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


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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.

Chaturdasha Manjarikaa Stotra is the name given to the remaining fourteen verses of the Bhaja Govindam. It is considered that only the first twelve were actually penned by Shankaraacharya-ji himself… though even that is debated in the highest levels of Sanskrit academia. The chaturdasha are attributed, one each, to the disciples who travelled with the Guru around India and who were likely to be with him when he spotted the grammar semantics discussion which had raised his ire sufficiently to create this 'song'. One could, loosely, consider this in the same vein that the disciples of Christ picked up his teachings and put their own emphases to them… The names of the composers are not given and, in the end, are irrelevant. What is important is the teaching message contained within.

Jaiqlae mu{fI luiÂtkez>
pZyÚip c n pZyit mUFae
ýudrinimÅa< bhuk&tve;>.14.
Jatilo mundii lunchitakeshaH
Pashyannapi cha na pashyati muudho
Hyudaranimittam bahu-kRtaveshaH ||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 appearances are only for their belly's sake.

We see them in society all the time do we not? Those who seek to gain as much from others as they can without offering much in return; what is more, they do so by adopting poses and dress which will draw upon sympathy and compassion. We are not talking about those who have genuine need of assistance, but those who are not honest about their intentions. In the immediate case, those who would feign spiritual purpose with a level of show, in anticipation that the devoted will provide food and shelter to gain karma points of their own (the giving being, itself, driven by self-interest… see how it perpetuates?!)

Minimum labour and maximum comfort is the dangerous philosophy of selfishness. It abounds in all societies and is a part of the process of humanity; but when the selfish are found in the upper levels, in government, among medicos, in the teaching profession, they become a danger to the very society they are supposed to serve.

The author of this verse brings out a warning about the cheats and self-deceivers and how they can hide behind the mantels of respectability. Such as these are not conscious of the 'big picture', the wider goal. It is very possible that they started out with all good intention, but the vicissitudes of life have not been dealt with well and have been met with small and mean responses, bringing them down into the realms of selfish living and lost purpose. Guided by self-preservation, the lust for power and wealth, there are false folk in every walk of life; untruthful folk - to themselves most of all. Of all the deceivers, though, there is none so harmful as that which hides behind the clothing of the priesthood… this has become only too clear in recent times, within the Roman Catholic church. It is not alone in its great deception and it also must be remembered that is not the religion itself but the individuals within it which are the danger. Individuals who could not rise to the Higher Teachings and Values, who have damaged the very institution which provided for them. To the unguarded mind, the whispers of the lower passions become more urgent than the call of the Higher Aspirations - desire for enjoyment makes Man slip from his own high values and disciplines.

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Hari OM
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