Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bhaja Govindam - Adi Shankaracharya

Seek Govinda, seek Govinda! O fool, seek (Lord) Govinda! When (your) time comes near, ḍukṛñ or ‘doing’, will certainly not protect you (from death).
govinda: one who tends cattle...  is the cowherd Krishna of Brindavan. 
govinda: one who is revealed through the scriptures.... is the lord of the universe and substratum of creation.
* dukrnkarane this is a phrase in Panini’s Dhaatu Paath (list of verbs with meanings).  
* du kr n : ( the verbal root kr with the prefix du and suffix ñ means 'karane' ( 'to do' ).

 O fool! Let go the craving to amass wealth. Create right thinking in  your mind. Free of greed, satisfy your mind with money earned by your own (honest) efforts,.
* Greed, and not money, is the cause for unhappiness. Wealth is desirable, but has to be earned through right effort. Wealth is is only a means and not an end by itself.   

Seeing the female bosom or navel region, do not by possessed by delusion. This is (but) a modification of flesh and fat. Recall (this fact) repeatedly in your mind.
* Attraction to the opposite sex is common to both men and women. But pleasure, while being a meaningful part of life, cannot be mistaken as the purpose of life. Passion without boundaries can lead to harm and ruin.

The water (droplet) on the lotus-leaf is highly unsteady. Life too is similar - extremely uncertain., Know that the whole world is riddled with sorrow, afflicted by the disease called ego.
* Pleasure and security are no protection from disease and death. Ego is a product of ignorance in the nature of mistaking body-mind complex as oneself. Death is overcome only when one realizes one's mistake through self knowledge.

As long as you are able to earn money, your relatives remain attached to you. Later, as you live (to old age) with a body that is unsteady, they may not even enquire about you (when they see you) at home.
* Many people are motivated by self interest. True relationships are tested in the waters of adversity. It is not wise to  depend too much on the help of others.   

As long as there is breath in the body, people at home (may) enquire about (one’s) welfare. (However) when breath has departed and the body is lifeless, even the wife (may) dread that very same body. 
* The body which is desirable while alive is the object of aversion after death. Relatives will accompany you to the crematorium, but are unable to do so to the next world. 

As a boy, one is attached to play; as a youth, one is attracted to a maiden. Growing old, one is tied down to anxiety. (Alas) not even one is drawn towards the absolute Self!
* We have all the time for going about the chores of life, but have no time to contemplate about the realities of life. Why postpone what is important and engage what is unimportant?  Wisdom lies in keeping the important things as the most important things. 

Who is your wife? Who is your son? Exceedingly wonderful, indeed, is cycle of change! To whom do you belong? Who are you and whence have you come? O brother, contemplate here on the truth (that remains free from all change).
* Relationships are meaningful only in the context of present lifetime. They keep changing over lifetimes - past and future. Relationships too are part of life, and not the purpose of life.

By associating with (knowers of) truth, there arises dispassion; dispassion in turn leads to freedom from delusion. Free of delusion, one is firmly rooted in reality. When (knowledge of) reality is firm, one attains liberation in (this very) life. 
satsaga: association with good people (sat purushas) or association with knowers of sat (reality).
satsaga leads to learning and knowledge of reality.

When one is old, can the expressions of (romantic) love remain? When the water has evaporated, can the lake exist? When one’s money is spent, can relatives (be expected to) remain? When the truth is realized, can the cycle of change remain?
sasāra: cycle of change, birth and deathThe ego, which is a product of ignorance, is resolved through self  knowledge. When ego is no more, how can sasāra persist? 

Do not be proud of  wealth, people, or youth. Time steals all of these within minutes. Setting aside this entire (world) that is a creation of Maya, know and enter the abode of Brahman.
* Every thing has a place and relative significance. Wealth etc. are to be seen in right perspective. They are perishable assets. Knowledge of the imperishable self is the only solution to insecurity and want. 

