Bhaja Govindam- Verse 31 with stories and essence


Verse 31

Gurucaraṇāmbuja nirbhara bhaktaḥ saṁsārādacirādbhava muktaḥ,

sendriyamānasa niyamādevaṁ drakṣyasi nija hṛdayasthaṁ devam – 31

O devotee of the lotus feet of the teacher! May you become liberated soon from the saṁsāra through the discipline of the sense organs and the mind. You will come to experience the Lord that dwells in your own heart.

Story based on the above verse



It is the ardent devotion to the lotus feet of the teacher which is an outstanding means for the pursuit of knowledge, for becoming free from saṁsāra.

Devotion to the teacher also includes devotion to what the teacher stands for. One cannot be devoted to a teacher unless one is devoted to what the teacher stands for. A teacher represents the scriptures. He represents the tradition, he represents the knowledge. In being devoted to him, there is devotion to the knowledge, devotion to the scriptures, devotion to the tradition, and devotion to God.

Devotion means love with respect and reverence. It is a love in which there is reverence and surrender. There are different kinds of love, but the love between a teacher and student is altogether different. There is a willing submission or willing surrender to the teacher out of a sense of reverence, and an implicit trust or faith in him.

A Guru is needed to explain the real essence of the scriptures to a disciple. He is the guide who will lead us through the samsara and finally make us realise that samsara is ‘mithya’ illusory and how to seek that which is permanent. He is that beacon of light who will lead us by example to seek the Lord within and realise our true self.

For students


Below link is an actual influence of a Balvikas guru on a student and the student has written a lovely tribute to his guru.

Teachers play an important role in moulding a child’s character and in teaching the lessons of life. Education should be for life and not mere learning. When we find such good teachers, we should hold on to them, respect them and their teachings and benefit from it. Value based and holistic education is important to develop the self- confidence and inner strength of a child who will grow up to be strong to face the challenges of life.




Buddha’s story on Karma

Value- Right conduct

Sub value- Positive thoughts


Buddha was sitting with his disciples. One of them asked him “What is Karma?”

Buddha said, “Let me tell you a story…”

A king was touring his kingdom on his elephant. Suddenly he stopped in front of a shop in the market and said to his minister, “I don’t know why, but I want to hang the owner of this shop.” The minister was shocked. But before he could ask the king why, the king had moved on.

The next day, the minister went to that shop dressed as one of the locals to see the shopkeeper. He casually asked him how his business was faring. The shopkeeper, a sandalwood merchant, reported sadly that he had hardly any customer. People would come to his shop, smell the sandalwood and then go away. They would even praise the quality of the sandalwood but rarely buy anything. His only hope was that the king would die soon. Then there would be a huge demand for sandalwood for performing his last rites. As he was the only sandalwood merchant around, he was sure the king’s death would mean a windfall.

The minister now understood why the king had stopped in front of this shop and expressed a desire to kill the shopkeeper. Perhaps, the shopkeeper’s negative thought vibration had subtly affected the king, who had, in turn, felt the same kind of negative thought arising within.

The minister; a nobleman, pondered over the matter for a while. Without revealing who he was or what had happened the day before, he expressed a desire to buy some sandalwood. The shopkeeper was pleased. He wrapped the sandalwood and handed it over to the minister.

When the minister returned to the palace, he went straight to the court where the king was seated and reported that the sandalwood merchant had a gift for him. The king was surprised. When he opened the package, he was pleasantly surprised by the fine golden color of the sandalwood and its agreeable fragrance. Pleased, he sent some gold coins to the sandalwood merchant. The king also felt sorry in his heart that he had harbored unbecoming thoughts of killing the shopkeeper.

When the shopkeeper received the gold coins from the king, he was astounded. He began to proclaim the virtues of the king who had, through the gold coins, saved him from the brink of poverty. After some time, he recalled the morbid thoughts he had felt towards the king and repented for having entertained such negative thoughts for his own personal goal.

If we have a good and kind thought for another person, that positive thought will come back to us in a favorable way. But if we harbor evil thoughts, those thoughts will come back to us as retribution.

