[Advaita-l] How to get a Hindu Name?

Aravind Mohanram psuaravind at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 20 14:03:20 CST 2004

Dear Ms. Dickson,
The Vedic religion is called sanatana dharma (eternal religion). The word Hinduism was given by outsiders to people practising the Vedic religion. The name itself doesn't have a basis in the scriptures. So, your question is better put this way, how to get a Vedic name?
According to the Vedic tradition, material names are only temporary designations. We are actually brahman, or spirit. The ultimate goal of self-realization is to realize this fact, and our absolute oneness (according to advaita) or oneness and difference (according to Vaishnavas) with the Parabrahman. So, I'm assuming your goal is to seek the absolute truth. The first sutra of Vedanta says athatho-brahma jijnasa, now, inquire into the absolute truth - now, meaning, in this human form of life, we should not waste time in animalistic activities, but ask questions like who am I, what is my purpose and so on? 
The sastra does not enjoin us to seek a particular religion. The goal of all religions is to understand and love God. If a religion does not bring one to this stage (of brahma-jnana) it is useless. Whether you a christian, muslim or a hindu, your job is to see if the religion that you are practising is bringing you closer to God. Different religions (outside the Vedic tradition) were given to people based on time, place and circumstances (mindset of people etc.,). This is why to say artificially that all religions are one doesn't take us anywhere. On the other hand, understanding the key differences, even when appreciating the common teachings will take us further. 
A person born in family of christians need not be restricted by the christian practices and the same holds true for muslims, hindus and others. If one is not satisfied with the answers provided he is free to choose a different path. We have to understand that the material nature is structured in such a way that different people are on different levels of consciousness, and influenced to varying degrees by the modes of nature. Because of this different people have different propensities. Real religious system is one which caters to all these different propensities. A good example is the Vedic system. The system allows for so many differing thoughts and practices that it accomodates men on different stages of spiritual realizations. Even in the Bhagavad-Gita, you can see Lord Krishna summarizing the different paths of yoga. And, you can see in practical life that different people regardless of their birth-religion, take up different yoga practises (I'm talking about the sincere
 seekers, not the gymnasts of the western world!!)
A person born in a brahmin family does not necessarily become a brahmin. One becomes a brahmin by the qualities he develops and not by his birth, although birth in a brahmin family does put one in an advantageous position. Krishna says in the Gita that he created the varna-asrama system based on the qualities. The one based on birth, is the later-day version of caste-system which has crippled India for centuries and brought a bad name to Vedic tradition. One can become a brahmin, or develop the qualities (pls see Gita to have an idea about the qualities) under the able guidance of self-realized souls or acharyas. In ancient times, the brahmins were truly exemplary sages, and guided the kings based on sastras. And, the kings in turn ruled over the vaishyas (mercantil) and sudra(workers) classes in a noble way and this brought happiness and satisfaction to all classes of society. We are in short of qualified brahmins, today. 
So, in summary, instead of changing your name, seek out a bonafide guru (Gita 4.34) and learn from him the science of self-realization. The guru, seeing your eagerness and qualification, will give you a vedic name, if that is what you are interested in. 
These are my personal thoughts and maybe defective. But, I hope you get the essence. 


Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Finance Tax Center - File online. File on time.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list