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Ritwik (Rtwk) : The modern fashionable name for male children

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Dr.S.Ramanathan

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Ritwik (Rtwk) : The modern fashionable name for male children


During the last couple of years, I had met with a few young friends and relatives, who have named their sons “Ritwik”. I asked them how and why they have chosen that name. Their uniform reply was that they found it on the internet, it looked new, and meant “scholarly”. Following the dictum of the Taitriya Upanishad, I accepted their reply but wanted them to probe a little deeper. This article is an enabler for the same.

Four types of priests function in many of the big yagas or homas.



  1. Hotr: His duty is to recite the Rik (Rk) mantras in the sacrifice. He is the representative of the Rig Veda. He has three assistants: Maitravaruna, Acchavakaa and Grihavastut.
  2. Adhvaryu: belongs to the Yajur Veda, and is given the responsibility of Agni Karya or Fire sacrifice. He prepares things for the oblation and pours them into the fire by reciting Yajur Veda mantras. He also has three assistants called Pratiprasnata, Potaa and Neshtaa.
  3. Udgatr: belongs to the Sama Veda and sings the sama hymns. He too has three assistants called Prastotr, Pratihartr and Subrahmanya.
  4. Brahman; He is supposed to belong to the Atharavana Veda and know all the other three Vedas and is the superintendent of the yaga or homa. His three assistants are Brahmanacchaamsi, Aagnidhra and Potr.

According to Aitareya Brahmana, the Brahman priest is the physician of the yaga. If there is any defect in reciting from any of the Vedas, he rectifies the defect by performing the appropriate homa from the concerned veda.

These sixteen priests are called by the general name of Ritwik (rtwk).

While the general name has gotten the fancy of the modern young generation, I presume it may take some more time before the other names attract attention by the persons belonging to the respective Vedas. It may also give them some identity of the Vedas which they are supposed to follow.

While I am happy that the name Ritwik is becoming popular, I am a little surprised and perplexed why certain other names have not yet gained currency. For example, on Guru Purnima day, the Acharyas of the mutts performing Sanatana dharma and following Adwaita philosophy pay respect to three generations of gurus: called Krishna Panchagam, Vyasa Panchagam and Acharya Panchagam.

Lord Krishna is considered as the first teacher and he gave the responsibility to four of his assistants (Manasika putras) named Sanatkumara, Sanaka, Sanandana and Sanatsujata. The next in order was Vyasa who divided the Vedas into four and gave the responsibilities to four Rishis: Samantu, Vaisampayana, Jaimini and Pailar to propagate. The Adwaita philosopher Adi Sankara is third in the group of gurus and he further created a regional mutt in the four corners of India, each with the responsibility of propagating one of these four Vedas and the acharyas were Sureswara (Sringeri). Hastamalaka (dwaraka), Padmapada (Puri) and Todaka (Jyotir mutt).

While the three names Krishna, Vyasa (Vyas is a family name in the North of India) and Sankara are common, it is surprising why other illustrious disciples of each one of them are not yet lucky.

Again, take the example of the Viswedevas. We invoke the Viswedevas in our daily sandhyavandanam. In sraddha, out of the two Brahmins, one is invoked to represent the Viswedeva (the gods of the universe). Who are they? They are commonly ten: namely Vasu, Satya,. Kratu, Daksha, Kaala, Kaama, Dhriti, Kuru, Pururavas and Maadrava. Along with these, Rochaka, Dhvani and others are also sometimes mentioned (only Pururava and Aadraka are mentioned in the sraddha ceremony). I do not know how many decades it will take for these names to be recalled. Or are they disappearing because even in rituals like Sandhya or Naandhi or Sraddham, we invoke them by the generic name “Viswedeva” and do not invoke them individually because there are too many? Ritwik and Viswedeva seem to be having the same generic position . Ritwik is slightly luckier because the name has been at least rejuvenated lately. Viswedevah does not sound so nice!


 

renuka

Well-known member
Dear sir,

I have heard this name before a couple of times.
Actually sometimes I wonder why we spell Hindu names with the letter W when there is actually no W in our scripts.

Ritvik ऋत्विक् which is from the original word Ritvij (ऋत्विज्) should be spelled with a V and not a W.. I feel.

