahirbundhaya-Revatii-Pushana.

In consideration of a name for their child the parents should consider the following alphabets of Hindi language. This is about Hindi language grammar. Cold letters like Ka, Kha, Cha, Chha, Ta, Tha, Pa, Pha et cetera. Hot letters like Ga, Gha, nga, Ja, Jha, jna, Da, Dha, Na, Ba, Bha, Ma. Ya, Ra, La, Va, Ha, and Sha. These are also called Ghosha letters as well for example Bhadra, Bhadrasen, Bhava, Bhavnaath, Haridev et cetera.

Points to consider in names of a female child: Following names are against the teachings of Vedas. Names of Stars like Rohini, Revati; Names of plants and trees like Champa, Tulsi; Names of rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Anatyaj (Chandali); Mountains like Vindhyachali, Himalaya; Birds like Kokila, Hansa (Swan); Snakes like Sarpini, Nagini; Consigned or transmitted like Dasi, Kinkari; Frightful like Bhima, Chandika et cetera. It is important to select a Vedic name for a child.

Mother gives child to father: This is an important part of the ceremony. When it is time to pronounce the name of the child then mother hands over the child to his/her father's lap and then father gives child back to his/her mother's lap. Then one recites "Om Prajaapataye Swaahaa" mantra and offers oblation. Prajaapati is another name of God and he is the Lord, protector and carer of all his people. We are all the children of God. With this thought in mind parents pray to God for the welfare of the child. Please note that it is the mother of the child who hands over the child to her husband to remind him that as a father of the child it is his responsibility to look after the welfare of his child. Understanding the thinking of his wife the husband gives the child back in the lap of his wife with assurance that he accepts his duties as a father for the education and development of his child. But father requests his wife to look after the child till he is grown up to start education. So this way in this Sacrament both parents take oath to work and have resources necessary for the future education and development of their child.

Father touches the nostril of child: The father touches the right side nostril of nose of his child and recites "Ko-asi Katmo-asi Kasyaasi Ko Naamaasi" et cetera. A happy father, by reciting this Mantra, asks his child "Who are you?" "From where have you come?" "Who are your parents and what is your name?" In these questions lie the belief of Hindus in reincarnation. The happy and excited father asks these questions to his child in order to know about his/her previous life. Vedas support the theory of reincarnation. The father takes the child in his lap in presence of invited guests, accepts the child of his own and gives name to his child and agrees to take full responsibility of his child.

Ko-asi = you are my happiness, Katmo-asi = I am blessed to have you in my household, Kasyaasi = Like everyone else you are also the child of God and Ko Naamaasi = You are the source of pleasure to my soul my child. By putting his hand on child's head the father blesses his child for life long happiness and promises to provide for all necessary things for the child.

Blessing: In the end of this Sacrament the priest along with distinguished guests blesses the child like this: He Balak/Balike! Twam Aayusmaan/Aayushmati, Varchasvii/Varchasvinii, Tejasvii/Tejasvinii, Shreemaan/Shrimatii Bhuyaah. Meaning: O child we bless you with long life, be brilliant and full of vitality, vigour and lustrous in your life and get married.

Please note that by blessing the child that in future you get married the guests are blessing the child to get married and live happily in future. This is such a beautiful blessing and is the one we all want.

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