Naam Karan

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Naam Karan is a Sikh ceremony of naming a child and it usually takes place in a Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) after the baby and mother are medically and physically healthy to attend the Gurdwara. There is no timetable for this and the family should not feel undue pressure of any kind and only the well being of the mother and child are considered. Normally just involves the closest family members attending the local Gurdwara.

As soon as the family is ready to undertake this ceremony, the father or another senior member of the family makes contact with their local Gurdwara and makes arrangements for this brief ceremony.

On the day of the Naam Karan, the family, all invited guests, the mother, and baby attend the normal weekly kirtan of the Saadh Sangat of the congregation. The family makes arrangements to have Karah Prasad said for the occasion. Various Shabads of thanks, joy and support are sung followed by the short Anand Sahib (6 pauris). Then if a Sahaj Paath has been arranged, the Bhog of this reading takes place.

Then comes the main part of the ceremony which is the naming of the baby. The Ardas is done in the normal way with a request to God (the one God we all share, not a specific Guru as was previously written in this space) to grant the child good health; make him or her a dedicated Sewadar of the country and Panth; to enlighten (?) the name of his family and Dharma; and to ask for a name for the child. The Ardas is followed by the Hukamnama. When the Hukamnama is taken, the first letter of the first word of the Hukam is the letter to be used to give the name to the child. So for example if the Hukam is:

ਸਗਲ ਮਨੋਰਥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਤੇ ਪਾਏ ਕੰਠਿ ਲਾਇ ਗੁਰਿ ਰਾਖੇ ॥ ਸੰਸਾਰ ਸਾਗਰ ਮਹਿ ਜਲਨਿ ਨ ਦੀਨੇ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਦੁਤਰੁ ਭਾਖੇ ॥੧॥

sagal manorath parabh tay paa-ay kanth laa-ay gur raakhay.
sansaar saagar meh jalan na deenay kinai na dutar bhaakhay. ॥1॥

God has fulfilled all my desires. Holding me close in His embrace, the Guru has saved me.
He has saved me from burning in the ocean of fire, and now, no one calls it impassable. ॥1॥

ਜਿਨ ਕੈ ਮਨਿ ਸਾਚਾ ਬਿਸ੍ਵਾਸੁ ॥ ਪੇਖਿ ਪੇਖਿ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਕੀ ਸੋਭਾ ਆਨਦੁ ਸਦਾ ਉਲਾਸੁ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
jin kai man saachaa bisvaas. paykh paykh su-aamee kee sobhaa aanad sadaa ulaas. rahaa-o.
Those who have true faith in their minds, continually behold the Glory of the Lord; they are forever happy and blissful. ॥ Pause॥

ਚਰਨ ਸਰਨਿ ਪੂਰਨ ਪਰਮੇਸੁਰ ਅੰਤਰਜਾਮੀ ਸਾਖਿਓ ॥ ਜਾਨਿ ਬੂਝਿ ਅਪਨਾ ਕੀਓ ਨਾਨਕ ਭਗਤਨ ਕਾ ਅੰਕੁਰੁ ਰਾਖਿਓ ॥੨॥੨॥੨੬॥
charan saran pooran parmaysur antarjaamee saakhi-o.
jaan boojh apnaa kee-o naanak bhagtan kaa ankur raakhi-o. ॥2॥2॥26॥

I seek the Sanctuary of the feet of the Perfect Transcendent Lord, the Searcher of hearts; I behold Him ever-present.
In His wisdom, the Lord has made Nanak His own; He has preserved the roots of His devotees. ॥2॥2॥26॥
—ਧਨਾਸਰੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥ Dhanaasree mehlaa 5. Dhanaasaree, Fifth Mehl: SGGS page 677

The first word of the Hukam is "Sagal" so the child's name should start with the first letter, which is "S" – The article here has hundreds of names to help the family decide on a name in advance of the ceremony.

Once the name for the baby has been chosen, the word "Kaur" is added to the names of girls and the name "Singh" is added to the names of boys. The Gianni will pronounce the name of the child in the Sangat and hail the Jakara – Bole So Nihal – Sat Shiri Akal.

That completes the ceremony. The parents should then begin calling the child with the name pronounced in the Sangat and this should be then registered with the legal authorities.

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