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Baby Naming (Naamkaran) Ceremony

Most significantly, this ritual provides an identity to the baby while acknowledging the importance of sound while naming a baby. Read this article to learn about syllables best suited for a child’s name as per the Janma Nakshatra; and procedures for the ceremony.

Baby Naming

In the Hindu tradition, baby naming ceremony is referred to as ‘Naamkaran’ and is an extremely significant rite of passage as it attaches an identity to the baby. ‘Naam’ and ‘Karan’ mean name and form respectively.

Namkaran is the first step for the child to connect with their lineage, family and ancestors. The ceremony also brings a sense of togetherness and oneness to the circle of family and friends, as the baby receives blessings and good wishes.

 

Importance of the Ceremony

  • Purification ceremony for the baby and family members.
  • Baby is given an identity and association with the family.
  • Baby is welcomed in the family lineage and identified by the family name.
  • Baby receives ancestors’ blessings.
  • Brings good luck and nullifies negativity.

 

Vedic Belief and Rituals

In the Vedic tradition, the Naamkaran Sanskar or ceremony is performed after 11 days. Until this time, both the baby and mother are confined to post-natal care. Then the Shuddhikaran (purification) puja is performed by the priest.

In case of any complication and inconvenience for the mother or child, the naming ceremony can be held in the third month. The Pandit (priest) chants ‘mantra’ to purify and start the ritual with the parents of the child. The prayer is performed by invoking Lord Agni (Fire), the elements and the baby’s ancestors.

The name of the child is written on a bronze plate that has grains (mostly rice) spread evenly on it. The father writes the name of the baby on the grains. After that, he whispers the child’s name four times in the child’s right ear along with a prayer. The family members then repeat and chant after the priest and accept the name of the child formally.

Post this ritual, the baby is blessed by family members and friends of the family. They are even offered gifts. The ceremony ends with a feast. One can also invite an astrologer and get the baby’s horoscope made that day.

 

Scientific Significance of the Ceremony

As noted above, the most significant aspect of the ceremony is that the baby gets an identity which is used in all legal documentation. Apart from this, a few scientific reasons are listed below: 

Sutika Snan

The mother and baby are given ‘Sutika Snan’ after 10 days of the baby’s birth. The term comes from ‘Sutak’, i.e., the period of 10 days since the birth of a baby observed by the family members. They don’t visit temples, ceremonies, etc. and the mother and child are confined to a room. It is after 10 days that both are given a hot water bath, with Ganga Jal (water of the Holy Ganges). This 10-days period is crucial because mother and child are given the time to regain physical strength and for immunity to develop. Post this bath, the mother is free from the stressful environment.

Also, the first 10 days are very high risk for the new-born baby as they may be vulnerable to life threatening complications in case of major congenital abnormalities, RH incompatibility, severe birth asphyxia, etc. Also, the wound from the severing of the umbilical cord heals after the 10th day; neonatal jaundice and cephalic hematoma proceed to end on the 10th day; and the child regains the birth weight after 10 days. Hence, the baby is kept in a highly safe and protected environment for those 10 days.

 

Janma Nakshatra & the Concept of Sound/Phonetics

Janma Nakshatra is determined by the planetary positions at the time of the baby’s birth. It refers to the star in which the Moon transited at the time of the baby’s birth. It is believed that naming the baby as per Janma Nakshatra syllable plays an important role in shaping the character, life and destiny of the child.

The Janma Nakshatra provides the syllable or sound to start the baby’s name with. You can then choose any name that starts with that sound. Many parents consult their baby’s nakshatra to get this lucky syllable, and then consult numerology to find a name that brings luck and works with the family surname. These syllables are phonetic sounds, not exact spellings.

You can check the list below for all 27 nakshatras and the suggested sound/1st letters (Moon based) for them.

Nakshatra

Suggested Sound / 1st Letter of Name

Ashwini

Chu, Che, Cho, La, Chay

Bharani

Lee, Lu, Le, Lo, Li

Krithika

A, Ee, U, Ea, I, E

Rohini

O, Ba, Bi, Bu, Vee, Va, Vi, Vu, Bee

Mrigshira

Ve, Vo, Ka, Ki, Be, Bo

Ardra

Gha, Ng, Na, Chha, Ku, Kam

Punarvasu

Ke, Ko, Ha, Hi

Pushyam

Hu, He, Ho, Da

Ashlesha

Dee, Doo, Day, Do, Di, Du, De

Magha

Ma, Me, Mu, Mi

Poorva Phalguni

Mo, Ta, Ti, Te

Uttara Phalguni

To, Pa, Pi

Hasta

Pu, Poo, Sha, Tha

Chitra

Pe, Po, Ra, Ri

Swati

Ru, Re, Ro, Ta, Roo

Vishakha

Te, Tu, Tae, To

Anuradha

Na, Nee, Noo, Nae, Ni, Nu, Ne

Jyeshta

No, Ya, Yi, U, Yu

Moola

Yo, Ye, Bhi, Bha, Bh

Purva Ashada

Bhu, Dha, Pha

Uttara Ashada

Bhe, Bho, Ja, Ji

Sravana

Khi, Khee, Khu, Khe, Kho, Ju, Je, Jo

Dhanishta

Ga, Gi, Gu, Ge, Gee

Shatabhisha

Go, Sa, Si, Su, S, See

Purva Bhadrapada

Se, So, Da, Di

Uttara Bhadrapada

Du, Tha, Jha, Tra

Revati

De, Do, Cha, Chi

 

Importance of a Name: Reverberation

It has been observed that whenever a nation is occupied by conquering forces, the first thing they do is change the name of the nation or the place. This is a method to impose dominance and enslavement. Thus is the importance of a name. When we utter a name, it creates a sound and produces different vibration for each alphabet and letters, which has psychological and social implications.

Science tells us today that there is no physical matter; everything is a reverberation and can have both positive and negative impact. When we name our child, we want to give them a sound that is pleasant and inspiring. Both the official and the pet name should be pleasant and lovable. This is because when we utter anybody’s name, it is natural to feel something because of the sound it makes.

Where there is a vibration, there is a sound. When we give meaning to a sound it becomes a word. Thus, sound exits in words. The question is whether the sound is in our hearing range or not. Some we can hear and some we can’t. We can’t hear the universe and solar system’s sound as we are limited to a certain human hearing range. But we can hear a person’s name when it is uttered and the vibrations and reverberations matter for their growth. The reverberations and vibrations also support the person when they face difficult times. Hence, it is important that the name that is being uttered for the baby fits into your family constellation and geometric equation within the family.

 

How to perform the Naamkaran (baby naming) ceremony?

  • Snan (holy bath): Start with a purificatory holy bath for mother and child. Then the parents and the child should wear new dresses.
  • Flowers: Offer flowers to the God before starting the Naamkaran ritual.
  • Mekhela Bandhan (tying of holy thread): A holy thread is tied to the waist of the baby for physical strength and protection.
  • Madhu Prashna (feeding of honey): The baby is fed honey through a golden ring to negate all kinds of virus; also, honey is believed to enhance the voice and speech by cleansing the vocal cord.
  • Surya Darshan (exposure to the Sun): The baby and the mother are then exposed to the sun (first time for the baby to gain strength and immunity.
  • Bhoomi Sparsh (grounding): The baby is made to touch the ground to provide a sense of being connected to Mother Nature.
  • Name: The priest or astrologer gives options to choose the baby’s name as per the Janma Nakshatra.
  • Baal Prabodhan (elders’ blessings): The baby is blessed by the grandparents and other family members.