Day and night, dusk and dawn, winter and spring keep coming again (in repeating cycles). Time sports (with mortals) and life is fleeting; yet the force of desire does not leave (its hold on) us (to contemplate on reality).
* Desires are like fire: the more you feed it, the more it demands. Fulfilling desires does not  result in ultimate fulfilment; rather, it distracts you from knowing the ultimate.  

Who is your wife? Why worry about wealth? O fool! Do you not have an ordainer (who rules over your life)? In the three worlds, the association with (knowers of) truth is the only boat to ferry you across the ocean of change.
* Anxiety, worry, regrets and pain - these constitute the regular diet for the ego. Living in  harmony with the universal laws and  by connecting with knowers of truth, one goes beyond sorrow and death.

A fool wears matted locks, shaves his head, has all his hairs extracted, or wears ochre garments. He sees not even with eyes open, and assumes different guises merely to fill his belly (and satisfy his wants).
* Spiritual practitioners are respected by society and their personal needs provided for. Many people misuse these privileges and convert spirituality into a profession. They see the value of spirituality in people's lives but are blind to its real meaning.. 

The limbs have become weak; the head has turned grey; the mouth has become toothless. Grasping a stick, the old man (may) moves about. Yet, (if) he does not give up the burden of desires (that weigh him down, he is only creating more pain for himself). 
* A lifetime may be spent in fulfilling desires; yet a person need not reach fulfillment. Fulfilment comes through self knowledge and not through dependence on external conditions. 

(The ascetic in winter may sits) with the knees pulled to the chin, fire in front of him and sun on his back; (he accepts) food offerings with his (cupped) hands, and lives at the foot of the tree. Yet (if) the noose of desire does not leave him, (his ascetism is of no consequence).
* Self denial is not spirituality. The need to be free from encumbrances is as much a desire as is the need to possess material wealth. Also self denial at the physical level does not necessarily mean freedom from desires at the mental level.   

It is uniformly accepted that one does not attain liberation without knowledge even in a hundred lifetimes, (even though) he travels to the (holy) confluence of Gañgá and the ocean; or practices religious vows and charity.
* Self knowledge is the completion of spirituality. Without knowledge, all practices will be found wanting. The ego, born of error, will go away only when ignorance is destroyed by knowledge of the real. 

(Even if one is) living under the trees near the temple, sleeping on bare ground, wearing deer-skin, renouncing all possessions and pleasures, how can the freedom from desires (ever) fail to make him happy?

* Freedom from desires is not will-based. Rather, it is based on the realization of completeness that is one’s true nature. With this freedom, all of life is an adventure, and the simple life of a monk can give joy that becomes a wealthy man’s envy. 

One may practice self-control or be engageg in pleasures. One may enjoy company or remain in solitude. But he alone is happy whose mind revels in Brahman. Indeed, he (alone) is happy, truly happy.

* Life is a series of experiences that keep changing. Contemplative activity can alternate with material pleasures and being with people can alternate with being alone. What is constant however is the self that is changeless. Realizing that one is not conditioned by changing experiences makes the heart lighter and happier. 

If one has studied even a little bit of the Bhagavadgitá, sipped even a tiny drop of Gañgá-water, or worshipped Lord Murari (Krishna) just once, one need not plead with Lord of Death (for release).
* Self knowledge is the fulfilment of of all spiritual practices. The scriptures, river Ganga, and Lord Krishna all represent self knowledge, gaining which one is freed from the clutches of death.

Again comes birth; again comes death; again does one rest in the mother's womb. O Lord Murari (Krishna), O highly compassionate One! Please protect me from this cycle of change that is highly difficult to traverse.
* Prayer is a cry for help to transcend the cycle of birth and death. Prayer is also an vitruous action that may help to bring about fortuitous circumstances and mental abilities necessary for gaining self knowledge.

 Dressed in clothes made of roadside rags, and walking the path that is beyond merit and sin, the adept who mind enjoys self-control, enjoys (happiness) like a (playful) child or madman,
* In a mind that is well trained and able, knowledge easily settles. The self, disowned through ignorance, is reclaimed through knowledge. The knower of the self is beyond merit and sin and his heart is as light as that of a child.

