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


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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.

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Hari OM
If what you have read has made you think, tell me why. If you are wondering, others are too, so ask that question. If you have a doubt, let it out.

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