I am speaking of course of Siddhartha Gautama's son. I was told Rahula means obstacle. Is this true?

5 Answers 5


"Rāhulajāto, bandhanam jātam" the word rāhula meaning bond

(Source: http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_names/r/raahula.htm)

edit: see comments below

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    Prince Siddhartha was preparing himself to leave the palace. One account[1] claims that when he received the news of his son's birth he replied Rāhu jāto, bandhanam jātam — "A rāhu is born, a fetter has arisen." Accordingly the child was named Rāhula, meaning "fetter", or "impediment", recognizing that the child could be a tie that bound him to his wife Yashodhara, a binding that may impede a search for enlightenment. - Wikipedia. So that would explain a interpreation like "bond", but it seems to be more of an interpretation, has anyone some inside knowledge? Sep 22, 2014 at 14:18
  • That's right. Fetter, bond, etc. Sep 22, 2014 at 14:20
  • Well it says impediment or fetter, which means in fact obstacle, right? So "bond" is just the interpretation in context, but not the translation. Sep 22, 2014 at 14:21
  • bandhanam jātam means a bond was created. Sep 22, 2014 at 14:25
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    rāhu generally means something which is obstructive or inauspicious in Sinhala usage. I am not sure about Pali. Sep 22, 2014 at 14:28

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.

  • Hello Hannah and welcome to Buddhism SE. We put together some information for new users that you might find useful.
    – user2424
    Jun 29, 2015 at 18:10

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.

  • So, "something that obstructs" (the sun) ?
    – Andriy Volkov
    Jun 15, 2018 at 14:11

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.


ra= sun hul = grass. ra+hul it has a lot of meaning, and have to be lucky to have that name. a person having that name is always bright and shining like the sun among others. the sun can make anything weak, but not grass. only you can put yourself down, nobody can even try. the name also states that ur best motivator is yourself! I'm lucky to have that name!

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