Bhaja Govindam

 Sri Sankara composed this famous hymn in Kashi. Shankara, it is said, was walking along a street  one day, accompanied by his disciples. He heard the sound of grammatical rules being recited by an old scholar. Taking pity on the scholar, he went up to him and advised him not to waste his time on grammar at his age but to turn his mind to God in worship and adoration. The Hymn to Govinda was composed on this occasion. Besides the refrain of the song beginning with the words “Bhaja Govindam’, Shankara is stated to have sung twelve verses; hence the hymn bears the title “Dvadasamanjarika-Stotra” (A hymn which is a bunch of twelve verse-blossoms). The fourteen disciples who were with the Master, then, are believed to have added one verse each. These fourteen verses are together called “Chaturdasa-manjarika-Stotra” (A hymn which is a bunch of fourteen verse-blossoms).

(taken from the site indiadivine.com)

TEXT 1

bhajagovindam bhajagovindam
govindam bhajamuudhamate
sampraapte sannihite kaale
nahi nahi rakshati dukrijnkarane

Worship Govinda, Worship Govinda, Worship Govinda. Oh fool! Rules of Grammar will not save Ou at the time of Our death.

TEXT 2 mudha jahiihi dhanaagamatrishhnaam
kuru sadbuddhim manasi vitrishhnaam
yallabhase nijakarmopaattam
vittam tena vinodaya chittam

Oh fool! Give up Our thrist to amass wealth, devote Our mind to thoughts to the Real. Be content with what comes through actions already performed in the past.

TEXT 3 naariistanabhara naabhiidesham
drishhtvaa maagaamohaavesham
etanmaamsaavasaadi vikaaram
manasi vichintaya vaaram vaaram

Do not get drowned in delusion by going wild with passions and lust by seeing a woman’s navel and chest. Bodies are flesh, fat and blood. Do not fail to remember this again and again in Our mind.

TEXT 4 naliniidalagata jalamatitaralam
tadvajjiivitamatishayachapalam
viddhi vyaadhyabhimaanagrastam
lokam shokahatam cha samastam

Uncertain is the life of man as rain drops on a lotus leaf. Know that the whole world remains a prey to disease, ego and grief.

TEXT 5 yaavadvittopaarjana saktah
staavannija parivaaro raktah
pashchaajjiivati jarjara dehe
vaartaam koapi na prichchhati gehe

So long as a man is fit and able to support his family, see the affection all those around him show. But no one at home cares to even have a word with him when his body totters due to old age.

TEXT 6 yaavatpavano nivasati dehe
taavatprichchhati kushalam gehe
gatavati vaayau dehaapaaye
bhaaryaa bibhyati tasminkaaye

When one is alive, his family members enquire kindly about his welfare. But when the soul departs from the body, even his wife runs away in fear of the corpse.

TEXT 7 baalastaavatkriidaasaktah
tarunastaavattaruniisaktah
vriddhastaavachchintaasaktah
pare brahmani koapi na saktah

Childhood is lost in play. Youth is lost by attachment to woman. Old age passes away by thinking over many past things. Alas! hardly is there anOne who yearns to be lost in Parabrahman.

TEXT 8 kaate kaantaa kaste putrah
samsaaroayamatiiva vichitrah
kasya tvam kah kuta aayaatah
tattvam chintaya tadiha bhraatah

Who is Our wife? Who is Our son? Strange is this samsara. Of whom are Ou? Where have Ou come from? Brother, ponder over these truths.

TEXT 9 satsangatve nissngatvam
nissangatve nirmohatvam
nirmohatve nishchalatattvam
nishcalatattve jiivanmuktih

From Satsanga comes non-attachment; from non-attachment comes freedom from delusion, which leads to self-settledness. From self-settledness comes Jivan Mukti.

TEXT 10 vayasigate kah kaamavikaarah
shushhke niire kah kaasaarah
kshiinevitte kah parivaarah
gyaate tattve kah samsaarah

What good is lust when Outh has fled? What use is a lake, which has no water? Where are the relatives when wealth is gone? Where is samsara when the Truth is known?

