SUMMARY: Bhaja Govindam Class 4 - 29/01/23
Chinmaya UK Study Class, Śaṅkarācārya, Swami Chinmayananda (Sw. C.)
mūḍha jahīhi dhanāgamatṛṣṇāṁ kuru sadbuddhiṁ manasi vitṛṣṇām |
yallabhase nijakarmopāttaṁ vittaṁ tena vinodaya cittam ||
Oh, Fool! Give up the thirst to possess wealth.
Create in your mind, devoid of passions, thoughts of the Reality.
With whatever you get (as a reward of the past), entertain your mind (be content)
At the essential level, there are three things in life that keep us running into the world:
(2) wealth/worldly possessions
Think about this honestly for a moment. Observe your activities. Observe your thoughts. Do they fall into these three boxes?
When we have a strong desire to possess, acquire, hoard and enjoy we move from our inner equipoise into the stormy realms of lust and greed. This strong desire to possess is how we get immersed in the world of samsāra (sorrow and suffering) even though our inherent nature is satchitananda - existence, consciousness, and bliss!
In the first verse, Śaṅkarācārya responded to the desire for recognition/fame/accomplishment etc, by saying this is all very well; it has its place...BUT at the time of death, none of it will help us; none of it will matter! So use some of our time and energy to seek/serve the essential, the higher...Bhaja Gōvindaṃ
Bhaja = seeking = serving, Govindam = the higher/the Lord/Universe
The ability to serve comes from seeing the higher in everything and comprehending what the right thing to do/say is in that situation.
Share knowledge and wisdom but this should not come from a place of hypocrisy. Gandhi gave up sweets before he told someone else to do it. Words have power when they come from a place of truth and sincerity.
Continue the rituals and the traditions, but know what they mean and why we do them. We should neither mindlessly follow nor mindlessly let them go. With proper understanding they build individual strength and positive community. Both of which are required for healthy, dynamic, dharmic societies as well as self-realisation.
Verse 2: Wealth (dhanam)
In the next verse we come to the second of those all-encompassing desires; wealth or dhanam - this includes all worldly objects (not just £)
Śaṅkarācārya asks us to give up 'the thirst to possess wealth' [not renounce wealth itself]
Wealth (aka artha) in itself is neither good nor bad.
In Sanatana Dharma wealth is one of the four goals of human life, together with dharma - goodness/righteousness, kama - pleasure and moksha - liberation/self-realisation.
We are asked to renounce/give up (jahīhi) the thirst (tṛṣṇāṁ) to possess (agama) it.
Think about this
How many decisions do we make that this thirst to possess worldly objects is based upon? How much of our time do we spend thinking about acquiring/possessing/hoarding things?
If we don't take a step back and truthfully reflect, it can become an insatiable thirst that runs our very life.
The real problem. Happiness is an INside job!
Having wealth/objects etc is not bad in itself; it is the idea that these things can and will bring us happiness or enhance our identity in some way.
This is where the problem lies, not in the objects but in our seeking of them for happiness.
We have superimposed our innate happiness onto objects of the world!
Have but don't let these things possess or hoard your mental real estate.
Our relationship with wealth should be intelligent, chaste and useful.
Purpose/use of wealth
Take a moment and think about what wealth can actually give us.
It can purchase food, water, clothes, shelter, books, objects etc. It can perhaps give us momentary regard and a temporary ego boost.
It can't purchase health and vitality or inner confidence and peace of mind. Wealth can't buy a warm and loving home, or kindness, or wisdom, or creativity. It can't purchase the sunrise/sunset or contentment or joy. It can't buy the end of climate change or global peace.
Wealth is required but the thirst to possess and acquire and hoard should be dropped.
A portion of our wealth must be used to serve and in charity.
So if we are generating lots, that is a great thing, be greedy to give, not to hoard!
A number of things happen when we give up the thirst to possess. These we shall see in the next class. In the meantime :) ...
Bhaja Gōvindaṃ, Bhaja Gōvindaṃ
Gōvindaṃ Bhaja Mūḍhamatē!