Bhaja Govindam Story 6- Verse 5


Verse 5

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

As long as there is capability to earn, so long the kith and kin are attached to you. Later on, when you come to live with an infirm body no one at home cares to speak even a word with you. O foolish mind; seek Govinda.


Story based on Verse 5

A king invited a sufi mystic for dinner. The king was waiting for him at the dining table along with other invitees who were great scholars. The Sufi mystic came dressed in ordinary clothes. Seeing this and not recognising the saint; the palace guards did not allow him inside. The Sufi mystic then changed into appropriate clothes and returned to the palace where he was welcomed. After being seated on the dining table, he removed his coat and placed it on the chair next to him. When the food was served, he offered it to the coat. This appeared ridiculous to all present there.



Such an act did not befit the wise person and all the people were surprised. The King asked the sufi saint as to why he was indulging in this silly act of feeding a non-living thing like a coat? The wise Sufi Master then responded, “I was allowed inside because of my attire ie this coat; this coat has more value and respect than me. People recognise the coat better and hence I am feeding the coat instead of myself.



Man gets attached to the material world including his family and material possessions he has. He feels that his family and friends love him. He works hard for them; doing all the best possible. As he gets older and the body becomes infirm; he realises people loved him for what he had; his possessions; what he was able to give them and not for what he actually is. He gets disillusioned. Who he thought would love him and reciprocate his feelings don’t seem to do so. This he realises very late in life. Hence Adi Shankara exhorts us to realise this early in life that love and do your duty towards others but don’t get attached to them. Instead cultivate the habit of chanting the Lord’s name who will always be with you and never desert you.



Adapted from Bhaja Govindam by Swami Sukhbodananda

Bhaja Govindam Story 5- Verse 4


Verse 4

Naliniidalagata jalamatitaralam
Viddhi vyaadhyabhimaanagrastam
Lokam shokahatam cha samastam


The water drop resting on a lotus petal has a very uncertain existence; so also is life ever unstable. Understand the very world is caught by disease and pride and is filled with sadness. So seek the Lord and chant the name of Govinda O foolish mind.


Story based on Verse 4

Life is Transitory

There was an American tourist who once went to the city of Cairo, Egypt to visit a famous wise man. When he visited the abode of that wise man; he saw a modest home with barely few furniture. The only pieces in the room were a bed, a table and a bench.


The tourist was quite surprised and asked the wise man; “Where are your other furniture?” The wise man instead of replying asked the tourist; “And where is yours?” “Mine?” responded the tourist surprised. “I am a tourist and I’m here only for a visit; just passing by”

The wise man then said; “Life here on earth is only temporal…yet, some live it as if they were going to stay here forever, forgetting to be happy.” “I also am just passing through.”


Adi Shankara explains that life is transitory like a dewdrop on the lotus. Lotus grows on muddy waters but is unaffected by the surroundings. The water drop rests on the lotus leaf but it remains unattached to it.  Similarly our transitory life is also surrounded by disease, grief, pride, ego etc and we have to learn from the lotus how to lead the life without getting attached to the temporary and seek that which is permanent. We must realise this transitory nature of life and live life meaningfully. Only by chanting the name of the Lord we can find true love, happiness and that which is permanent.


Adapted from Bhaja Govindam by Swami Sukhbodananda

Story adapted from-



Bhaja Govindam Story 3 and 4 – Verse 3


Verse 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 external appearance and looks. Bodies are made of flesh, fat and blood. Always remember this. External looks and body is temporary. Seek that which is permanent. Chant the name of Govinda O foolish mind.


