Spiritual Names

What is a Spiritual Name?

We all know that names are used to identify people, places and things. A name is just a name to some, especially in western cultures. But many ancient cultures and wisdom traditions understood that names identify and affirm one’s Soul energy.

Part of the Kundalini Yoga path includes an invitation to request and receive a spiritual name. The naming tradition has its roots in ancient culture, where historically a priest, tribesman or holy one would meditate upon the person’s Soul to determine their spiritual name.

When Yogi Bhajan brought Kundalini Yoga to the West, he commonly gifted people spiritual names. Most of the names have Sanskrit origins and are based on the person’s numerology.   The names were given to affirm one’s destiny, to elevate personal energy, and to guide the awakening of consciousness. Many people use their names when teaching or in meditation, and others legally adopt the new name.

The Technology of the Spiritual Name

One of the greatest benefits of using a spiritual name is the effect that occurs physically, when you (or others) speak it. The words are comprised of mantric sounds (Naad) that stimulate the energy meridians of the body when pronounced. This actually changes and upgrades brain activity. The effect of the Naad behind all of this is subtle and also very powerful. Another benefit is the meaning of the name: the meaning gives a concept and a vision of your spiritual identity.

Receiving a spiritual name is a gateway for you to inherit your most elevated destiny. Taking a name is not an invitation to subvert or deny your past, but is rather a guide toward a deeper awareness of who you are.

Requesting A Spiritual Name: Is This For Me?

It’s your choice to have a spiritual name. They are given to anyone upon request. Our Spiritual Names team, under the guidance of Nirinjan Kaur, is here for you, when you are ready.

Choosing to receive a spiritual name is not dependent on religious identification, political persuasion, or whether you have a spiritual practice. However, keeping your integrity is key in the process of using a name. Before requesting one, ask yourself: Is my soul calling me to this?

Origins + Ethics of Spiritual Names

Because our founder fused traditions and blended elements of yoga with some of the Sikh traditions, the topic of spiritual names can bring up conflicting feelings for many. Conversations about respect, roots, and appropriation are important for us, as a whole, to consider.

Today’s spiritual names have their deepest roots in Sanskrit. Many of the names given come from Gurbani, the sacred language of the Sikhs, which is derived from Sanskrit. The Sikh tradition of giving men the second name Singh (Lion) and women the name Kaur (Princess), originated with Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru. There is also an option, when requesting a spiritual name, to choose not to use the names “Singh” or “Kaur,”  as part of the name.

While it’s not necessary to be a Sikh to receive a spiritual name, it’s important to reflect upon the complex history of disenfranchised spiritualities that were colonized and whose lineages face prejudice and ongoing injustice today. How does our embracing of these rich historical traditions inform our practice, on and off the mat? How can our love for the heritage translate into allyship and action? In embracing your name, perhaps this is worthy of a meditation in itself.

3HO Naming History

Within the context of 3HO, students of Kundalini Yoga began requesting spiritual names in the early 1970s. In the experience of Nirinjan Kaur, lifelong student and Director of Spiritual Names: “Our spiritual names became our tools, which daily touched our hearts, impacted our words, and delicately influenced our actions—transforming us and releasing us from the insecurities of the past.”

Yogi Bhajan gave thousands of spiritual names to anyone who  requested them during his lifetime. Before his passing in 2004, he handed the job over to Nirinjan Kaur, who worked as his Chief of Staff and trained with him for over 30 years before assuming her current role as Director of Spiritual Names.

Request a Spiritual Name

How to Use Your Name

Once you have received your spiritual name, you may use it as your personal mantra. Envision how to integrate your name into your life. You may choose to do a 40-day practice of writing, meditating or reciting it. Listen to how other people speak it. These are all ways to support you in using your name.

Make a Contribution

The 3HO Spiritual Names Office welcomes contributions of any size. Contributing $50 (USD) or more will help to increase your prosperity consciousness, and provides significant support for our continued service to the global community. If you contribute $60 or more, you will receive a beautiful Spiritual Name Destiny Card of your choice with your spiritual name and its meaning.

Make a Contribution