Shopping Cart

No products in the cart.

What’s in a Name?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)
  • Author
  • #73400

    When our son arrived, I had the name for him ready – Anang. Ananga is another name for Kama, the God of Love – the Indian cupid.

    The term “Ananga” in Sanskrit literally means “without body”. Many people asked me why I chose such a weird name. Apart from the euphonic nature of the term, there was another reason.

    As Lord Siva was doing austerities, Kama was tasked with the job of awakening desire for Parvati in him, so that they could marry and beget a son who would kill the demon Narakasura. It was extremely difficult to sway the celibate God’s heart – but Kama managed to do so with his flower-tipped arrows. The furious Siva opened his third fiery eye and burnt him to a crisp.

    Later on, understanding the celestial purpose behind Kama’s meddling, Siva restored him. Ever since then, Kama is an-anga – without body – but he is still known as “thri-bhuvana-jayi” (winner of all the three worlds) before whom even the Supreme Lord is powerless.

    So, this is the ultimate power – the power of love – which wins over everybody and everything without spilling a drop of blood.

    What better name can be there?

    Any similar name stories out there?


    I wish my parents had been that conscious and aware when they named me. My first and middle names are Stephen Lawrence. My older brothers are named after relatives, but there is no Stephen in our family – not sure how they settled on that. The “Lawrence,” on the other hand, comes from Lawrence Welk, a big band leader and adept accordion player my mother adored.

    However, there is an unintended resonance between the meanings of both my names. “Stephen” is from the Greek name Στέφανος (Stéphanos), derived from the Greek word στέφανος (stéphanos), meaning “wreath, crown” and, by extension “reward, honor, renown, fame” (from the verb στέφειν (stéphein): “to encircle, to wreathe” – related to the tradition of crowning winners of contests (whether athletes or poets) with laurel wreaths.

    My middle name, Lawrence, is a form of the Latin Laurentius, which can mean a man from Laurentium, a town south of Rome, but also a laurel wreath! It is derived from the Latin laurus, for laurel tree or laurel wreath (which is why English-speaking nations honor a poet by designating him or her a poet laureate).

    Not sure what that portends, other than that all should bow down and honor me (which I’m sure is obvious to everybody no matter what my name – lol), but I have to appreciate this unintended serendipity on the part of my parents.


      Curious to see Stephen’s avatar wearing a bursting batik wreath-crown prominently from under his heart, whereas Avater, without avatar, refers to the sanskrit phrase I can almost read without translation: “thri-bhuvana-jayi” , or (cmiir), three-fullwind-joy, three-world-winner, the joyfull winner of the wind-rippled reality-world. So, that leaves us pondering about that three. I guess it’s in the arrow’s. Let it be three qualities, physically determined in polarities, emotionally drowned in unescapable faith, rationally thriving.


      Thanks, Mars, for the term “thri-bhuvana-jayi” and the rich meanings you shared with us. I had not come across this before. Your post, and Nandakishore’s, underscores the value of tracing words back to their origins to uncover embedded meanings, which often have their source in the mythic imagination.

      I keep close at hand two different etymological dictionaries for exploring the origins of words we use in English. Even though we may not be conscious of all the multi-layered meanings as we speak, those veiled origins and associations still exert an influence in shaping our thoughts and how we engage the world around us..


        Hi Stephen! Keep two things in mind: the ‘bhu’ part is most unsure. Nandakishor is more close to sanskrit so I hope some light is shed upon it from that view and knowledge. The other is to look with suspect to said dictionaries, explaining things into the anglo-saxon perception. It has less value then expected if not aware of the initial settings and purpose. Same counts for every translation, it’s all crippled.


        Thri (is same as the three, because the Latin and Sanskrit roots are same)- Bhuvana (means world – in Indian myth, heaven, earth and the nether regions) – Winner (ultimately, love wins over Gods, humans and demons). So this formless god, with his flower-tipped arrows is invincible. Even the great Siva, the supreme ascetic, was overpowered.

        It is the dream of every dad that his son grows up to be such an epitome of soft power!

        Interestingly, Kama’s wife is Rati – a name which also means sexual intercourse.


          Bhuvana… tearing apart: body (bhu) and air (vane): world in action?

          Is the Kama-Rati occurance comparable with the Siva-Kali occurance? From my occidental viewpoint it is not intuitively understood, but fascinating anyhow!


            Stephen your name can lead to many poetic allusions steeped in the western traditions.

