MARRIAGE OF SURNAMES
First of all, the 'yatra' post marriage (marry + age), the lawful bonding between two hearts and the spiritual bonding of an entire age, should always be considered as as a 'two way journey', as an equal exchange of visits to 'a new place' and not as leaving the 'old'. Age unlike 'ageing' when seen from a naked eye constitutes an entire time span. Here 'identity' is not restricted to being just a name which also implies bonding with a person is bonding with his or her entire age. This automatically gives importance to an 'equality' in commitment accompanied by equality in emotional, physical and identity distribution.
One can never leave his or her roots 'behind' as roots act as the basic seed of an 'upbringing' and is very much the prime partner all along as it builds, characterizes and formulates the person in you. Its best gift lies in making you progressive. The thought of 'addition'. All one can do is add to his or her already built character and memories. Life is more like the first impression of a novel. The more chapters you add to it, the more majestic it looks.
This similar concept is applied in our naming process where the 'Surname' is the accompanied 'prime partner' or the 'strong' root. Metaphysics states this umbilical thread or 'Janma Sutra' as we call it, to be an 'addition' always, through an inbuilt 'upbringing' strongly solidified till unknown depths, even if it's detached by an external force whereas the thought of 'adding' newer root names only beautifies it even more. The longer the name of a person, the stronger is his or her inclusive potential. But does these additions which form the 'Jeevan Sutra' of an individual, need to be publicly showcased as a stamp of newly achieved 'identity'. In my opinion, No. The additions need not be added. In other words, the sphere of a person is his or her additional surname. Surname consists of a geographical, parental and from a bigger perspective, the identity acquired from a surrounding (chosen or random). To sum it up, the 'memory' that attaches itself with the 'primary' name is its surname.
Then, this very need of a 'special mob' through the advent of the process of 'selection' only enhances the 'selection' further, making one choose the best from his or her friendly lot. This potential which is both sided can be used as a visible inscription of fair exchange post marriage between a husband and wife. The concept of 'better half' is only possible if the husband shares an equal amount of identity as the latter.
Shastras provide us with contradictions in this naming process. As in the Purana Gatha, just minutes before narrating the Brahma Vaivarta Purana (written somewhere around the medieval era post bhakti movement, when glorification of manhood in form of 'Krishna' was on the rise) it's written, as a part of conversation, where Sauti, the Vaishnava Rishi narrates to Saunaka Rishi, the teachings of his guru Rishi Vyas Dev about the criteria of naming Gods and Goddesses in the beginning of Time. In his words, 'In this system of Nature, Gods have been identified and named as the creator of life and Goddess have been named with names which showcase its good character' whereas in comparatively progressive puranas like the Shiv Purana, Kalika Purana, Skanda purana etc. the name of 'Ardhnarishwara' comes into existence which again finds a degradation to its simple and effective meaning of 'equal rights' with different tales woven around it through oral renditions since centuries which in one or the other prove the 'male God dominance' built over the image of Parvati thus bringing into light the urgency to decode the respected term. What do we see:
In parts: Ardh + Nari + Ishwara
If observed carefully, the adjective 'ardh' (Half) attracts the Nari (female) more than Ishwara (God), who seems to placed at the last with a clear context of him being the 'whole', the divinity of ultimate 'zero' which can never split itself. Here in this naming, the drive of being 'incomplete' seems too eager to include the female attribute in its inclusiveness than that of the completeness of God. So if rewritten from this context then we can offer a new pattern to the splitting which would go something like this:
In parts: Ardhnari + Ishwara
Here 'ardhnari' (Half female) is shown to create only a temporary consolation of being a 'being', an unsatiated fraction, a restless object or a restless number trying to being a part of what one calls, its meaning. Looking from the numerical philosophy point of view, it's the digits from 1-9 who feel the most restless to be the part of something whole. Illusive destinations of zero, reaching which, they are named as 'achievements', 'status', 'wealth' etc . A concept where 999 doesn't matter but 1000 is satisfaction. Similarly, the completeness of the word 'ardhnari' is shown to be achieved if it becomes a part of the whole. The inclusion of a separate identity into a whole, a tricky inclusiveness which at once negates the existence of one for an illusive whole.
