How popular is the baby name Turiya in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Turiya.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Turiya


Posts that Mention the Name Turiya

The Entrance of Abraxas

baby name, abraxas, 1970s, music, album
Abraxas (1970) by Santana

In August of 1969, Latin rock band Santana played a career-launching set at Woodstock and (a few weeks later) released its debut album, Santana.

In September of 1970, the band followed up with a second album, Abraxas, which included the popular songs “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va.”

Abraxas ended up becoming the #1 album in the U.S. for six weeks at the end of 1970. The very next year, right on cue, the baby name Abraxas debuted in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: unlisted
  • 1971: 5 baby girls named Abraxas [debut]
  • 1970: unlisted
  • 1969: unlisted

Where did the name of the album come from?

Carlos Santana discovered it in Hermann Hesse’s 1919 novel Demian, which he quoted in the liner notes of the album:

We stood before it and began to freeze inside from the exertion. We questioned the painting, berated it, made love to it, prayed to it: We called it mother, called it whore and slut, called it our beloved, called it Abraxas…

In the book, Hesse used Abraxas — an obscure Gnostic deity — as a symbol of unity/totality, saying that Abraxas contained “both the bright world and the dark world,” and combined “the godlike and the devilish.” (He contrasted Abraxas with Jehovah, who represented only divine things — the rest being “ascribed to the Devil” and “swept under the table and buried in silence.”)

Little is known about the Gnostic god, and the etymology/origin of “Abraxas” remains a mystery (though we do know that the original spelling was “Abrasax.”)

After debuting in 1971, the name dropped back out of the SSA data and didn’t return until the 2010s — this time as a boy name.

While we’re talking about Santana, I’ll also mention that the baby name Santana started seeing higher usage for both baby boys and baby girls in the early ’70s, thanks to the band’s success.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Abraxas? How about Santana?

P.S. A few years after Abraxas came out, Carlos Santana, as Devadip Carlos Santana, created the album Illuminations with Turiya Alice Coltrane.

Sources:

The Introduction of Turiya

baby name, turiya, music, 1970s, album
Illuminations (1974) by Turiya Alice Coltrane and Devadip Carlos Santana

The rare name Turiya has appeared in the SSA’s baby name data just twice so far, in 1974 and 1975:

  • 1977: unlisted
  • 1976: unlisted
  • 1975: 7 baby girls named Turiya
  • 1974: 6 baby girls named Turiya [debut]
  • 1973: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Signs point to Alice Coltrane, who wasn’t just the widow of famous jazz saxophonist John Coltrane, but also an accomplished jazz musician in her own right. She played piano and organ professionally starting in the early 1960s, and later learned to play the harp as well.

Following the death of her husband in 1967, Alice did two things: she “devoted herself to Vedic practice,” and she began recording albums as a bandleader (instead of as a sideman).

In the ten years that followed, she released about a dozen albums on Impulse! and Warner Bros., many of them masterpieces that imagine a meeting point between jazz and psychedelic rock, gospel traditions and Indian devotional music.

So how does “Turiya” fit into all this?

At some point in the early ’70s, Alice adopted the name Turiyasangitananda, which she translated as “the Transcendental Lord’s highest song of bliss.” The Sanskrit components of the name are: turiya, meaning “the fourth (state of the soul),” sangita, meaning “music,” and ananda, meaning “bliss.”

The shortened version, Turiya, soon started appearing in song titles: “Turiya & Ramakrishna” (1970) and “Galaxy In Turiya” (1972).

But its most prominent appearance came in 1974 with the album Illuminations, which was co-created by “Turiya Alice Coltrane” and “Devadip Carlos Santana.” (In Sanskrit, deva means “god,” dip means “lamp” or “light.” Like Narada Michael Walden, Carlos Santana was a follower of Sri Chinmoy.)

Though Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda eventually left her professional music career to head a spiritual community — not to mention raise four children (Michelle, John Jr., Ravi and Oranyan) as a single mother — she never stopped making music.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Turiya?

Sources: Alice Coltrane – Wikipedia, Alice Coltrane’s Devotional Music, Alice Coltrane – Discogs

Baby Names from the East: Bodhi, Shanti, Karuma, Zen

Baby names like Zen and Bodhi have been on the rise lately, so I thought it would be fun to check out some of the other baby names that come from words we’re familiar with through Eastern thought and practices (e.g., Buddhism, yoga). Here are 50 examples I’ve spotted in the U.S. data.

I’ve only included simple/literal definitions, but most of these refer to larger concepts, actions, or things. They come from Sanskrit unless otherwise noted.

  • Advaita, “nondualism”
  • Akasha, “aether”
  • Amrita, “immortality” (or “elixir of immortality,” “nectar”)
  • Asana, “sitting posture”
  • Bhakti, “devotion”
  • Bindu, “point,” “dot”
  • Bodhi, “awakening,” enlightenment”
  • Bodhisattva, “one who seeks awakening”
  • Chanda, “intention,” “desire”
  • Darshan, “viewing”
  • Dharma, “right way of living”
  • Dhyana, “meditation”
  • Diksha, “initiation”
  • Drishti, “focused gaze”
  • Guru, “teacher”
  • Jhana, the Pali form of Dhyana
  • Karma, “action, “work” (past deeds)
  • Karuna, “compassion”
  • Koan, a paradoxical statement/question in Zen Buddhism
  • Kosha, “sheath”
  • Manas, “thought”
  • Mandala, “circle”
  • Mantra, a sacred utterance (syllable, word, or verse)
  • Maya, “magic,” “illusion”
  • Metta, “loving-kindness”
  • Moksha, “release,” “liberate”
  • Nikaya, “assemblage”
  • Nirvana, “blowing out” (ultimate spiritual goal in Buddhism)
  • Nyasa, “placing”
  • Ojas, “vigor”
  • Om, sacred syllable (Mantra)
  • Prajna, “wisdom”
  • Prakriti, “nature,” “source”
  • Rishi, a sage
  • Sadhana, “realization”
  • Samadhi, “total self-connectedness,” “a state of meditative absorption”
  • Samatha, “tranquility”
  • Samsara, “flowing around” (continuous cycle of rebirth)
  • Satori, Japanese, “spiritual awakening”
  • Satya, “truth”
  • Shakti, “power,” “energy”
  • Shanti, “inner peace”
  • Siddhi, a super-normal power
  • Sila, “right conduct”
  • Tendai, a Japanese Buddhist sect
  • Turiya, “fourth (state)”
  • Tantra, “loom”
  • Vidya, “knowledge”
  • Yogi, a practitioner of yoga
  • Zen, the Japanese form of Dhyana

Would you use any of the above as a baby name?

Sources: Sanskrit Top 40: Must-Learn Lingo for Yogis, 200 Key Sanskrit Yoga Terms, Buddhism – Wikipedia, The 3 Levels of Samadhi – Chopra Center