            “Primarily, Saint Stephen is believed to have been the first Christian martyr who was put to death after being accused of speaking against God and Moses. As Christianity–specifically Roman Catholicism–is central in both Portrait and Ulysses, Stephen Dedalus’ first name is not an accident.“


            My moniker in my retro hippie days was Saint Stephen, from the Grateful Dead song, rather than a scriptural allusion. However, I have often noted that Stephen was, after all, the first person to “get stoned” in the New Testament. Embracing a somewhat different meaning of the term, I have done my best over the years to live up to my namesake’s legend . . .



              I always enjoy a good tangent and coincidence. Both you and Saint Stephen sacrificed to forward the work of a JC … metempsychosis asked Molly ???

              l also enjoy a good backstory.

              “GRATEFUL DEAD: The motif of a cycle of folk tales which begin with the hero coming upon a group of people ill-treating or refusing to bury the corpse of a man who had died without paying his debts. He gives his last penny, either to pay the man’s debts or to give him a decent burial. Within a few hours he meets with a travelling companion who aids him in some impossible task, gets him a fortune or saves his life. The story ends with the companion disclosing himself as the man whose corpse the hero had befriended.(Funk & Wagnall’s Dictionary). Can be found in the Catholic Bible book of Tobit .

              The name has also been attributed to this quote, though it’s generally believed that they came across this one later:


              “We now return our souls to the creator,
              as we stand on the edge of eternal darkness.
              Let our chant fill the void
              in order that others may know.
              In the land of the night
              the ship of the sun
              is drawn by the grateful dead.”

              — Egyptian Book of the Dead“


                No words from Avatar Nandu here anymore, but to continue, what about the ‘Robert’-analysis? Saints, hermits, a conqueror?


                  Lots of fun to create poetic etymological narratives imbued with latent allusions


                  From the Germanic name Hrodebert meaning “bright fame”, derived from the Germanic elements hrod “fame” and beraht “bright”. The Normansintroduced this name to Britain, where it replaced the Old English cognateHreodbeorht. It has been consistently among the most common English names from the 13th to 20th century. In the United States it was the most popular name for boys between 1924 and 1939 (and again in 1953).

                  This name has been borne by two early kings of France, two Dukes of Normandy, and three kings of Scotland, including Robert the Bruce who restored the independence of Scotland from England in the 14th century. The author Robert Browning (1812-1889) and poets Robert Burns (1759-1796) and Robert Frost (1874-1963) are famous literary bearers of this name. Other bearers include Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), the commander of the Confederate army during the American Civil War, and American actors Robert Redford (1936-), Robert De Niro (1943-) and Robert Downey Jr. (1965-)



                  c. 1300 as the name of the bright reddish-orange planet in the heavens; late 14c. as the name of the Roman god of war, from Latin Mars (stem *Mawort-), the Roman god of war (identified with Greek Ares), a name of unknown origin, apparently from earlier Mavors, related to Oscan Mamers.

                  According to Watkins the Latin word is from *Mawort- “name of an Italic deity who became the god of war at Rome ….”


                  He also had agricultural attributes, and might ultimately have been a Spring-Dionysus. The planet was so named by the Romans, no doubt for its blood-like color. The Greeks also called the planet Pyroeis “the fiery.” Also in medieval alchemy, “iron” (late 14c.). The Mars candy bar was first manufactured in 1932 by Forrest Mars Sr. of the candy-making family.



                    Then of course Mars can take us down many astronomical astrological alchemical and Mythopoetic rabbit holes. I do enjoy spelunking. Ohh those caves do hold mythic treasures.  Perhaps Elon Musk will explore the cave of Michael Valentine Smith in the near future ??? Do you Grok ? Do you like Mayim Bialik ?



                      Hi Robert,

                      Thanks about the Mars origins. The iron is obvious, the agricultural already guessed: plough sheers cast from iron. Funny enough, that’s also appears in my real family name. I have now only some one-out-of-a-million red hairs by the wips of age left. I prefer the milkyway over the candymars though.

                      Caving? You’re joking. Descending to hell, 6000 km’s to earth’s core with such walls. Never. Grok? MB? Caves… rabbit holes.


                        How did you arrive at your avatar moniker Mars?
                        What meaning and connotations do you wish it to project?

                      Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)
                      • The forum ‘The Conversation with a Thousand Faces’ is closed to new topics and replies.