You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : September 1997

On giving children the name of God

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Wed Sep 03 1997 - 12:18:39 PDT

This short post was triggered by a conversation
with Dileepan yesterday morning.

One of the things prospective parents put the 
most thought into is what to name their newborn
baby.  Periyalvar [Andal's father] has some
strong suggestions of his own, at least when
it comes to a baby boy. [The analogue for a
female child naturally follows.]

This set of ten paasurams comes from periyaazhvaar
thirumozhi 4.6.x.  Addressing his words openly to
the people of the world, he dissuades them from
naming their children after trivialities, for 
the sake of money, a sari, or a handful of this
and that.  The Alvar probably observed many people
naming their child after a minor divinity or earthly 
monarch with the hope that the family and child 
would prosper accordingly:

 kaasum kaRaiyudaik kooRaikkum angOr kaRRaikkum
 aasaiyinaal angavaththap pEridum aadhar_kaaL!
 kEsavan pErittu neengaL thEnith thiruminO
 naayakan naaraNan tham annai narakam pukaaL.

Name him "Kesava" and rejoice, O people of the world!
Lord Narayana will never push such a person's mother
into hell.

>From a very practical standpoint, I think this is
Periyalvar's way of establishing a particular connection
with the Supreme Lord at the very onset of life.  Is 
not naming the child after Him and His the simplest
and quickest way of beginning the infant's ascent from
mere mortality to its rightful position as a spark 
of the Divine, of and belonging to the Lord Himself?

Mani