All names are given by man: things, as such, are nameless. Existence itself is nameless. But along with the usefulness of the name, there is another danger: without a name it will be difficult for a child to live. And living with a name, slowly, slowly he forgets that he was born without a name and he will die without a name. No matter how strongly the name has been etched on him, it cannot enter his inner being – there he will remain nameless. Let others call him by a name, but he himself should not fall into the illusion that he is this name.
But everybody falls into this illusion, and then man starts living and dying for the name. People say that they would die to save their name, their honor, from disgrace; their prestige becomes everything. Even if somebody doesn’t say your name correctly, you are hurt. If somebody makes even a slight mistake with your name, it bothers you. The name seems to have gone very deep into you. As a utility it was okay, but it has become your very being – and you have forgotten your real being, which is nameless.
Just as a name is necessary for man because to live without a name would be difficult – it is utilitarian, it has a usefulness that cannot be done away with. Similarly, whenever someone searches for the ultimate truth, he feels a need to name the truth. These names also have their benefits and their dangers. This is why in the previous sutra the sage of this Upanishad mentioned Shiva, because that is his favorite name. But immediately, in the very next sutra, he points out that all other names also belong to the same truth. To avoid the misunderstanding that only one name is important, the sage says that the divine has also been called Brahma, Shiva, Indra, aksharbrahman, param virat, Vishnu, prana, kalagni and chandrama. All these names belong to it. There are thousands of other names too, but in these few names all other possible names have been included.
For example, in Hindu thought, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the three categories: all other Hindu names are related to one of these three. These are the three basic categories, and there is a reason for having these three basic categories. In many ways, Hindu thinking is very scientific, very psychological. Whatever it has said, it has said it in that way because there is some deep necessity for doing so. The mind of man can be divided into three types. There are three types of people, and if we divide them there will be three categories.
In Hindu thinking the number three is very significant. At first, people thought that it was only symbolic, but as science went deeper into matter they realized that the number three is significant. When the atom was split, they discovered that it consists of three particles: the electron, the neutron and the proton. These three are the basic building blocks of the universe and the whole universe is created from these three building blocks. If we go on dividing and sub-dividing the universe, we will come to the basic figure three. And if we also divide these three, there will be nothing, only an emptiness, a nothingness will remain. We have called this emptiness shunya, the void, the absolute truth…the nameless. And the first unit of three, the first trinity that was born out of this void is what Hindus have called Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.