Bhaja Govindam Story 18- Verse 17

Verse 17

Kurute Gangasagaragamanam

Vrataparipalanamathava Danam

Jnanavihinah Sarvamatena

Bhajati Na Muktim Janmasatena


One may, in pilgrimage, go to where the Ganges meets the ocean, called Gangasagara, or observe vows, or distribute gifts in charity.  If he is devoid of first-hand-experience of Truth (Jnanam), according to all schools of thought, he gains to release, even in a hundred lives. O foolish mind; seek Govinda.


Story based on Verse 17

The Jnani & The Siddha

Prabhulinga, the founder of the Lingayat sect (now mostly prevalent in Karnataka State), was touring the land for the uplift of the spiritually minded. He met the famous Yogi Gorakhnath in Gokarnam (a famous place of Hindu pilgrimage on the west coast of India). The Yogi welcomed him respectfully out was however, proudly conscious of his own extraordinary powers over the elements. He considered his guest more or less his equal, expressed pleasure at meeting him, and upon greeting him, asked who he was.


Prabhulinga replied that only the one who had destroyed his ego, root and branch, and had thereby realised himself could know who he was, and wondered what he could say to a nonentity, a person who clung to his perishable body. Gorakhnath who identified his body as himself replied, “That person alone who has gained the immortality of the body, by the favour of Siva and consumption of Gulikas (medicinal herbs), will never die. Therefore one who has not gained such immortality dies”.

Prahhulinga remarked that knowledge consists in realising one’s Self and not in immortalising the body, and went on to explain at length that the body cannot be the real Self. However, Gorakhnath could not be persuaded and would not budge an inch from his ground. He proudly challenged Prabhulinga to try cutting his body, handing him a long, bright and sharp sword. When the sword struck the body of Gorakhnath it caused him no injury but was itself blunted.

Prabhulinna feigned surprise and asked Gorakhnath to try cutting his body. At first Gorakhnath hesitated to do so, saying that Prabhulinga would die, but when Prabhulinga insisted, he took up the sword and tried to cut his body. To the great surprise of Gorakhnath the sword passed easily through the body of Prabhulinga without affecting it in any way. It was as if the sword were passing through empty space!

Only then was Gorakhnath the Siddha, ready to acknowledge the superiority of Prabhulinga the Jnani. Thus his pride was humbled and he prayed to Prabhulinga to teach him the Truth. Prabhulinga then expounded Brahma-Vidya to Gorakhnath as follows: “Gorakhnath, do not think your body to be your Self Seek the Indweller (the cave-dweller) end you will once and for all rid yourself of the disease of birth and death. The cave is your heart only; the In-dweller thereof is called God, and I am that”.


The veda has two portions, the ritualistic ie karma kanda and the knowledge portion ie jnana kanda. All ritualistic portions unfold discipline but that is not to be taken as be all and end all of the total understanding.  When rituals are not backed with understanding and knowledge they become futile. There is an essential practice and a secondary practise. The secondary practise like rituals equip one with discipline, faith, patience, detachment which are essential for the purification of the mind but the real essential practice is true wisdom. True knowledge is the knowledge of the self. Mala, vikshepa and avarana ie the ego covers and projects the unreal into which we are dragged. Unless we come out of it; we cannot realise the self.


Courtesy- Story- Spiritual Stories by Ramana Maharishi

Essence- Bhaja Govindam by Swami Sukhbodananda


Receive the knowledge of the Supreme

Value- Right conduct

Sub value-Self control

Once a disciple went to a preceptor and requested him to impart to him the Supreme knowledge of the Omniself (Brahma Thathwam). The Guru gave him a mantra and asked him to chant it continually without any selfish desire. The Guru told him that after he had done this sadhana for one whole year he could come to receive the knowledge of the Supreme (Brahma Jnana).


The disciple approached his Guru after one year and told him “Oh revered one! I have recited the mantra for one whole year”. He was eagerly awaiting the preceptor’s answer. He thought that his Guru would certainly impart to him the knowledge of the Supreme. Just then, unaware of the presence of the disciple, the maid servant was sweeping the ashram premises and the dust from the ground fell on the young man. The disciple flew into a rage, because he had come to the ashram after a sacred bath and the dust had sullied his body. He looked at her with anger and the maid was filled with fear. The Preceptor was watching the entire scene.

