- Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya - - Govinda / Lord Kṛṣṇa -
॥ भज गोविन्दम् ॥
|| bhaja govindam ||
by śrī ādi śaṅkarācārya
गोविन्दं भज मूढमते ।
govindaṁ bhaja mūḍhamate |
Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, O fool!
Rules of Grammar will not save you at the time of your death.
Other than chanting the Lord's names, there is
no other way to cross the life's ocean.
Bhaja Govindam is a very popular 8th century devotional composition in Sanskrit composed by Ādi Śaṅkarācārya. This work of Ādi Śaṅkara underscores the view that devotion to God, Govinda (Kṛṣṇa), is a vastly important part of general spirituality. This work is generally considered a good summary of Advaita Vedanta. The refrain »Bhaja Govindam« which defines the composition and gives it its name invokes the supreme Lord in the aspect of Govinda (the cowherd boy Kṛṣṇa); it is therefore very popular not only with Śaṅkara's immediate followers, the Smārtas, but also with Vaiṣṇava and others.
Bhaja Govindam has an interesting legend. On seeing an aged brāhmaṇa trying to peddle his knowledge of grammar (ḍukṛñ karaṇe) while on pilgrimage to Kashi, Śaṅkara exhorts him to worship Govinda, a form of Viṣṇu, and follow the bhaktimārga. Most striking in this verse is the manner in which the brāhmaṇa, for all his knowledge and years, is labelled a fool for not realizing this himself!
There is a story attached to the composition of this Hymn. It is said that Śrī Ādi Śaṅkara, accompanied by his disciples, was walking along a street in Vārāṇasī one day when he came across an aged scholar reciting the rules of Sanskrit grammar repeatedly on the street. Taking pity on him, Ādi Śaṅkara went up to the scholar and advised him not to waste his time on grammar at his age but to turn his mind to Govinda (Kṛṣṇa) in worship and adoration, which would only save him from this vicious cycle of life and death. The Hymn »Bhaja Govindam« was composed on this occasion.
Besides the refrain of the song beginning with the words »Bhaja Govindam«, Śaṅkara is said to have sung twelve verses, hence the hymn bears the title »dvādaśa mañjarikā stotram« (a hymn composed of twelve-verse-blossoms). Inspired by the exemplary recital by Śaṅkara, each of his 14 disciples composed a verse and the 14 verse compendium is called »caturdaśa mañjarikā stotram« (a hymn composed of fourteen verse-blossoms). Śaṅkara than added the finishing touches by further adding five of his own stanzas at the last bring the total to 31.
In 31 verses, Śaṅkarācārya, 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 Mudgāra - the remover of delusions. This edition, however, shows 33 verses, though the last 2 are not given in all versions.
॥ भज गोविन्दम् ॥
|| bhaja govindam ||
भजगोविन्दं भजगोविन्दं गोविन्दं भज मूढमते ।
संप्राप्ते सन्निहिते काले नहि नहि रक्षति डुकृञ्करणे ॥ १ ॥
bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ
govindaṁ bhaja mūḍha-mate |
saṁprāpte sannihite kāle
nahi nahi rakṣati ḍukṛñ-karaṇe || 1||
bhaja — worship; govindaṁ — Govinda; mūḍha-mate — dull-minded, fool; saṁprāpte — when you have reached, arrived; sannihite — nearness of, close; kāle — end of time, death; nahi — surely not, never, by no means; rakṣati — protects, saves; ḍukṛñkaraṇe — the grammatical formula.
Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, O fool! The rules of grammar will not save you at the time of your death.
मूढ जहीहि धनागमतृष्णां कुरु सद्बुद्धिं मनसि वितृष्णाम् ।
यल्लभसे निजकर्मोपात्तं वित्तं तेन विनोदय चित्तम् ॥ २ ॥
mūḍha jahīhi dhanāgama-tṛṣṇāṁ
kuru sad-buddhiṁ manasi vitṛṣṇām |
yallabhase nija karmopāttaṁ
vittaṁ tena vinodaya cittam || 2||
mūḍha — fool, dull-minded person, one who comes to suffer from one’s own ignorance; jahīhi — give up, abandon; dhana — wealth; agama — coming; tṛṣṇāṁ — thirst, desire; kuru — do, act; sad-buddhiṁ — good awareness; manasi — in the mind; vitṛṣṇām — desirelessness, dispassion; yallabhase — whatever you obtain; nijakarmopāttaṁ — obtained through one's own work; vittaṁ — wealth; tena — by that; vinodaya — be content with; cittam — mind.
O fool! Give up your thirst to amass wealth, devote your mind to dispassion and thoughts of the Real. Be content with what comes to you through actions performed by your own work.
नारीस्तनभर नाभीदेशं दृष्ट्वा मागामोहावेशम् ।
एतन्मांसावसादि विकारं मनसि विचिन्तय वारं वारम् ॥ ३ ॥
dṛṣṭvā māgāmohāveśam |
etan māṁsa-vasādi vikāraṁ
manasi vicintaya vāraṁ vāram || 3||
nārī — woman; stanabhara — full breasts; nābhī-deśaṁ — region of navel; dṛṣṭvā — having seen; māgā — dont go; mohāveśam — infatuated seizure; etan — this; māṁsāvasādi — modifications of flesh, fat, etc; vikāraṁ — modified appearance; manasi — in the mind; vicintaya — think well, consider; vāraṁ — again; vāram — and again.
Do not get drowned in delusion, infatuated with passion and lusty desires, by seeing a woman's raised breasts and navel. These are nothing but a modification of flesh and fat, and the like. Do not fail to remember this again and again in your mind.
