Birth and Naming of Child (Nam Karan)

Phenomenon of birth is in the hands of Almighty God. Birth results from mixing of a drop of male semen with egg of the female. Human birth is a process of around nine months from the date of conception. Procreation is a continuing process since creation of human beings.

Guru Nanak Dev says,

“This body is made from blood and semen and shall be consigned to fire”.
ਰਕਤੁ ਬਿੰਦੁ ਕਾ ਇਹੁ ਤਨੋ ਅਗਨੀ ਪਾਸਿ ਪਿਰਾਣੁ ॥
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p.63)
Bhagat Kabir says,
“Kabir, difficult to obtain is the human birth. It comes not again and again, just as the ripe fruit, which falls from tree to the ground, attaches not again to the branch”.
ਕਬੀਰ ਮਾਨਸ ਜਨਮੁ ਦੁਲੰਭੁ ਹੈ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਬਾਰੈ ਬਾਰ ॥
ਜਿਉ ਬਨ ਫਲ ਪਾਕੇ ਭੁਇ ਗਿਰਹਿ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਨ ਲਾਗਹਿ ਡਾਰ ॥
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p.1366)

There is no special ceremony at the time of the birth of a child except that the blessings of God are sought through Ardas. Every Sikh is required to start any function, project, ceremony or any other opening in life by performing Ardas.

ਅਰਦਾਸ ਬਿਨਾ ਜੋ ਕਾਜ ਸਿਧਾਵੈ ॥
ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿੰਘ ਵਹ ਸਿਖ ਨ ਭਾਵੇ ॥
(Tankhah Nama Bhai Nand Lal)

Few days after birth, the child is taken to the Gurdwara for naming. This ceremony is very simple. The family accompanies the child and mother to the Gurdwara. Karah Parsad is prepared. Ardas is recited. Vak is taken from Sri Guru Granth Sahib by opening it at random. The first letter of the continuing Shabad from the top of left page is used as the first letter of the name of the child. Either the parents announce the name of the child there and then or announce it after consulting other members of the family. The name selected by the family is affirmed with a Jaikara by the congregation as a mark of approval by the Sangat. The ceremony ends with distribution of Karah Parsad. All the Sikh males must use the title of Singh and females that of Kaur after their first name.

Start of Naming Ceremony

“Once a Sikh named Shia was blessed by God with a son. He took the child to Guru Angad and begged for his blessing. The Guru recited Japji, sprinkled (holy) water on his eyes, face and head and selected a letter at random from the Japji to name the child. This was the start of the Sikh tradition. The Guru said that henceforth Sikhs would perform all their ceremonies in the Sikh temple.......” (The Life, Teachings and Hymns of Guru Angad Dev by S.S. Kapoor, p.54)

Meaning of Names

All the names have special meaning in Sikhism. Parents choose the best name according to their wish. A child is normally named in the spirit what the parents want the child to be. Singh means "lion" and Kaur means "lioness". Tegh Bahadur means, brave swordsman, Amar Singh means, Eternal Lion, Diljit Kaur means, Heart winning lioness and so on.

The following Shabads are often recited at the time of birth:

*Satgur sachai dia bhej
*Parmeshar ditta banna

Guru Arjan Dev says,

“The Guru has sent the child. The long-lived child has been born by destiny”
ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸਾਚੈ ਦੀਆ ਭੇਜਿ ॥
ਚਿਰੁ ਜੀਵਨੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਸੰਜੋਗਿ ॥
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p.396)

Guru Arjan Dev says,

“The Supreme Lord has given me His support and the abode of distress and disease is demolished”.
ਪਰਮੇਸਰਿ ਦਿਤਾ ਬੰਨਾ ॥
ਦੁਖ ਰੋਗ ਕਾ ਡੇਰਾ ਭੰਨਾ ॥
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p.627)

Birth of a child is blessing of Akal Purakh. To rejoice on the birth of a son but feel sad or inferior on the birth of a girl is against principles of Sikh faith.

The surname of Singh and Kaur was bestowed upon the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh on the day of Baisakhi at Sri Kesgarh Sahib (Anandpur Sahib) in 1699

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