“What is Karma?” asked Buddha

Many replied, “our words, our deeds, our feelings, our actions……”

Buddha shook his head and said

“Your thoughts are your Karma!”


We will receive what we give. Everything is about reaction and reflection. Good thought, deeds and actions will get back the same.


Mahatma Gandhi and Putlibai

Value- Truth

Sub value- Honesty

Putlibai, Mahatma Gandhi’s mother once  observed a vow wherein she would not take food until she heard a cuckoo sing. One day, she waited long and the song of a cuckoo was not heard. Worried that his mother is sticking to her vow and not taking food, young Gandhi went behind the house and mimicked a cuckoo singing. He came inside and told his mother to have her food as the cuckoo sang.

Mother Putlibai felt very sad as she knew her son was lying. She cried, “O God! What sin have I committed to give birth to a son who speaks untruth?”

Realising the immense grief he caused to his mother by uttering a lie, Gandhi took a vow that he would never indulge in falsehood thenceforth.


Mothers are the first teachers of children. It is their duty to train their children in moral values and not overlook children’s mistakes. They must help reform their children whenever they stray away from the right path and reward them for their good deeds.

Source- Chinna Katha by Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Sai Satcharita- Chapter 3- Stories and Essence- Rohilla story

sai satcharita 2

Value- Peace

Sub value- Developing good thoughts

Rohilla’s Story

One tall and well-built Rohilla (a pathan man) came to Shirdi, wearing a long kafni (robe) and was enamoured of Sai who stayed there. Day and night he used to recite in a loud and harsh tone the Kalma (verses from Holy Koran) and shout “ALLAH HO AKBAR” (God is Great). Most people of Shirdi, were working in their fields by day and when they returned to their homes at night, they were welcomed with the Rohilla’s harsh cries and shouts. They could get no sleep and felt much trouble and inconvenience. They suffered in silence this nuisance for some days, and when they could stand it no longer, they approached Baba, and requested Him to check the Rohilla and stop the nuisance.

Baba did not attend to their complaint. On the contrary, Baba took the villagers to task, and asked them to mind their own business, and not the Rohilla. He told them that the Rohilla had got a very bad wife, a Zantippi, who tried to come in and trouble the Rohilla and Himself; but hearing the Rohilla’s prayers, she dare not enter and they were at peace and happy.

In fact, the Rohilla had no wife and by his wife Baba meant DURBUDDHI, i.e. bad thoughts. As Baba liked prayers and cries to God better than anything else, He took the side of the Rohilla, and asked the villagers to wait and suffer the nuisance, which would abate in due course.



Through the above story Baba brought out the importance of one of the nine types of bhakti (Vishnu smarana or chanting the name of the Lord). The Divine Name saves and liberates! It is armour against the onslaughts of pride and self-pity. When Japam (repetition of Lord’s name) is started in a systematic manner; initially it will meet with many obstacles, disquieting thoughts and enticements. These should be ignored, by-passed, treated lightly. We must strengthen our habits, stick to our discipline and improve our inner administration. The unruly bull (mind) has to be roped and tamed, its nose bored and ringed, it has to be yoked and trained to drag heavy loads and become the docile servant of its master. Namasmarana (chanting of Lord’s name) loudly especially during the initial stages of sadhana (spiritual practises) will be helpful to drive out the evil thoughts and concentrate on the Divine.

For Children

Baba was a loving mother and father to all. He loved Rohilla as much as the others though he disturbed the people of Shirdi with his loud prayers. Baba instead of reprimanding Rohilla, explained  people the importance of chanting the Lord’s name and how it can remove the bad thoughts in us.

Children should remember to pray or thank the Lord at least one time a day. If they can chant a small prayer daily and make it a habit; it will remain with them throughout their life. Prayers will give us strength to face the situations and challenges of life.

Another story to emphasise on the power of namasmarana

Sai Satcharita is a treasure trove of divine experiences and messages for Sai devotees who were not able to see and interact with Baba physically.

