What’s In A Name?


“A rose by any other another name would still smell the same…” so penned Shakespeare in Romeo & Juliet.

So what’s in name, we may ask. There is lot in a name, actually.

Names are a cluster of sound vibrations; a bunch of phonetics strung together. It’s usually something we receive at birth; most of us seldom change it; and it goes with us into our grave.

From the time we are born, a series of emotions & experiences keep energizing our name, giving it a certain character. As we live through life, we go through circumstances & situations that make us what we are; these experiences (successes / failures) are identified with our name; recollection & memories further etch these deeper into our name.

So at some point in time – our name assumes an identity of its own; a separate behavior pattern associated with that name comes into being; and our name defines who we are. Try as we may, we find it difficult to move away from everything & anything that defines what our name stands for. The energy of our name becomes stronger than the energy of our being.


About 2 months back, I downloaded a chat application on my phone.

As a rule, I’m absolutely against mindless phone / internet chatting; I perceive it to be a criminal waste of time, especially if nothing important needs to be shared at either end; I don’t have this urge to just keep on greeting & meeting people every day, even if only in the virtual world. Perhaps it has something to do with the introverted side of my nature.

But I do like checking out new applications, if only to test the extent to which technology has evolved. And in that context, I downloaded Hike; another usual run-of-the-mill chat app.

But this is not about software applications, it’s about something else. I changed my name here – out of sheer boredom & the fact that I was absolutely not intending to connect with anyone in this space.

Simran. Inspired by that iconic dialogue – Jaa Simran jaa, jee le apni zindagi – in the iconic voice of Amrish Puri, from that iconic movie – Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. That’s the name I enlisted with. Absolutely tongue-in-cheek; but with a nagging curiosity that asked – how exactly would I react to identification with a different name.


  • I created a test group of mom, dad & brother to understand the application better.
  • Surprisingly, it turned out to be the most active family thread – amongst all my other applications. With no extra effort from my side, conversation just flows; arguments are quickly resolved & humor falls back in place; more news is shared; more connectivity has happened.
  • On a chat app, where I wasn’t intending to have any more contacts or conversations, apart from my above-mentioned test group, I have surprisingly got linked to people who otherwise have been quite distant on my radar so far; people from far behind in the past, people who I haven’t actively searched for, people from different cities… And conversation threads have been smoothly picked up from where they were last left off.
  • Whether family or friends the most distinctive feature of name change has been absence of conflict. That – kind of forced me to think – has it anything to do with the name?


How often have we heard of people taking on new names: When people move to new countries; when people move into new phases of life; when people want to move away from their past; when authors prefer pen-names – and sometimes mavericks like me who like to experiment with something new. It’s not that uncommon.

In Gujarat – my adopted hometown, a custom (which is now redundant) prevailed – a girl changes her name after marriage. Personally, it has been a custom I have always derided & looked down upon, as something that forces a girl to change her identity; lose sense of she is & what she has worked for till now, and merge with a name that will now be chosen by someone else.

But today, I would want to analyze this custom in a different way. The ideology behind this may have been thus:

  • At different milestones in life, it is important to leave past baggage behind & begin afresh. Past baggage is usually experiences & emotions attached, from your past.
  • Some baggage may be good, some exceptional, some baggage may be bad, some best forgotten – but the more you add on & carry – the heavier you walk along life’s path.
  • To understand new experiences with fresh insights – it is important to rest the past somewhere. The past is also still you – and you can go back to relive it whenever you like – but what has happened in the past should not color your experiences of the future. Hence, in a small way, you start afresh; you begin a new chapter on a new page. And it’s a whole new experience.
  • In Hinduism, when we opt for renunciation from worldly life, and wish to walk towards becoming a sadhu / sadhvi (monk / nun) – then again, the pre-requisite is: that we leave our old name behind, with all its good / bad baggage – and move forward to new experiences with a new assumed name.
  • In a way, you are unknotting the attachment of old strings that will give you more space to weave & hold on to new strings.


Laws of the Spirit World – is a book penned by Khorshed Bhavnagri, apparently from data received through her dead sons, through the medium of automatic writing. I have read the book. It opens your thinking in more ways than one. Immensely churning, well written and insightful – it covers dialogues on birth, death, after life, rebirth & laws of karma. I recommend a read.

Khorshed Bhavnagri mentions in the pages of her book, that:

  • We all have a soul name. It is our master name, and it is used by higher beings to access our karmic records from the very first experience of our soul, from its very first lifetime – to what we are today.
  • Our soul name – is a name that we do not receive in any of our lifetimes, except the penultimate ones before final nirvana / moksh – where we are allowed full access to our past information. Those will perhaps be lifetimes where we would have evolved to selfless sainthood, and working for betterment of mankind.
  • By a strange coincidence, guided by destiny, we also do not receive the same name of our past life, in a present birth. The idea being – past name will bring recollections of past baggage – and past baggage & past memories will weigh you down from doing justice to your present.
  • Often, we come down to re-work relationships & situations that may have gone bad in the past – and for this it is important that we begin on a neutral note, a clean slate so to say. So apparently, destiny does everything in its capacity to ensure that we do not restart with the same name.
  • In a way, it also explains our urges / liking / attraction towards certain names. Perhaps in a distant past, we have lived with that name; much in the same way we are attracted to certain places around us & across the world – places where we may have written past destinies.
  • We are in a constant flux to reclaim our past – and our urges guide us there. If destiny deems us ready to do so, then it allows us that reclaim – if not, then we are gently steered away, till we are deemed more ready to receive that past, into our present.


Rename. Refresh. Restart. Reboot. Renew. It’s still you.


3 thoughts on “What’s In A Name?

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