NAMA KARANA (Giving a Name to the child):(with name guide)

In all cultures around the world just after a child is born there's an official naming ceremony that is to be performed (Baptism, Christening, etc.); Nama karana, or name giving, in which the father officially and publically declares the name of the child for all to know and use.
    In ancient Rome for instance the naming of a child was a rite of passage that gave recognition and acceptance to a child as being the son (or daughter) of the father, and until the ceremony was done and the father had accepted him/her and named the child, the child was not fully accepted into the family.
    In the Vedik life-style the mood is more that as a new member of the family, after we have done our level best to invoke a good soul ("Ray of Vishnu") into our midst, we come together as a Joint family to celebrate and welcome this great souls' coming into our association, giving of aknowledgement and thanks, and due recognition as well as giving us, the family and friends the opportunity to serve, welcome and help the on-going development of the child, making a positive mark in their lives.

As the result of the scientific, holisitic and philosophic rite as mentioned in Bhagavad Gita (Bg 7:11.), where Lord Krishna states that, "I am sex life that is not contrary to religious principles", we see the direct result before us in the form of this "Ray of Vishnu".

In these ceremonies, which are both intimate and public, we share with the community precious exchanges that enable us to experience love, emotion and thanksgiving not only toward each other, but also to the Lord, by whose grace the entire samskarik actions have be invoked, taken shelter of, and received the blessings of.

"The pious seminal succession in the twice born families of the brahmanas and kshatriyas especially, as well as in the families of vaishyas also, must be kept very pure by the observation of the purificatory process (samskaras) beginning with garbhadhana samskara, which is observed before conceiving a child.  Unless this purificatory process is strictly observed, especially by the brahmanas, the family descendants become impure, and gradually sinful activities become visible in the family." (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srimad Bhagavatam 4:14:42., purport)

Choosing the time to perform Nama-karana:
Chosing names:
Nice things to do include in the ceremony:


The time - when to do:
The child should be named on the tenth, twelfth, hundred and first day, (101 st), or one full year from his birth.

It may be convenient to also do the Niskramanam ceremony at this time. (If the Niskramanam is included then do the Nama Karanam in the home first and then take the child to the temple, alternatively take the child to the temple and do both Niskramanam first then Naama Karanam.)

Prayog - procedure;
The father, having taken bath, having worshipped Lord Vishnu and performed vrddhi sraddha (see marriage preliminaries), should perform kusandika rites to the end of virupaksha japa, calling the fire named "parthiva."

He should offer ghee-soaked wood of pradesa length into the fire silently.

He should perform vyasta samasta mahavyahrti homa:

om bhuh svaha
om bhuvah svaha
om svah svaha
om bhuh bhuvah svah svaha

The mother, holding the child covered in clean cloth, should be situated on the husband's right side.

She should give the child to her husband and pass behind him and come to his left side.  She should sit facing east on kusa grass with tips facing north.

The husband should offer oblations saying:

om tad visnoh paramam padam
sada pasyanti surayo
diviva caksur atatam
om visnave svaha

om ........(tithi, eg. pratipade - details of day) svaha-aa
om tad visnoh paramam padam
sada pasyanti surayo
diviva caksur atatam
om ......(eg. pratipat) tithi devatayai visnave svaha-aa

om tad visnoh paramam padam
sada pasyanti surayo
diviva caksur atatam
om vaisnavebhyo svaha-aa

om......(nakshatra  of the day; eg. asvini, om asvinyai) svaha-aa
om tad visnoh paramam padam
sada pasyanti surayo
diviva caksur atatam
om ..........(eg asvini) nakshatra devatayai visnave svaha-aa

om tad visnoh paramam padam
sada pasyanti surayo
diviva caksur atatam
om vaisnavebhyo svaha-aa

The father should touch the mouth, nostrils, eyes, and ears of the child with his right hand and say:

om ko'si katamo'si eso'si amrto'si'ahaspatyam masam pravisa sri.....(name of son)

You are immortal like the Lord.   Oh........(name of son)  enter in this solar month.

om sa tva ahne paridadatu
ahah tva ratryai paridadatu
ratrih tva aho ratrabhyam paridadatu
aho ratrau tva ardha masebhyah paridattam
ardha masah tva masebhyah paridadatu
masah tva rtubhyah paridadatu
rtavah tva samvatsaraya paridadatu
samvatsarah tva ayuse jarayai paridadatu

May the Lord consign you to the day
May the day consign you to the night.
may the night consign you to the day and night.
May day and night consign you to half months.
May the half month consign you to the full months.
May the months consign you to the seasons.
May the seasons consign you to the year.
May the years consign you to  long life,
oh.............(name of child).

