Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

Bhaja Govindam

Hari OM
Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!

The text under study is BHAJA GOVINDAM, song of despair of time-wasting, by Sri Adi Shankaraachaarya.

The next text for consideration is this 'song' of thirty one verses. It is a scriptural text, insofar as it has been composed by the noble sage and Guru, Shankaraachaarya-ji (aka Bhashyakaara), but is a song insofar as there is a definite rhythmic metre and, indeed, it is often accompanied with tabla and other instruments, turning it into an actual 'stotram' (hymn).

At the time of Bhashyakaara, there was much degradation in society and spiritual philosophy and practice in India. He was an advocate of individual discipline as the foundation of a cohesive society - if all are self-responsible but unselfish, the whole automatically becomes so. For some time before Bhashyakaara took up mission, the only thing which was anchoring a people who were desperate for more peace was Buddhism - but even that succumbed to the ravages of egos seeking to make different interpretations of the teachings. It could be said that there was intellectual chaos.

Into this came the cool, calm logical presence of Adi Shankara, a very young man from Kerala, who was gifted with towering intellect and the ability to cut through to the heart of things. The accolade 'genius' can truly be applied, for the amount of work he got through in his short 32 years of life is nothing short of astounding.

Bhashyakaara did not only sit and pen the most wonderful poetry and prose and expositions upon the scriptures, but proved to be a great organizer, a diplomat and man of courage, tireless in his work for the greater good of the society of his country. By establishing four 'mathas' (centres of learning) he left an amazing legacy for the philosophy by which he lived and encouraged others to take up. This apparently small text might be passed by, were it not for the fact that the whole of Vedanta is taught within it! It is the very rhythm which lends itself to the learning and memorising of the words and it is taught to children of Hindu households from an early age, so that all the basic tenets of the advaitic path become part of their fabric of life. There are 'teasers' in the words to encourage deeper thinking and wider research.

It is a song of 'doing'; get on with the work you are here for, declares the Guru, instead of getting bogged down in semantics and the minutiae of life. It is uncompromising in its instruction. This is not a poem containing explanations and subtleties of intellectual eloquence; it is aimed at the 'man in the street', who needs definite statement and clear guidance as to what to do or not to do.

Listen to the chant today. Next week we will study the text in the traditional fashion, with which you will, by now, be becoming familiar.


Hari Om
Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.

We are reading "Tips for Happy Living - jIvnsUÇai[ /jiivanasuutraani", by Swami Tejomayananda (Guru-ji). Choose-days writings are here to prompt deeper thinking on the choices made on a daily basis and seek to provide prompts for raising the standard of one's thinking and living. This text composed in format of Sanskrit traditional teachings, speaks directly to this purpose. As ever, the full text may be obtained from CM Publications - or your local centre (see sidebar).

Take a moment to review the last few entries on Jiivanasuutraani. We left off two weeks back with questions of "what are the consequences of imbalance? Can there be hope of a balance?" This was in relation to the balance between the individual who is living daily in their ego-base and That which is known as the Total Self. Guru-ji goes on to say;
tyaemRXye samÃSymStu.10.
ANywanwR> .11.
_avtu svR_aUtihtkra s)lta.12.
Tayormadhye saamangjasyamastu ||10||
AanyathaanarthaH ||11||
Bhavatu sarva-bhuuta-hitakaraa saphalataa ||12||
Let there be harmony between them,
Otherwise there is calamity.
Let success be a blessing to all beings.

Wholesomeness in harmony. This is the key. An individual's growth at the cost of others, or overall prosperity at the cost of any individual is undesirable.

If we see another is unhappy, to whom we can make a difference, how can we, in turn, be truly happy without making that effort? Conversely, if we ourselves are unhappy in our role of making others happy, how is that balanced? It is not. There has to be a balance, a harmony found, in which we remain content within ourselves as the individual even as we endeavour to take our share of ensuring contentment in our wider circle.

A sportsman who plays in a team cannot think as solo sportsmen would; to think only about achieving individual records and medals. These may come incidentally, but his or her focus must be that of the team. There is different kind of strength that comes from working with others towards a common goal which inspires and drives. If anyone gets stuck on the idea of individual glory, the team is weakened and happiness is greatly reduced if not absent. To work well as a team, egos must be managed.

In the matter of wealth, it is often seen that there is an imbalance. There are those with huge and disproportionate share of wealth. It can be said that the obtaining of that wealth is, quite often, at the expense of individuals and their rights. How often have we heard and read of corporations which have no respect for their employees and even less for environment and society in which they operate? Being a large business is not, in itself, an issue; the modus operandi and the corporate policy as well as the attitude to people at all levels is what defines the impact that business has on the contentment and security of the individuals and society.

Individuals may have learned to care for society or the country in which they live, but are we always sensitive about living in harmony with the earth or the whole universe? That alone would be called sustainable development and growth. We live in an age where science and technology can ensure we live in an eco-friendly way… it is only our short-sightedness and selfishness that does not allow individuals and nations to do so. Thus we have the issues of global warming, famine and so on.

We must also understand that all limbs in our body can never be equal. Everyone in society cannot have equal power, wealth or resources. An activist demanded from John D Rockerfeller, "You are one of the richest men in the world and also a great philanthropist; you should distribute all your wealth equally with mankind."  he said, "True, my total wealth is 'x', the number of human beings are 'y', so each person gets ten cents. Will the sharing of my wealth equally help any individual?" It would be true success indeed if all were on a totally equal stage, but neither can any one individual be held as responsible for all - and neither ought the 'have nots' to depend solely on the charity and goodwill of those who have. Each limb of the body has its role to play. True progress would be a balancing, a working together, so that each becomes content with their lot, quality regardless of its quantity. This would be considered as success and a blessing to all.

Settle Petal

Hari Om
Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation

As we have studied two lengthy texts from Gurudev, for the next few weeks, let us listen to him directly; these vid clips are snatches from the full exploration of the Bhagavad Gita. Chapter 6 is particularly of interest to those who seek to take on meditation proper and delve into their full spiritual potential.