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Names. Everyone has one, most people have a vague idea what their own means, but few give them much more thought. The study of names is called onomastics, a field which touches on linguistics, history, anthropology, pyschology, sociology, philology and much more.

When people refer to the "meaning of a name", they are most likely referring to the etymology, which is the original literal meaning.

Know Yourself through your Name

The following is an extract from the "Life Positive" of August 1998.

Sigmund Freud, often began his sessions by asking about a person's name. You can know more about yourself through your names by these queries

Imagine your parents discussing what name to give you a week before you were born. Did they want a boy or a girl?
Some babies are named after other people-either relatives or friends or famous personalities. Were you named after anybody? If so, who and why? Has it had any effect on your personality.
Many children are named after legendary heroes. Later in childhood their stories are retold to them. Can you remember any such stories you have heard as a child.
Nearly all names have meanings. Were your parents aware of the meaning of your name ? Who chose your name ? Was it chosen for its meaning ?
Do you have a nickname ? Do you remember when and why you started using it?
How and by whom were your parents named. Have you noticed any relation between their names and personalities.
Do people make jokes about your name ? Do You like it
There is definate Karmic reason behind your name. You are what you are called. So you are what you are called.

Did you know that there is a Greek Saint named after every day of the year !!

Adolph Hitler's real name was actually sopose to be "Heidler." He lived with his uncle and his uncle told him that he could change his name to Heidler (his uncle's last name). So Adolph went to change his last name to his uncle's last name and they mis spelled it "Hitler." That's how he got his name.

The following is a News item which appeared in the Indian Express of 29th Sept 1998.

"Lets face it. If your surname happens to be Hitler and your parenst christen you as Adolf, life is not going to easy.

But a retired Austrian truck driver quoted in a German Newspaper on Sunday as saying he never changed his name out of Respect for his mother and Father.

I often thought my life would be lot easier if I had another name, 60 year old Adolf Hitler told Welt Am Sonntag newspaper.

No one ever believed him that his name was Adolf Hitler.. I get anonymous calls in the middle of the night from people who say 'Heil Hitler' or 'we have someone here for the gas chamber', he said. But I never chaged it because I am proud of my parents.

Hitler was attending a conference for people with infamous names" in Braunau, an Austrian town just across border from Germany.

He said his name once cost him a construction job at a dam project in Austria. An engineer asked the workers their names. "The first one answered 'Tony Sailer', the same as the famous skier. And when he got to me I said'I am Adolf Hitler' and he threw us all out.'

Names have Great Significance

The Ramayana of Valmiki is hailed as the "Adikavya", the foremost among spiritual works, in poetic form. The manner in which the sage composed it has an interesting aside to it, which is significant in the spiritual tradition. Valmiki was a hunter by birth and was taught just the syllables "Ma" and "Ra" in the Ram Mantra, which proved to be the turning point in his life.
He chanted it with sincerity oblivious to his surroundings and a anthill grew around him during his penance because of which he came to be known as Valmiki. His spiritual transformation can be gauged from the fact that he became the chosen one to transcribe the life of the Lord. His life is the standing testimony to the efficacy of chanting the Divine name and his immortal work is a source of perennial inspiration.

In his discourse on the Ramayana, Sri Kalayanarama Bhattachrair said, the names chosen by Vasita for the sons of Dasaratha had great significance. The name Rama was chosen after great deliberation, as the sage knew that the Supreme Being had manifested in human form. This divine name is unique in that it is also a mantra capable of delivering man from bondage.

The choice of the name Bharatha indicated that he would be one would shoulder responsibility. It was a harbinger of the role he played subsequently when he foiled his mother Kaikeyi's plans by refusing to accept the kingdom of Ayodhya and instead took good care of it for Rama till he returned from his Exile. Lakshmana means one who is blessed by the grace of Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi.

Shatrugana indicates one who has total control over himself.

What to Consider when selecting a Name

Start by Thinking about your name
Would you give yourself the same name you already have? Go down the memory name and see weather you were ever teased because of your name. Did you ever like to have a different name? Do you feel let down because of your name? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then analyze your ?whys,? before naming your child.