नलिनीदलगत जलमतितरलं तद्वज्जीवितमतिशयचपलं ।
विद्धि व्याध्यभिमानग्रस्तं लोकं शोकहतं च समस्तम् ॥ ४ ॥
tadvaj-jīvitam atiśaya-capalaṁ |
lokaṁ śoka-hataṁ ca samastam || 4||
nalinī-dala — on a lotus leaf; gata — gone to, fallen on; jala — warter drop; ati-taralaṁ — unstable, unsteady, tremling; tadvat — like that, in the same way; jīvitam — life; atiśaya — extremlyl; capalaṁ — unsteady, fickle, restless; viddhi — know for sure; vyādhi — disease, ailment; abhimāna — pride, conceit; grastaṁ — having been caught, afflicted by, seized; lokaṁ — world; śokahataṁ — attacked by grief, unhappiness; ca — and; samastam — all, entire.
As water drops on a lotus leaf are unsteady and trembling, in the same way life in this world is exceedingly unsteady and restless. Know that the whole world is full of miseries, afflicted by unhappiness and grief.
यावद्वित्तोपार्जन सक्तः तावन्निज परिवारो रक्तः ।
पश्चाज्जीवति जर्जर देहे वार्तां कोऽपि न पृच्छति गेहे ॥ ५ ॥
tāvan-nija parivāro raktaḥ |
paścājjīvati jarjara dehe
vārtāṁ ko'pi na pṛcchati gehe || 5||
yāvad — so long as; vitta-upārjana — earning wealth, acquisition of property; saktaḥ — able, capable of; stāvannija — till then, that much; parivāro — own family members; raktaḥ — attached; paścāt — later, after; jīvati — while living, lives without earning; jarjara — old, decrepit, decayed, infirm; dehe — in the body; vārtāṁ — news, information; ko'pi — whosoever, even one; na — not; pṛcchati — inquires, asks; gehe — in the house, at home.
So long as a man is fit and able to support his family by earning wealth, all those family members around him show affection. But no one at home cares for him, even have a word with him, when his body becomes invalid and totters due to old age.
यावत्पवनो निवसति देहे तावत्पृच्छति कुशलं गेहे ।
गतवति वायौ देहापाये भार्या बिभ्यति तस्मिन्काये ॥ ६ ॥
yāvat-pavano nivasati dehe
tāvat-pṛcchati kuśalaṁ gehe |
gatavati vāyau dehāpāye
bhāryā bibhyati tasmin kāye || 6||
yāvat — so long as; pavano — air, breath; nivasati — lives dwells; dehe — in the body; tāvat — till then; pṛcchati — asks, inquires; kuśalaṁ — welfare, wellness; gehe — in the house, at home; gatavati — while gone, departing; vāyau — air, life-breath; dehāpāye — when life departs the body, loss; bhāryā — wife; bibhyati — is afraid, fears; tasmin kāye — that body.
When one is alive, his family members enquire kindly about his welfare. But when the life-air stops and the soul departs from the body, even his wife runs away in fear of the corpse.
बालस्तावत्क्रीडासक्तः तरुणस्तावत्तरुणीसक्तः ।
वृद्धस्तावत्चिन्तासक्तः परे ब्रह्मणि कोऽपि न सक्तः ॥ ७ ॥
bāla stāvat krīḍāsaktaḥ
taruṇa stāvat taruṇīsaktaḥ |
vṛddha stāvat cintāsaktaḥ
pare brahmaṇi ko'pi na saktaḥ || 7||
bāla — young boy; tāva — till then, till he is young; krīḍā — play; saktaḥ — attached, absorbed; taruṇaḥ — young man; tāva — till then; taruṇī — young woman; saktaḥ — attached, engrossed; vṛddhaḥ — old man; tāva — till then; cintā — worry; saktaḥ — attached, absorbed; pare — high, supreme; brahmaṇi — brahman, spirit, God; ko'pi — whosoever; na — not; saktaḥ — attached, engrossed.
The childhood is lost in attachment to games. The youth is lost in attachment to woman. Old age passes with worry and anxiety, thinking over many things. But there is hardly anyone who wants to be lost (attached) in para-braman, the Supreme Spirit.
काते कान्ता कस्ते पुत्रः संसारोऽयमतीव विचित्रः ।
कस्य त्वं कः कुत आयातः तत्त्वं चिन्तय तदिह भ्रातः ॥ ८ ॥
kāte kāntā kaste putraḥ
saṁsāro'yamatīva vicitraḥ |
kasya tvaṁ kaḥ kuta āyātaḥ
tattvaṁ cintaya tad iha bhrātaḥ || 8||
kāte — who, your; kāntā — beloved, wife; kaste — who, your; putraḥ — son; saṁsāraḥ — circle of birth and death; ayam — this; atīva — great, excessively; vicitraḥ — strange, mysterious, wonderful; kasya — whose; tvaṁ — you; kaḥ — who; kuta — from where; āyātaḥ — arrived, have come from; tattvaṁ — truth, essence; cintaya — think well, consider; tad iha — that; here; bhrātaḥ — brother.
Who is your wife? Who is your son? Supremely wonderful is saṁsāra, the circle of birth and death. Of whom are you? From where have you come? Brother, ponder over these concepts.
सत्सङ्गत्वे निस्सङ्गत्वं निस्सङ्गत्वे निर्मोहत्वम् ।
निर्मोहत्वे निश्चलतत्त्वं निश्चलतत्त्वे जीवन्मुक्तिः ॥ ९ ॥
nissaṅgatve nirmohatvam |
niścalatattve jīvanmuktiḥ || 9||
satsaṅgatve — in good company, good association; nissaṅgatvaṁ — renounced, detachment; nirmohatvam — non-infatuated, non-delusion, clear-minded; niścalatattvaṁ — tranquillity, immutable reality, truth; jīvanmuktiḥ — liberated soul, emancipation while still alive.
Being in the company of good people (saints) gives rise to non-attachment; from non-attachment comes freedom from delusion, which leads to awareness of reality; understanding of reality gives rise to emancipation leading to the liberation of the soul (jīvan-mukti), while still alive.