Even many other names for example Aishwarya is spelt with a W instead of Aishvarya.
I wonder how W got into the spelling of names???
 
OP
OP
D

Dr.S.Ramanathan

Active member
I agree with you entirely. I accept my mistake and stand corrected reg the spelling.Thank you, Madam, very much. Any othr comments?
Ramanathan.
 

renuka

Well-known member
I agree with you entirely. I accept my mistake and stand corrected reg the spelling.Thank you, Madam, very much. Any othr comments?
Ramanathan.


Dear sir,

Sir..its not your mistake..I was talking about how we Indians spell names with the letter W even though we do not have the letter W in our phonetics.

It's a common scenario..we see names like Rajeshwary too.
I was just wondering when did W enter the India scenario in spelling of names.
 

zebra16

Well-known member

Ritwik (Rtwk) : The modern fashionable name for male children


During the last couple of years, I had met with a few young friends and relatives, who have named their sons “Ritwik”. I asked them how and why they have chosen that name. Their uniform reply was that they found it on the internet, it looked new, and meant “scholarly”. Following the dictum of the Taitriya Upanishad, I accepted their reply but wanted them to probe a little deeper. This article is an enabler for the same.


I liked the informative article. I have two requests:

1. Please give the details of "dictum of taittiriya upaniSad"

2. Please give the source of information, in case someone is interested to dwell in further on the duties and responsibilities of the ritvik assistants.

Regards
 

biswa

New member
Dear sir,

I have heard this name before a couple of times.
Actually sometimes I wonder why we spell Hindu names with the letter W when there is actually no W in our scripts.

Ritvik ऋत्विक् which is from the original word Ritvij (ऋत्विज्) should be spelled with a V and not a W.. I feel.

Even many other names for example Aishwarya is spelt with a W instead of Aishvarya.
I wonder how W got into the spelling of names???

I have another twist to this. The first Devanagari letter does not really correspond to R. I believe then it should be spelt Writvik. Or perhaps Rritvik?

There is an aspiring Indian cricketer with a similar name: Wriddhiman Saha
 

biswa

New member
I agree that Ritwik is again gaining in popularity. I know a boy as well. When parents name kids, is it because of the characteristic of the child, or is it because of what the parents desire the child to become?
 

renuka

Well-known member
I have another twist to this. The first Devanagari letter does not really correspond to R. I believe then it should be spelt Writvik. Or perhaps Rritvik?

There is an aspiring Indian cricketer with a similar name: Wriddhiman Saha

Yup... ऋ has got no equivalent in Roman letters.

BTW ever heard a Bengali pronounce the name Saha..I am quite sure it sounds very much like Shaha.
Can you confirm this with any Bengali known to you?
 

Anand Manohar

New member
Dear Dr SR Ji

Wow! Terrific amount of research and a very informative post. Thanks.

But I have to tell you, that is close to impossible getting to the bottom of it all.
The general trend and style world-wide, is to shorten names - we have been seeing
for sometime now - Robert becoming Bob, William becoming Bill, Mathew becoming Mat,
Edward becoming Ted, Michael becoming Mike etc. So much so, the tale goes that Eisenhower's
mother was sick and tired of this trend of shortening names and named him Dwight, which she
thought couldn't be shortened further. But they called him "Ike" !

The next thing that one notices is the trend of handing down professions as surnames -
Doctor, Engineer, Batliwala are common Parsi surnames. These are as common as Dwivedhis,
Trivedhis and Chaturvedhis!

Essentially, these were 'titles' conferred upon people who had attained certain level of learning of the
Vedic Scriptures. How, with the passage of time these came to be inherited surnames by the descendants
is a mystery. The same goes with Dixits, Purohits, Sharmas and Shastris. Even the name Vajpayee is an
inherited surname which was a title conferred upon one who was a specialist in performing the
" Vajapeya Yagnam ".

Many who have never received "Deeksha" carry the surname Dixit and so with people who
have been to a Temple [nor have any inclination to do so], answer to the surname "Purohit"!

