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!

Seek the Teacher

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 closing shloka of the text is now presented.
s<saradicraÑv mu´>,
Ôúyis injùdySw< devm!.31.
Samsaaraadachiraadbhava mktaH
Drakshyasi nigahRdayastham devam.
O devotee of the lotus feet of the teacher
May you become liberated soon from the samsaara
Through discipline of the sense-organs and the mind;
You will come to experience the Lord that dwells within you!

Faith and devotion to the guru are necessary in order to ease the student's path and level out the path of his pilgrimage. The tradition handed down from teacher to teacher is so full of logic and precision that none who pay proper attention can fail to resolve all their doubts and worries. When we have once embraced an ideal to the very core of our intellect, belief in that ideal becomes natural. Thus faith is the secret power in the human mind to carry him onwards and upwards. To not have faith in the teacher and the taught only results in the student going adrift and becoming even more confused and lost than if not undertaking the path at all.

The true teachers themselves are devoted and faithful to those who preceded them and take no personal credit for what is taught. It is important to note in relation to the text we have been studying, that Sri Shankara in pointing out the need for faith in the guru is not saying 'have faith in me', but is honouring his very own guru, Sri Govindaachaarya; thus the title of the text applies not just to the Universal Being, but to the guru who brings this knowledge to light.

It is one of the peculiarities of the human being, though, to tend to buck away from the wise; thinking ourselves wiser, or at least clever enough to figure it out ourselves. There are the rare few who can indeed do this - but rare is the keyword there! In school, in college or university, how many students genuinely have an understanding of their subject to the stage where they truly know more than their professors? Many may think so, but mostly it is not the case. If they have any wisdom at all, it is to pay close and alert attention to the professor and make as much of his or her knowledge into their own knowledge as they can… to become professors themselves. This is the way in material subjects and is equally so in the matter of spirit and philosophy. We can read as many high texts as we care to, but translating the words on the page into proper knowledge and living the essence of their meaning has to be demonstrated to us by those with the experience. There is no getting round this fact. Therefore the very first tenet of true spiritual pilgrimage - dropping the ego - can be exercised by submitting to the guidance of a Guru.

One of the great traits of the best of teachers is that they can break down the very complicated into the simple. Those who have ego-pride in 'being intellectual' will look down at such simplification and decry it as 'minor' work, fit only for children. It could be argued that we are all children when it comes to spirit - and is it not said that one must in fact become like a child to rise to the Highest?

Thus do not think of this song from Shankara-ji as being simplistic or 'basic'; it is that for a very good reason. Many of us are not fit for anything more! We have to start at the lowest part of the path in order to ensure we build it well. If we attempt to start the path at a point above our heads, how easy will it be to stumble and fall back down again?

In conclusion, as is the tradition, we repeat the opening stanza (though really speaking, for this 'song', that first verse ought to be chanted like a chorus after each verse);

_aj gaeivNd< _aj gaeivNd<
 gaeivNd< _aj mUFmte,
s<àaPte siÚihte kale
Na ih n hi rúait fuk&|! kr[e.1.
Bhaja Govindam bhaja Govindam
Govindam bhaja muuDhmate,
Sampraapte sannihite kaale
Na-hi na-hi rakshati dukRng karane ||1||
Seek Govinda, seek Govinda
Go seek Govinda, you fool!
When the appointed time comes
Grammar rules surely will not save you!

Om Tat Sat

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