Throughout my own observation, people have placed great significance on names for often believing that they carry deep meaning and can influence one’s destiny. However, some argue that the meaning behind a name is ultimately unimportant, and what really matters is the way we act and the values we uphold.
I grow to like my birth name, a lot. My Dad gave me a very beautiful name not only for they sound lovely, but they also have deep meaning yet with also a certain degree of weight on carrying the name. In essence, the meaning of my name is “exalted help of religion”. By understanding the meaning of my name, “Exalted help of religion” means that the person who have the name is hoped to be seen as someone who offers high or elevated assistance in matters related to religion or faith. Essentially, it is a way of describing someone who is regarded as a significant and valuable source of guidance or support when it comes to matters of belief and spirituality.
Relearning about my name, I come back to the realization how my interests and choices somehow are led from how the hopes and prayers for me be spoken from people just by calling my name, either intentionally or not. Previously, I had never paid much attention to the meaning in my name with the life choices I had made so far. I also never really liked my name when I was much younger for mostly, I found it weird and (at the time) rarely heard. The culture of giving difficult names to children, which is currently a trend in Indonesia, has actually been carried out by my own parents LOL. Anyway, I grow liking my name when I was a freshman, again, never really paying attention to the meaning in them. I started seriously thinking deep of my name just these past two years, moreover after certain incidents which could be categorized as misfortunes happened to me. I really do not want to call some of my past experiences as misfortunes, however some irresponsible people started blowing ideas that maybe the misfortunes I have experienced coming from the fact I could not carry my own birth name properly.
the changing name rituals
In some cultures it is believed that changing one’s name can bring good luck or ward off misfortune. This belief is particularly common in some Asian cultures, such as Chinese and Japanese culture. In Chinese culture, for example, changing one’s name can be considered a way to change one’s destiny or fortune. This is based on the concept of “ming” (命), which refers to one’s fate or destiny. It is believed that a person’s name can influence their “ming,” and that changing their name can therefore bring about a change in fortune. This is why some Chinese people may choose to change their name after experiencing misfortune or bad luck. Similarly, in Japanese culture, changing one’s name is believed to have the power to bring good luck or ward off evil spirits. This is why some Japanese people may change their name after experiencing a series of unfortunate events or to mark a new chapter in their life.
In term of Indonesian culture, as a pure Javanese myself, this belief is often tied to the traditional Javanese religion of Kejawen, which incorporates elements of animism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. What I understand in Kejawen, it is believed that a person’s name is closely tied to their destiny or jodoh―life partner, and that changing one’s name can therefore alter their destiny. This is why some Javanese may choose to change their name after experiencing misfortune or bad luck. In my observation, there are several reasons why someone might choose to change their name in Kejawen tradition. One common reason is to mark a new beginning or a significant life event, such as a marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child. Changing one’s name can symbolize a new identity or a fresh start, and can help individuals to leave behind the past and move forward with a new sense of purpose. Another reason why someone might change their name in Kejawen tradition is to align themselves more closely with a particular spiritual or mystical tradition. In some cases, individuals may seek out the guidance of a spiritual leader or teacher, who can provide them with a new name that reflects their spiritual path or journey. This new name may be chosen based on various factors, such as the individual’s birthdate, spiritual or mystical experiences, or personal characteristics and traits.
For I suit myself in Islamic approach, as far as I know changing name rituals has only a strong presence and become a common practice when someone is converting to Islam. They usually take on new names that reflects their faith.
So, coming back to myself who is about to have my name changed, I do not think this is a good idea. Maaan, even though some people argue that I do not need to change the official documents for what necessary outwardly my name has been changed. In this case, the name on the official document is just my legal name u_u Trying to grasp the circumstance, I think it is understandable to have mixed feelings about the significance of my name, especially if some people around me start believing that it may have brought me misfortune. However, in my opinion sometimes it is really important to remember that a name is just a label and does not define who I am as a person. While some cultures may place great importance on the meaning of a name, ultimately it is our actions and character that determine our success and happiness in life. It’s important to focus on the present and future rather than dwell on the past, and to remember that we have the power to shape our own destiny. And about the destinies which are thought as misfortunes, to me they are just a part of takdir I must face in this lifetime, just same like other takdir which many are waaayy better to me.
why i like the name and how it actually interlude to my worldly responsibility
Beside the meaning behind the name, I should say that I love my name more for it led me to my learning of spirituality. I have my spiritual gurus who help me through the process, however I start enjoying the process more than I think. At first, I was thinking my choosing on the path was due to my needs of heal. However ever since I have this match between my knowledge gain from a few years back and the practices led by my teacher, I feel that the dots finally connected. I am at the point where my teacher said that I need to both improving my dzikr in quality and increasing the amount and time for dzikr. The number of dzikr is intended as a benchmark for me to be istiqomah in this act of worship.
I also learn that of all the things I have read, what most important is the practices themselves. In Javanese we probably are more familiar with terms such as laku or tirakat. In Islam we can call them as the acts of worships. I was told to stop reading the sufi books for a while and focus on improving the quality of mandatory worships with additional of the Sunah through solat sunnah and dzikir. This holy month of Ramadhan is just the right moment to build a humbler habit of worship for the long term.
My choosing on this path actually also helps me to be more mindful on what my responsibility in this world. As a daughter, I carry my role as best by obeying my parents and how I need to maintain or even improve the dignity of my family. As a company employee, I need to give my best to the works I do without too much complain for after all I work because of my Lord. As an ilustration, if I got paid more than I should, It was rezeki from Allah, and when I did not, I was then being tested whether I sincerely work because of Allah or because of other motives. In the end, what I will get is better skills for my own sake―self-investment. I’m not saying that this path is not easy, but the values in the spiritual path that I believe can at very least help me become a better being.
I like my name for maybe it is true that it does become the prayer. My only hope now is that I will be given the pleasure to worship until the end of my life. Amin yrb
Photo by Kevin Butz on Unsplash
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