The husband should whisper the name in the left ear of his wife saying:

sri.....(name of child) ayam te putra (putrika if girl)

He should give the child back to his wife's hands.

The father should then offer wood silently into the fire.

He should perform vyasta samasta mahavyahrti homa:

om bhuh svaha
om bhuvah svaha
om svah svaha
om bhuh bhuvah svah svaha-aa

He should perform udicya karma and concluding rites; Purusha Suktam, Vaishnava Homa, Prayaschitt Homa, Purnahuti, Aparadh kshamswa, Shanti Danam, VamadevGam, Tilakdharanam, Parikrama, then give daksina to Vaisnavas and Brahmins, prasadam to guests.




 Choosing Names:
Names may be chosen according to various methods.

After the deity of the nakshatra (stellar constellation under which the child was born: i.e. Asvini nakshatra, something beginning with Agni - Agnihotra, Agnistumba, Agnidev, etc.

asvini ( agni)
bharani (yama)
krttika (agni)
rohini(prajapati)
mrgasirsa (soma)
ardra (rudra)
punarvasu (aditi)
pusya (brhaspati)
aslesa (sarpa)
magha ((pitrni)
purva phalguni (bhaga)
uttara phalguni (aryaman)
hasta (savitr)
citra (tvastr)
svati (vayu)
visakha (Mitra)
Anuradha (Indra)
Jyestha (Nirrti)
mula (nrti)
purvasadha (apa)
uttarasadha (visvadeva)
sravana (visnu)
dhanistha (vasu)
satabhisa (varuna)
purvabhadrapad (ajaikapada)
uttarabhadrapada (ahirbudhnya)
revati (pusa)

After the deity of the month in which the child is born:
margasirsa: krsna
pausa: ananta
magha: acyuta
phalguna: cakri
caitra: vaikuntha
vaisakha: janardana
jyestha: upendra
asadha; yajnapurusa
sravana: vasudeva
bhadra: hari
asvina: yogisa
kartika: pundarikaksa

Name according to aksara corresponding to nakshatra:
Each naksatra is divided into four equal parts.  Each part is assigned a syllable. After determining which nakshatra and which quarter of the nakshatra that the child was born in, a name shoul be chosen which begins with syllable corresponding to the particular quarter of the nakshatra. Any syllable with  an "o" sound may substitute an "au" sound. An syllable with an "e" sound may substitute an "ai" sound.   "S"  may be substituted for "s".

Nakshatra at birth:       1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters or padas of it:
asvina                    cu, ce, co, la
bharani                   li,  lu, le, lo
krtikka                   a, i, u, e
rohini                    o, ba, bi, bu
mrga sirsa                be, bo, ka, ki
ardra                     ku, gha, na, cha
punarvasu                 ke, ko, ha, hi
pusya                     hu, he, ho, da
aslesa                    di, du, de, do
magha                     ma, mi, mu, me
purva phalguni            mo, ta, ti, tu
uttara phalguni           te, to, pa, pi
hasta                     pu, sa, na, tha
citra                     pe, po, ra, ri
svati                     ru, re, ro, ta
visakha                   ti, tu, te, to
anuradha                  na, ni, nu, ne
jyestha                   no, ya, yi, yu
mula                      ye, yo, bha, bhi
purvasadha               bhu, dha, pha, dha
uttarasadha              bhe, bho, ja, ji
abhijit                   ju, je, jo, kha
sravana                   khi, khu, khe, kho
dhanistha                 ga, gi, gu, ge
satabhisa                 go, sa, si, su, sa, si, su
purva bhadra              se, so, se, so, da, di
uttara bhadrapada        du, tha, jha, na (and tra)
revati                    de, do, ca, ci

