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V.8 part 3 Bhaja Govindam Study Class Notes

SUMMARY: Bhaja Govindam Class 17 - 07/05/23

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 to the Always Absolute!

'Real' relationship?

Here, we are asked to analyse the 'real' relationship between us and our parents or children or those we hold the most attachment to.

Our children become ours only after their birth:

Before that, they were a foetus and, before that, a seed /egg in the loins.

The seed comes from the food assimilated.

The food comes from the earth.

Sw. C's conjecture:

'a clod-of-earth' in various manifestations became the fruit/veg -> the food -> the seed -> the foetus -> the child.

Therefore, the child is an effect of the ultimate cause, the mud!

The parents have also come this way. Indeed, we are all the product of a 'clod-of-mud' from another time and place.

And one clod of mud gets attached to another!!

This misunderstanding is the powerful delusion of māyā! (forgetfulness)

This seems a bit harsh! What about our soul connections?

According to this formulation, there is no soul connection! Ātman is pure awareness/consciousness. The jiva (individual consciousness) is conditioned consciousness. Conditioned by our past impressions and assessed by karma. This karmic load connects with the 'family' and, in fact, all our interactions and fields of experience. Every object, thought, and experience in front of us is our past action (thought, word, deed) modified to make this present moment.

The experiencer and the field of experience are both products of past action.

Think about this for a moment.

Even in the context of coming to this class/reading this post, you had to have met someone/read/googled something to find out about it. But even of all those who may come across it, only those inclined towards such ideas would have followed up- attended or read.

Further, those with a thirst to reflect will be more diligent than those with more desire for something else.

Neither is right or wrong…however, our past actions, reinforced, become our present. This karma directs where we go and the fields that appear to exhaust that karma!

"Samsāra is a fascination only to the thoughtless."

Until we start to deeply reflect on what we do and why, saṃsāra (the external world of possessions, people, places) will continue to fascinate us because we believe that permanent happiness lies in it or that it can give us long-lasting fulfilment or purpose.

Think – have they ever? Can they ever? If our kids/relationship/job [fill in the blank] becomes the purpose of our life??

What happens to us when they grow up?/change? Sometimes, we become selfishly attached because we gave our all to them or we perceive them to be comfortable and giving us a sense of security. This stunts everyone’s growth. Security comes from knowing that whatever the situation, we can face it and give our best (preferably with a smile and some humour).

Healthy attachment whereby we give what is needed at that moment, with 100%, of our ability, offering it to something bigger than us (freedom) and accepting the outcome (because there’s very little in this life that we can actually control).

The next question in the verse is: "To whom do I belong?"

- What is That divine factor that my very existence owes its continuance to? What is that life principle that courses through this material body and every other being – that makes it sentient, alive – or that gives it existence?


- From where have we all come to play this passing show (this one meagre lifetime) in the field of this world?


Where are we going?


When we depart from here, what is our destination?


If there is a source from which we have come and a destination to which we are going, what exactly should be our duty 'now' and 'here'?


What should be our attitude to things and beings, and the infinite happenings that crowd around us and march through our existence 'here'?


O Brother, think of that Truth here.

Śaṅkarācārya here is assuming the role of the wiser sibling advising their erring sibling. The verse calls out an urgent care and familiarity, not as a respectful and loving teacher to the taught but as a tender, compassionate brother to his stumbling sibling.

Sw. C. notes that bhrātaḥ - brother, in some texts has been heard as brāntaḥ meaning 'mad one', which he also deems apt for this stanza. A 'mad-one' is one whose behaviour is not as it should be. In our extreme attachment to things external in the world, we are incapable of thinking rightly and properly, we become 'mad-ones' in this life.

Think about the extremes we go to for our attachments - be it belief systems, family member(s) or anything else we are strongly attached to (even things we are not that strongly attached to but just like)...wars are started, family members favoured over others, relationships broken - for what? An extreme attachment to the temporary.

Sigh...ok, ok! we're clear Śaṅkarācārya!

We'r attached to our partner, kids, parents, family, friends, possessions, body, beliefs, thoughts, reputation, ... everything. This attachment is driving us mad, because all of these constantly change, sometimes favourably, sometimes not. And we are constantly compromising life to appease these attachments. This can't be the the purpose of this life so what's the solution????

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

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