Story based on Verse 3

Story from Mahabharata- Shantanu and Satyavati

One day as the king Shantanu was wandering on the banks of the Yamuna, the air was suddenly filled with a fragrance so divinely sweet that the king sought for its cause, and he traced it to a maiden so lovely that she seemed a goddess. A sage had conferred on her the boon that a divine perfume should emanate from her, and this was now pervading the whole forest.
From the moment the goddess Ganga left him, the king had kept his senses under control, but the sight of this divinely beautiful maiden burst the bonds of restraint and filled him with an overmastering desire. He asked her to be his wife.
The maiden said: “I am a fisher woman, the daughter of the chief of the fishermen. May it please you to ask him and get his consent.” Her voice was sweet as her form.
The father was an astute man.
He said: “O king, there is no doubt that this maiden, like every other, has to be married to someone and you are indeed worthy of her. Still you have to make a promise to me before you can have her.”
Santanu replied: “If it is a just promise I shall make it.”
The chief of the fisherfolk said: “The child born of this maiden should be the king after you.”
Though almost mad with passion, the king could not make this promise, as it meant setting aside the godlike Devavrata, the son of Ganga, who was entitled to the crown. It was a price that could not be thought of without shame. He therefore returned to his capital, Hastinapura, sick with baffled desire. He did not reveal the matter to anyone and languished in silence.
One day Devavrata asked his father: “My father, you have all that heart could wish. Why then are you so unhappy? How is it that you are like one pining away with a secret sorrow?”
The kind replied: “Dear son, what you say is true. I am indeed tortured with mental pain and anxiety. You are my only son and you are always preoccupied with military ambitions. Life in the world is uncertain and wars are incessant. If anything untoward befalls you our family will become extinct. Of course, you are equal to a hundred sons. Still, those who are well read in the scriptures say that in this transitory world having but one son is the same as having no son at all. It is not proper that the perpetuation of our family should depend on a single life, and above all things I desire the perpetuation of our family. This is the cause of my anguish.” The father prevaricated, being ashamed to reveal the whole story to his son.
The wise Devavrata released that there must be a secret cause for the mental condition of his father, and questioning the king’s charioteer, came to know of his meeting with the fisher maiden on the banks of the Yamuna. He went to the chief of the fishermen and be sought his daughter’s hand on his father’s behalf.

The fisherman was respectful, but firm: “My daughter is indeed fit to be the king’s spouse; then should not her son become king? But you have been crowned as the heir apparent and will naturally succeed your father. It is this that stands in the way.”

Devavrata replied: “I give you my word that the son born of this maiden shall be king, and I renounce in his fervor my right as heir apparent,” and he took a vow to that effect.
The chief of the fishermen said “O best of the Bharata race, you have done what no one else born of royal blood has done till now. You are indeed a hero. You can yourself conduct my daughter to the king, your father. Still, hear with patience these words of mine which I say as the father of the girl. I have no doubt you will keep your word, but how can I hope that the children born of you will renounce their birthright? Your sons will naturally be mighty heroes like you, and will be hard to resist if they seek to seize the kingdom by force. This is the doubt that torments me.”
When he heard this knotty question posed by the girl’s father, Devavrata, who was bent on fulfilling the king’s desire, made his supreme renunciation. He vowed with upraised arm to the father of the maiden: “I shall never marry and I dedicate myself to a life of unbroken chastity.” And as he uttered these words of renunciation the gods showered flowers on his head, and cries of “Bhishma,” “Bhishma” resounded in the air. “Bhishma” means one who undertakes a terrible vow and fulfils it. That name became the celebrated epithet of Devavrata from that time. Then the son of Ganga led the maiden Satyavati to his father.
Two sons were born of Satyavati to Santanu, Chitrangada and Vichitravirya, who ascended the throne one after the other. Vichitravirya had two sons, Dhritarashtra and Pandu, born respectively of his two queens, Ambika and Ambalika. The sons of Dhritarashtra, a hundred in number, were known as the Kauravas. Pandu had five sons who became famous as the Pandavas.
Bhishma lived long, honored by all as the pater- families until the end of the famous battle of Kurukshetra


The root cause of most of the problems is wealth and desire. In the beginning of Mahabharata itself Devavrata the first son and the rightful heir to the throne of Shantanu had to take a terrible oath of not getting married and giving up the kingdom becoming ‘Bhishma’ (meaning one who takes a terrible vow and fulfils it); to satisfy the desire of his father getting married to the fisherman chieftain’s daughter satyavati who in turn kept the demand of having the throne to his grandchildren borne by Satyavati and shantanu. Wealth and desire were the cause for this unjust demand.