वयसिगते कः कामविकारः शुष्के नीरे कः कासारः ।
क्षीणेवित्ते कः परिवारः ज्ञाते तत्त्वे कः संसारः ॥ १० ॥
vayasi gate kaḥ kāma-vikāraḥ
śuṣke nīre kaḥ kāsāraḥ |
kṣīṇe vitte kaḥ parivāraḥ
jñāte tattve kaḥ saṁsāraḥ || 10||
vayasi — youth, young age; gate — when gone; kaḥ — who, where, what use; kāma-vikāraḥ — passion, sexual attraction; śuṣke — dried up of; nīre — water; kaḥ — what use is the; kāsāraḥ — lake; kṣīṇe — reduced, spent-up, gone; vitte — wealth, money; kaḥ — what use for; parivāraḥ — family, dependants; jñāte — knowledge, in the realised state; tattve — truth, essence; kaḥ — what is the use; saṁsāraḥ — circle of birth and death, of worldly existence.
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? What is saṁsāra (transmigratory process), when Truth is known?
मा कुरु धन जन यौवन गर्वं हरति निमेषात्कालः सर्वम् ।
मायामयमिदमखिलं हित्वा ब्रह्मपदं त्वं प्रविश विदित्वा ॥ ११ ॥
mā kuru dhana jana yauvana garvaṁ
harati nimeṣāt-kālaḥ sarvam |
brahma-padaṁ tvaṁ praviśa viditvā || 11||
mā — don't, do not; kuru — do act; dhana — wealth, money; jana — people; yauvana — youth; garvaṁ — arrogance, pride; harati — steals, takes away; nimeṣāt — in the twinkling of the eye, instant; kālaḥ — Master Time; sarvam — all; māyā — illusion, delusion; māyām — full of, completely filled; idam — this; akhilaṁ — whole, entire; hitvā — abandoned, having given up; brahma-padaṁ — realm of brahman, spiritual truth; tvaṁ — you; praviśa — enter; viditvā — having known, realised.
Do not take pride in wealth, friends and youth. Each one of these is destroyed within an instant by Time. Free yourself from the illusion of the world of māyā and attain the realm of brahman, timeless truth.
दिनयामिन्यौ सायं प्रातः शिशिरवसन्तौ पुनरायातः ।
कालः क्रीडति गच्छत्यायुः तदपि न मुञ्चत्याशावायुः ॥ १२ ॥
dina yāminyau sāyaṁ prātaḥ
śiśira-vasantau punarāyātaḥ |
kālaḥ krīḍati gacchatyāyuḥ
tadapi na muñcatyāśā-vāyuḥ || 12||
dinayāminyau — day and night; sāyaṁ — evening; prātaḥ — morning; śiśira — frosty season, winter; vasantau — spring season; punaḥ — again; āyātaḥ — have arrived, come; kālaḥ — eternal time; krīḍati — plays; gacchati — goes away; āyuḥ — life, age; tadapi — even so; na — not; muñcati — releases, frees; āśā — desire; vāyuḥ — air (the wind of desire does not let off its hold).
Day and night, evening and morning, winter and summer come and go again and again. Eternal time plays and life ebbs away, yet one does not let go of the storm of desire.
द्वादशमञ्जरिकाभिरशेषः कथितो वैयाकरणस्यैषः ।
उपदेशोऽभूद्विद्यानिपुणैः श्रीमच्छङ्करभगवच्छरणैः ॥ १२अ ॥
kathito vaiyākaraṇasyaiṣaḥ |
śrīmacchaṅkara-bhagavaccharaṇaiḥ || 12a||
dvādaśamañjarikābhiḥ — by the bouquet consisting of 12 flowers (the 12 ślokas above); aśeṣaḥ — without remainder, totally; kathita — was told; vaiyākaraṇasyaiṣaḥ — to the grammarian; upadeśa — advice; bhūd — was; vidyānipuṇaiḥ — by the great scholar; śrīmacchaṅkara — by Śaṅkarācārya; bhagavaccharaṇaiḥ — known as Śaṅkara-bhagavat.
The bouquet of twelve verses was imparted to a grammarian by the all-knowing Śaṅkara, adored as bhagavat-pāda.
काते कान्ता धन गतचिन्ता वातुल किं तव नास्ति नियन्ता ।
त्रिजगति सज्जन सङ्गतिरेका भवति भवार्णवतरणे नौका ॥ १३ ॥
kāte kāntā dhana gata-cintā
vātula kiṁ tava nāsti niyantā |
trijagati sajjana saṅgatirekā
bhavati bhavārṇava taraṇe naukā || 13||
kāte — who, your; kāntā — beloved, wife; dhana — wealth, money; gatacintā — thinking of, concern; vātula — crazy, mad, insane; kiṁ — what; tava — your; nāsti — not there; niyantā — controller, ordainer; trijagati — in the three worlds; sajjana — good people; saṅgatirekā — good company, saintly association; bhavati — becomes; bhavārṇava — ocean of birth and death; taraṇe — in crossing; naukā — boat, ship.
O, mad man! Why this engrossment in thoughts of wealth and beloved? Is there no one to guide you? In these thee worlds, only the association with saintly people (satsaṅga) can serve as the boat that can steer cross the ocean of repeated birth and death. (Stanza attributed to Padmapāda.)
जटिलो मुण्डी लुञ्छितकेशः काषायाम्बरबहुकृतवेषः ।
पश्यन्नपि चन पश्यति मूढः उदरनिमित्तं बहुकृतवेषः ॥ १४ ॥
jaṭilo muṇḍī luñchita keśaḥ
kāṣāyāmbara bahukṛta veṣaḥ |
paśyannapi ca na paśyati mūḍhaḥ
udara nimittaṁ bahukṛtaveṣaḥ || 14||
jaṭilaḥ — one with knotted hair; muṇḍī — shaven head; luñchita-keśaḥ — hair plucked out here and there; kāṣāya — saffron cloth; ambara — cloth, robe; bahukṛta — much done, often donned; veṣaḥ — artificial exterior, roles; paśyannapi — even after seeing; cana — and, not; paśyati — sees; mūḍhaḥ — the fool; udaranimittaṁ — for the sake of the belly, living; bahukṛtaveṣaḥ — various make-ups, roles, donned exterior appearances.