The Guru said “you are not competent to receive the knowledge. You got angry with the maid servant who unwittingly caused some dust to fall on you. How can Brahma Jnana be imparted to one, who has not that much of endurance? Go back and practice the Sadhana for one more year”.

At the end of the second year the disciple was about to enter the ashram. According to the instructions of the Guru the maid servant once again let the dust fall on the disciple in full measure. The disciple grew indignant and wanted to beat her, but somehow, refrained from doing so.

The disciple approached the Guru and paid his respect. The Guru told him: “You are still not competent to receive the knowledge. Last year you exhibited the qualities of a snake and now those of a dog. Come back after ridding yourself of these animal qualities”.

At the end of the third year, the disciple entered the ashram premises after taking a sacred bath. As per the instructions of the Guru the maid servant poured some dirty water on the disciple. The disciple calmly offered his salutations to the maid and said, “Mother! I offer my salutation to you. You have helped me to acquire the greatest virtue, forbearance. Now I am worthy enough to receive the grace of my Guru. I shall always be grateful to you”.

As soon as the disciple prostrated before the Guru, the Guru endearingly said: “Son! Now you are quite competent to receive the knowledge of the Supreme”.


The spiritual practices of chanting the Lord’s name, doing selfless service, reading the scriptures, leading a noble life are all the initial things to start off in a spiritual journey. One has to develop self control and work on oneself to eliminate the ego. When one is mature in this and then begins the quest of self realisation; he attains the knowledge when the time is right. A fruit when it is green will not fall even if the gale is furious, but when it is fully ripe it drops to the ground even in the silence of the night.

From- Chinna katha stories by Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Bhaja Govindam- Story 17- Verse 16


Verse 16

Agre Vahnih Prsthe Bhanuh

Ratrau Cubukasamarpitajanuh


Tadapi Na Muncatyasapasah



In front of the fire, at the back of the sun, late at night he sits with his knees held to his chin; he receives alms in his own scooped palm and lives under the shelter of some tree, and yet the noose of desire spares him not. O Foolish mind; Seek Govinda !

Story based on Verse 16

Vithoba found Namdev had not yet realised the Supreme Truth and wanted to teach him. When Jnaneswar and Namdev returned from their pilgrimage, Gora Kumbhar gave a feast to all the saints in his place and among them were Jnaneswar and Namdev. At the feast Jnaneswar, in collusion with Gora, told Gora publicly, “You are a potter, daily engaged in making pots and testing them to see which are properly baked and which are not. These pots before you (i.e., the saints) are the pots of Brahma. See which of these are sound and which not.”

Thereupon Gora said, “Yes, Swami, I shall do so,” and took up the stick with which he used to tap his pots to test their soundness. Holding it aloft in his hand he went to each of his guests and tapped each on the head as he usually did to his pots. Each guest humbly submitted to such tapping. But when Gora approached Namdev, the latter indignantly called out, “You potter, what do you mean by coming to tap me with that stick?” Gora thereupon told Jnaneswar, “Swami, all the other pots have been properly baked. This one (i.e. Namdev) alone is not yet properly baked.” All the assembled guests burst into laughter.


Namdev felt greatly humiliated and ran up to Vitthala (the deity he worshipped) with whom he was on the most intimate terms, playing with him, eating with him, sleeping with him and so on. Namdev complained of this humiliation which had happened to him, the closest friend and companion of Vitthala. Vitthala (who of course knew all this) pretended to sympathise with him, asked for all the details of the happenings at Gora’s house and after hearing everything said, “Why should you not have kept quiet and submitted to the tapping, as all the others did? That is why all this trouble has come.” Thereupon Namdev cried all the more and said, “You also want to join the others and humiliate me. Why should I have submitted like the others? Am I not your closest friend, your child?” Vitthala said, “You have not yet properly understood the truth, and you won’t understand if I tell you. But go to the saint who is in a ruined temple in such and such a forest. He will be able to give you enlightenment.”

