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Clarifications of Names

From: Satyan, Nagu (MSMAIL) (
Date: Mon Aug 04 1997 - 15:18:26 PDT

From: Satyan, Nagu on Mon, Aug 4, 1997 4:17 PM
Subject: Clarifications of Names
To: bhakti digest

I would like to get the clarifications of the names such as Vaishnavi 
and nArAyanee.  I have seen these names attributed to Lakshmi, and in 
some sthothrams attributed to Parvathi.  I know a few SV families who 
have daughters named Vaishnavi.  This question was triggered by a song 
 in the movie "Navagraha Nayaki".  The song has a line as follows 
"madhavan sahodari vaishnavi", refering to Parvathi.

With my limited knowledge of Sanskrit and etymology, I had thought 
Vishnusya pathni vaishnavi.  It appears it is vishnosya sahodari 
vaishnavi.  What is the interpretation by our Acharyas?

We are all aware of the traditional sloka "guru brahma guror vishno 
guru dEvO mahEshwaraha, guru sAkshAth parabrahma thasmai sri guruvE 
namaha."  A few years back when we hosted an Advaitha Swami, he taught 
us the following additional lines:

"eashwarO gururAthmEthi murthi bEda vibhAginE, vyOmavad vyAptha dEhAya 
dakshinA murthayE namaha
saranAgatha deenArtha parithrAna parAyanE
sarvasyArthi harE dEvim nArAyanim namOsthuthE"

I am now confused which nArAyanee is being refered to.  Also, I have 
heard the explanation for the name "rAmAnuja" as balarAmsya anujaha 
rAmAnuja (meaning Krishna) versus rAmasya anujaha (for lakshmana).  It 
would appear that the first explanation is more in line with SV 
sampradayam of not naming children with names such as Lakshmana, 
anantharaman etc.(I do not know the rationale for not naming Lakshmana 
 if we can name as  ramanuja).  

It appears that there may be dual explanations or interpretations on a 
few names.  The interpretations may be subjective depending on the 
sampradaayam and traditions.  The topic of "Names" has always 
intrigued me and that is why my input to Sri Sadagopan is to discuss 
"What is in a name?"

I may be completely off base in my train of thoughts on this subject.  
I hope one of you will steer me in the right direction.

Nagu Satyan