There are many (ascetics) with matted hair, many with clean shaven heads, many whose hair have been plucked out; some are clothed in orange, yet others parading in various colors - Indeed, these different disguises or apparels are only for their belly’s sake. Seeing the truth revealed before them, still the foolish ones can not see through these many disguises. (Stanza attributed to Totakācārya.)
अङ्गं गलितं पलितं मुण्डं दशनविहीनं जतं तुण्डम् ।
वृद्धो याति गृहीत्वा दण्डं तदपि न मुञ्चत्याशापिण्डम् ॥ १५ ॥
aṅgaṁ galitaṁ palitaṁ muṇḍaṁ
daśana-vihīnaṁ jataṁ tuṇḍam |
vṛddho yāti gṛhītvā daṇḍaṁ
tadapi na muñcatyāśāpiṇḍam || 15||
aṅgaṁ — bodily limbs; galitaṁ — weakened, decayed; palitaṁ — ripened, grey; muṇḍaṁ — head; daśana-vihīnaṁ — bereft of teeth; jataṁ — having become; tuṇḍam — jaws, mouth; vṛddhaḥ — the old man; yāti — goes; gṛhītvā —holding taking hold; daṇḍaṁ — walking-stick; tadapi — even so; na — not; muñcati — lets go, gives up; āśāpiṇḍam — hopes and desires, oblation.
Strength has left the old man's body; his head has become bald, his gums toothless and leaning on crutches. Even then he can not let go of his attachment, clinging firmly to fruitless hopes and desires. (Stanza attributed to Hastamalaka.)
अग्रे वह्निः पृष्ठेभानुः रात्रौ चुबुकसमर्पितजानुः ।
करतलभिक्षस्तरुतलवासः तदपि न मुञ्चत्याशापाशः ॥ १६ ॥
agre vahniḥ pṛṣṭhe bhānuḥ
rātrau cubuka samarpita jānuḥ |
karatala bhikṣas-tarutala vāsaḥ
tadapi na muñcatyāśāpāśaḥ || 16||
agre — in front of, beforehand; vahniḥ — fire ( for worship); pṛṣṭhe-bhānuḥ — the sun at the back; rātrau — in the night, at night; cubuka-samarpita-jānuḥ — face dedicated to (huddled up between) the knees; karatala-bhikṣas — alms in the palms; tarutala-vāsaḥ — whose dwelling, living, is under the trees; tadapi — then even so; na — not; muñcati — releases, lets go; āśā — desire; pāśaḥ — rope, ties, noose; āśā-pāśaḥ — the noose that is hope, desire.
The ascetic warms his body with fire in front and the sun at the back. At night he dwells under a tree with face huddled between the knees to keep out of the cold. In his hands he holds the beggar's alms and yet he does not let go of the noose of attachment to desire and passion. (Stanza attributed to Subhodha.)
कुरुते गङ्गासागरगमनं व्रतपरिपालनमथवा दानम् ।
ज्ञानविहिनः सर्वमतेन मुक्तिं न भजति जन्मशतेन ॥ १७ ॥
kurute gaṅgā-sāgara gamanaṁ
vrata paripālanam-athavā dānam |
jñāna vihinaḥ sarvamatena
muktiṁ na bhajati janma śatena || 17||
kurute — takes resort to, does perform; gaṅgā-sāgara — confluence of the Gaṅgā and Ocean; gamanaṁ — going, traveling, pilgrimage; vrata — austerities; paripālanam — observance of vows; athavā — or, else; dānam — charity, give away for religious merit; jñāna-vihinaḥ — bereft of true knowledge of the Self; sarvamatena — unanimously, according to all schools of thought; muktiṁ — salvation, freedom; na — not; bhajati — attains, achive; janma — birth(s); śatena — hundred.
One may travel (on a pilgrimage) to the confluence where the Gaṅgā river meets the ocean (gaṅgā-sāgara), undertake vows and give away in charity, however without true knowledge (jñāna) one will not achieve liberation (mukti) even in a hundred lifetimes, according to all [schools of] thought. (Stanza attributed to Vārtikakāra.)
सुर मन्दिर तरु मूल निवासः शय्या भूतलमजिनं वासः ।
सर्व परिग्रह भोग त्यागः कस्य सुखं न करोति विरागः ॥ १८ ॥
sura mandira taru mūla nivāsaḥ
śayyā bhūtalam-ajinaṁ vāsaḥ |
sarva parigraha bhoga tyāgaḥ
kasya sukhaṁ na karoti virāgaḥ || 18||
sura — godly person, devotee; mandira — temple; taru — tree; mūla — at the root; nivāsaḥ — living, dwelling; śayyā — bed; bhūtalam — on the surface of the earth; ajinaṁ — deer skin, garb of ascetic in ancient times; vāsaḥ — living, dwelling; sarva — all; parigraha — possessions; bhoga — enjoyment, worldly pleasures; tyāgaḥ — renunciation; kasya — whose, of whom; sukhaṁ — happiness, delight; na — not; karoti — does, bestows; virāgaḥ — non-attachment, indifference to worldly things.
One who lives in temples or dwells at the foot of trees, whose bed is the surface of the earth, whose garment is a deer-skin, who has thus renounced all enjoyment of worldly possessions - to whom will such dispassion (vairāgya) not bring happiness? (Stanza attributed to Nityānanda.)
