Wednesday, February 09, 2011

What is in a name?

A relative gave me a book to read called "Meree Duneeyaa, Teree Duneeyaa" published by Sikh Missionary College Ludhiana. The book contains a collection of true life stories and experiences of Gursikhs on different issues. In particular I wish to share a story by Bhai Sant Singh from India which was entitled "Naam vee kee peiaa hai?" (What is in a name?).


What is in name?

My son sent me a letter from UK notifying me that I had become a grandfather. I was full of joy and rejoiced. I went to the Gurdwara Sahib and did Ardaas for thanking Waheguru for blessing me with a grandson and prayed that may the Great Guru blesses him with the gift of Sikhi, Naam and seva of the Panth.

In short space of time I arrived to the UK to meet my son and family. When I arrived, I told my son "Let's go to the Gurdwara and do Naam Sanskaar (the Sikh naming ceremony)." My son replied, "Father, I have already kept my son's name, we don't need to go to the Gurdwara." I was shocked and said, "What name have you kept?" My son replied, "Robin". I lowered my head in shame and said, "Being born in a Sikh family you have turned your back on your faith, customs and heritage to choose a Christian name? I feel shame that has happened in my family - may the Guru forgive me! I did Ardaas that may my grandson become a servant of the Panth and instead he is named after Christians! Waheguru!"

I asked my son who gave you such an idea to name him Robin. He told me that his next door neighbours, who are a white English couple, suggested the name. The neighbours apparently are very close to my son and daughter-inlaw and constantly suggested naming the baby Robin. My son said he eventually accepted their suggestion. He told me that he could not change it, even if he wanted to, as he had registered it with the registration office and it was written on his birth certificate.

A few months later the next door couple were blessed with a baby son. They went to the hospital to collect the baby and brought him home. On the arrival of the baby a party was held at their home. Our family were also invited. I attended the party with my son. During the party the couple asked all the family and friends gathered for suggestions baby names. I jumped to the chance and suggested that they name their son 'Pal Singh'. The couple looked baffled. I repeated the name. The couple then replied, "It is a lovely name. However, we are Christians. I am sure it would be a nice name for a Sikh child, but as we are Christians we are looking to name him a Christian name". My son looked at me and went quiet.

When we got home, my son lowered his head and asked for forgiveness. "I have been a fool! I followed the suggestion of those people to name my son. Yet I didn't realise that they would never sacrifice their identity and religion for us." With Great Guru's blessings, the next day the whole family went to the Gurdwara Sahib for doing Naam Sanksaar. My grandson was blessed with the name 'Surinder Pal Singh'.


From the above story we learn the message that we should be proud of who we are not sacrifice our identity. A name is very powerful. Sri Guru Gobind Singh jee named his four sons - Ajeet (unbeatable), Jujhaar (fighter), Zoravar (powerful) and Fateh (victory). What beautiful and powerful names. Truly they lived up to their names. What face can we show the Guru if we sacrifice our children's names to name them after Christian apostles, disciples and saints (e.g. Steven, Simon, Nick, David, Paul, Gavin etc). May Guru jee awaken our spirits and give us the strength to follow the true path.

Dhan Hai Guru! Dhan Hai Teree Sikhee!

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