Bow to Shri Sai and peace be to all

Courtesy- Sri Sai Satcharita




Master’s messages-Vol 1- 3.5- Keep the faith in the Lord

Keep the faith in the Lord undiminished

faith in god

One must keep their faith in the Lord undiminished. Biggest obstacle is ego and possessiveness. These are with us since many ages. It can removed only by discrimination and renunciation. Bhakti, japam, dhyanam and yoga will help to remove this quickly. We must proceed slowly and steadily, making sure of each step as we proceed; so that we do not fall backwards.

Story of the week

Sai Satcharita- Chapter 2- Stories and essence- Need for a Guru

sai satcharita 1

Value- Truth

Sub value- Importance of a Guru

Hemadpant (author of Sai Satcharita) was very friendly with the Sai devotees; Kakasaheb Dixit and Nanasaheb Chandorkar. They insisted that he visit Shirdi and receive Baba’s darshan. He promised them to do so. But something happened meanwhile which prevented him from going to Shirdi. One of his friend’s son fell ill; and his friend tried all possible means, physical and spiritual, but the son’s fever did not abate. Then the friend got his Guru to sit by the side of his son’s bed, but this too was of no avail.

Hearing this, Hemadpant thought to himself, “What is the utility of the Guru, if he could not save my friend’s son? If the Guru can’t do anything for us, why should I go to Shirdi at all?” Thinking in this way, he postponed his Shirdi trip. But the inevitable must happen and it happened in his case.

His friend; Mr. Nanasaheb Chandorkar on his way to an official trip happened to meet Hemadpant and took him to task for putting off his Shirdi trip. Nana’s argument regarding the Shirdi trip was convincing and delightful, and so Hemadpant decided to start for Shirdi the same night.

He packed his luggage and started for Shirdi. He planned to go to Dadar (in Mumbai) ; from there to take the train for Manmad (a station closer to Shirdi), and so he booked himself a ticket to Dadar , sat in the train. As the train was about to start, a Muslim man came hastily to his compartment and seeing all his luggage etc asked him where he was bound to. When Hemadpant told him his plan; the man suggested that he should go straight to Boribunder (another station in Mumbai) and not get down at Dadar, for the Manmad Mail (the train) did not stop at Dadar at all. If this little miracle had not happened, Hemadpant would not have reached Shirdi the next day as desired and many doubts would have assailed him.

He reached Shirdi the next day before 10 A.M. Kaka Dixit was waiting for him there. This was in 1910 and there was only one place, Sathe’s Wada, for lodging pilgrim devotees. After alighting from the tanga(a small horse-drawn carriage) Hemadpant was anxious to receive Baba’s darshan when the great devotee, Tatyasaheb Noolkar, returned from the Masjid. He told him that Sai Baba was at the corner of the Wada and that he should first receive Baba’s preliminary darshan and then, after a bath, see Him at leisure. Hearing this, Hemadpant ran and prostrated before Baba and his joy knew no bounds. He found more than what Nana Chandorkar had told him about. All his senses were satisfied and he forgot thirst and hunger. The moment he touched Sai Baba’s feet, he began a new lease of life.

The peculiarity of receiving Sai Baba’s darshan , he discovered later , was  that ones thoughts were changed, the force of previous actions  abated and gradually non-attachment or dispassion towards worldly objects grew. It was by the merit of actions in many past births that such darshana was attained, and when one saw Sai Baba, the entire world became  or assumed the form of Sai Baba.

The day Hemadpant arrived in Shirdi, there was an argument between him and Balasaheb Bhate (another devotee), regarding the necessity of a Guru. Hemadpant contended, “Why should we lose our freedom and submit to others? When we have to do our duty, why is a Guru necessary? One must try his best and save himself; What can the Guru do for a man who does nothing but sleeps indolently?” And Mr. Bhate took up the other side, and said, “Whatever is bound to happen must happen; Even great men have failed; man proposes one way, but God disposes the other way. Brush aside your cleverness; Pride or egoism won’t help you.” This discussion, with all its pros and cons went on for an hour or so and as usual they did not arrive at a decision. They had to stop the discussion ultimately, as both were exhausted. The net result of this was that Hemadpant lost his peace of mind and discovered that when there is  strong body-consciousness and egoism, there will be  argument. In other words, it is egoism which breeds arguments.