TEXT 11 maa kuru dhana jana yauvana garvam
harati nimeshhaatkaalah sarvam
maayaamayamidamakhilaM hitvaa
brahmapadaM tvaM pravisha viditvaa

Do not boast of wealth, friends, and Outh. Each one of these are destroyed within a minute. Free Ourself from the illusion of the world of Maya and attain the timeless Truth.

TEXT 12 dinayaaminyau saayam praatah
shishiravasantau punaraayaatah
kaalah kriidati gachchhatyaayuh
tadapi na mujncatyaashaavaayuh

Daylight and darkness, dusk and dawn, winter and springtime come and go. Time plays and life ebbs away. But the storm of desire never leaves.

TEXT 13 dvaadashamajnjarikaabhirasheshhah
kathito vaiyaakaranasyaishhah
upadesho bhuudvidyaanipunaih
shriimachchhankarabhagavachchharanarih

This bouquet of twelve verses was imparted to a grammarian by the all-knowing Shankara, adored as the bhagavadpada.

TEXT 14 kaate kaantaa dhana gatachintaa
vaatula kim tava naasti niyantaa
trijagati sajjanasam gatiraikaa
bhavati bhavaarnavatarane naukaa

Oh mad man! Why this engrossment in thoughts of wealth? Is there no one to guide Ou? There is only one thing in three worlds that can save Ou from the ocean from samsara. Get into that boat of satsangha quickly.

TEXT 15 jatilo mundii lujnchhitakeshah
kaashhaayaambarabahukritaveshhah
pashyannapi cana pashyati muudhah
udaranimittam bahukritaveshhah

There are many who go with matted locks, many who have clean shaven heads, many whose hairs have been plucked out; some are clothed in saffron, yet others in various colors — all just for a livelihood. Seeing truth revealed before them, still the foolish ones see it not.

TEXT 16 angam galitam palitam mundam
dashanavihiinam jatam tundam
vriddho yaati grihiitvaa dandam
tadapi na mujncatyaashaapindam

Strength has left the old man’s body; his head has become bald, his gums toothless and leaning on crutches. Even then the attachment is strong and he clings firmly to fruitless hope.

TEXT 17 agre vahnih prishhthebhaanuh
raatrau chubukasamarpitajaanuh
karatalabhikshastarutalavaasah
tadapi na mujncatyaashaapaashah

Behold there lies the man who sits warming up his body with the fire in front and the sun at the back; at night he curls up the body to keep out of the cold; he eats his beggar’s food from the bowl of his hand and sleeps beneath the tree. Still in his heart, he is a wretched puppet at the hands of passions.

TEXT 18 kurute gangaasaagaragamanam
vrataparipaalanamathavaa daanam
gyaanavihinah sarvamatena
muktim na bhajati janmashatena

One may go to the Ganga, observe fasts, and give away riches in charity! Yet, devoid of jnana, nothing can give mukthi even at the end of a hundred births.

TEXT 19 sura mandira taru muula nivaasah
shayyaa bhuutala majinam vaasah
sarva parigraha bhoga tyaagah
kasya sukham na karoti viraagah

Take Our residence in a temple or below a tree, wear the deerskin for the dress, and sleep with mother earth as Our bed. Give up all attachments and renounce all comforts. Blessed with such vairagya, could any fail to be content?

TEXT 20 Ogarato vaabhogaratovaa
sangarato vaa sangaviihinah
yasya brahmani ramate chittam
nandati nandati nandatyeva

One may take delight in Oga or bhoga, may have attachment or detachment. But only he whose mind steadily delights in Brahman enjoys bliss, no one else.

TEXT 21 bhagavad giitaa kijnchidadhiitaa
gangaa jalalava kanikaapiitaa
sakridapi yena muraari samarchaa
kriyate tasya yamena na charchaa

Let a man read but a little from the Gita, drink just a drop of water from the Ganga, worship Murari just once. He then will have no altercation with Yama.

TEXT 22 punarapi jananam punarapi maranam
punarapi jananii jathare shayanam
iha samsaare bahudustaare
kripayaa apaare paahi muraare

Born again, death again, birth again to stay in the mother’s womb ! It is indeed hard to cross this boundless ocean of samsara. Oh Murari ! Redeem me through Thy mercy.

