Why do some Hindu sannyāsi names end in 'ānanda' e.g., Vivekānanda, Śivānanda, Chinmayānanda etc.?

Is it a mere coincidence or is there a rule or custom?

  • They also end with bharati or saraswati. Jan 31, 2017 at 7:19
  • @SreeCharan Ok, you can edit and add those too to my question if you want. Jan 31, 2017 at 17:22
  • 1
    In advaita sampradaya, The sanyasi gets 10 names like Bharati, Saraswati, Puri, thirtha, Vana, aranya, Ashrama, Sagara, Giri,Parvata etc., based on the math they areassociated with. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashanami_Sampradaya Mar 24, 2017 at 4:43
  • Swami Vivekananda Puri is now familiarly known as Vivekananda. However, Vivekananda can not be a Guru given name. The publisher of the Complete Works states in a Note: 'Before leaving for the USA, Swamiji used to change his name very often. In earlier years, he signed as Narendra or Naren; then for some time as Vividishananda or Sachchidananda. But for the convenience of the readers, these volumes use the more familiar name Vivekananda.' (Complete Works, Volume 7, page 440. Feb 22, 2018 at 10:38
  • There is a rule that end with ananda followed with one of ten names like saraswati puri or giri three four or five lettered name followed by ananda and suffix of any from dasha names Feb 22, 2018 at 13:14

2 Answers 2


It has nothing to do with a SannyAsi.. These names are called the DikshA NAmas or the Guru given names.

First, anyone will have the Janma NAma or the birth name, which was given by the parents.. Now, it is said that a second birth occurs for the Shishya or disciple after the DikshA (initiation) occurs.

So, to mark that occasion, it's a tradition of the Guru giving the disciple a new name.

Now, the suffixes like "Ananda" etc vary with the ParamaparA or the lineage or tradition that the disciple is initiated into..

For example, one who is being initiated into the Sri VidyA tradition, will have that name ending with "Ananda NAtha".

I will be quoting here from the book called "Nityotsava", which is considered as the most authoritative treatise on Sri VidyA rituals or even generally.

It was composed by UmAnanda NAtha (again a Guru given name for him). He was the disciple of one of the most well known Sri VidyA devotee called BhAskAra RAya. BhAskAra RAya also had a Guru given name viz- BhAsurAnanda NAtha.

How does the Guru determine/choose the name?

The process is mentioned in the following passage.

Evam idam dikshAtrayam nirvartya pashchAt tasmai ishtam mantram dadyAt |
Tato guruh shishyashirasi swacharanau niveshya ishtamantra kramopayuktAn sarvAn angamantrAn tasminneva kAle kramena vA yathAhadhikAramupadishya swAngeshu kimpyAngam shishyam sparshayitvA tadangamAtrikAksharAdim dwyaksharam tryaksaram chaturaksharam vA AnandanAtha shavadAntam tasya nAm kritvA dashama khandoktAn AchArAnanushishyAt ||

From Nityotsava's 2nd chapter, called DikshA Krama's sub-section called IshtamantradAnam.

The points relevant for our purpose are marked in the above in bold.. But the full translation of the above passage, which is a description of how the initiation ceremony ends, is as follows:

In this manner the Guru should complete the three initiations and give the disciple his Ishta Mantra. Thereafter, the Guru, placing his foot on the disciple's head, shall instruct him with all the related Anga Mantras either during that time itself or later, in succession. Now, the Guru should make the disciple touch one of his limbs. Noting the MatrikA akshara (one of the 50 Sanskrit alphabets-a to Ksha), NyAsa of which is done during MatrikAnyAsa, on that particular limb (part of the body) touched, the Guru shall frame a name starting with that alphabet, comprised of two, three or four alphabets. And, upon adding the the suffix "Ananda NAtha" to the name thus obtained, he thus gives the disciple a new name. Thereafter, he instructs the disciple with the conducts that are described in ParashurAma Kalpasutara's 10th chapter.

To know how this MAtrikA NyAs is done, you can check this page

So, we know that on the left knee, for example, the Sanskrit alphabet Da (द), is to be Nyasa-ed with. So, assume the disciple touches the Guru's left knee.

Then the Guru has to frame a name starting with Da, comprised of two, three or four alphabets. Let's assume the chosen name is "DayA". So, the DikshA NAma or Guru given name for that disciple will be DayAnanda NAtha.

As, already said above, the suffixes like Ananda, Ananda NAtha etc vary with lineages..

For example, a disciple who's initiated into the GAnapatya sect will have names like "Vijaya+SiddhAchArya, Sujaya+SiddhAchArya ..".. So, for that ParamparA the suffix is SiddhAchArya.

For SwAmi VivekAnanda's lineage it must be Ananda.. But, i do not know what lineage he belonged to. Anyways, his Janma NAma was Narendra NAtha Dutta.

NOTE: I have used the Sri VidyA example simply to explain the process by which the Guru gives the disciples the names.

SwAmi VivekAnanda must have got that name during his SannyAsa DikshA. And, the process must have been the same for him.

And, these suffixes like "Ananda" (for VivekAnanda's SannyAsa lineage), Ananda NAtha (for SrividyA), SiddhAchArya (for GAnaptya) depend on the Ougha-s of that ParamparA- the Divyougha, Siddhaugha and MAnavaugha Guru ParamparAs. So, it depends on that lineages original Guru's name.

Therefore, what i have proved with this answer is that it is not just a coincidence, it is a tradition.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Pandya
    Feb 23, 2018 at 17:29

Well, I would think that's because of the concept of Sat-Chit-Anand. It says that the truths we experience are results of Maya, and the eternal, unchangeable truth behind it is Sat. When a yogi discovers Sat, He goes into a state of Chit and is filled with eternal happiness, Anand.

So, the Anand suffix might be to signify 'Yeah, this guy has discovered Sat and is filled with Anand'

Sory, but I can't think of any citations.



  • Myth=Mithya: A Handbook to Hindu Mythology by Devdutt Pattnaik

  • The Pregnant King by Devdutt Pattnaik

  • This is not at all true i am afraid.. the names are Guru given names.. they depend on the lineage the disciple is initiated into..
    – Rickross
    Feb 22, 2018 at 6:59
  • 1
    IMHO, its not good for someone to read Devdutt Pattanaik books if one wants to delve deeper into Hinduism.
    – user9969
    Feb 22, 2018 at 9:22

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