What’s in a name?

At the initiation a kind of funny thing happened. We of course knew that when you get initiated you get another name. My karmi name was Hans Kary and I never liked my name because I was an immigrant. Ever since childhood I wanted to be integrated into the social environment of my peers so I always wanted to change my German name Hans Kary to something else. So upon initiation I was really anticipating getting a very exotic new name like Hanuman or Hari dasa. So when it came time for me to receive my beads, as I bowed down Prabhupada said, Your name is Hansadutta. I didn’t quite catch what he said, so I asked, What was that? Prabhupada said, Simply add ‘dutta’. And I got real disappointed. I thought, Oh, so not only was the name still the same by adding a suffix, but my last name also remained the same because it got a prefix, ‘adi’, Adikary.

So now I was doubly disappointed with Hansadutta Adikary. Then after the initiation when everything had kind of cleared away, I thought, Well I should at least find out what my name means. I went to Prabhupada and asked him, Swamiji, what does my name mean? Prabhhupada said, I don’t know. That’s all he said. So now I was bewildered and went away. But it was nagging me that I really wanted to know what this name meant. So I came back again. I said, Well, Prabhhupada, is there some place where I can find where the meaning of this name is? He said, Yes. That’s all he said. So again I kind of wandered away. But I was determined, so a third time I approached Prabhupada. I said, Well, in which book can I find the meaning of this name? He said, In the Srimad Bhagavatam. In those days, even though the Bhagavatam was only three volumes as compared to the many we have today, it was still a big book to go through. Anyways, I let it go.

But years later, when we were in Montreal, Prabhupada at one point was musing over different devotee’s names. He said, Oh, Shivananda means this and Krsna dasa means that… He was kind of going on very casually, so I thought, Here’s my opportunity. I said, Well, Prabhhupada, who is Hansadutta? He said, You are! For some reason Prabhhupada simply wasn’t going to tell me straight away what my name meant, although later on I had read that the name came from a book written by Rupa Goswami. But I wanted to hear it from Prabhupada. So that was one funny and curious incident with Srila Prabhupada.

This and other great stories can be heard and seen from the new “Memories of Srila Prabhupada” video Pt. 35 featuring Hansadutta dasa. His stories are filled with great insight and humor and should be a part of everyone’s video collection for remembering His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.

Running Time: 81 minutes

$19.95 plus $5s&h (contact for PAL orders)

To order contact:

Siddhanta dasa
c/o Illumination Television
4114 Motor Ave.
Culver City, CA 90232

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