His teachings have had tremendous impact on Hinduism and on religious thought of over a billion Hindus. He lived during a time when Hinduism was in decline with a rise of Buddhism and the first contacts of Islam in the Indian sub continent. This is generally attributed as the reason for the decline of Buddhism and the rise in what in modern times is called Hinduism. Several writers have written paens on Shankara, but to me Will Durant in his wonderful essay on Shankara encapsulates the essence of this titan of Vedantic thought.
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A biography of Shankara and his other compositions of Vedic literature can be found in the shankara. Bhaja govindaM is one of the minor compositions of the spiritual giant, Adi Shankaracharya. It is classified as a prakaraNa grantha, a primer to the major works. Though sung as a bhajan, it contains the essence of Vedanta and implores the man to think, Why am I here in this life? Why am I amassing wealth, family, but have no peace? What is the Truth? What is the purpose of life?
The person thus awakened gets set on a path to the inner road back to the God principle. The background of Bhaja GovindaM is worth examining. During his stay in Kashi, Adi Shankaracharya noticed a very old man studying the rules of Sanskrit by Panini. Shankara was touched with pity at seeing the plight of the old man spending his years at a mere intellectual accomplishment while he would be better off praying and spending time to control his mind.
Shankara understood that the majority of the world was also engaged in mere intellectual, sense pleasures and not in the divine contemplation. Seeing this, he burst forth with the verses of Bhaja govindaM. In 31 verses, he, like no other, explains our fallacies, our wrong outlook for life, and dispels our ignorance and delusions. Thus bhaja govindaM was originally known as moha mudgAra, the remover of delusions.
Shankara explains, nay chides, us for spending our time in useless trivia like amassing wealth, lusting after wo men and requests us to discriminate and cultivate the knowledge to learn the difference between the real and the unreal.
Bhaja govindaM is divided into dvAdashamanjarikA stotram and chaturdashamanjarika stotram. At the end of composing the first stanza, it is said that Shankara burst forth with the next 12 stanzas of bhaja govindam. Thus stanzas with 1st as refrain are called dvAdashmanjarika stotram.
Inspired by the extempore recital by Shankara, each of his 14 disciples composed a verse and the 14 verse compendium is called chaturdashamanjarika stotram. There are no evidences to prove the exact individual authorship of these 14 verses, we have some traditional hearsay eviences as attribution. Shankara added the finishing touches by adding five of his own stanzas at the last bringing the total to The combined 31 are also termed as mohamudgaraH by some.
The last two verses in this version is not found in all editions. Bhaja govindaM has been set to musical tones and sung as prayer songs by children. It is divided into dvAdashamanjarikA and charpaTapanjarikA for this purpose.
The former is a set of verses verses while the rest of the verses form charpaTamanjarikA. Anyone who listens to the music of Bhaja govindaM is attracted to it.
However, the significance of the text goes much deeper and contains a well defined philosophy of attaining salvation.
Shankara's words seem to be quite piercing and seem to lack the softness and tenderness often found in his other texts, thus addressing directly. The reason is that this was an extempore recital to an old man. His words can be compared to a knife of a surgeon.
The surgeon's knife cruelly removes the tumour with much pain, but removing the tumour ultimately restores good health in the patient. So are Shankara's words, which pierce and point out our ignorance. It is a knife into the heart of worldliness, and by removing this tumour of ignorance, we can attain everlasting bliss with the grace of Govinda. May the AchAryA guide us from ignorance to truth.
OM tat sat. Rules of grammar will not save you at the time of your death. 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. These are nothing but a modification of flesh. Fail not to remember this again and again in your mind. Know that the whole world remains a prey to disease, ego and grief. But no one at home cares to even have a word with him when his body totters due to old age. But when the soul departs from the body, even his wife runs away in fear of the corpse.
Youth is lost by attachment to woman. Old age passes away by thinking over many things. But there is hardly anyone who wants to be lost in parabrahman. Who is your son?
Strange is this samsAra, the world. Of whom are you? From where have you come? Brother, ponder over these truths. From self-settledness comes JIvan muktI. What use is a lake which has no water? Where are the relatives when wealth is gone? Where is samsAra, the world, when the Truth is known?
Each one of these are destroyed within a minute by time. Free yourself from the illusion of the world of Maya and attain the timeless Truth. Time plays and life ebbs away. But the storm of desire never leaves. Why this engrossment in thoughts of wealth?
Is there no one to guide you? There is only one thing in three worlds that can save you from the ocean of samsAra, get into the boat of satsanga, company of good people, quickly.
Stanza below is attributed to padmapAda. Seeing truth revealed before them, still the foolish ones see it not. Stanza attributed to toTakAchArya.
Even then the attachment is strong and he clings firmly to fruitless desires. Stanza attributed to hastAmalaka. Still in his heart, he is a wretched puppet at the hands of passions. Stanza attributed to Subodha. Yet, devoid of jnana, nothing can give mukti even at the end of a hundred births.
Stanza attributed to vArttikakAra sureshvara. Give up all attachments and renounce all comforts. Blessed with such vairgya, could any fail to be content? Stanza attributed to nityAnanda. But only he whose mind steadily delights in Brahman enjoys bliss, no one else. Stanza attributed to Anandagiri. He then will have no altercation with Yama. Stanza attributed to dRiDhabhakti. It is indeed hard to cross this boundless ocean of samsAra. Oh Murari!
Redeem me through Thy mercy. Stanza attributed to nityanAtha. Freed from vices and virtues, onward he wanders. One who lives in communion with god enjoys bliss, pure and uncontaminated, like a child and as an intoxicated. Stanza attributed to yogAnanda. Who am I? From where do I come?
Who is my mother, who is my father? Ponder thus, look at everything as essence-less and give up the world as an idle dream. Stanza attributed to surendra. Your anger and impatience is meaningless. If you wish to attain the status of Vishnu, have samabhAva, equanimity, always. Stanza attributed to medhAtithira. See yourself in everyone and give up all feelings of duality completely.
6734188 Bhaja Govindam Lyrics and Meaning
By Sri Adi Sankaracharya and his disciples. The Acharya is believed to have composed the Bhajagovindam 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 trying to learn a language.
This work of Adi Shankara underscores the view that devotion Bhakti to God, Govinda, is a vastly important part of general spirituality, as emphasised by Bhakti Yoga and the Bhakti movement. The first stanza of the composition, featuring the eponymous line "Bhaja Govindam", reads as follows: . Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, Worship Govinda, oh deluded mind! At the time of your death, Rules of grammar will not save you. There is a story related to the composition of this Hymn.