Bhaja Govindam- Verse 31 with stories and essence


Verse 31

Gurucaraṇāmbuja nirbhara bhaktaḥ

saṁsārādacirādbhava muktaḥ,

sendriyamānasa niyamādevaṁ

drakṣyasi nija hṛdayasthaṁ devam 

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.




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 inquiring, 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 practicing 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

Bhaja Govindam- Verse 29 with stories and essence



Verse 29

Arthamanarthaṁ bhāvaya nityaṁ

nāstitataḥ sukhaleśaḥ satyam,

putrādapi dhana bhājāṁ bhītiḥ

sarvatraiṣā vihitā rītiḥ.

‘Wealth is calamitous’ thus reflect constantly. The truth is that there is not even an iota of happiness to be got from it. To the rich, there is fear even from one’s own son. This is the way with wealth everywhere.

Story based on this verse

In this verse, we are again told of a very harsh or bitter fact about life concerning wealth or money.

Artha means wealth, it also includes other things like power, possessions, etc. One of the meanings of artha is wealth. Artha also denotes that which is meaningful. That which is sought by a puruṣa or person is puruṣārtha. So artha means that which is sought, or that which is desirable. Here, Shankara says, all artham is anartham, meaning undesirable or calamitous. Artha is something that is seen to bring a fulfilment to life, but what we call artha only brings about anartha or calamity in life.


We often hear teachers of Vedanta condemning wealth, desire, and pleasure. Why do they always talk about this? It is because there is pain and exertion involved in procuring wealth. Wealth does not come free. One has to toil for wealth.

Money brings about anxiety, greed jealousy and fear. Having procured wealth, are we free from worries and anxieties? Not really. There is the anxiety of protecting the wealth.

Money always creates greed. Howsoever much we have, we feel that we don’t have enough.

People associate pride with having money. When money comes to me, not only are we not satisfied with what we have, but we always compare ourselves with others.

People who possess wealth have a secret fear of those who do not have it. They feel that others who do not have it are seeking an opportunity to exploit them.

Money also brings suspicion. We can’t trust anybody.

Wherever money is, it divides. The wealthy fear or suspect even their own sons. If a parent makes the mistake of distributing all his or her wealth to their children, they are thrown out of the house the very soon. Therefore, everybody wants to hold on to it until death and the children wait for him to pass on. It is amazing how all the love and affection goes away when this calculation of money comes into the equation.

These verses were composed about 1200 to 1500 years ago, but they sound so modern and are so relevant even today. It just goes to show that all of this existed even then. Mankind has fundamentally not changed. Things have essentially remained the same – the same mentality, the same kinds of problems.

Why are we being told, arthamanarthaṁ bhāvaya nityaṁ, that we should always contemplate on the fact that artha is anartha?

It does not mean that we should not earn money. That is not what is meant here. Money is, of course, required in our life. It is required for basic necessities, and so on. It is, desiring for money for the sake of money which is definitely calamitous. Money for the sake of certain basic necessities of life is a requirement. We should have a healthy attitude towards money, but we should also be aware when money begins to exert its power over us and we find ourselves chasing after it. The message is that we should always remain the master of money and not let money become our master. Therefore, one must not waste or squander away precious time or energy in this fruitless pursuit.

For Students

Story based on this verse

The value of being thankful should be cultivated in children from young. They must be taught through example of how happiness is not based on money or the things we possess. They must know the value of money from young. Yes, money is definitely required. It is important but it is not everything. One must learn to count our blessings and be grateful for what we have. Character is very important. A person with a good character will possess good values which will enrich his life meaningfully. Hence the need to develop the qualities of gratitude and all good values from young age; so that they are more contented and peaceful when they grow up and lead a meaningful life not only for themselves but care for others in society as well.



Bhaja Govindam- Verse 28 with stories and essence



Verse 28

Sukhataḥ kriyate rāmābhogaḥ

paścāddhanta śarīre rogaḥ,

yadyapi loke maraṇaṁ śaraṇaṁ

tadapi na muñcati pāpācaraṇam

Very readily one indulges in carnal pleasures; thereafter, alas, come diseases of the body. Even though the ultimate end is death in this world, man does not give up his sinful behavior.

Story based on the above verse

guru nanak 1


Shankara asks us to observe how a common man exhausts himself and squanders this precious opportunity of human life without recognizing its value.

