Chapter 6: The Virtuous Circle
The first question:
Is my name an essential or something nonessential?
Premananda, existence is nameless. We are all nameless but the name has a certain utility; without it life will be impossible. When the child is born he comes as a nobody, as pure nothingness - that is the beauty of a child - but it is a necessity that he should be given a name. Once the name is given, slowly slowly the child becomes autohypnotized by his own name; it becomes almost a reality to him. In fact he can sacrifice himself for the name. That is what millions of people are doing all over the world: sacrificing themselves for the name, for the fame - sacrificing the essential for the nonessential.
A name is not an essential, but it has certain purposes; without it life will be very difficult. Hence we have even to invent names for the ultimate. It cannot have any name, but it has to be addressed. There are moments when you would like to shout to it out of sheer joy - some name is needed.
That is why I give you new names. Why new names? The new is as nonessential as the old, but the new will give you some insight. First it will make you aware that you are not the name, because the name can be easily changed and you remain the same. When the first name was given you were a small child, absolutely unconscious, unaware of what was happening to you. Now you are no more a child. A new name is given to you, it has significance and that significance is essential. The name is nonessential, but the change of the name is of the essential.
Once you change the name you know that a name is just utilitarian; to know it is very essential. And now it will be more difficult for you to get identified with it.
Secondly: the name that your parents give to you is almost meaningless. Any name that comes to their minds is given to you, any name they feel they like. But the name I give to you is given for certain reasons - those reasons belong to the world of the essential.
For example, I have called you Premananda. It consists of two words: prem and ananda. Prem means love, ananda means bliss. For thousands of years man has tried to live either in the world of love or in the world of bliss; it has been an either/or, a choice. But to be total it has not to be either/or, it has not to be a choice, it has to be both together.
My sannyas is a synthesis, and that synthesis belongs to the essential. So keep on remembering; something nonessential may become an indicator of the essential, something nonessential can be used in a very essential way. The fool can use the essential in a nonessential way, the wise man can use the nonessential in an essential way. It all depends on you.