Adi Shankara; reminds us that the body to which we are attracted are all short lived and made of just bones and flesh; why do we crave for things that are temporary and get deluded. In our lives we do have to pass through the stage of ‘Grahastashrama’ where one has to get married and have progeny and lead a marital life. That is common; but after a certain period of completing our duties; we should not be deluded more and more with all these desires which will not remain with us. So Shankara tells us to chant the Lord’s name which will help us in this life and beyond.

Yet another story worth reading on these lines




Value of Time- Time Management



Turn your life in just 10 minutes :

My dad once told me : “You can apply the 10 minutes mantra to turn around your life in a tremendous way.”

I didn’t understand at first. “What’s the big deal in 10 minutes?” I asked.

“There’s indeed a big deal about it. 10 minutes, believe me son, can create a marvellous difference in our life,” my dad offered wisely.

“Elaborate please, dad,”

“I’ll tell you. But first, you’ve to get up tomorrow at 6.00 am.” My dad conditioned. I agreed.

Next day, as I woke up at the agreed time, my dad came to my room.

“What’s the time?”

“6.00 am” I replied.

“Okay, so before you can follow the 10 minutes mantra, you have to follow the art of being aware about the clock,”

I was confused. My dad continued, “Look at the clock. It’s 6.00 am. Now within 10 minutes I ask you to do the following – Arrange your bed and your table; drink two glasses of water, wash your face and brush your teeth. But keep looking at your clock while doing these. That’s it”

“Well…Okay,” I said, thinking what could be the catch my dad wanted me to capture.

I began and started doing all he asked. All the time, I kept glancing at the wall clock. Finally after 10 minutes (or 30 seconds earlier to be exact) I had finished it all.

“Well done, boy. You have turned around your life!” My dad praised, patting on my back.

“What?” I was astonished and puzzled, unable to grasp, and asked earnestly “I didn’t get you, dad.”

“Think, son, think!” My dad urged, “Recall your earlier days. How did your day started off?”

I racked my brains and pondered over. Usually, I wake up at 6.00 am. Then, I wander off, yawning lazily and even sleep for some more minutes or sit idly on my chair, my thoughts in thousand directions. And, by the time I finish the above activities, it was already past 7.00 am.

“And today, it’s just 6.10 am” my dad said as if he read my mind.

“Yes!” I exclaimed, starting to understand.

“So what made you do it?” my dad asked.

I thought. What made me do it? Because my dad told me to do? No, no. There was more to it. And then it hit me.

“ The art of being aware about the clock!” I almost shouted.

“Yes and also ten minutes.” My dad said, smiling at my wonderstruck face.

My dad explained: “By _setting your eyes on the clock and thinking about 10 minutes, your mind got focused in that span of 10 minutes. It was just like a deadline or a due date. The “10 minutes” deadline kept your mind in the present; in the “NOW ” and prevented you from wandering off.”

I was impressed. Just a matter of meagre 10 minutes had such a mighty effect! I had completed all those routine activities on time. Now, I felt I have so much time ahead (as compared to 7.00am, it was just 6.10 am!). With so much time saved, I could work on creative and productive activities, instead of loitering around aimlessly. Time is indeed, the most precious thing on earth.

A question piqued my curiosity, “Dad, why only 10 minutes. Why can’t we divide our activities into 1 hour slots?”

“Good question,” my dad said, “we can. But Shorter the time, more productive you will get. Imagine, if I told you to do those routine activities in 1 hour? Your mind will make your actions slower because you’ll think you have enough time to do it. Even if an activity takes 1 hour, you can segment it into 10 minutes slots.”

“Give an example,” I was eager to know more.

