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From: M K Sudarshan (
Date: Sat Jul 12 1997 - 01:53:52 PDT

Dear Sri.Sadagopan, Smt.Nagu Satyen and my other "anonymous" friend,

On the subject of the "mystery of nAmA" here is some more 'food for thought' :

1) No modern science or discipline can do without what is called a "scheme
of nomenclature" on which its knowledge-base stands !! Chemistry, for
example, has its own very special "nomenclature' !

2) If so-called modern "hi-tech" disciplines like IT etc. do not call it
"nomenclature" they use the term "jargon" which is also a specie of "nAmA" !

3) In the English language we use the term "name be-smirched" or "name
disgraced" to indicate that a person's whole individuality or persona has
fallen in esteem ! This shows how "sacred" is 'nAmA' even to mortal human
beings that "personal honour" and "personal identity" is attached
inextricably to it!!

4) In the Tamil language, too, we use the expression "pErum-pugazhUm
kAppAthik-kOL", meaning, one should strive to preserve always one's good
reputation. Here the expression employs first "pEr" i.e. 'nAmA' and only
next uses "pugazh" -- fame or reputation ! Here again we see the close
pychological nexus between "nAmA" and a man's sense of personal worth !!

5) I think the above is true in most languages of the world.

6) The first 'samskAra' (rite of passage) that a new-born child undergoes in
all societies and communities is "nAma-karaNa" or "christening" ceremonies.

7) In marketing-management theory the use of "nAmA" in advertising and sales
promotion is of paramount importance. If a product is stuck with a "lousy
name" it will "fail" in the market ! The power of a product's "Brand", on
the other hand, is really the power of its "nAmA" ( "the medium is greater
than the message", as they say !)! Examples are galore : Cocoa-Cola, Heinz,
Nike, IBM, Rolls Royce or Rolex !! What do these names symbolise ? Figure it
out yourselves!

8) In spite of the superiority of "digital" signals over "analog" ones, most
mental processes in the human brain are conducted on the basis of the latter
"inputs" than those of the former. One therefore finds it easier to
"remember names" than "numbers", isn't it ? Which is why we have telephone
directories "listing names" with their corresponding "numbers" and, thank
God, not the other way around !!! 

When "nAmA-s" are seen to play such an intimate and all-pervasive role in
our ordinary lives as described above, it is quite easy for us to believe
our "AchAryA-s" and "AzhwArs" when they repeatedly affirm that, in the world
of religious and mystical reality, the Power of "bhagavan-nAmA" is more
Powerful than the Lord Himself (the medium is more powerful than the message

The old story of "ajAmilan" on his death-bed, in fact, sounds perfectly
reasonable from this perspective !!

No wonder the North Indian mystic, "sUrdAs", kept singing : "nAmajapan kyUn
chOd diya rE ?"