Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why do I have a new name?

Ananda Mokshapriyan

Well.. a lots of things have changed over the last couple of years for me. I have different interests. Many a times, I am blissful for no reason. I think differently.. or rather I think a lot less than I used to. I feel I look quite different too - especially after doing an intense 48 day yoga course recently. The name is perhaps the simplest of the changes. But one that is most noticed.

Goes on to show how deeply our sense of self - which in turn is built mostly on what we think others think about us - is tied to some random set of characters.

My new name was given by my Guru, Paramahamsa Nithyananda. And a spiritual name, Swami says, serves two purposes. For one, like I said before, it breaks old conditionings that are subtly held together by your name.

Secondly it is both a statement of who you are.. and your path.

Who we are... Thats an interesting topic. In life, we are often at conflict with ourselves. Our biggest object of fear, if we are honest about it, is ourselves. We want things that are contradictory. And this in turn is because many of our wants have been fed into us by parents, siblings, peers and mostly by us slurping up all the programming and insecurities fed to us by advertising and media. The upshot of all this is that we keep undoing any progress we make towards desire X in the morning when we pursue desire Y in the afternoon.

We want to retire, we want to be rich and famous. We want to smoke.. but want health at the same time. And so on. This leaves us with a feeling of frustration. And many a times, even if we manage to strike off desire X from our to-do list, it doesn't leave us as elated as we thought it would because of the other conflicting desires that were put down to get this one done and more importantly because desire X wasn't even really our own desire.

The Vedic tradition postulates - and this agrees quite nicely I presume with what many of us experience - that each of us is born with a set of desires that is innate. And that satisfying these makes us feel good as opposed to the borrowed desires that makes us feel dull and empty.

What the Guru does, is to meditate on your being and pick out what your core is. And this is part of what constitutes your spiritual name. Apart from describing your basic nature, it is also a path that can take you deeper than your basic nature. To an unconstrained state of freedom where we can perceive the universe in a true way without the limitations of our individual programming.

As I contemplate on my new name, I realize how true it sounds to who I am. Ananda means bliss. Moksha is liberation. and Moksha-priya is one who loves liberation. Ananda Mokshapriyan is one who is blissfully fond of liberation. When I scan through my life, it is obviously to me that I have always tried to break free of things that bind me and do my own thing. Maybe most of us do it. But it has been a very violent need in me. Most of my decisions in life were taken so that I could be free of situations and constraints. And while I have often sought freedom from the outer world, what I have seen of late is that being free from the compulsions of the mind - wanting praise, doing better than people around me, being scared of failure etc - brings me greater happiness.

So looks like this is my path.. and my goal. Becoming free and realizing my freedom.

It feels great to know about yourself... and it is nice to have your name remind you of it constantly.


  1. It is a very interesting and well-written article AC. Only a few can imagine spiritual goals for them and fewer can take the right steps towards achieving spiritual goals. I am glad you did it. Please keep posting about your spiritual experiences. Thank you!

  2. I like your new name Nanna. 'Mokshapriya' has a nice feel to it :)

    Btw, isn't it funny that I called you Nanna while acknowledging your new name? That is what came naturally, so I did not want to force it! :)