It has sort of become "out-of-fashion" to name a boy Sokkalingam / Ramaswamy / Sethuraman/ or a
girl Sugantha Kundalambal / Oppillal / Sigappi. Nobody is ever going to name his son " Umai Uru Baagan" /
" Ilam Pirai Chudan" anymore. These are names that only the poetically inclined will find in
some research paper. One can find ample supplies of Piyushs, Amits, Sachins, Kirans etc.

Then we come across people being named after their Parents' heros. One can find numerous Boses and
Gandhis, who know no Bengali or Gujarati, Stalins who know no Russian and Kennedys who can't
spell their names correctly in English !

In the midst of all this, we find a very unusual name " Aaradhya " [ meaning worthy of worship ]
- named by the Grand Father, who is himself the son of a well known poet - Harivansh Rai Bachan.

Doctor, as you would already know, even 'Vyasa' was a title. The Veda Vyasa that we commonly refer to
and is credited with writing the Mahabharatha is "Krishna Dwaipayana Veda Vyasa ".

Getting to bottom of it all, is a tough as, Doc.

After all, " What's in a name ? " - William [not Bill] Shakespeare in Romero & Juliet .

Guruvethunai
Yay Yem
 

biswa

New member
Yup... ऋ has got no equivalent in Roman letters.

BTW ever heard a Bengali pronounce the name Saha..I am quite sure it sounds very much like Shaha.
Can you confirm this with any Bengali known to you?

Yes, you are right, most Bengalis would pronounce it as Shaha. :)

However I am not sure I agree with you that there is no w in Hindi/Sanskrit. People would usually transliterate वह as woh, not voh isn't it?
 

vgane

Well-known member
In olden days the names of the paternal grandparents & great grand parents were kept...The name was traditional, long (Siva Ram Subramanian, Anantha RamaKrishnan) and was associated with Hindu Gods & Goddesses...

Some added their village names to it (like Melattur V. Rajagopalan)...

However the practice of calling by the nick name which is a form of shortened(abbreviated) name was pretty strong...No one knew Swaminathan but only as Sama...Viswanathan as Visu, Venkatraman as Venkitti....Krishnamurthy as Kittu or kichu...Vaidyanathan as Vaidy...The nick name starts from the parents & spreads to relatives and friends

Sometimes the nick name was given by the village folks...My grand father was known in his village not by his name, surname or abbreviated name...He was called as Thoppukkara Mama as he owned lot of Thoppu...

Some were identified by their profession such as Vakil or Doctor also....

Now we have names decided based on numerology, birth star, father/mother first name, flower, weather etc...Most of these are Sanskrit secular names...We are aping the North in this

Short & crisp is the new credo.
 
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renuka

Well-known member
Just got a question..

what does the name Picchu Mani stand for?
Cos I see it many times in Tamil Movies where a TB has a name called Picchu Mani.
 

vgane

Well-known member
Just got a question..

what does the name Picchu Mani stand for?
Cos I see it many times in Tamil Movies where a TB has a name called Picchu Mani.

My distant aunt's daughter was called Pichamma & I did not bother to ask my dad about it...Now it seems she was born to her parents after years of trying to beget one..That's why she is called so (God's pichai)
 

renuka

Well-known member
Tell me yaar..what is the meaning.
I remember Vadivelu will be a TB in a temple ringing a bell and his name was Picchu Mani.
 

renuka

Well-known member
My distant aunt's daughter was called Pichamma & I did not bother to ask my dad about it...Now it seems she was born to her parents after years of trying to beget one..That's why she is called so (God's pichai)


Ok Ok get it..I know a person by the name Allah Pichai.
 

renuka

Well-known member
How about Kuppai.....Astonished....Kuppuswamy became Kuppai...Poor guy he would always feel taunted


This I know cos there is a belief that in some families the children always die and by naming the child Kuppai its as if you do not want the child sorts and that makes Death confused and not take the child away.

Some people even go one step further by placing the child in a dustbin for a while and then picking him/her up.
 