When they later went to the Masjid, Baba asked Kakasaheb Dixit, “What was going on in the Wada? What was the discussion about?” and staring at Hemadpant, Baba added, “What did this Hemadpant say?”

Hearing these words, Hemadpant was rather surprised, since the Masjid was at a considerable distance from Sathe’s Wada, where the discussion had happened. How could Baba know about their discussion, unless He was omniscient and the Inner Ruler of  all?

The day after Hemadpant’s first meeting with Sai Baba, Kakasaheb went to Baba and asked whether he should leave Shirdi. Baba said, “Yes”. Then someone asked, “Baba, where should he go?” Baba replied, “High up.” Then the man asked, “How is the way that leads there?” Baba said, “There are many ways leading there; there is one way from here too (Shirdi). The way that begins here is difficult. There are tigers and wolves in the jungles on the way.” Kakasaheb then asked, “But Baba, what if we take a guide with us?” Baba answered, “Then there is no difficulty. The guide will take you straight to your destination, avoiding wolves, tigers and ditches on the way. If there is no guide, there is the danger of your being lost in the jungle or falling into ditches.”

Hemadpant was present on this occasion and he thought that this was the answer Baba gave to the question about whether a Guru was necessary. Thus, he took the hint that no discussion of the question− whether man is free or bound− is of any use in spiritual matters. On the contrary, real Paramartha (knowing the ultimate truth) is possible only as a result of the teachings of the Guru. This is illustrated by the examples of great Avatars like Rama and Krishna, who had to submit themselves to their Gurus− Vasishtha and Sandipani respectively− to attain self- realization. Therefore, the only virtues necessary for such progress are faith and patience.


The Guru Gita (verse 17) aptly describes the guru as “dispeller of darkness” (from gu, “darkness” and ru, “that which dispels”). A true, God-illumined guru is one who, in his attainment of self-mastery, has realized his identity with the omnipresent Spirit. Such a one is uniquely qualified to lead the seeker on his or her inward journey toward perfection. The guru-disciple relationship is the highest expression of friendship, for it is based on unconditional divine love and wisdom.

When we are moving blindly through the valley of life, stumbling in darkness, we need the help of someone who has eyes. We need a guru. To follow one who is enlightened is the only way out of the great muddle that has been created in the world.


Through sympathy and deep vision, a true guru sees the Lord suffering in the physically, mentally, and spiritually poor, and that is why he feels it his joyous duty to assist them. He tries to feed the hungry God in the destitute, to stir the sleeping God in the ignorant, to love the unconscious God in the enemy, and to waken the half-asleep God in the yearning devotee. And by a gentle touch of love, he instantaneously arouses the almost fully awakened God in the advanced seeker. The guru is, among all men, the best of givers. Like the Lord Himself, his generosity knows no boundaries. Such a guru is a human vehicle whose body, speech, mind, and spirituality God uses as a channel to attract and guide lost souls back to His home of immortality.

Saibaba was one such Guru.

For Children

From  this story children will be grasp  that Sai Baba was omniscient (one who knows everything). He is the Inner Ruler dwelling in each one of us, as divinity. He knew about the discussion of the author and another devotee on ‘the need for Guru’ at the Wada which was far away from the Masjid; though He was not present there physically. The kids are led to see Baba’s love for the author,Hemadpant in this case; as to how Baba drew him closer to Himself , made the author come to Shirdi through the author’s friends;  as well as  through the Muslim gentleman in the train; despite the fact that the author had not met Baba ; also was  hesitant to accept a Guru, after he heard of his friend’s son’s story.

Children also learn about the Selfless love Baba  had for all. He did not expect anything from the people who visited Him. He was only interested in leading them to  the right path of life. It was an unconditional love.

We must also try to help the needy whenever we can without any expectations. This will give us immense happiness from within.

