If you are a close follower of this blog, and pay attention to detail, you’ll notice that unlike every other post, the last two, and this one, do not include the byline “by Aranyakananda” at the top.

For one thing, the suffix “-ananda” tends to appear in monastic names. And anyone who knows me knows that I am no monk. So it’s a bit pretentious. For me. If you’re a monk reading this and your name has “-ananda” at the end, that is great. For you.  There is nothing wrong with changing your name when taking vows. I have never seen the sense in changing one’s name just because they became Hindu or whatever else. Except that often new Hindus, even the layperson who is a new Hindu, if they do change their names, change it to something like “Ram” or “Govinda” or something that refers to the Lord or the service unto said Lord. Then it affords one the opportunity to always think of the Lord when hearing one’s own name, which otherwise would just gives one the opportunity to think of himself.

Another thing is that I originally chose the name “Aranyakananda” because it roughly translated, in my mind anyway, to “Bliss in the Wilderness” and that wilderness I was referring to was my own mind. It’s a nice thought. And though it could merely just be something to aspire toward, it is far from true, though I feel like I am really on the right track right now. But I’d rather be honest, start fresh. So, friends, I probably mentioned it in passing from time to time already, but my name is Forrest. Hello. Namaste. Peace. Shanti.

Jai Hari Aum.

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One Response to Aranyakananda

  1. Dhrishti says:

    “So it’s a bit pretentious” — I never found the usage to be pretentious but I can see why you wrote that.

    I’ve heard, too, that taking a name like Govinda or Ram helps direct one’s mind to the notion of service to the Lord, but I think in most cases that isn’t what happens. The whole idea and process of formally adopting a new name, like when formally converting to a religion, is ego-based. There’s literally and forever no need what-so-ever for this action to be made. It is wholly unnecessary and isn’t natural.

    Additionally, if one has already stepped into the frame of mind that he / she should adopt a new name – especially for religious reasons – then the ego is certainly at work in that thinking because that name FIRST (and foremost) serves to separate… the old identity from the one hoping to be formed, and the one hoping to be formed from those who aren’t in the supposed service of the Lord and other such nonsense.

    Along that line, if you were to change your name to Ram (for example), then I think it’s WAAAAY more likely that every time you hear yourself called that name these ideas of your conversion, your old identity, your new identity, how you’re “special” now, ect… are going to repeatedly flood your brain (even if only subconsciously) than are ideas about how in-service you are to the Lord.

    I think Aranyakananda is a fine pen name or nickname, if you wanted.

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