TEXT 23 rathyaa charpata virachita kanthah
punyaapunya vivarjita panthah
Ogii OganiOjita chitto
ramate baalonmattavadeva

There is no shortage of clothing for a monk so long as there are rags cast off the road. Freed from vice and virtue, onward he wanders. One who lives in communion with God enjoys bliss, pure and uncontaminated, like a child and as someone intoxicated.

TEXT 24 kastvam ko.aham kuta aayaatah
kaa me jananii ko me taatah
iti paribhaavaya sarvamasaaram
vishvam tyaktvaa svapna vichaaram

Who are Ou? Who am I? From where do I come? Who is my mother, who is my father? Ponder thus, look at everything as essenceless and give up the world as an idle dream.

TEXT 25 tvayi mayi chaanyatraiko vishhnuh
vyartham kupyasi mayyasahishhnuh
bhava samachittah sarvatra tvam
vaajnchhasyachiraadyadi vishhnutvam

In me, in Ou and in everything, none but the same Vishnu dwells. Your anger and impatience is meaningless. If Ou wish to attain the quality of Vishnu soon, have Sama Bhaava always.

TEXT 26 shatrau mitre putre bandhau
maa kuru yatnam vigrahasandhau
sarvasminnapi pashyaatmaanam
sarvatrotsrija bhedaagyaanam

Do not waste Our efforts to win the love of or to fight against friend and foe, children and relatives. See Ourself in everOne and give up all feelings of duality completely.

TEXT 27 kaamam krodham lobham moham
tyaktvaa atmaanam bhaavaya ko aham
aatmagyaana vihiinaa muudhaah
te pachyante narakaniguudhaah

Give up lust, anger, infatuation, and greed. Ponder over Our real nature. Fools are they who are blind to the Self. Cast into hell they suffer there endlessly.

TEXT 28 geyam giitaa naama sahasram
dhyeyam shriipati ruupamajasram
neyam sajjana sange chittam
deyam diinajanaaya cha vittam

Regularly recite from the Gita, meditate on Vishnu in Our heart, and chant His thousand glories. Take delight to be with the noble and the holy. Distribute Our wealth in charity to the poor and the needy.

TEXT 29 sukhatah kriyate raamaabhogah
pashchaaddhanta shariire rogah
yadyapi loke maranam sharanam
tadapi na mujnchati paapaacharanam

He who yields to lust for pleasure leaves his body a prey to disease. Though death brings an end to everything, man does not give up the sinful path.

TEXT 30 arthamanartham bhaavaya nityam
naastitatah sukhaleshah satyam
putraadapi dhana bhaajaam bhiitih
sarvatraishhaa vihiaa riitih

Wealth is not welfare, truly there is no joy in it. Reflect thus at all times. A rich man fears even his own son. This is the way of wealth everywhere.

TEXT 31

praanaayaamam pratyaahaaram
nityaanitya vivekavichaaram
jaapyasameta samaadhividhaanam
kurvavadhaanam mahadavadhaanam

Regulate the pranas, remain unaffected by external influences and discriminate between the real and the fleeting. Chant the holy name of God and silence the turbulent mind. Perform these with care, with extreme care.

TEXT 32

gurucharanaambuja nirbhara bhakatah
samsaaraadachiraadbhava muktah
sendriyamaanasa niyamaadevam
drakshyasi nija hridayastham devam

Oh devotee of the lotus feet of the Guru! May thou be soon free from Samsara. Through disciplined senses and controlled mind, thou shalt come to experience the indwelling Lord of Our heart!

TEXT 33 muudhah kashchana vaiyaakarano
dukrijnkaranaadhyayana dhurinah
shriimachchhamkara bhagavachchhishhyai
bodhita aasichchhodhitakaranah

Thus was a silly grammarian lost in rules cleansed of his narrow vision and shown the Light by Shankara’s apostles.

TEXT 34 bhajagovindam bhajagovindam
govindam bhajamuudhamate
naamasmaranaadanyamupaayam
nahi pashyaamo bhavatarane

Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, Oh fool! Other than chanting the Lord’s names, there is no other way to cross the life’s ocean.