You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : April 1996

Bhaja Govindam

Tatachar_at_aol.com
Date: Tue Apr 09 1996 - 05:59:04 PDT

It is said that , once Shankaracharya, on his way to the Ganga river for the
morning bath in Kashi, overheard a old man memorizing Dukrin-Dukrin -Dukrin
(a portion of Sanskrit grammar of Panini). Shankaracharya felt so bad about
this old soul and  cmposed the Bhaja Govindam verses.

Mr. Mani's point about literal translation of Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam,
Govindam Bhaja mUDa mathe is accurate-thanks Mani for pointing out this.I
have seen Mr. Rajagopalachari also translate that way. However, the use of
FOOL to refer to other people is seen in other verses (verse 2 for example). 

Here, I have posted the translation of all the 31 verses (not 38, as
mentioned by Mr. Bharadwaj) as per Swamy Chinmayananda. I may post Mr.
Rajaji's also some other time. The lyrical and rythmic beauty of the
original, unfortunately is mostly lost in the translation.

1. Seek Govinda, seek Govinda, seek Govinda, o Fool!
When the appointed time comes(death), grammar-rules surely will not save you.

2. O Fool! Give up the thirst to possess wealth. Create in your mind, devoid
of passions, thoughts of the reality. With whatever you get (as a reward of
the past), entertain your mind (be content).

3. Seeing the full bosom of young maidens and their navel, do not fall a prey
to maddening delusion. This is but a modification of flesh and fat. Think
well thus in your mind again and again.

4. The water drop playing on a lotus petal has an extremely uncertain
existance; so also is life ever unstable. Understand, the very world is
consumed by diseaseand conceit, and is riddled with pangs.

5. As long as there is the ability to earn and save so long all your
dependents attached to you. Later on, when you come to live with an old and
infirm body, no one at home cares to speak even a word with you!!

6. As long as there dwells breath(life) in the body, so long they enquire of
your welfare at home. Once the breath (life) leaves, the body decays, even
the wife fears that very same body.

7. So long as one is in one's boyhood, one is attached to play; 
so long as one is in youth, one is attached to one's own young woman
(passion); so long as one is in old age, one is attached to anxiety (pang)...
(yet) no one, alas, to the supreme Brahman, is (ever seen) attached!
8. Who is your wife? Who is your son? Supremely wonderful indeed is this
samsaara. Of whom are you? From where have you come? o brother, think of that
truth here.

9. Through the company of good, there arises non attachment; through non
attachment there arises freedom from delusion; when there is freedom from
delusion, there is the immutable reality; on experiencing the immutable
reality, there comes the state of ' liberated-in-life'.

10. When the age (youth) has passed, where is lust and its play? When water
is evaporated, where is the lake? When the wealth is reduced, where is the
retinue? When the truth is realized, where is samsaara?

11. Take no pride in your possession, in the people (at your command), in the
youthfulness (that you have). Time loots away all these in a moment. Leaving
aside all these, faterknowing their illusory nature, realise the state of
Brahman, and enter into it.

12. Day and night, dawn and dusk, winter and spring, again and again come
(and depart). Time sports an dlife ebbs away. And yet, one leaves not the
gusts of desires.

13. O distracted one! Why worry about wife, wealth, etc.? Is there not for
you the one that ordains (rules, commands)? In the three worlds, it is the
association-with-good-people alone that can serve as a boat to cross the sea
of change (birth and death).

14. One ascetic with matted locks, one with shaven head, one with hairs
pulled out one by one, another parading in his ochre robes- these are fools
who, though seeing, do not see. Indeed, these different disguises or apparels
are only for their belly's sake.

15. The body has become worn out. The head ha sturned grey. The mouth has
become toothless. The old man moves about leaning on his staff. Even then he
leaves not the bundle of hi sdesires.

16. In front the fire, at the back the Sun, late at night he sits with hi
sknees held to hi schin; he receives alms in hi sown scooped palm and lives
under the shelter of some tree, and yet the noose of desires spares him not.
17. One may, in piligrimage, go to where the Ganges meets the ocean, called
the Gangaasaagar, or observe vows, or distribute gifts away in charity. If he
is devoid of first hand experience of Truth (Gyaanam), according to all
schools of thought, he gains no release, even in hundred lives.

18. Sheltering in temples, under some trees, sleeping on the bare ground,
wearinga deerskin and thu srenouncing all idea-of-possession and
thirst-to-enjoy to hwom will not dispassion (vairaagya) bring happiness?

19. Let one revel in yoga or let him revel in bhoga. Let one seek enjoyment
in company or let him revel in solitude away from the crowd. He whose mind
revels in Brahman, he enjoys.....verily, he alone enjoys.

20. To one who has studied the Bhagavadgita even a little, who has sipped
atleast a drop of Ganges water, who has worshipped atleast once lord Muraari,
to him there is no discussion (quarrel) with yama, the lord of death.

21. Again birth, again death, and again lying in mother's womb-this samsaara
process is very hard to cross over... save me, Muraare through Thy infinite
kindness.

22. The Yogin who wears a godadi(a shawl made up of pieces of clothes
rejected by others), who walks the path that is beyond meritand demerit, whos
emind is joine din perfect yoga with its goal, he revels (in
God-conciousness)-and lives thereafter-as a child or as a mad man.

23. Who are you? Who am I? From where did I come? who is my mother? Who is my
father? Thus enquire, leaving aside the entire world-of-experience (Visvam),
essenceless and a mere dreamland, born of imagination (svapnavichaaram).

24. In you, in me, and in (all) other places too there is but one
All-pervadibf Reality (Vishnu). Being impatient, you are unnecessarily
getting angry with me. If you want to attain soon the Vishnu-status, be
equal-minded in all circumstances.

25. Strive not, waste not your energy to fight against or to make friends
with your enemy, friend, son, or relative. Seeking the self everywhere, lift
the sense-of-difference (plurality), born out of ignorance.
26. Leaving desire, anger, greed and delusion, the seeker sees in the Self,
'He am I'. They are fools those who have no self -knowledge, and they
(consequently), as captive in hell, are tortured.

27. The Bhagavadgita and Sahasranaama are to be chanted; always the form of
the Lord of Lakshmi is to be meditated upon; the mind is to be led towards
the company of the good; wealth is to be distributed (shared with) the needy.

28. Very readily one indulges in carnal pleasures; later on, alas, come
diseases of the body. Even though in the world the ultimate end (saranam) is
death, even then man leaves not his sinful behaviour.

29. Wealth is calamitous, thus reflect constantly: The truth is that there is
no happiness at all to be got from it. To the rich, there is fear even from
his own son. This is the way with wealth everywhere.

30. The contro of all activities (of life's manifestations in you), the
sense-withdrawl (from their respective sense-objects), the reflection
(consisting of discrimination between the permanent and the impermanent),
along with Japa and the practice of reaching the total inner
silence(samaadhi)-these perform with care...with great care.

31. O devotee of the lotus feet of the teacher! may you become liberated soon
from the samsaara through the disciplone of teh sense-organs and the mind.
You will come to experience (behold) the Lord that dwells in your own heart.

Dasan
Koti Sreekrishna (Tatachar)