Namdev accordingly went there and found an old, unassuming man sleeping in a corner of the temple with his feet on a Sivalingam. Namdev could hardly believe this was the man from whom he – the companion of Vitthala – was to gain enlightenment. However, as there was none else there, Namdev went near the man and clapped his hands. The old man woke up with a start and seeing Namdev, said, “Oh – you are Namdev whom Vitthala has sent here. Come!” Namdev was dumbfounded and began to think, “This must be a great man.” Still he thought it was revolting that any man however great, should be resting his feet on a lingam. He asked the old man, “You seem to be a great personage. But is it proper for you to have your feet on a lingam?” The old man replied, “Oh, are my feet on a lingam? Where is it? Please remove my feet elsewhere.” Namdev removed the feet and put them in various places. Wherever they were put, there was a Sivalingam. Finally, he took them on his lap and he himself became a Sivalingam! Then he realised the truth and the old gentleman said, “Now you can go back.”

In the story above; “It is to be noted that only when he surrendered himself, and touched the feet of his guru, enlightenment came. After this final enlightenment Namdev returned to his house and for some days did not go to Vitthala at the temple, though it had been his habit not only to visit Vitthala every day, but to spend most of his time with Vitthala at the temple. So, after a few days, Vitthala went to Namdev’s house and like a guileless soul, enquired how it was that Namdev had forgotten him and never visited him. Namdev replied, ‘No more of your fooling me. I know now. Where is the place where you are not! To be with you, should I go to the temple? Do I exist apart from you?’ Then Vitthala said, ‘So you now understand the truth. That is why you had to be sent for this final lesson’.”

The external rituals of going on a pilgrimage, doing charity, reading scriptures equip one with discipline, faith, patience etc which are essential for purification of mind but the real essential practice is true wisdom for which one has to know the self. One who knows the self is not bound by false. The ignorant are clouded by the ego. The ego is a substitute self and not the real self. EGO is Edging God Out. As we are not aware of our true state, there is presence of ego. The absence of true Self creates the presence of the false self.

However good we are externally; if we still have ego within which clouds us; we will keep on having more desires. The Master says; one must work on this and come out of the false Self to the true Self so, O foolish mind; seek Govinda.

Story- Spiritual stories as told by Ramana Maharishi

Essence adapted from Bhaja Govindam by Swami Sukhbodananda

The saint and the cow


Value- Peace

Sub value- Perseverance, patience

There was a great saint called Swami Narayana. His followers are very large in the area of Gujarat, though he hailed from Uttar Pradesh. One day he observed some villagers struggling with a cow. They were unable to milk it because it was giving a kick the moment anybody approached it. They could not go near the cow. Whenever it felt that somebody was coming near it, it would kick with its foot.


Swami Narayana was not only a saint but also a seeker in himself. He told these villagers, “I shall find a way of stopping this kicking.” He took a long stick and, sitting a little away from the cow, slowly touched the cow’s leg with that stick; it gave a kick immediately. After a few seconds he again touched it; it gave another kick. He sat there for the whole day, without taking food from morning to evening, doing only one work – touching the leg of the cow with the stick. To the surprise of all the people who were witnessing this phenomenon, for a continuous twelve hours, this touching went on. How long will the cow give a kick? It is also a living being. It got fed up, tired, and stopped kicking. Then he told them to milk the cow; it never kicked afterwards.

The mind is turbulent in some way of this kind. It has to be treated in the same way as the swami treated the cow. Whatever we say, the mind will not agree. It has its own voice and something else to say, quite different from what we are wanting it to do. If we say, “Do this,” it will say, “No, I will do another thing.”


Control of mind, senses and desires is not easy; but with constant practice one can tame the mind.

Bhaja Govindam- Story 16- Verse 15


Verse 15

Angam Galitam Palitam Mundam

Dasanavihinam Jatam Tundam

Vrddho Yati Grhitva Dandam

Tadapi Na Muncatyasapindam

The body has become worn out.  The head has turned grey.  The mouth has become toothless.  The old man moves about leaning on his staff.  Even then he leaves not the bundle of his desires.

O foolish mind; seek Govinda!

