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V.2 continues! Bhaja Govindam Study Class Notes

SUMMARY: Bhaja Govindam Class 6 - 12/02/23

Chinmaya UK Study Class, Śaṅkarācārya, Swami Chinmayananda



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)



Verse 2: Wealth (dhanam) cont. cont...


It is the thirst for wealth that needs to be renounced, not wealth itself.

Remember, 'wealth' here is a broad term for any material objects, people, situations, experiences, as well as money/assets.

We are advised to be content with what comes from our honest labour.


Why?

Because the law of karma is at play, and no amount of thirsting after something will bring it to us by dharmic means.

Honest labour means doing our 100%. not less, not more.


This 100% won't always be the same. Situations and circumstance change, so it is relative to this moment in time. With all that we have/know right now, are we doing our 100%?

Remember 100% should never lead to fatigue or burn-out or ill health or laziness or depression. If we are in these states, we cannot give our 100%.


earnest effort + intention + sincerity + past karma = result


We can only control the first thee. The last one, past karma, we can start to exhaust and rewire by what we do today. It is this present action that will become the future's past karma.


Desire for wealth degrades (hu)man.

This is a pretty strong statement that Swami Chinmayananda endeavours to break down for us.

Think about a strong desire in your own life - it could be building a career, a family, a certain amount of wealth, a career, a business, a home, or an identity (looking a certain way in the eyes of others) [fill in the blank]:


1. Attachment brings endless worry. We are always thinking about it in the background...it becomes our 'go-to' thought. Every situation is coloured by it. We compare ourselves with people we meet, or every person we meet becomes a networking opportunity or a prospect.

2. There is a strain in acquiring. Think about the time and energy we put into the acquisition of these desires. The conversations, the endless thinking, the mental chatter, and the things we have to do. A huge chunk of our waking hours are spent running after things/people because of our thirst for wealth/materials/experiences.

3. There is struggle to preserve intelligently what one has acquired. Acquiring is just the first step. Then preservation and maintenance become the constant. Say we get the promotion, the relationship, the award [fill in the blank], we must then work intelligently to preserve and maintain this role. All of these things take their own quota of effort, of sweat and struggle.

4. There is pain when we lose what we had acquired so laboriously. When we must give up what we laboured for, there is a natural pain. This is inevitable as no thing lasts forever. Our bodies change, vocations change, people change or pass, the economy changes, the weather changes...Everything, every person, every time, and every role has its natural course. When we are attached or labour after things unintelligently, the pain becomes severe, and we feel the loss as if it was a part of our very being or identity, rather than a change in the roles we were given to carry out.

5. There is anxiety about preserving what we've already gained. None of us wants to lose what we've acquired or worked so hard for. When we put our identity and our happiness into that object, person, role, situation [fill in the blank], we will obviously be anxious about protecting and preserving it. Think about our families...of course, we want to preserve and protect them.


Swami Chinmayananda concludes that this is a game of restless sorrows only.


Where's the nearest cave? :/

Lol!

There's no running away from life. Everywhere we go, we take with us our minds and our karma. If we don't face the situation here, the same thing will come dressed as another person/situation somewhere else, again and again, until we face it and ultimately heal and make peace with it.


The first thing is to acknowledge that with some introspection and examination, life doesn't have to be 'a game of restless sorrow' at all.

When we realise that things come for us for a reason, to learn, serve and grow from. That this whole life is a field for growth (Patañjali Yoga-sūtras 2:27), then when things don't come or stay too long or leave, there is no need to be sad, or not let go/change or hold on to them or grieve them forever.


Change is the changeless law. Nothing stays vacant, and the next adventure awaits.

This doesn't mean we hop from vocation to vocation, from person to person at the smallest inconvenience. Even within a vocation or a relationship or our identities, or the state of our bodies [fill in the blank], if something isn't working, we must put the effort in to face the situation, change what needs to be changed, try new things.


Staying stagnant and not growing isn't comfortable; it is laziness and this will actually lead to the decline of the thing through resentment or frustration.

As Swami Mitrananda is fond of saying, 'We are either growing or dying; there is no maintenance!'

The real growth is not in external acquisition but in internal depth. When we mature internally, it is reflected externally.


There are numerous examples in the scriptures that express the idea that acquiring wealth is not the purpose of human life:

"Man is never satisfied with their possessions alone" Nāciketa in Kaṭha Upaniṣad

"the Deathless and the Imperishable can never be hoped to be gained through possession of wealth" Śaṅkarācārya in Vivekacūḍāmaṇi, v.7 (verse from Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad)


So what do we do?

Renounce our sense of covetousness (greed/selfishness/excess desire).

"Renounce and enjoy, covet not others wealth" Īśāvāsya Upaniṣad

When we drop this thirst or greed, we truly enjoy life.

Do what needs to be done in the spirit of yoga (be it karma, bhakti, jñana, raja or a combination) and throughout it all...


Bhaja Gōvindaṃ, Bhaja Gōvindaṃ

Gōvindaṃ Bhaja Mūḍhamatē!


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