Bhaja Govindam Verse 5 with story and essence


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 Verse 4 with story and essence


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 Verse 3 with story and essence


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




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