“-ji”

by Aranyakananda(-ji?)

        In Indian culture, the suffix -ji, or sometimes -jee is placed after a name as a sign of respect. When I first started attending the Hindu Temple, I would use the suffix when addressing fellow aspirants occasionally, but I would use it only on occasion of particular gratitude, response to a kindness, or in response to some knowledge that was imparted to me that I was looking for. The more I learned through our Bhagavad-Gita group, the more often these situations presented themselves, and therefore, the more I used “-ji.” I began noticing that whenever I would use the suffix in an email, the more my name would be adorned with it in response. At first it was completely flattering. But then, when I began to notice that it was or was not there, I knew I had to focus more on what “-ji” was to me. It was a way for me to express gratitude.

           I have two problems. First, I must get back to using it in special circumstances, to make sure its meaning coming from me is not dulled. After all, I will always have “Namaste”, which is appropriate upon any encounter whatsoever. Tempering my -ji-ing in turn will assure that no one is -ji-ing me back out of a sense of social grace.

           And secondly, somehow “Forrest-ji” just does not have the same effect  and beauty as something like, let’s say “Mukunda-ji” (to use the given name of my Guru(ji) Yogananda. So I will either have to change my first name, or renew my  dedication to the out-going -ji. But all in its appropriate time and place.

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4 Responses to “-ji”

  1. Curious says:

    Ji, accha.
    (Yes/Ok with respect)

  2. treadmarkz says:

    pardon?

  3. Curious says:

    it was just how someone in India would typically reply to you, if this were a conversation. Especially if the conversation were to happen with someone younger and more respectful of you.

  4. Dhrishti says:

    I think if restricting your usage of -ji to special circumstances somehow makes you feel more connected with the meaning, that’s perfectly fine. Period.

    However, I don’t think frequent usage of it cheapens it in any way. I mean, the meaning doesn’t change according to how often it’s used, right? And besides, what’s the harm in providing yourself with frequent reminder of the respect you should have for someone-anyone-everyone else? In our shared dharma, part of Self-Realization is in experiencing the same Brahman in all…not just those who are kind to us or share something with us, no?

    For that matter, the same (if not more) applies to usage of Namaste/Namaskar.(Although, I think truly, Namaskar is a bit more formal than Namaste)

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong in how you use, or plan to use either. But for me personally, Namaste (“I bow to/honor/recognize the divine within you”) has a weightier impact than -ji (simply a respectful suffix).

    Om Shanti! 🙂

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