If Ishwara includes 'whole' and the best geometric representation for it is a circle then a circle also denotes 'zero' which establishes the fact 'nothing is everything'. If said in a simplified reversal then 'everything is nothing' which implies 'Ishwara is nothing'. Here 'ardhnari' becomes 'Sampurna Ishwara' and not 'Sampurna Nari'. As we can see, one name made her feel alone and the other completely hijacked her into a dubiety. This clearly proves that the clever patriarchy has played a crucial role in the illusive naming of women, its one sided justification involving innumerable binaries and in its modulation thereafter.
This very concept of 'Ardhnarishwara' can be very much used to explain the inclusion of surnames in a female name and their post marital modulation. In the Indian present as well as mythological context, signifying an individual on basis of his surname has found a great difference between male and female. The surname of a male has suffered extremities, either immensely glorified (Brahmins, Kshatriyas etc.) or immensely exploited (Dalit, Aadivasis etc.). The case has been a little different in case of women. For them, the surname has always been a question of unsettling 'existence' more like life twice and death twice, irrespective of whatever class or stature they belonged to. They were considered as an entire separate class called 'woman', the term 'Narijaat' where 'Nari' with a half identity again falls into a wholeness of 'Jaat', coming into use more often which evoked an equal reaction of 'mardjaat' in the course of time after rebellion gradually found its voice. Ironically, here too, the women were treated as a 'whole' waiting to merge with another 'whole' for an identity of everything which is nothing.
This led to the emergence of an immediate God, the one more robust in appearance and considered closer to their higher counterparts, the male husband who just like his Gods could just entice his earthly Goddess for his strength and love, imbibing all that he could to set his prowess in a clever exchange of a mere identity to satisfy the latter. To reaffirm this dominant establishment, the old scriptures were made the reference point so that any voice of dissent arsinf from the women class, could be made to realise, it was the order of God. The post-marital male or 'Pati' always saw a God in him whose power he couldn't exert on other equal Gods, so he chose his immediate opposite and the best way to do this was to drain her of her potent resources, making her dependent on his. A colonisation of patriarchy was slowly taking shape with the term 'Pati Parmeshwara'.
This term created its own rules. Now husbands were the true and prime power (Parmeshwara = Param + Ishwara) and wives were considered as power resources (Param Shakti). As the saying goes, a marvel never marvels its workers but the owner does. Home turned into temples, temple turned into homes. Gods lost their worth in front of these real Gods who were much closer and much physically present to be believed. Women now started fasting for Gods of similar flesh and blood like them, being called 'Pativrata'. These Gods had gained their most trusted Bhakts. These Gods were clever. In order to gain the half resource from their wife, they called themselves half, the advent of 'love and trust' to create a necessary trust to impose their identity. Thus, root surnames were being changed to adopt so called God's identity. A few agreed on the full potential of Nari and decided to be imposed as a possession, more like 'Narishwara' making her believe she is complete but still not whole. Ishwar can never put Nari after him as that would make Nari the ultimate, and we all know Ishwar is endless. It included the addition of surnames. The self dignified wife was to keep an identity of the God she followed but the husband was free of any such extra identity. modest style selections for prom and formal party
A few elite and Gods of different stratas created worlds of their own strictly exclusive in nature. Here marriages between similar surnames, so the question of identity imposition was removed on a small scale but doubled on a larger scale. The freedom of worship was at stake.
A majority of modern societies nowadays don't follow this trend of being surname imposters. A few who follow modulated shastras do. A few who look into the gaps in teachings don't. A few just don't care owing to being part of a larger diversification. As for me, I still strongly believe in the plain and straight forward meaning of 'Ardhnarishwara' which says God is incomplete without his power and power is for itself and for God. God is 'nothing', infused in Nari (The Maa Shakti) who is everything, quite concrete in our beliefs, in our making, in our grooming, in our entire formulation.
When you marry a woman, you don't just marry her entire age, you marry an entire power reign. Considering her as Shakti, you can understand the folly you and your ancestral tree committed when you imposed your wholeness on her calling her a half identity. Don't forget, it was her 'wholeness' which had once guarunteed yours too either being a 'Pati' during Sambhog or a 'Santan' during birth. It took years before you grew up, took a paper and a pen and wrote down the word 'Ishwara'. The growth being the real 'Yatra'.
- Daipayan Nair