योगरतो वा भोगरतोवा सङ्गरतो वा सङ्गविहीनः ।
यस्य ब्रह्मणि रमते चित्तं नन्दति नन्दति नन्दत्येव ॥ १९ ॥
yogarato vā bhogarato vā
saṅgarato vā saṅgavihīnaḥ |
yasya brahmaṇi ramate cittaṁ
nandati nandati nandatyeva || 19||
yogarato — taking delight in yoga; vā — or; bhogarato — taking delight in bhoga, worldly pleasures, enjoyments; vā — or; saṅgarato — taking delight in good company; vā — or; saṅgavihīnaḥ — bereft of company, solitude; yasya — whose, of whom; brahmaṇi — in Brahman (spiritual truth); ramate — delights, enjoys; cittaṁ — mind, consciousness; nandati — rejoices, delights; nandaty-eva — only he indeed, he alone.
One may take delight in yoga (union with god) or bhoga (worldly enjoyment); may be delighted by company or solitude; but he whose mind delights in brahman (the spiritual truth), only he enjoys real bliss and is satisfied, no one else. (Stanza attributed to ānandagiriḥ)
भगवद् गीता किञ्चिदधीता गङ्गा जललव कणिकापीता ।
सकृदपि येन मुरारि समर्चा क्रियते तस्य यमेन न चर्चा ॥ २० ॥
gaṅgā jalalava kaṇikā pītā |
sakṛdapi yena murāri samarcā
kriyate tasya yamena na carcā || 20||
bhagavad-gītā — the song of god; kiñcid — a little; adhītā — studied, read; gaṅgā — holy river Gaṅgā; jalala — water drop; lava — little bit; kaṇikā-pītā — a little droplet, drunk; sakṛd-api — once even, also indeed; yena — by whom; murāri — the enemy of 'Murā' (Lord Kṛṣṇa); samarcā — well worshipped; kriyate — is done, performed; tasya — his, of him; yamena — by Yama, the lord of Death; na — not; carcā — discussion, inquiry.
Let a man read but a little from Bhagavad-gītā, drink just a drop of Gaṅgā-water, worship but once murāri, the enemy of 'Murā' (Lord Kṛṣṇa); he then will have no confrontation with Yama, the Lord of death. (Stanza attributed to Dṛḍhabhakta.)
पुनरपि जननं पुनरपि मरणं पुनरपि जननी जठरे शयनम् ।
इह संसारे बहुदुस्तारे कृपयाऽपारे पाहि मुरारे ॥ २१ ॥
punarapi jananaṁ punarapi maraṇaṁ
punarapi jananī jaṭhare śayanam |
iha saṁsāre bahu dustāre
kṛpayā'pāre pāhi murāre || 21||
punarapi — again and again; jananaṁ — birth; punarapi — again and again; maraṇaṁ — death; punarapi — again and again; jananī — mother; jaṭhare — in the belly, womb of mother; śayanam — sleeping, resting; iha — in this world here; saṁsāre — transmigration, repeated cycle of birth and death; bahu-dustāre — with great difficulty to cross; kṛpayā'pāre — grace, out of boundless compassion; pāhi — protect; murāre — Murāri, - Murā's enemy Kṛṣṇa.
Birth again, death again, again resting in the mother's womb! It is indeed hard to cross this boundless ocean of saṁsāra (cycle of repeated birth and death). O Murāri! by your causeless mercy please protect me (from this transmigratory process). (Stanza attributed to Nityanātha.)
रथ्या चर्पट विरचित कन्थः पुण्यापुण्य विवर्जित पन्थः ।
योगी योगनियोजित चित्तो रमते बालोन्मत्तवदेव ॥ २२ ॥
rathyā carpaṭa viracita kanthaḥ
puṇyāpuṇya vivarjita panthaḥ |
yogī yoga niyojita citto
ramate bālonmattavadeva || 22||
rathyā — on the road; carpaṭa — torn cloth, tattered rags; viracita — made with; kanthaḥ — patched garments; puṇyāpuṇya — virtues and sins; vivarjita — avoided, having abandoned; panthaḥ — pathway; yogī — one seeking union with god; yoga-niyojita — controlled by yoga; citto — mind, consciousness, heart; ramate — delights, rejoices; bālonmattavad — like a crazed wild child; eva — indeed, thus.
The one whose patched garment is made from tattered rags cast on the road, whose path is free from sins having abandoned virtue and vices, whose mind is fixed on yoga (in union with god), that yogi indeed rejoices (in divine bliss) like a crazed wild child overwhelmed by happiness. (Stanza attributed to Nityanātha.)
कस्त्वं कोऽहं कुत आयातः का मे जननी को मे तातः ।
इति परिभावय सर्वमसारं विश्वं त्यक्त्वा स्वप्न विचारम् ॥ २३ ॥
kastvaṁ ko'haṁ kuta āyātaḥ
kā me jananī ko me tātaḥ |
iti paribhāvaya sarvam asāraṁ
viśvaṁ tyaktvā svapna vicāram || 23||
kaḥ — who (are); tvaṁ — you; ko'haṁ — who am I; kuta — whence, from where; āyātaḥ — arrived, has come; kā — who; me — my; jananī — mother; ko — who; me — my; tātaḥ — father; iti — this; paribhāvaya — think well, consider; sarvam — all, entire; asāraṁ — worthless, without essence; viśvaṁ — world; tyaktvā — having abandoned; svapna — (reflection of) dream; vicāram — consideration, thinking.
Having abandoned this world, knowing it to be without essence, comparable to the reflection of a dream, consider well and reflect: Who am I? Who are you? Where have I come from? Who is my mother, and who is my father? (Stanza attributed to Surendra.)