Story based on Verse 15



Desires never leave us. There is no limit to desires. If one is fulfilled the other keeps rising. This continues with us till our last breath unless we understand the truth. Life is like a circle which has a centre and a periphery. Most of our lives are spent in the periphery; seeking the external material life that we forget to look within ie the centre. Body changes every day; grey hair, losing tooth are all part of life it is inevitable; it is also the indication for one to realise that slowly start giving up attachments; understand the reality so that you can be in peace. One lives in despair, unhappiness because one lives in desires; in darkness. Only through the grace of the Lord we can see light; that will happen when we leave the desires. Man gets attached to wealth, family etc which he has to leave one day; when we know that fact then why do we not let go of our desires and worries handing over to Him; who is our caretaker. When we develop the habit of taking out some time during our younger days to contemplate and work on understanding the reality; we will be much happier in our old age. It doesn’t mean to say that we don’t live a comfortable, happy life; just that enjoy it but don’t hold on it; be dispassionate; always remembering within; that one day we have to leave it. So the Master exhorts; take out time for that contemplation; seek Govinda.

A true friend

Value- Right conduct

Sub value- Friendship

He called his friend; and told him: “I’m in need of money, my mom is sick and I have no money for her treatment.”


His friend said: ” Alright my dear friend, just call me later after sometime.”

He called him but his phone was switched off.

He kept calling over and over again, until he got tired.

And went to search for another friend who can help him with the treatment fee.

But he couldn’t find anyone who can help.

He returned back to home and found a bag of medications near his mother’s pillow and she was sleeping.

He asked his brother, the brother told him: “your friend came and collected the prescriptions and brought these medicines, he just went out not long ago”.

He smiled and with tears in his eyes he went out to look for his friend, and when he found him; he asked him : “where have u been, I have been calling you since but your phone was switched off..?”

The friend replied: “I sold my phone and bought the medications for your mom”


A friend in need is a friend indeed. One can be called a true friend only if one is there for that friend in times of need for his support and help him/her out.

Courtesy- Whatsapp forward

Lord and his devotee

Value- Devotion

Sub value- Purity of heart

God accepts anything offered with a pure heart. There was a woman devotee, who was a worshipper of Krishna. Every morning she used to clean the Krishna shrine in her house with cowdung and throw the remnants of the cowdung outside saying “Krishnarpanam Asthu” (“Let this be an offering to Krishna”).


The priest of the local Krishna temple noticed that every morning, after he had washed and decorated the idol of Krishna with garlands, when he was offering harathi (waving of lights) to the deity, a small lump of cowdung used to fall on the face of the idol. He was deeply distressed over this strange phenomenon and told the village elders about it. They also witnessed the phenomenon in the temple and sent a vigilance squad to find out who was throwing cowdung at that time.

In one street a scout found a woman throwing cowdung outside her house, uttering the words,”Krishnarpanam.” It was found that at the same time she was throwing cowdung, the apparent desecration of the idol by cowdung was taking place in the temple. The Lord is not concerned as to what is offered to Him. He accepts whatever is offered to Him with a pure heart. In His eyes there is nothing good or bad in itself. When the woman devotee offered the cowdung as Krishnaarpanam (offering to Krishna), it reached the Krishna idol.

The village elders went to the lady and reproached her for her unbecoming conduct in offering cowdung to Krishna. They did not consider how the cowdung thrown outside her house reached the temple. They thought only of the cowdung as such and did not reckon with the power and intensity of the devotion behind the devotees’s action. Ways of devotees cannot be understood by all.


The elders summoned the husband and other relations of the old woman to hold an enquiry. The woman pleaded before them: “I am incapable of hurling cowdung on the face of my Krishna. I am ready to lay down my life for Krishna.” The elders told her to throw the cowdung and not to utter the words “Krishnaarpanam Asthu.” At the instance of her husband and other relations, she agreed to this course.

But from that day onwards, the doors in the Krishna temple would not open however much the priest and others tried to open them. The village elders realised that they had done a grievous wrong to a great devotee and pleaded for pardon from her. That moment the temple doors opened. The ways of devotees can be understood only by devotees. Others cannot understand them.


God draws the individual towards Himself. It is like the magnet attracting the iron filings. But if the iron flings are rusted the magnet cannot attract it. One must develop love, purity of heart so that the Lord is attracted and can be seated in one’s heart. He is always there but if we have the rust of ego, jealousy, hatred, anger etc we cannot see Him. So one must be pure and shine forth ones real nature to realise God.

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