I am speaking of course of Siddhartha Gautama's son. I was told Rahula means obstacle. Is this true?
"Rāhulajāto, bandhanam jātam" the word rāhula meaning bond
edit: see comments below
I'm a Buddhist and at the temple I attended, Rāhula mean "a rope tying him back". Our temple has many monks so I find this information reliable.
Rahu is the name of the shadowy god of eclipses. There are enough Indians named after Hindu gods to believe that Rahula was named after this god. Rahul is a common enough Indians named and this explanation seems far more likely than the one normally given in Buddhist texts.
Firstly, I am not a Pali scholar. But in Myanmar, Rahula means eclipse in Pali. And he was named by his grandfather the king, not Siddhartha.He did not name his son as “Shackles or obstacle”. According to Theravada tradition, he was already planning in the garden to leave the palace.But Siddhartha's father, who was the king sent a messenger to tell the news of the birth to his son. When Siddhartha heard the news, he was happy at first, then felt sad as he already made up his mind to leave. His face brightened like the moon then that moon being eclipsed . So the messenger told this change in his face to the king and the king named the child as “Eclipse”, which was according to the culture of that region (You will see many instances of that naming system in Pali scripture). Actually, in Buddhist literature, it is much honored scene that the night of his silent departure from the palace, he went to see his sleeping wife and baby at the last minute and felt greatly sorry that he had to leave them for the greater love for the world. And as you suggest, Buddha never encouraged his disciples to leave worldly responsibilities and join him. He always encouraged that the worldly affairs must be taken care, debts must be paid, sentences must be served and leave must be granted before becoming a monk.