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Thread: Name change?

  1. #1

    Name change?


    I'd like to know, have you changed your name & last name since you follow Sanathana Dharma? What are good resources for first & last names (Shaivite perhaps?). What if you like your first name?

    Thank you in advance.

    Have a nice day,
    Siva Yogaswami used to say, "It takes courage to be happy all the time."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    September 2007
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    Re: Name change?

    Vannakkam SA:

    Name changes and the laws that apply to them vary from country to country. You would have to look into the laws of your own country, Latvia. Your Department of vital Statistics or Records (or the equivalent) would be the people to contact. Here in Canada you are required to make a public announcement of it, and there is a waiting period. This is to make it much harder for people to use this as a method of avoiding prosecution for crimes committed. There are many reasons to change names. One of the most common with immigrants is to change their names away from names like Hitler or Fuk in Chinese for the obvious reasons. Of course in legal adoptions by step-parents it is done all the time.

    I can only speak about the Canadian laws. Here you can change your first name, your last name, or both.

    In religion name changes, the same civil laws laws apply. Some people choose to take on a 'religious' name and they use it whenever it is a religious context, but for all other legal purposes the birth name is used. Still others might change only one name, as you have suggested. In your case there is also probably the consent of a parent needed, until you are of adult age, which in Canada is 18. Religiously, the most common is Islam. Three famous examples are boxer Muhammad Ali, (formerly Cassius Clay), basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar, (formerly Lew Alcindor) and musiciian Yusaf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens). In colonial times the British forced new names (Christian anglo) on many of the cultures they invaded including in India and the Canadian aboriginals.

    For myself and my wife, we took on a religious (Hindu names) by choosing ones we liked from a list, getting Guru's approval, having a namakarana samskara (name-giving ceremony) and subsequently doing all the required legal work to have it on our passports. Very few Hindu converts or adoptives go this far, nor is it necessary to do this. We just felt it more logical to have a Hindu name when you're a Hindu. For me there was a sense of authenticity and seriousness attached afterward. Looking back, I would do it all over again.

    In Kerala, a common thing to do is change the first name only when they convert to Christianity. So you have something like Matthew Sivachandra. So you do get mixed names.

    I would urge you not to be in a hurry about this at all, and of course you can use a new name in practise for a while without making the formal change. See how it feels, and then after a few years, re-evaluate it all. A name has a lot to do with your identity in this lifetime. I changed mine in 1980 after 5 years of adopting Hindu practice. So it has been 30 years now.

    I hope this answers some questions about it. Here is a link to a couple of name site. There are others.

    Aum Namasivaya
    Last edited by Eastern Mind; 22 June 2010 at 06:34 PM. Reason: add ons

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