In Naamnajaane village lived a scholar named Lambodar. He was popularly known as Lamboo Pandit. He was well-versed in astrology and the scriptures. As such, he was in great demand. At least a dozen people visited him every day, affectionately addressing him as Lamboo Pandit. The older people called him simply Lamboo.
Lambodar disliked the way the people shortened his name. In course of his talks with the people, he always referred to himself as Pandit Lambodar. But the villagers were too naïve to take the hint. It was the shorter version of his name that continued to be in circulation.
‘The defect lies in my name. It is rather long. I should choose myself a name, which should be short and at the same time dignified. Let it be Shiva', he thought.
From the next day he told the villagers that he had changed his name to Shiva, and they should to address him as Pandit Shiva. But old habits die hard. The villagers continued to call him Lamboo or Lamboo Pandit.
Disgusted, the scholar took a drastic decision: he would leave his own village and settle down at a new place where he could introduce himself by his new name.
He chose a prosperous village, a few miles away, for his new home. There is a saying: "A king is adored only within the boundary of his kingdom; but a scholar receives adoration wherever he goes". This proved true in the case of Lambodar. He became quite popular in his new surroundings. Needless to say, the people there knew him only as Pandit Shiva.
One day, while buying firewood, the scholar's wife asked the shopkeeper, "Are these chips dry enough to make a good fire?"
"Ask anybody and you will hear that Shiva's chips make fire just as Lord Shiva's third eye does!" exclaimed the shopkeeper whose name was also Shiva.
On hearing this, the scholar fell into a depression.
‘Of what value is the name which is that of a fire woodseller? I shall change my name to Vishnu,' he thought.
He informed the villagers of his decision. But the poor people of that locality, who were much devoted to Lord Shiva, had only Shiva on their lips. They found it difficult to address the scholar by any other name.
The scholar got annoyed. He went and settled down in a new town, where the people came to know him as Pandit Vishnu.
Days passed happily for the scholar. He earned well and was pleased with the popularity of his new name.
One afternoon, a mendicant entertained him to a song. The last line of the song had its composer's name, Vishnu.
"Who is this Vishnu?" asked the scholar.
"Who but myself! I sing my own songs!" replied the mendicant, who had by then extended his hands for alms.
At once the scholar developed an awful distaste for his name. From the very next hour he began telling all who visited him to call him Pandit Amar. But the people of that village were devotees of Vishnu. They found it uncomfortable to address him by his new name.
So the scholar left that town too and went to live in another town. To his great satisfaction he became known as Pundit Amar. Soon he grew popular because of his knowledge of astrology. He earned well.
One day his maid did not turn up for work. Next day, she explained that she had to remain with a neighbour who lost her new-born son. "She had named him Amar—in honour of you. She thought it was an auspicious name. A great pity!"
The scholar was shocked. Soon news would spread among those superstitious idiots that his name was unlucky. And God knows what they would do to him! So thinking, he packed up his bags and left the place. He decided to give up his foolish fancies and return to his native village.
"Come, come, Lamboo—er—Pandit Shiva!" greeted the villagers who saw him.
"Please don't hesitate to call me by my old name—Lamboo!" said the scholar contritely. So what if a name is shortened! It sure is not disrespectful! It took three towns and three years for Lamboo to understand this.