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


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Still Attached

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.

As mentioned last week, we are in the section of the song in which each verse is an offering of different disciples of Sri Adi Shankara. This verse today is traditionally considered to be have been penned by one of the 'inner four', Sri Padmapaada-ji, known for his devotion.

A¼< gilt< pilt< mu{f<
dznivhIn< jat< tu{fm!,
v&Ïae yait g&hITva d{f<
Tadip n muÂTyazaip{fm!.15.
Angam galitam palitam mundam
Dashanavhiinam jaatam tundam,
vRddho yaati gRhiitvaa dandam
Tadapi na munchatyaashaapindam.
The body has become worn out, the head turned grey,
The mouth has become toothless;
The old man moves about leaning on his staff…
Even then, he leaves not the bundle of his desires.

Such is the hold of our desires and lusts for the enjoyment of sense objects, that even when we realise how they affect us, we cannot drop them. This is particularly sad when we reach an age where such behaviours are actually not befitting. If we are young, hale and hearty, full of energy and verve, then the sense-passions are meaningful and, within boundaries, acceptable - natural, indeed.

As the author tells us here, though, there comes a time when the true purpose of life ought to be understood and undertaken as a philosophy and practice, but we get stuck in our bodily thinking. In theory, the body as described here, aging, sagging, decrepit, ought to be devoid of needs, but rarely is this the case. Indeed, for as long as the soul is attached to the body, we can expect to wage the war of mind over matter! There is additional sorrow for the unguarded though… for the opportunity to engage in pleasures of the sense at all levels is much diminished and therefore, it can be a torture to the one who seeks still to partake of worldly things. In this modern age, there are many aids to keep the aging one engaged in the world (and not al of this is bad, note!), but it still remains, from the spiritual perspective a challenge.

If, as we age, we can accept the progress of the physical life, leaving youth where it belongs and embracing peacefully our matured state, retirement is much more likely to provide tranquillity and inner joy.

Remember, all experience of the world is actually at the mental level. If we develop passions and lusts in our youth which are addictive and habitual, as the capacity to engage in activities drops away in age, the mind will continue to agitate.

It is imperative that we develop habits in youth, therefore, which will continue to serve and support us in our dotage, not cause us angst and bitterness because we can no longer have what we desire when we are old.

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Hari OM
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