According to zodiac sign:
Begining with the letters as follows:

21 March/ 20 April mesa / Aries :   a, la
21 April/ 20 May vrsaba / Taurus;  u, va, i, e, o
21 May/ 20 June mithuna /Gemini;  ka, cha, bha, na
21 June/ 20 July karkara / Cancer;  bha, ha
21 July/20 Aug simha / Leo:     ta,  ?
21 Aug/ 20Sept kanya / Virgo;  pa, tha, ya, na
21 Sept/ 20 Oct tula / Libra:  ra, tav
21 Oct/ 20 Nov vrsicha / Scorpio;  na, ya
21 Nov/ 20 Dec dhanus / Sagitarius:  bha, bha, pha, dha
21 Dec/ 20 Jan  makara /Capricorn;  tha, ja
21 Jan/ 20 Feb  kumbha /Aquarius:  ga, sa
21 Feb/ 20 March mina / Pisces:   da, ca na, jha

In Gopal Bhatta Goswami's Sat kriya sara dipika he adds this final statement that if after all this still you cannot agree on a name from any of the above, then simply pray to Sri Krishna and choose one that you like. However if the people need help in choosing names or as a source of reference I have one book in my possession called Hindu Book of Names with more than 30,000 names in with their English meaning, male and female genders etc.

You may also want to see if according to the Pada of the birth nakshatra that there may be a need to perform shanti to absolve any dosha in the chart that may harm the nature or character of the jiva/child.




Nice things to include in the Nama Karana ceremony:

As well as the above section that covers the rites according to Sat Kriya Sara Dipika of Srila Gopal Bhatt Goswami, we have experienced that it is nice to do the following items, to further enhance the loving mellows of family life, the sharing of the Joint Family and Community, and the furthering and preservation of the culture of Krishna consciousness.

Research the name that you have chosen for the child, and explain the significance and or any stories
or pastimes that are associated with that name, showing why it is special, and why you have chosen it.

Ask Godparents or Grandparents to select a short reading. Also you can write down your own memories
of the moment of birth, any special events; born with sikha, umbilical cord wrapped around like brahmin
thread, etc., nurses comments, arrival of auspicious stranger, etc., etc. Also, any realisation that you may
have had at the time of birth, you feelings as a new parent, and your hopes and aspirations.

Decorate a nice card using the hand print and footprints of your child. Invite everyone to sign their names,
then have the card framed.

Involve siblings by asking them to draw a special picture, write a story or sing something for the new baby
as part of the  recognition of their place as big brother/sister.

Remember that gifts that last can become part of a family tradition, so give practical gifts that can be part
of that for the family - a trinket box or a charm bracelet that can be added to year after year, a wall chart
to show how long/tall they are growing.

As financial stability is useful in the maintainance of body and soul, start a Bank account for the child's
education, etc. Gifts of money/laxmi is always best gifted in envelopes.

Create a time capsule with the baby's name bracelet from the hospital, a bootie, a newspaper from the day
of the birth, a selection of cards and a bottle of some sparkling grape juice to be put away until the child's
21st birthday.

As candle burning rituals are symbolic of invoking love, friendship, new beginnings, continuity, life, etc.
We can get everyone to offer a small arati lamp on a tray to the child for the well-being of the child. As each
person comes up the priest can stand there put water on their hands, and ask them to bless the child.
Then as they do everyone can say a little prayer to the Lord, asking Him to bless the child with Chiran Jivi - longlife.

Some people might like to bring a coin and give to the child, symbolic of his/her being precious.

Others might like to bring or plant a tree in the child's name, which year after year you will witness it grow.

There are many things like this, some of you may already have a family "gauna" (tradition) going on.


The bottom line is to bear in mind that you are dealing with a new born and time is very flexible. Sometimes they are awake, sometimes asleep, sometimes feeding, etc. So be prepared to work with that to get through the ceremony promptly.



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