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Chapter 24: A Communion of the Heart

We will fight.

Even in Oregon there’s a grudging respect for your triumphs.

Certainly. They have to respect it, because we are standing for the constitution and they are standing against their own constitution. It is a strange fate, that we are to protect the American constitution against the Americans.

May I ask you: with so many sannyasins - a million of them worldwide - I understand that you personally choose each Sanskrit name for each sannyasin. Is that correct?

I used to.

Because obviously my question would be: how do you arrive at the appropriate name for each sannyasin? How do you manage that? And if you could also, of course, explain what is the value of taking a different name than one’s family name.

In India I used to give new names, because mostly names in other languages are either meaningless or silly. For example, just the name of one American evangelist, Jerry Falwell - now I cannot understand why fall-well should be given as a name to anybody. It is simply silly.

So I was giving meaningful names to people. From all over the world people were coming there and I was giving them meaningful names which can have a certain significance for them, a certain relatedness to their personality, a certain message for their future growth.

If I saw a person that was very sad, long-faced, carrying many frustrations, disappointments, and out of that frustration and disappointment he has come to me but that long shadow is still with him, then I would give him something just the opposite of what he has been up to now, because I want him to be discontinuous with his past.

For example, I may call him Anand Prem. Anand means bliss, Prem means love: a blissful, loving personality, that is his goal. And drop all this sadness and all this frustration. Whatever has passed has passed; now nothing can be done about it. Only one thing can be done about it: it can be dropped. And you can start anew. The new name is simply symbolic of a new birth. When you are born you come without a name; then your name is given to you.

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