त्वयि मयि चान्यत्रैको विष्णुः व्यर्थं कुप्यसि मय्यसहिष्णुः ।
भव समचित्तः सर्वत्र त्वं वाञ्छस्यचिराद्यदि विष्णुत्वम् ॥ २४ ॥
tvayi mayi cānya traiko viṣṇuḥ
vyarthaṁ kupyasi mayyasahiṣṇuḥ |
bhava samacittaḥ sarvatra tvaṁ
vāñchasyacirād-yadi viṣṇutvam || 24||
tvayi — in yourself; mayi — in myself; ca — and; anyatra — elsewhere; ekaḥ — one only; viṣṇuḥ — lord Viṣṇu vyarthaṁ — in vain ; uselessly; kupyasi — you get angry; mayyasahiṣṇuḥ — impatient with me; bhava — be, become; samacittaḥ — equal-minded, equanimous; sarvatra — in every case, in all circumstances; tvaṁ — you; vāñchasi — you wish, desire; acirād — without delay, quickly; yadi — if; viṣṇutvam — (supreme) state of Viṣṇu realisation.
In me, in you and in everything else, none but the same (All-Pervading) Lord Viṣṇu dwells. Your anger and impatience is meaningless. If you wish to attain the Supreme Viṣṇu soon, be equal-minded in all circumstances, have samabhāva, equanimity, always. (Stanza attributed to Medhātithira.)
शत्रौ मित्रे पुत्रे बन्धौ मा कुरु यत्नं विग्रहसन्धौ ।
सर्वस्मिन्नपि पश्यात्मानं सर्वत्रोत्सृज भेदाज्ञानम् ॥ २५ ॥
śatrau mitre putre bandhau
mā kuru yatnaṁ vigraha sandhau |
sarvatrot-sṛja bhedājñānam || 25||
śatrau — to the enemy; mitre — to the friend; putre — to the son; bandhau — to the relatives; mā — don't, do not; kuru — do, make; yatnaṁ — effort; vigraha-sandhau — seperation and joining; sarvasminnapi — in all beings, in every thing; paśyātmānaṁ — see your own self; sarvatrot-sṛja — everywhere give up, cease in every case; bhedājñānam — duality, the sense-of-difference born out of ignorance.
Do not waste your efforts to win the love of or to fight against friend and foe, children and relatives. See the true self in everyone and give up all feelings of duality completely. (Stanza attributed to Medhātithira.)
कामं क्रोधं लोभं मोहं त्यक्त्वाऽत्मानं भावय कोऽहम् ।
आत्मज्ञान विहीना मूढाः ते पच्यन्ते नरकनिगूढाः ॥ २६ ॥
kāmaṁ krodhaṁ lobhaṁ mohaṁ
tyaktvā'tmānaṁ bhāvaya ko'ham |
ātma-jñāna vihīnā mūḍhāḥ
te pacyante naraka nigūḍhāḥ || 26||
kāmaṁ — desire; krodhaṁ — anger; lobhaṁ — greed; mohaṁ — delusion; tyaktvā'tmānaṁ — having abandoned one's self; bhāvaya — consider, try to know; ko'ham — who am I; ātma-jñāna — knowledge of the true self; vihīnā — bereft devoid; mūḍhāḥ — fools, deluded rascals; te — they; pacyante — are tormented; naraka — in the hell; nigūḍhāḥ — very much covered.
Give up lust, anger, greed and infatuation, try to know the true self and consider: who am I? Those fools covered by ignorance, who lack self-knowledge (ātma-jñāna) are tormented in hells. (Stanza attributed to Bhārativaṁśa.)
गेयं गीता नाम सहस्रं ध्येयं श्रीपति रूपमजस्रम् ।
नेयं सज्जन सङ्गे चित्तं देयं दीनजनाय च वित्तम् ॥ २७ ॥
dhyeyaṁ śrīpati rūpam-ajasram |
neyaṁ sajjana saṅge cittaṁ
deyaṁ dīna-janāya ca vittam || 27||
geyaṁ — is to be sung; gītā — song, bhagavat-gītā; nāma — name of the lord; sahasraṁ — 1000 times; dhyeyaṁ — is to be meditated; śrīpati — the consort of śrī (Viṣṇu); rūpam — form, image; ajasram — the unborn one; neyaṁ — is to be lead, taken; sajjana — good people; saṅge — in the company; cittaṁ — mind, hearth; deyaṁ — is to be given; dīna-janāya — to the poor people; ca — and; vittam — money, wealth;
Regularly recite from the Gītā, meditate on Viṣṇu (śrīpati) in your heart, and chant his thousand glories names (viṣṇu-sahasranāma). Take delight to be with the noble and the holy. Distribute your wealth in charity to the poor and the needy. (Stanza attributed to Sumatir.)
सुखतः क्रियते रामाभोगः पश्चाद्धन्त शरीरे रोगः ।
यद्यपि लोके मरणं शरणं तदपि न मुञ्चति पापाचरणम् ॥ २८ ॥
sukhataḥ kriyate rāmābhogaḥ
paścāddhanta śarīre rogaḥ |
yadyapi loke maraṇaṁ śaraṇaṁ
tadapi na muñcati pāpā-caraṇam || 28||
sukhataḥ — for happiness; kriyate — is done; rāmābhogaḥ — carnal pleasures, sexual enjoyment with women; paścāddhanta — thereafter, alas later on in the end; śarīre — in the body; rogaḥ — disease; yadyapi — even though; loke — in the world; maraṇaṁ — death, the ultimate end; śaraṇaṁ — resort, surrender; tadapi — even then; na — not; muñcati — releases, gives up; pāpā-caraṇam — sin-practising.
Very readily one indulges in carnal pleasures but later on, alas, come diseases of the body. Even though in the world the ultimate end is death (maraṇaṁ), even then one does not relinquish his sinful behaviours.
