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V.8 Bhaja Govindam Study Class Notes

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

SUMMARY: Bhaja Govindam Class 15 - 23/04/23

Chinmaya UK Study Class, Śaṅkarācārya, Swami Chinmayananda (Sw. C.)

kātē kāntā kastē putraḥ saṁsāro'yamatīva vicitraḥ |

kasya tvaṁ kaḥ kuta āyātaḥ tattvaṁ cintaya tadiha bhrātaḥ || 8 ||

Who is your wife? Who is your son? Supremely wonderful indeed is this samsara.

Of whom are you? From where have you come? O Brother, think of that Truth here.

Verse 8: Relative relatives

Marry me? So we can live happily ever after...!

Swami Chinmayananda starts this commentary by emphasising the purpose of family.

Relationships/marriage/children are not intended to make us happy. The purpose is to take each other higher.


The bonds of family are beneficial and can liberate us from our egotistical selfishness.

Family is a field where the mind can be purified, where we can exhaust our vāsanās, and where we can learn from one another, grow, and evolve.

However, Sw. C. warns that even the best of them are still very limited; relationships are not an end in themselves. They are not the purpose of our lives.

For many of us this comes as a rude awakening - especially in societies and cultures that put so much emphasis on getting married.

Familia journeys

Imagine we are on a train; the carriage we entered already has some people, all of which have come on board at a certain time, and will get off at a certain time. No one is there forever.

We travel together for this life (sometimes all of it, sometimes a part of it - none of it is certain). We joined that particular train because it was conducive to exhausting our past karma.

When we get off the train, if we still have karma to exhaust, we wait for the next train that has the necessary field of karma to exhaust what we have.

[In the Gita it says we are born into a particular type of family depending on our deeds of this and past lives. Thus, try to live in a way that will ensure we are born into 'good, pious, saatvik, wealthy' families.]

No one is born for a particular individual; we are brought together because of our past karma.

We have all had many different parents, siblings, partners, and children before. These ones are given to us in this present life so we can help each other grow, to exhaust karma.

[Don't leave this life hating/overly attached to anyone; in the next birth, they may be your kids or your partners or siblings, in-laws...everybody is a self-addressed envelope, and we want to have future balanced and harmonious relationships.]

OMG - What if I married my enemy/relative from another life?!!

Lol! And that is one of the reasons we forget our past lives!

Unhealthy attachment is pointless- everyone is on their own journey hOMe.

In this way, Sw. C. says, marriages/partnerships, in their balminess, can become poison to our spiritual growth. The śāstras (scriptures) say we must live in a spirit of togetherness, but "Let there be space between the two"

Clinging attachment is unhealthy for both. It can lead to worry, expectations, crippling co-dependency, jealousy, false pride, insecurity, hurt etc.. It invades our minds and causes all sorts of compromisable behaviours.

Remember the story of sage Valmiki, who was a bandit before he met Narada muni, killing and looting for the sake of his family. However, his family was not prepared to take his sins on even though he was doing everything for them. How many people do we metaphorically kill (badmouth, gossip against, put down) or loot in our efforts to earn for/impress our loved ones?

The point is to exhaust karma, love unconditionally (or at least without strong rāga-dveṣa (attachment and aversion)), but as a complete being without unhealthy attachment.

Happy with, happy without.

Once we understand this, we can start to enjoy the ride...and start to evolve through and with our families. And our hearts can open up beyond our blood families, our cultural families to a universal family.

So what's the point?

Family is a field of trial and test - they will trigger us as much as they will love us - they are fields where we can grow into healthier personalities, but they are not in themselves the final destination.

However, "to live in attachment and sink into the family mire seems natural for most of us. Our minds take to it readily."

But it's so hard—I love and am attached to my family!

Or, I feel bound by duty!

Or, it was all too much, so I'm leaving!!

For whichever circumstance we find ourselves in, Śaṅkarācārya prescribes a technique of inquiry whereby we can grow into the required state of healthy and loving detachment.

This we will see in our next class...!

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