Why Do We Name Our Children After Gods and Goddesses ?

With the aim of making this question more lucid; your attention will be drawn first to a familiar concept in self-help, that of affirmation.

An affirmation is a phrase or word repeated with the intention of bringing that item or quality about into our life. For example the affirmation ‘peace’ may be repeated. T he theory is that by repetition a new neural pathway is created moving away from unwanted qualities to those more desirable so that the positive focus becomes habitual.

Now imagine if one was faced with a newborn baby who was not exposed to any negativity in their life but a blank slate, what you want to the newborn to resonate with throughout their life? Perhaps one starts a trust for their education. In Hinduism there is often one important step, that of Namakarana or naming ceremony as can be seen in other religions.

Some may choose the highest quality they can think of, the English name Felicity comes to mind. For a Hindu, a God is a representation of the highest quality which any man can possess; hence, there are many Gods to represent these qualities. However this is just one stance on the complex issue.

Gods and Goddesses are often personifications of these qualities; such as ‘Lakshmi’, the Goddess of abundance, wealth and prosperity. One may want this to be the resonance for their child. The repetition of the child’s name is then also a spiritual practice, that of ‘japa’, or repetition of God’s name for spiritual advancement.

This affirmative name becomes part of the initial seat of consciousness for the child and without a doubt the child will be exposed to the lore of the Goddess, thus creating a subconscious archetype to identify with, an ideal to aspire to right from birth.

The Namakarana, or naming ceremony also needs careful preparation, often with the consultation of an astrologer. The astrologer looks at the chart of the child and sources another important vibration; that of child’s first name based on the sidereal star at birth in the chart.  This system is much akin to the western astrological tradition of fixed stars. Thus the first letter sound of a baby is also a ‘mantra’, an affirmative spiritual sound vibration. This combined with the name of a God or Goddess  (often the ‘personal deity’ also identified from the chart) and parents often feel fulfilled in giving the best start to their newborn.

~ Dhanjyoti Sanghvi