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Community Voices: Spiritual Names

If you have received a spiritual name, what has been the effect for you? How do you feel about your name? Do you use it in daily life?

I was given a spiritual name after completing the TTC in 2008. I feel a bit shy about using it. I have been teaching yoga classes in my small, rather conservative community and do not use my spiritual name, although I am beginning to also sign my name using it in communications/reminders of classes with my students. —Vani Devi

There have been many instances when using my spiritual name outside of the ashram, where the faces looked at me questioningly upon hearing it. However, there have been just as many instances where it was received without any puzzling look whatsoever. It’s really 50-50 between the two reactions to my spiritual name. Some are confused because they’ve never heard a name like that before and others know instinctively that it is a name of a spiritual nature. Those are the ones who usually smile, knowingly, about its origin. —Sundari

When I received my spiritual name, I was a bit overwhelmed. It felt like a big responsibility. Since then, I have realized that for me it is an invitation to honor the diety whose name I now share. I like that. I like my spiritual name and I like using it at the ashram as it makes me feel part of the community and something larger than myself. —anonymous

While I was not interested in receiving a spiritual name at first, when I heard my name for the first time, I fell in love with it. My name means “mother,” which for me was the perfect name. I have worked with children for more than a decade, and I am always my highest and best self when I am with them. The name really does something to the subconscious upon hearing it. Sanskrit is a vibrational language; even when you just hear the sounds without knowing what they mean, you are affected on some level. When I hear my spiritual name I am reminded of my essence, my purpose in the world, and when I am at my best. I become inspired to serve the world, even in just a small way, with devotion, grace, and joy. —Ambika