He says that there are millions of species in this whole universe, and the human being is but a minuscule part of all the creatures in this whole universe. However, to be born as a human being is a great blessing, ‘jantunām nara-janma durlabham’. It is a rare privilege, and we should utilize this precious opportunity. In this birth, the human form enjoys certain distinctions, certain privileges, which are not available to other life forms. Human beings have one distinction. They have an intellect. They can think, and they have an urge to evolve. There is an urge to change, an urge to improve, an urge to progress which other species don’t have.

This human form is not acquired to merely be wasted away in eating, drinking, and making merry. Human being has freewill, which is a great privilege. Therefore, man should contemplate upon the purpose of life. Life should not be wasted away merely in sensuous pleasures.

When man tends to get so carried away in material and sensual pleasure; he falls victim to many diseases both physical and mental. In pursuit of temporary happiness, he never takes time to know the purpose of his life. Life goes on this way and one day he dies.

When the appointed time comes, none of these pursuits are going help us. They are not going to protect us.

When the knowledge of great Masters like Shankara knock at our door, we should be alert and awake to listen, understand and put that into practise in our lives. We should spend our lives in a worthwhile pursuit which will save us or help us at the time of death.

For students

Story based on the above verse

It is said that a small plant can be moulded but it is difficult to mould a tree. For students; values to distinguish right from wrong should be taught from young age. Children can learn these values through various stories, examples of inspiring people etc. The values of perseverance, pursuing a goal and how to work around distractions should be cultivated. These need not be like a lecture, rather fun activities and slow, patiently working and understanding their point of view would help. Parents and teachers may not see the result as expected in the child. They should not give up. They must continue stressing these values by setting an example for the student to follow.

These are life lessons; as a student, they can start practising these values to achieve their education goal, passion goals, career goals with focus and have the determination not to get bogged down by various distractions and finally when they are ready for their spiritual growth, these values would be of great help.

Essence adapted from


Bhaja Govindam Verse 27 with story and essence

Verse 27

Geyaṁ gītā nāma sahasraṁ

dhyeyaṁ śrīpati rūpamajasram,

Neyaṁ sajjana sange cittaṁ

deyaṁ dīnajanāya ca vittam

The Bhagavadgītā should be sung, and the Sahasranāma should be chanted; always the form of the Lord Nārāyaṇā is to be meditated upon; the mind is to be led towards the company of the good; wealth is to be distributed to the needy.


Story based on the above verse


The Bhagavadgītā and other scriptures are given to us for the purification of our minds, and the correction of our perception of life. Having given up lust, anger, greed, and delusion, the seeker sees in the Self, ‘He am I’. We have the need for our inner development. Thus, the Bhagavad Gītā should not only be sung or recited, but must also be studied. It not only tells us what the goal is, but also tells us of the path or the means to it. Therefore, the Bhagavad Gītā gives us viveka or discriminative understanding.

Lord’s names should be chanted or recited. It  can be the name of any God.  The reciting of these names is very important because the devotion that accompanies it has a tremendous effect on the mind. It has a purifying effect on the mind while, at the same time, asserting our commitment to the ultimate truth ie self realisation

May our intellect always be in the company of the wise or the good.

There must be an attitude of charity in our life. Charity is not expressed merely in giving money. It is to be expressed by our whole being. We should be a charitable person in whatever we do. Even in our speech, we should use words and expressions in a charitable manner so that we do not hurt anybody when we are talking to them. It is not that we have to do great things in our life to be good people. Even little things go a long way if they are done in the spirit of charity, in the spirit of giving, and in the spirit of offering. Giving money is just one of the things we can do. Here, money stands for whatever wealth we have, which is not only monetary wealth, but wealth in terms of our  time, our mind, our knowledge, and our compassion. We have all that wealth. Let us always be ready and prepared to give that, to share it with others. Thus, there should be a spirit of sharing in our life.

sharing 01

This verse tells us beautifully how to do that. Our speech, our mind, our intellect, and our actions, let all of these be focused upon the Lord attaining whom is our ultimate goal.

Essence adapted from

For students

Story based on the above verse

Students should develop the habit of daily thanking God and being grateful for everything they are blessed with. Daily routine of just a few minutes of prayer should be cultivated from young. Good company is very important since childhood. It is an impressionable age and right company is very critical. Children should develop the habit of sharing and caring. All these qualities will help them later in their lives to attain both material and spiritual goals.







