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Amrit Renaming?

Jul 14, 2011
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Hello all!
I was wondering as a westerner, if I take Amrit, will a legal name change be necessary? I have read from some that you must change your full name and end it with Singh. I have also read that the only prescribed requirement is to add Singh after the first name of the Khalsa. :noticemunda: What is the correct answer? Thanks!

All the best,
texassikhstudent
 

Ishna

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Dear TexasSikhStudent ji

In most cases you'll find the answer to these sorts of questions in the Sikh Code of Conduct called the Rehat Maryada. It is the guidebook for mainstream Sikhi. You can read it in English here: http://www.sgpc.net/sikhism/sikh-dharma-manual.asp

Article 24, regarding amrit ceremony, says:

Thereafter, the Sikh sitting in attendance of the Guru Granth Sahib should take the Hukam. If anyone from amongst those who have received the ambrosial baptism had not earlier been named in accordance with the Sikh Naming Ceremony, he should renounce his previous name and be given a new name beginning with first letter of the Hukam now taken.
Regarding the naming ceremony (in article 17), it says this:

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Then the holy Hukam (command) should be taken. A name starting with the first letter of the Shabad of the Hukam (command) should he proposed by the Granthi (man in attendance of Guru Granth Sahib) and, after its acceptance by the congregation, the name should be announced by him. The boy's name must have the suffix "Singh" and the girl's, the suffix "Kaur". [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]

From this we can deduce that after amrit, you renounce your previous name and adopt a new one with the last name Singh (for a male).

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I had previously thought renaming was optional. I was set on keeping my first name (a Western name), changing my middle name to the name at amrit, and hyphenating my surname to xyz-Kaur. I will need to ponder on this now (personally).

Also interested to hear the rest of the sangat's view.

Ish

PS. you also asked if a 'legal' name change would be necessary. I guess not, it never is necessary, you can call yourself by whatever preferred name you want, but why go through the process of becoming a Sikh and going through amrit sanchar, receiving a new name and then not changing it legally? You can't make the "it would be too much trouble" argument because thousands of women do it every year.
[/FONT]
 
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Ishna

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Looking at the reasons for renaming, we know that surnames in Hindu Dharma often contain the caste of the person. Sikhi is opposed to caste system, and the amrit sanchar was a method of removing the receiver's past caste association.

What does renaming mean today, for Western converts?

For me personally I would become a bit disconnected from my family and culture, taking a Sikh first name. It might be a bit of an insult to my parents. I am quite partial to my first name. It would also feel strange not having my husband's name anymore.

But that's the entire point, to disconnect you from your family and spouse and join you to the greater family of Sikhs. Yikes, serious stuff.
 

Harry Haller

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Jan 31, 2011
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"But that's the entire point, to disconnect you from your family and spouse and join you to the greater family of Sikhs. Yikes, serious stuff."

Ish Bhenji,

I would like to think that baptism will connect you even more with your family and spouse, as well as the greater sangat, otherwise it sounds like you have to make a choice, no?
 

Ishna

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Harry bhaji

I will always have a duty to my family and always committed to my husband, but I thought that when you go through amrit sanchar it is the epitome of giving your head to Guruji. You are a Khalsa first, and then wife/stepmother/daughter second. All the people around you will not go with you when you die, your entire life is about you and your Creator, everything else in between and everything else that happens is illusion and duty.

At least, that's what I thought. :whatzpointkudi:
That's not to say I'm any less of a wife/stepmother/daughter for being a Sikh. I think by having a solid, loving relationship with the creator helps you be loving and steady for others in your life. I do currently struggle to balance my obsession with Sikhi with spending quality time with my husband so perhaps this is just where my mind is at right now!

This might be rather off-topic so I'm going to be quiet now.
 

spnadmin

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"But that's the entire point, to disconnect you from your family and spouse and join you to the greater family of Sikhs. Yikes, serious stuff."

Ish Bhenji,

I would like to think that baptism will connect you even more with your family and spouse, as well as the greater sangat, otherwise it sounds like you have to make a choice, no?
This is the ideal. A Gursikh lives an ethical life, and the life of a householder. My own perception is that the lessons of Gurbani should tune us to our ethical responsibilities to our families and our community. Not the detachment of an ascetic, but rather detachment from self. And active engagement in "other" be that Waheguru who dwells i all of his creation, which includes family, environment, commmunity, sangat. Engagement in something beyond ourselves gives detachment from self, and from that we become fearless.
 

Harry Haller

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IshnaBhenji,

We are in similar situations, although my wife has no interest in the search for the creator, I think deep down, we are all genetically programmed to search for the truth in whatever way we can, I think we should use our knowledge of Sikhi to see in others close to us, what they need from us, and give it to them,within the parameters of what we know to be right.

I think that makes us better step parents and better spouses, for me, I have taken to using my wife, parents, stepson and dogs as a focus when I think of the creator, I suppose I worship the creator within them, and myself to get me through this illusion we call life
 
Jul 14, 2011
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31
Thanks for the responses! I ask due to two reasons... the first is that I want to respect my parents. They chose my first name to mean Justice, my middle name to mean gift from God, and my last is my fathers name, of which I am the last male carrier.

The second reason is more practical... I am in academia which means anything I have published is in my current name, which can not be interrupted for the sake of academic integrity... This is all kind of a dilemma for me!
 

Harry Haller

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texassikhstudent,

Apologies for going off topic, its a habit I am trying to correct winkingmunda

I think you should not worry too much about the name issue until you are ready to take Amrit. By that time, you may find you are enlightened enough to find the answer in your heart.

In the meantime, be a sikh, learn and grow, and leave this problem to a time when it will be relevant

If however you feel you are ready to take Amrit now, then I am sure there will be someone on this forum with a similar problem that will no doubt assist you
 

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