Then think about your last name
If its short and simple then you can pair it with a large first name. But if it?s to long and ethnic then you might consider giving your child a short and simple first name.

A Middle Name
Four fifths of people in Who?s Who have middle names. It will be easier to identify your child if he has a meaningful middle name. There may be many John Crains out there, but the number decreases dramatically by adding a distinctive middle name?such as John Schuyler Crains.

Ah, superstition! It is said that people whose initials spell out a word will be wealthy. If you believe the superstition, then rig it so that your child?s name will spell out a word. But be kind. Make sure the word is one with which your child will want to be associated. Its great when initials spell out TEN, FUN, WOW. Be sure to stay clear of initials like BAD, PIG or DUD.

A Hungarian Proverb says, ?A child that is loved has many names? And most nicknames are a sign affection. Studies have shown that people with nicknames tend to be better adjusted. Plus, nicknames seem to promote a certain intimacy and indicate friendship.

Our first inclination was to say, keep the spelling conventional so that your child doesn?t have to go through life correcting everybody.

A tough Act To follow
It might be traditional in some western countries to give a boy his father?s name, tacking on a ?Junior? or ?II? or ?III? but we think you could do better than that. ?Give your child his own name.?

The Meaning of It all
The meanings of names go way back to the beginning of Recorded History and it all depends on which historical record you go by. A meaning is the most distinct and important identity of the name.

Sound It out.
Lastly just say the name aloud, which you have chosen. Does it sound good. Be sure to see that when the last name begins from the same letter the first name ends, its hard to tell where the first name ends and the last name begins.

The rules which were given above were just in General. There are hundreds of names which have defied every consideration. So ultimately the choice is yours

7 Tips to Keep a Name
Avoid keeping names which are unpronouncable
Let the name have distinct meaning
When naming Twins. Do not keep Similar Names or Names signifing Twins like Luv and Kush. Keep names which are different so thatthe two twins can have distinct identities.
Do not keep a name which is a combination of two words meaning a different God and Goddess. Stick to a single identity
Do not name somebody after great personalities as the person might loose his true identity as he shall be compared with the famous personality.
If a person from one community or religion keeps a name associated with an other community or a religion then his identity will always keep him unique.
Avoid names which are kept both by Girls and Boys

There are many names in the English language that exclude or are offensive to females. Take a look at this list of exclusionary words and their alternatives.

Exclusionary Nonexclusionary
Adman Ad writer
Brotherhood of man Humankind, human family
Caveman Cave dweller
Chairman Chair, chairperson
Cleaning lady House cleaner
Common man Human, common citizen
Cover girl Cover model
Fatherland Homeland
Fireman Firefighter
Fisherman Fisher
Forefather Ancestor
Foreman Supervisor
Founding fathers Founders
Leading lady Lead
Mailman Mail carrier, postal worker
Man about town Worldly person
Man in the street Average person
Mankind Humankind, humanity
Man-made Artificial
Manned Staffed, piloted
Manpower Work force, employees
Manpowered Human powered, people powered
Old wives' tale Superstition, folktale
Policeman Police officer
Showgirl Performer, dancer
Stewardess Flight attendant
Waterboy Water carrier
Weatherman Weather forecaster, meteorologist

Gender-Specific Language
In 1984 the Minnesota State Legislature ordered that all gender-specific language, which only refers to one gender, usually males, be removed from the state laws. After two years of work, the rewritten laws were adopted. Only 301 of 20,000 pronouns were feminine. “His” was changed 10,000 times and “he” was changed 6,000 times.

Name Power
Some Native Americans have two names, one of which is never made public because of the power it would give another person over them.
It is common in parts of West Africa for people to name their children for the day on which they were born. Sunday is Awushie, Monday is Adojoa, Tuesday is Abla, Wednesday is Aku, Thursday is Awo, Friday is Afua, and Saturday is Ama.
In seventeenth-century Europe people made anagrams from names and believed these words formed from rearranging the letters would give a clue to a person's characteristics. Teresa is a teaser, Pat is apt, Greta is great, Mona likes to moan, and Dora travels on the road.
Names that are palindromes (spelled the same backwards and forwards) include Ava, Asa, Anna, and ...

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