What is ‘Naam’ (Name)?

Srimat Jiva Goswamipad has written in Sri Bhakti-Sandarbha –
“Naam is a sound used to identify certain object.”
Shabda-Kalpa-Droom (a Sanskrit dictionary) says –
Sound is of two types – That which cannot be pronounced (just as a thunder or rustling of leaves) and that which can be pronounced
Of course, a name is something we can pronounce. Whenever we want to talk about an object we say its name. For example a thirsty person says “Please give me water”. Immediately we think of a liquid substance that quenches thirst. In this manner every person, object, concept or idea has a name that distinguishes it from others.
Naamiis the object (e.g. the object ‘water’) to which the name belongs. ‘Naam’ is simply the word (e.g. ‘water’ in English), while ‘naami’ is the object itself. The only function the naam serves is to denote the object – it has no quality of the object whatsoever. Had it not been so, we would have quenched our thirst simply by uttering “water” – there would have been no need to actually drink water. If nâm and nâmi would have been non-different, naam would have had all the power of naami.
Shabda-Shakti-Prakashika 1 says – Names are of two types –
Man-made
Eternal
We give names to various worldly destructible objects; they are just words
and do not have any characteristic of the said objects. Such names are
‘man-made’.

However in the divine world there are names that have existed since eternity and will remain forever. So we call them ‘eternal’.
Amongst these names, the names of God almighty are non-different from Him. They contain all His qualities. The saints and scriptures clearly state that Sri Bhagavân and His names are non-different – we must always
remember this fact.


Srila Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj

Source: http://kunjeshwari.com/sweettexts/English/naam.pdf

 

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