To teach the above lessons a teacher or a Guru is needed. Children should develop the right values from young age. It is said that a small plant can be moulded but a tree will break when trying to mould it; which means children at a younger age can absorb whatever is taught to them and this age can be used to teach them the human values of love, truth, peace etc rather than when they grow old when they already have their own mindset. A true guru will guide them in the right path and make them a good human being by guarding them and empowering them with the right values taught to them. A true Guru will lead by example.

The need for a guru can be learned more from this parable of Sri Rama Krishna Paramahamsa.

Sai Satcharita is a treasure trove of divine experiences and messages for Sai devotees who were not able to see and interact with Baba physically.

Bow to Shri Sai and peace be to all

Courtesy- Sri Sai Satcharita



Bhaja Govindam- Verse 30 with stories and essence


Verse 30

Prāṇāyāmaṁ pratyāhāraṁ nityānitya vivekavicāram,

jāpyasameta samādhividhānaṁ kurvavadhānaṁ mahadavadhānam 

The control of breath, the sense withdrawal, discriminating between the permanent and the impermanent, along with a mind that is absorbed in doing  japa, perform these with care, with great care.

Story based on Verse 30


In this verse we are told by Shankara what to do in order to withdraw our mind from this preoccupation with artha and kāma, so that the attention of the mind can be drawn to what we really have to do.

The first step is the practice of discipline and having a sense of proportion in all our activities, through self-control (control of breath and control over our sense enjoyments) and alertness. The second is the withdrawing of the mind from its external preoccupations and focusing it upon the self.

There must be a sense of proportion in everything that we do in our life. In āhara, food, and in vihāra, walking, moving around and in whatever karma we perform. When we talk, we must talk what is necessary, what is proper, what is right, what is pleasant and what is truthful. In whatever we do, we must always be alert.

Let our mind become enquiring, thinking or contemplative and not take things for granted. There are so many notions and assumptions in our life, which we have never stopped to analyse and to seek what is permanent. By practising sense control it is possible to understand what is permanent and what is impermanent, what is desirable and what is not desirable, what is conducive to our goal and what is not.

The study of Vedanta also helps us develop the ability to discriminate between the truth and the untruth, the real and the unreal.

Samādhi means the relaxation of the mind, the absorption of the mind. When the mind is devoid of the various distractions and disturbances, it becomes silent. That silence is the total relaxation of the mind, the absorption or total abidance of the mind. How is that to be achieved? By doing  japa or the repetition of a holy name in the mind. It prepares the mind and cleanses the mind, purifies the mind and makes it silent. Ultimately, that silent mind can have abidance in the self.

We should do this every day with great care and patience.

In the practice of aṣṭānga-yoga, meditation or dhyānam is only the seventh stage: yama or restraint, niyama or good conduct, āsana or correct posture, prāṇāyama or regulation of breath, pratyāhāra or withdrawal of the mind, dhāranā or fixing the mind, and then dhyānam or meditation. Only when we have completed the first 6 stages is our mind is ready for dhyānam.

Yama is having the values of life like non-violence, honesty, self-control, truthfulness, and non-possession. Niyama is santoṣa or contentment, tapaḥ or austerity, saucam or inner and outer cleanliness, svādhyaya or the study of scriptures, and Īṣvara pranidhanam or the worship of the Lord.

Āsana is control at the level of the body. Prāṇāyama is the control of the breath. Pratyāhāra is the withdrawal of the senses. Dhārana is the ability to concentrate. Then comes dhyānam, meditation. Therefore, the whole life is designed for accomplishing the goal that we are discussing.

For students

Children should be taught about the value of being moderate. The middle path is the best path. Everything from moderation in eating, playing, studying etc can be inculcated from a young age. This will teach them the value of food by not wasting excess food, managing time well by balancing both studies and playing.

Another important lesson is to be focussed. Never letting go the sight of the goal. Always being alert and aware of distractions when pursuing the goal.

Such students will have a well-rounded personality and be happy who will in turn grow up to be contented adults. All these values if developed from young will make their life meaningful, contented and balanced. It will be easy for such people to understand the above verse and to realise the difference between what is real and what is unreal and work towards attaining that goal by always being alert and aware.

Essence adapted from

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