OP
OP
D

Dr.S.Ramanathan

Active member
To answer to some of the points raised:
First, thanks to the good response.
Not only Taitriyam, but many other Upanihads also, mention that the answer given to a question by a disciple, should not be refuted as wrong etc, but should be encouraged to search for a more fitting answer.
The refernce quoted is from Chandogya Upanishad from which I intend to have a few more posts to follow.
The trend is to name the child beyond the ordinary names, commonly known.
A reference to Brihadaranyaka Upanishad would show how many names are repeated in the Paramparas, a system which we have been following till recently. We used to name the grandchildren, after the names of grandparents. In some cases, offence is taken, if this practice ia not followed.
My limited points are thatthere are many other names also in Vedic literature, some long and some short, many with profound background. People can dip into this vast reservoir,
Respectful regards,
Ramanathan.
 

mskmoorthy

Well-known member
A name is like a (unix or windows) file name with a path attached (e.g. C:\Users\moorthy\Downloads )

In olden names among many cultures, a person is identified with which village he is from, who is his/her father and whether he/she is the eldest or the second eldest son (or daughter) - the other children do not matter any way :). The life span (in olden days) was more limited. So once a name is given his/her whole history is given. That was the rationale behind. Please look at Icelandic names Icelandic name - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In this Indonesian name, the name "Sukarnoputri" is a patronymic, not a family name, and the person should be referred to by the given name "Megawati". ( from Megawati Sukarnoputri - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
 

zebra16

Well-known member
Just got a question..

what does the name Picchu Mani stand for?
Cos I see it many times in Tamil Movies where a TB has a name called Picchu Mani.

Picchu Mani stands for a son begotten after a lot of pleadings/begging to the Almighty for birth of a son. This name (more often nickname) was generally given to a son born after a series of daughters or for conception after a long time gap after marriage or a pleasant conception after the doctors have ruled out the possibility of conceiving a child to the parents.
 

saidevo

Well-known member
namaste everyone.

Not every parent names their child with full knowledge of the meaning and connotations of their chosen name. More often than not, they choose short and fancy Sanskrit names, as has been pointed out here.

• A girl child I know is named aparNA: although it is a name for LalitA devI, it means 'leafless', a rather not so auspicious connotation.

• Another example is the name nivRtti given to a girl child. I wonder if the parents want the child to turn away from the pravRtti mArgam and take up saMnyAsa!

sthANu--a lifeless log of wood, is a name for Shiva in his form of dakShiNAmUrti. When I was in school, our headmaster had the name sivathANup piLLai.

And then there are these reckless spellings and pronunciations of names.

kokilA--cuckoo, when pronounced as gokilA becomes a pestle or plough!

• What does a parent mean when he/she calls their child shruti but writes the name as sruti--stream, fall of snow?

• The name shiva for a male child is invariably pronounced and written as siva--one who sews or stiches.

shaNmukham becomes sanmugham or sanmukam not knowing that while mukham is face, mukam is the smell of cowdung!

• While svAmi is a master or lord, its common usage as sAmi means 'incompletely, imperfectly, partially, half'.

• The long vowels that are characteristic of female names in Sanskrit--eg. pArvatI, lalitA--are shortened in English as Parvati, Lalita. In Tamizh, lalitA is written correctly, but pArvatI is only PArvati; writing it as PArvatI would amount to Brahminism (it is a different issue that even Brahmins don't care about it).

Members might dig up other mistakes, so parents reading this thread could be better informed.
 

renuka

Well-known member
• A girl child I know is named aparNA: although it is a name for LalitA devI, it means 'leafless', a rather not so auspicious connotation.

But I feel it is fine if we understand the story behind this name.
Where Parvati's penance to win over Lord Shiva was so intense that she did not even eat a leaf hence the name Aparna.


That way if we go into literal meaning only many names won't be suitable.
Eg Uma means U Ma(O don't) becos Parvati's mother didn't want Parvati undertaking severe penance.

But if we accept Uma as consort of Shiva and ignore the literal meaning..then the name Uma is fine.
 

renuka

Well-known member
I have heard real weird names out here in Malaysia:

1)Namitra(Not a friend)

2)Sai Vinash(destroyer of Sai)

3)Suvinash(destroyer of good)

4)Nashita(destroyer??not specified what she is destroying)

5)Dukesh(Lord of Sorrow)

6)Deenan(Suffering)..people should know that Deena should be followed by Dayal hence Deena Dayal.

7)Arikrishnan..tamils do not want to use the word H to write Hari.
Ari means Enemy!
 
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