अर्थमनर्थं भावय नित्यं नास्तिततः सुखलेशः सत्यम् ।
पुत्रादपि धन भाजां भीतिः सर्वत्रैषा विहिता रीतिः ॥ २९ ॥
artham-anarthaṁ bhāvaya nityaṁ
nāsti tataḥ sukha leśaḥ satyam |
putrādapi dhana bhājāṁ bhītiḥ
sarvatraiṣā vihitā rītiḥ || 29||
artham — wealth, money; anarthaṁ — unwanted, misfortune, calamity; bhāvaya — deem, consider, reflect; nityaṁ — always, perpetually; nāsti — is not; tataḥ — from that, thither; sukha-leśaḥ — (even a little) trace of happiness; satyam — truth; putrādapi — even from the the son; dhanabhājāṁ — those who enjoy wealth, the rich; bhītiḥ — fear; sarvatraiṣā — everywhere, in all cases this; vihitā — established, understood; rītiḥ — procedure, practice, custom.
Remember always that wealth is the source of misfortune. The truth is that one cannot extract even a bit of happiness from it. For the rich, there is fear even from one’s own son. This is the established way with wealth everywhere.
प्राणायामं प्रत्याहारं नित्यानित्य विवेकविचारम् ।
जाप्यसमेत समाधिविधानं कुर्ववधानं महदवधानम् ॥ ३० ॥
nityānitya vivekavicāram |
kurvavadhānaṁ mahad-avadhānam || 30||
prāṇāyāmaṁ — breath-control; pratyāhāraṁ — sense withdrawal (from their respective sense objects); nityaṁ — permanent, eternal; ānitya — impermanent, transient; viveka — awareness after reasoning, discrimination; vicāram — deliberation, consideration; jāpyasameta — with chanting of the names of the lord, prayers; samādhi-vidhānaṁ — accomplished state of trance; kurvavadhānaṁ — pay attention; mahad-avadhānam — great care and attention.
Practice control of breath (prāṇā-yāma) and withdrawal of the senses from their respective sense objects (pratyāhāra); deliberate on the distinction between the permanent and the transitory; perform meditation along with chanting the holy names of god; perform these with great attention and extreme care!
गुरुचरणाम्बुज निर्भर भक्तः संसारादचिराद्भव मुक्तः ।
सेन्द्रियमानस नियमादेवं द्रक्ष्यसि निज हृदयस्थं देवम् ॥ ३१ ॥
guru-caraṇāmbuja nirbhara bhaktaḥ
saṁsārādacirādbhava muktaḥ |
sendriya mānasa niyamādevaṁ
drakṣyasi nija hṛdayasthaṁ devam || 31||
guru-caraṇāmbuja — the lotus feet of the teacher, guru; nirbhara — deeply, ardent, sincere; bhaktaḥ — devotee, devoted; saṁsārād — repeated circle of birth and death; acirādbhava — in no time without delay; muktaḥ — free, released; sa-indriya — sesnses, sense organs; mānasa — of the mind; niyamādevaṁ — control, in this way with discipline; drakṣyasi — you will see; nija — one's own; hṛdaya-sthaṁ — heart-stationed; devam — god, the supersoul in the heart.
Oh devotee sincerely dedicated to the lotus feet of the Guru! May thou be soon free from Saṁsārā, the circle of birth and death. Through disciplined senses and controlled mind, thou shalt come to see (experience) the in-dwelling Lord of your heart!
- - • - -
मूढः कश्चन वैयाकरणो डुकृञ्करणाध्ययन धुरिणः ।
श्रीमच्छङ्कर भगवच्छिष्यै बोधित आसिच्छोधितकरणः ॥ ३२ ॥
mūḍhaḥ kaścana vaiyākaraṇo
ḍukṛñkaraṇādhyayana dhuriṇaḥ |
bodhita āsicchodhitakaraṇaḥ || 32||
mūḍhaḥ — fool, rascal; kaścana — whatever, anyone; vaiyākaraṇo — grammar, grammarian; ḍukṛñkaraṇa — grammatical formula; ādhyayana — study; dhuriṇaḥ — harnessed, yoked, attached; śrīmacchaṅkara — the honourable (splendit) śrī-śaṅkara; bhagavat — god, divine, glorious, illustrious; śiṣyaiḥ — disciples, students; bodhita — having been taught, awakened; āsic — was; chodhitakaraṇaḥ — one who has been cleansed, purified.
Thus a foolish grammarian lost in grammatical rules, was cleansed of his narrow vision and shown the light by the students of the illustrious Śrīmad Śaṅkarācārya.
भजगोविन्दं भजगोविन्दं गोविन्दं भजमूढमते ।
नामस्मरणादन्यमुपायं नहि पश्यामो भवतरणे ॥ ३३ ॥
govindaṁ bhaja-mūḍhamate |
nahi paśyāmo bhavataraṇe || 33||
bhaja-govindaṁ — worship Govinda; bhaja-govindaṁ — worship Govinda; govindaṁ — Lord Govinda, Kṛṣṇa; bhaja — worship, chant, revere; mūḍhamate — fool, dull-minded; nāma — the lord's holy name; smaraṇā — through rememberance; anyamupāyaṁ — other methods, means; nahi — indeed not; paśyāmo — we see; bhavataraṇe — for the purpose of crossing the ocean of existence.
Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, O fool! Other than chanting the Lord's names, there is no other way to cross the ocean of existence.