Who are you? Whom am I? Whence have I come? Who are my mother and father?  Keep enquiring thus, leaving behind the entire world that is essenceless and comparable to a dream.
* Self enquiry arises as a result of the merits of many lifetimes. A deeper analysis helps one sort out what is important and what is not. Choosing to pursue what is important, one drops out from all other pursuits and becomes dispassionate. Self knowledge is the ultimate gain that makes everything else appear empty and hollow.

 In you, in me, and elsewhere too, there is but one all pervading Lord  Being impatient, you are unnecessarily angry with me,. If you desire to be one with the Lord right away, have the sameness of mind (towards everything) everywhere.
* Knowledge settles only in a mind that is contemplative by nature. Freedom is an accomplished fact, and knowledge accounts for realization of that fact. However unless one has mastery over the mind, freedom remains a dream. We doubt our own eyes, rubbing them in disbelief, for what we see may not be what we believe.

 Make no effort towards war or peace with enemy, friend, son, or relative. See the self in everything and give up everywhere the idea of difference that is (nothing but) ignorance.

* Non difference as the nature of reality can be digested only by a mind that is able to get over the differences of likes and dislikes. Relative non-difference is the key to accepting absolute non-difference.

Letting go of desire, anger, greed, and delusion, (the wise one) recognizes oneself as “I am that (universal self)’. Those lacking in self knowledge are indeed deluded ones, undergoing suffering in the secret recesses of hell.

* Dependence on conditions is a condition of mind that denies self knowledge. Letting go of such dependence leads to absolute freedom through self knowledge. Dependence only leads to suffering and unhappiness.

 May the Bhagavadgita and the thousand names (of the Lord) be sung; may the form of the Lord (Vishnu, spouse of Lakshmi) always be meditated upon; may the mind be led to the company of the wise ones; and may wealth be distributed among the needy.

* The pursuit of liberation is compatible with the spiritual practices and the life of Dharma or righteousness. These practices help in gaining mental composure, concentration, resolve, as well as grace (punya or merit). It is because of punya that we come across this knowledge, the teacher, and the right frame of mind necessary for knowledge to settle.   

(Sexual) enjoyment with women gives much pleasure, but subsequently one (can) suffer disease of body (and mind). Even when death is sure in this world, (short sighted) people do not relinquish their sinful behaviours.

* Pleasures can become pleasant distractions for a spiritual aspirant. Making pleasure the purpose of life is to miss out on the meaning of life. Pleasure comes with its own costs and has a limited validity period. Dependence on pleasures can cheat one out of something more lasting.

Remember always that wealth is (usually the source of) misfortune. The truth is that one cannot extract even a bit of happiness from it. The wealthy person is fearful of his own son. This is the way (of the world) everywhere as a rule.

* Wealth is accumulated with great effort, and can be spent or lost within minutes. Wealth is buying power, and is useful only when you can spend it with discretion. Wealth gives one a feeling of security but requires locks and guards to be stored securely. Often it is the reason for arrogance, jealousy, competition, and fear, all of which can lead to unhappiness and sorrow.

Practice with care, (all of these.... namely) regulation of breath, restraint of the senses, the discriminative enquiry about the eternal and the non-eternal, and mastery of mind with the help of mantras. (Practice them) with great care.
* Mastery of mind, contemplation, and discriminative enquiry regarding important and casual goals, lead to objective thinking and readiness to seek lasting solutions. Such a person is ripe for learning and gaining self knowledge.

Devoted completely to (the teachings represented by) the lotus-feet of the Teacher, may you be quickly released from the cycle of change. Practicing control of senses and mind, you will thus behold the Lord who resides within your own heart.

When the prepared student meets the spiritual master, he is released from ignorance and the bonds of cause-effect. All limitations are recognized to be relative and apparent, incapable of limiting the self that is the ground of all appearance.



Prakarana Granthas

Seek Govinda! Author: Adi Shankaracharya

Self-Knowledge! Author: Adi Shankaracharya

Distinction between Knower -Known

Meditations on Self

Eight Verses on Guru

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