top of page

V.1 cont. Bhaja Govindam Study Class Notes

SUMMARY: Bhaja Govindam Class 3 - 22/01/23

Chinmaya UK Study Class, Śaṅkarācārya, Swami Chinmayananda

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 cont.

Bhaja = worship.

- True bhajan, like true seva (service), is to seek our identity with the Lord/Universe/Higher.

- It is the total subjective surrender, in love and devotion, at the altar of the Lord in whichever way the devotee conceives of the Lord (could be as deity, as sound (mantra), as silence, as dedicated action, as the discerning intellect etc)


9 steps of devotion (for ego dissolution)

  1. Śravaṇam - listening to the glories of the Lord/the Universe/Great mystery (fill in the gap for your name of the higher reality/creator). If we don't hear the stories/teachings, we don't know what's in them. These stories/teachings have stood the test of time because, within them, they hold so much wisdom.

  2. Kīrtanam - singing the glories of the Lord/Universe. All music changes our emotions or the way we feel; shouting heavy metal lyrics will have a different effect than singing Ed Sheeran or Barry White, which again has a different effect from singing the names of the Lord.

  3. Smaraṇam - constantly thinking about the nature and beauty of the Lord/Universe. In difficult situations (and in pleasant ones), think about what your iṣṭa-devatā (your chosen deity) or your role model or higher self would do.

  4. Pādasevanam - adoring the feet of the Lord in a spirit of negating our ego. The reason why we worship the pāda or feet of the higher - is because the Lord/Guru stands on those ideals; they live them and are a walking embodiment of in worshipping/adoring the feet, we are bowing down to those ideals. This worshipping/bowing down is also symbolic of surrendering the ego (no one naturally wants to bow down to anyone; observe what happens in the beginning! (and CAVEAT, this isn't adoring/bowing to just anyone/thing; it is to the ideals that are being lived. Spirituality ≠ doormat or victim or village idiot)).

  5. Arcanam - puja and mantra worship. In puja, each of the senses is directed towards the Lord. The form (eyes), the incense (nose), the bell/chants/song (ears), the offering of water/flowers/rice etc (touch), the food offering (taste) are all meant to focus our attention on one point - the Lord/the present moment.

  6. Vandanam - pay obeisance to the Lord/Universe. Paying respect doesn't mean a half-hearted showing up, but a full-hearted surrender to the very thing that is existence, that is life - for the Vedantin, that sat-chit-ananda, for the bhakta, that iṣṭa-devatā etc.

  7. Dāsyam - serve the Lord. What we have is a gift from the Lord/Universe; what we do with what we have is our gift back. We came with nothing; we go with nothing. Whilst we are here, Serve. See the Lord/Universe in everything and as everything and serve! There is a beautiful quote by Rabindranath Tagore: “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted, and behold, service was joy.”

  8. Sakhyam - cultivate a friendship with the Lord. The Lord/Universe is a benevolent one, not against us, but rather, for us. For our growth and realisation. Make friends with the Lord/Universe! Realise you are on this journey together!

  9. Ātmanivedanam - offer ones's self (ego) in total surrender. Remember, everything is perfectly perfect as per our karma. Surrender and serve. Do the right thing for the situation. (CAVEAT - this is not ever blind acceptance of a situation, it is to do what should be done and then accept the results of that action)]

The essence of all bhaja is seva. Therefore live in service of that Lord/Universe. Seek That through This!

Gōvinda = the Lord

Śaṅkarācārya defines the Lord or the higher Highest Reality/Brahman in four different ways that, in summary, mean:

- Gōvinda = the Essence, the ātman - the Truth behind the ever-changing flux of the world. The substratum on which all other change takes place.

- Gōvinda = the Brahman of the Upanisads.

- Gōvinda = the Highest Reality

Therefore Bhaja Gōvindaṃ means "seek our identity with that Supreme" and don't waste all our time in mere world activity or other unprofitable pursuits (temporary pleasures, fame, possessions) that at the time of death won't help us!

Remember, when we do what should be done (i.e. act), without craving or possessing, what is for us in this life (as per our karma) will come (it has to - there is no escaping it!), and what doesn't - well, thank God for that!

Bhaja Gōvindaṃ, Bhaja Gōvindaṃ

Gōvindaṃ Bhaja Mūḍhamatē

Verse 2 next week...on wealth...

9 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page