इति भजगोविन्दं संपूर्णम्
iti bhajagovindaṁ saṁpūrṇam
- Thus ends the Stotra Bhaja Govindam -
नलिनीदलगत जलमतितरलं तद्वज्जीवितमतिशयचपलम् ।
As a drop of water on a petal of the lotus is extremely
unstable and trembling, in the same way life is also extremely
uncertain and transient, full of miseries (disease, old age, death)
- - • - -
NOTE: People waste their lives in many futile ways, groveling in the mire of earthly attachments forgetting God who is the only goal in life. In compassion for the person’s plight, he burst forth into these stanzas, famous as MOHA MUDGĀRA (the hammer for smashing delusion), now popularly known by the refrain of the song, “BHAJA GOVINDAM”. In this poem, the essence of Bhagavad-Gītā seeps through.
bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ / govindaṁ bhaja mūḍhamate |
saṁprāpte sannihite kāle / nahi nahi rakṣati ḍukṛñ-karaṇe
»O Fool! Grammatical rules (in fact all your secular learning) will not come to save you when the appointed time of death comes. Instead of wasting away the precious span of your life, worship Govinda (the cowherd-boy Kṛṣṇa), who alone can save you from Saṁsāra, the circle of repeated birth and death.«
In thirty-one simple, sweet and lucid slokas, giving homely analogies and illustrations for our easy understanding, Sankara and his disciples tell us about the fallacy and futility of our life. In sloka by sloka he removes veil after veil, dispelling our ignorance, illusions and delusions (MOHA) and showing us where the remedy for all our misery lies. The poem is, therefore also called MOHA MUDGĀRA. Mudgāra means hammer in Sanskrit and Moha Mudgāra means: the hammer for smashing delusion. BHAJA GOVINDAM touches on aspects of our life that blind and bind us, plunging us deeper and deeper into the abyss of ignorance and misery. Śaṅkarācārya wants each one of us to cultivate a discerning and discriminating eye (VIVEKA) to distinguish the permanent from the transitory, the real from the unreal, to practice dispassion (VAIRAGYA) for worldly attractions and distractions, to cultivate devotion for realizing God (Govinda), and thus getting released from the misery of the cycle of birth and death (saṁsāra).
From the Purports of A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Śrīpād Śaṅkarācārya stressed worshiping Lord Kṛṣṇa, or Govinda, three times in this verse and especially warned his followers that they could not possibly achieve deliverance, or mukti, simply by word jugglery and grammatical puzzles. (SB 4.24.18, Purport)
The current Brahma-sampradāya is known as the Madhva-Gauḍīya-sampradāya. Even though Lord Śiva appeared to preach Māyāvāda philosophy, at the end of his pastime in the form of Śaṅkarācārya, he preached the Vaiṣṇava philosophy: bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ mūḍha-mate. He stressed worshiping Lord Kṛṣṇa, or Govinda, three times in this verse and especially warned his followers that they could not possibly achieve deliverance, or mukti, simply by word jugglery and grammatical puzzles. If one is actually serious to attain mukti, he must worship Lord Kṛṣṇa. That is Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya's last instruction.
»My dear foolish brothers, you kindly worship Kṛṣṇa, Govinda...« Thrice he has said, bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ mūḍha-mate. Mūḍha-mate means »You foolish nonsense, you kindly worship Govinda.« Why? Now, prāpte sannihite kāla maraṇe: »When death will be nearer, your this grammatical interpretation, ḍukṛñ karaṇe, this formula, that formula, arguing, jugglery of words, will not save you, will not save you. You please worship Govinda.« That is his instruction. And there are many others.«
Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya was an impersonalist from the materialistic point of view. But he never denied the spiritual form known as sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1], or the eternal, all-blissful form of knowledge that existed before the material creation. When he spoke of Supreme Brahman as impersonal, he meant that the Lord’s sac-cid-ānanda form was not to be confused with a material conception of personality. In the very beginning of his commentary on the Gītā, he maintains that Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Lord, is transcendental to the material creation. The Lord existed before the creation as the transcendental personality, and He has nothing to do with material personality. Lord Kṛṣṇa is the same Supreme Personality, and He has no connection with a material body. He descends in His spiritual, eternal form, but foolish people mistake His body to be like ours. Śaṅkara’s preaching of impersonalism is especially meant for teaching foolish persons who consider Kṛṣṇa to be an ordinary man composed of matter.
So there is a very famous prayer made by Śaṅkara... Śaṅkarācārya has made many prayers about Kṛṣṇa, especially about His Vṛndāvana līlā, he has made. He has worshiped Kṛṣṇa in many ways. And last, this is his last composition of poetry. Bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ mūḍha mate: »You fools, you mūḍha mate...« Muḍḥa mate means »you fools.« He was addressing the whole world, »you fools.« Bhaja govindam: »Just become devotee of Kṛṣṇa. Just become Kṛṣṇa conscious.« Prāpte sannihite kāle maraṇe na hi na hi rakṣati ḍukṛñ-karaṇe: »You are philosophizing. You are talking on grammar and this way and that way.« Because these people, they want to establish impersonalism from Bhagavad-gītā by strength of grammar. Such a nonsense they are. They want to understand God by..., through grammar. God is so cheap that He can be understood through grammar. Therefore especially he specified, prāpte sannihite kāle maraṇe: »When death will catch you, your grammar, ḍukṛñ karaṇe, this will not save you. You fools. You please become Kṛṣṇa conscious, Kṛṣṇa conscious.« That was the instruction of Śaṅkarācārya. And he has especially mentioned Bhagavad-gītā and Ganges water. He especially mentions. »A little quantity of Ganges water and a little study of Bhagavad-gītā will save you from many dangerous positions.« (Lecture, NY, December 26, 1966)
No one would care to read the Gītā if it had been spoken by a material man, and certainly Vyāsadeva would not have bothered to incorporate it into the history of the Mahābhārata. According to the above verses, Mahābhārata is the history of the ancient world, and Vyāsadeva is the writer of this great epic. The Bhagavad-gītā is identical with Kṛṣṇa; and because Kṛṣṇa is the Absolute Supreme Personality of Godhead, there is no difference between Kṛṣṇa and His words. Therefore the Bhagavad-gītā is as worshipable as Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself, both being absolute. One who hears the Bhagavad-gītā “as is” actually hears the words directly from the lotus lips of the Lord. But unfortunate persons say that the Gītā is too antiquated for the modern man, who wants to find out God by speculation or meditation.