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Bhaja Govindam

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  • Bhaja Govindam

    Srimad Adi Shankaracharya Bhagavadpada has composed the Bhaja Govindam during his famous pilgrimage to Kashi (Benares). The fourteen disciples are said to have accompanied him. The story goes that when he was walking along the streets of Kashi, he was pained to observe an elderly man trying hard to learn Sanskrit grammar. At his advanced age, the remaining valuable little time of his life should have been used for worshipping the God, instead of wasting on learning a language. This prompted Sri Sankara to burst out this composition, a sort of rebuke to foolish way of living.
    The Acharya urges the man to turn towards God and sing His glory instead of wasting on mundane things. A censure is implied when the Acharya calls the man a fool (Moodhamathe). It may be added here that the tone of Bhajagovindam is somewhat striking, in spite of its exotic poetic beauty and perfection of composition. This is no wonder, because such a treatment is required to wake up man from his slumber. A milder approach would delay the matter. The matter is urgent, as the Acharya explains in the next verse, for, when the hour of death approaches without any forewarning, the hard-learned verses of grammar are not going to save the poor soul. Hence the song rightly starts without any preamble:

    bhajagovindaM bhajagovindaM
    govindaM bhajamuuDhamate .
    saMpraapte sannihite kaale
    nahi nahi rakshati DukRiJNkaraNe .. (1)
    Worship Govinda, Worship Govinda, Worship Govinda. Oh fool! Rules of Grammar will not save you at the time of your death.mUDha jahiihi dhanaagamatRishhNaaM
    kuru sadbuddhiM manasi vitRishhNaam.
    yallabhase nijakarmopaattaM
    vittaM tena vinodaya chittam. .. (2)
    Oh fool ! Give up your thirst to amass wealth, devote your mind to thoughts to the Real. Be content with what comes through actions already performed in the past.naariistanabhara naabhiideshaM
    dRishhTvaa maagaamohaavesham.
    etanmaaMsaavasaadi vikaaraM
    manasi vichintaya vaaraM vaaram. .. (3)
    Do not get drowned in delusion by going wild with passions and lust by seeing a woman’s navel and chest. These are nothing but a modification of flesh. Do not fail to remember this again and again in your mind.

    naliniidalagata jalamatitaralaM
    tadvajjiivitamatishayachapalam .
    viddhi vyaadhyabhimaanagrastaM
    lokaM shokahataM cha samastam .. (4)
    The life of a man is as uncertain as rain drops trembling on a lotus leaf. Know that the whole world remains a prey to disease, ego and grief.
    yaavadvittopaarjana saktaH
    staavannija parivaaro raktaH .
    pashchaajjiivati jarjara dehe
    vaartaaM ko.api na pRichchhati gehe .. (5)
    So long as a man is fit and able to support his family, see the affection all those around him show. But no one at home cares to even have a word with him when his body totters due to old age.yaavatpavano nivasati dehe
    taavatpRichchhati kushalaM gehe .
    gatavati vaayau dehaapaaye
    bhaaryaa bibhyati tasminkaaye .. (6)
    When one is alive, his family members enquire kindly about his welfare. But when the soul departs from the body, even his wife runs away in fear of the corpse.baalastaavatkriiDaasaktaH
    taruNastaavattaruNiisaktaH .
    pare brahmaNi ko.api na saktaH .. (7)
    The childhood is lost by attachment to playfulness. Youth is lost by attachment to woman. Old age passes away by thinking over many past things. But there is hardly anyone who wants to be lost in parabrahmam.kaate kaantaa kaste putraH
    saMsaaro.ayamatiiva vichitraH .
    kasya tvaM kaH kuta aayaataH
    tattvaM chintaya tadiha bhraataH .. (8)
    satsaNgatve nissN^gatvaM
    nissaNgatve nirmohatvam.h .
    nirmohatve nishchalatattvaM
    nishcalatattve jiivanmuktiH .. (9)
    From Satsangh comes non-attachment, from non-attachment comes freedom from delusion, which leads to self-settledness. From self-settledness comes Jeevan Mukti.vayasigate kaH kaamavikaaraH
    shushhke niire kaH kaasaaraH .
    kshiiNevitte kaH parivaaraH
    GYaate tattve kaH saMsaaraH .. (10)
    What good is lust when youth has fled ? What use is a lake which has no water ? Where are the relatives when wealth is gone ? Where is samsara when the Truth is known ?maa kuru dhana jana yauvana garvaM
    harati nimeshhaatkaalaH sarvam.h .
    maayaamayamidamakhilaM hitvaa
    brahmapadaM tvaM pravisha viditvaa .. (11)
    Do not boast of wealth, friends, and youth. Each one of these are destroyed within a minute. Free yourself from the illusion of the world of Maya and attain the timeless Truth.


  • #2
    Re: Bhaja Govindam

    Nice to see the famous Baja Govindam explained.
    Thank you and wish you all the best for completing this series.
    P.S. Since I was away on a trip to Coorg region and was w/o wi-fi, I am reading the past weeks postings now only.