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


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