“You can, for instance, segment your workout time,” my dad resumed. “10 minutes- warm-up; 10 minutes- stretching and 10 minutes-yoga,”

“Really amazing, dad; this 10 minutes stuff can make your life on a roll! Instead of long bouts of inactivity, once can benefit from the short bursts of creativity!”

“Yes. The 10 minutes stuff is just an idea. You can also make it 15 minutes or 20 minutes but not longer than that.” My dad paused and continued :

“The 10 minutes mantra can be applied in every aspect of life. A student, a professional, a businessman or anyone can apply this simple but successful technique. Take an example of student. The student can allot 10 minutes time for a topic. After that, he/she can take 2 minutes rest and resume for another ten minutes. He or she can also take time off and read a good book for 10 minutes or allot just 10 minutes for walking. All a student has to do is to be aware of the clock.

Elaborating it further, we humans have a tendency to keep on delaying small things. We know we have to pay bills on time, and still we delay it beyond the due dates. We are aware that our bike’s tyres need to get pumped, yet we don’t care to stop by the car-shop we pass every day. We promise ourselves to go to a temple on a particular day, yet we never seem to keep our own promise on time. Why? Because our mind wanders off and deems such things as unimportant. If we vow to take just 10 minutes or 20 minutes of our entire 24 hours, we would never procrastinate and our life will be million times better.”

My dad concluded: “ The 10 minutes, if followed consistently, can have a tremendous effect in anyone’s lifestyle. Procrastination and Idleness will vanish away replaced by Focus and Intensity. People will tell you they are short of time. No time for the loved ones, no time for pursuing their dreams, no time to eat, no time for their health as if they are the most busiest people on earth! It’s the lamest excuse one can give.

The 10 minutes mantra can keep us Organized, keep our otherwise disoriented thoughts in check, Balance our life fruitfully and help us to have enough time in our hands. So follow this 10 minutes mantra and see your life turn around at a miraculous pace…..!”

Courtesy-Fb share

Bhaja Govindam- Verse 2- Story 2


Verse 2

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

Oh foolish one; give up the passion to possess wealth and understand the reality. Be content with what you get through your honest actions. Seek Govinda, Seek Govinda


Story based on Verse 2

Monkey and the peanuts

There is story about how a monkey catcher catches the monkeys. A monkey catcher saw lot of monkeys on a tree and came up with an idea how to catch those.

He got a lot of peanuts and stored them in a long but narrow necked jar and left it below the tree. The monkeys were watching this. Monkeys love the peanuts and were waiting for the monkey catcher to leave.


As soon as he left; the monkey jumped down and slipped its hand through the mouth of the jar to grab the peanuts. It was happy to have so many in its hand and quickly tried to pull up its hand to eat the peanuts. Try as much as it may; it couldn’t pull its hand out. The hand had got stuck in the narrow neck of the jar.

The monkey was so attached to the peanuts and had closed them in its fist and refusing to let go of them. As a result of this; it couldn’t remove its hands from the jar. It got stuck and soon the monkey catcher came happily and took the monkey away.

If only the monkey had let go of the peanuts; it would have escaped. But the attachment and greed to the peanuts did not allow it to do that and as a result it got stuck and ultimately became miserable having been caught in the hands of the monkey catcher.


Adi Shankara tells us to bring understanding and awareness in our lives; to develop love and will for detachment. One can earn money which is very essential; but earn it with honest means. Be contented with what we earn this way. One should give up the delusion, illusion and attachment towards wealth. The more we are attached and refuse to let go; we will be caught in the trap like the monkey. It is said, “There is enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed”. Greed makes one earn through wrong means and not parting our wealth to help the needy. When money is earned out of love, honesty, sincerity; it is more fulfilling. So Shankara exhorts; Oh foolish mind; develop the sense of detachment and live through honest means and seek Govinda.