Bhaja Govindam Verse 26 with story and essence


Verse 26

Kāmaṁ krodhaṁ lobhaṁ mohaṁ

tyaktvā’tmānaṁ paśyati so’ham,

ātmajñāna vihīnā mūḍhāḥ

te pacyante narakanigūḍhāḥ.

Having given up lust, anger, greed, and delusion, the seeker sees in the Self, ‘He am I’. They are fools who have no Self-knowledge, and they, as captives in hell, are tortured.

Story based on Verse 26


Man fails to realise the truth that he is ‘that’. He is divine. The truth about the self is that I am not what I take myself to be today, but so’ham, I am that, I am Brahman. I am a complete being; I am limitless, free, and pure.

We have the inner enemies within us kāmaṁ krodhaṁ lobhaṁ and mohaṁ, (Lust, anger, greed and attachement) which prevent us from seeing this truth. These qualities blind us and delude us into thinking that we are just the body we see.

Kāma, krodha and lobha arise from the ignorance of the Self, which brings about the ego or the sense of individuality. This brings about a sense of insufficiency, which brings desire. When the desire is not fulfilled, it brings about anger. Yet, when the desire is fulfilled, it brings about greed. Desire is thus damaging, whether fulfilled or not. This desire leaves behind either anger or greed in its wake. Both of them result in a disturbance of the mind, so we can never have even a moment of leisure as long as we are under the spell of kāma, krodha or lobha.

Moha is delusion or the state of intoxication when under the spell of kāma, krodha and lobha. It is the stage at which we lose ourselves; we lose our sense of judgment, and discrimination.

Kāma or desire arises because of aviveka or non-discrimination because we do not know that what we are seeking is our own self. Therefore, desire can be handled by educating the mind all the time.

When we make the mind see that happiness does not lie there, and that the happiness is to be discovered only within one’s own Self, the blind chasing after money, power etc. will slowly come to a stop.

Thus, we have to handle the various impulses of the mind by viveka or discrimination.

This truth about the self becomes clear as a result of the teaching of the scriptures. However, the teaching becomes effective only when we have a mind which is receptive. When does the mind become receptive? Only when it overcomes these inner obstacles, kāmaṁ, krodhaṁ, lobhaṁ and mohaṁ.

For students

Some of the stories which can be shared with children to better understand the above verse

It is essential to develop the quality of self confidence in children. When the human values are cultivated in the young minds through stories of great people; it will create a positive impact on them. Desire can be controlled by teaching the ceiling on desires ie how to stop wastage of food, money, time etc. They should be taught the value of everything. Lessons on anger management and how anger can blind one’s thoughts can be explained. Sharing and caring should be inculcated so that greed and possessiveness can be controlled.

Once students learn this and make it a habit from young, at a later part of their life it is easy for them to learn about the true purpose, and meaning of life.


Essence adapted from



Bhaja Govindam- Verse 25 with story and essence

Verse 25

śatrau mitre putre bandhau

mā kuru yatnaṁ vigrahasandhau,

sarvasminnapi paśyātmānaṁ

sarvatrotsṛja bhedājñānam


Strive not; waste not your energy to fight against or to make friends with your enemy, friend, son, or relative. Seeking the Self everywhere, discard the sense of division, born out of ignorance. Seek Govinda

Story based on Verse 25


Attachment and ego are the two main reasons in our lives which controls our emotions. It clouds our mind. We are unable to think clearly. We judge people easily and take some as our friends and some as our enemies. We develop certain expectations, certain patterns of thinking to which we hold on and this causes unhappiness. We get deluded and go about the same pattern of life. Hence to wake us up from this slumber, Shankara cautions us not to waste energy in the worldly pursuits and relationships. Once a Master gives us this knowledge to see ‘oneness in all’; we should atleast start working towards this direction. If we just bring about a little awareness in each day of our lives, one day we will be able to understand the purport of this calling.

For students

Story based on the above verse

Develop clarity of thought. Refrain judging others. Be focused in your goals. Work with determination and achieve your goal. Once you follow this path in your education, work life, family life etc, this will become your nature and later you will be able to understand the significance of Shankara’s statements and work towards your spiritual goal as well.



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