SUMMARY: Bhaja Govindam Class 2 - 15/01/23
Chinmaya UK Study Class, Śaṅkarācārya, Swami Chinmayananda (Sw. C.)
Bhaja Gōvindaṃ, Bhaja Gōvindaṃ
Gōvindaṃ Bhaja Mūḍhamatē
Samprāptē Sannihitē Kālē
Na Hi Na Hi Rakṣati Ḍukṛñ Karaṇē
Seek Gōvind, Seek Gōvind, Oh Fool, Seek Gōvind
When the appointed time (death) comes, grammar rules will not save you
Verse 1: Seek Gōvinda
This verse contains the central message of the text and, from now on, is sung as the chorus between each of the following verses.
- Gōvinda is another name for the Lord; it is often used as a name of Lord Krishna; in the Advaitic sense, it is akin to satchitananda - (truth-consciousness-bliss), the Self of all. We will see this in full detail next week.
- Grammer rules here are an indication of all secular knowledge and possessions.
- Śaṅkarācārya is asking us to pack our hearts with thoughts of the higher rather than with anxieties to acquire, hoard, or possess secular accomplishments/ achievements. This does not mean we don't do our duties or dharma, it simply means we don't become anxious for the fruits of action, nor do we act to simply acquire/hoard/possess.
Why does he say this?
Because secular knowledge, no matter how accomplished we are in it, cannot help us at the time of death.
- Secular knowledge is a means to an end; it is useful and necessary to understand the advice of the teachers/it allows us to live in this society well. But in and of itself, it is not useful. We can have all the secular knowledge/money/accomplishments/reputation [fill in the material blank] in the world, but it won't in and of itself fill our belly with food (we can't eat this stuff) or fill our heart with love (love can't be bought or demanded) or our mind with wisdom (we may know a lot - but it is in the living that counts).
- To use up all our time in this life in attaining secular knowledge/wealth without giving time for serious study of the science of the Self is for Śaṅkarācārya, a waste of this precious human birth.
So what is the purpose?
At the time of death, we must be able to meet it not as a moment of fear of annihilation or worry or FOMO but as a 'springboard to rocket ourselves into Eternal Existence, peaceful and divine,' having realised the purpose of this life.
- In other words, the aim of the game is to leave this life like a yogi or a wise being; ready, fulfilled, content in that we did what we came to do.
- This will not happen, as some believe, by remembering the Lord at the time of death. We can't do as we please and at the last minute repent! Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. Every single action has an equal and opposite reaction. This is the Law of Karma - neither good nor bad, just is.
- By following a spiritual path (jñana, bhakti, karma, raja, tantra etc...), we don't accreu more karma and exhaust our existing karma.
Jñana yoga: shravanam, mananam, nidhidhyasan = listen, reflect, meditate
Bhakti yoga: Wake up: "Krishna, Krishna", brush teeth "Krishna, Krishna", in each and every action "Krishna, Krishna"
Karma Yoga: 1) offer our actions to something higher 2) give our 100% 3) don't work for fruits of the action 4) accept whatever comes as prasad
Raja Yoga: yama, niyamas, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi
Tantra: bring divine energy into every action.]
- If we have spent our time seeking Govinda throughout our lives AND at the time of our departure, this is how we come to know Govinda - right here, right now and always.
- Seeking Govinda doesn't mean remembering God at a time of need, or because we really want a promotion or we want some sort of material gain - wealth, partner, child, a new air fryer [fill in the gap], this is, dare I say it, akin to material begging from the highest source not spiritual seeking of the highest source :/
"But, but" ...
... I hear you!
More next week on what exactly it means to 'seek' and who exactly this 'Gōvinda' is that Śaṅkarācārya so forcefully entices us to pursue...