Adapted from Bhaja Govindam by Swami Sukhbodananda


The importance of Guru

Value- Truth

Subvalue-Wisdom, Guidance

In the early years when Swami Vivekananda first visited Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda  asked ‘I have read the Bhagavad Gita and other scriptures several times, I lecture and give discourses on the Gita and Ramayana. Do I still need  the harbor of a saint; do I still need a guru?’


Ramakrishna didn’t reply to Vivekananda’s question. After a few days Ramakrishna called upon Vivekananda and handed him a parcel to be delivered at a nearby village a few hours away by the sea route. Early morning the boat and sailor would be ready and all he needed to do was to go to the village and deliver the parcel to the designated person.

Vivekananda agreed and decided to start early. He found the boat and the sailor ready to put out to sea. While seated  in the boat, Vivekananda suddenly realized that he didn’t know the road to the village. He checked with the sailor  to find out if the sailor knew the way to the place, but the sailor  had no clue, either. Vivekananda decided to go back to his guru to ask him the shortest way to the village.

Upon this Ramakrishna said, ‘Narendra, this is my reply to the question you asked me when we met the first time: Today, you have the medium (the boat), you have the resource (the sailor), you have the road (the sea), you know what to do (deliver the parcel) and you also know where to go but you don’t know the way. Likewise you have read all the scriptures, and you can conduct wonderful discourses on them. However, to realize the wisdom of scriptures one needs a guru, someone who has already traversed that path so that he can guide you through the journey and encourage you to not give up.’


A teacher or a guru especially who has traversed or experienced life is the one capable of teaching and guiding us. If we find such a Guru we must hold on to Him so that we can face our life in a better and more easier manner.

Bhaja Govindam Story-1- Introduction and Verse 1


Composed by the great saint Sri Adi Shankaracharya, Bhaja Govindam is one of the most lucid yet insightful works of Vedanta.

It was on one of those days when Shankara and his disciples were travelling that they passed through Benaras, a holy city of India. Along the way, Shankara overheard an old pundit, scholar, memorising Panini’s grammar rules. He observed how the pundit memorised the grammar rules but missed the message of what he was studying and this inspired a masterful oration by Shankara that we call the Bhaja Govindam.

Verse 1

Bhajagovindam bhajagovindam
Govindam bhajamuudhamate
Sampraapte sannihite kaale
Nahi nahi rakshati dukrijnkarane

Worship Govinda; Oh foolish mind. The learnings of grammar will not help you in your last moments of life.

Story based on Verse 1

Akbar and the Sufi Saint


A great Sufi fakir once wanted some help from Emperor Akbar. He proceeded to the palace to meet Akbar. When he reached the palace; the king was in his prayer, the fakir waited patiently for the king to finish his prayers. Akbar was praying with raised hands towards the sky and asking God for more wealth and power.

Seeing this; the fakir turned away. Just then Akbar finished his prayer. He stood up and saw the fakir going out of the room. He rushed, fell to his feet and asked the purpose of his visit.

The fakir said, “I came seeking something from you but when I saw you seeking something from the Lord, I wondered what can one beggar give another one. I am a beggar, a fakir; but you are a greater beggar. I just beg for food and mundane things, but you beg for bigger things like wealth and glory. I would rather ask God directly what I need than asking to you.”

Akbar understood and realised how poor and insecure he was; though he was an Emperor



Adi Shankara questions us; what is it that we are begging for? Our begging can also be foolish. He says- fool-mudhamate; because in the very devotion if one cannot discover fulfillment, then the devotion is means to an end. Is our devotion an extension like barter system with the Lord? Adi Shankara wants us to create devotion, void of any expectation. Love directed towards Truth is bhakti. A true devotee knows and has the experience that devotion devoid of foolish desires is security in itself. All external objects do not protect us; only true devotion protects us. Yes, being in this world; one has to accomplish his material needs as well; but along with it true devotion is very important for one to know the difference between need and greed which causes insecurity and unhappiness throughout one’s life as well as at one’s last moments.

Adapted from Bhaja Govindam by Swami Sukhbodananda


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