The Question and Answer section for The Namesake is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
However, the novel is written in the third-person voice, the implied point of view changes. This allows background information to be provided almost anecdotally. When Ashima's point of view is implied, Ashoke appears to the reader as he might to...
The name Gogul represented miracles...... first, Ashoke's survival of a train crash; second, the miracle of is son's birth.
Looking at the context or circumstances for the entire novel might best be accomplised by reading through Gradesaver's short summary. I have provided the direct link below.