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

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. – 27

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 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

Students should develop the habit of daily thanking God 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

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.

Some of the stories which can be shared with children

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

Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam

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, develop clarity of thought. Refrain judging others. Be focussed 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.



Bhaja Govindam- Verse 24 with story and essence



Verse 24

Tvayi Mayi Canyatraiko Vishnuh

Vyartham Kupyasi Mayyasahisnuh

Bhava Samacittah Sarvatra tvam

Vanchasyaciradyadi Visnutvam

Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam

In you, in me and in other places too there is but one all pervading reality. Being impatient, you are unnecessarily getting angry with me. If you want to attain enlightenment (Vishnutvam), be equal minded in all circumstances. Seek Govinda

Story based on Verse 24


There are various facets in each one of us. For eg there is a superficial ‘me’ and there is an essential ‘me’. There is a social ‘me’ and a spiritual ‘me’.  There is a circumference and a centre. We are lost in the circumference, in the superficial world and hence miss the essential. The whole search of a spiritual person is for this essential ‘me’.

The center in oneself, the core of oneself is all pervading. If this oneness is seen all around, the differences will not create chaos. For eg the body has eyes, ears, nose, hands, legs and each function differently, each look differently but the total individual is one.

It is like the phenomenon of electricity which is one entity called as energy but it manifests in a bulb, in a fan, in a refrigerator differently but the source is one entity of electrical energy. The soul in all of us is one reality.

It appears as if there is duality in form and shape. If such duality is perceived in life with misunderstanding, one is bound to be in illusion. But if one sees non duality in all of them, one sees the reality of Vishnutwam.

Hence if one wants to attain enlightenment one must train ourselves to consciously look everything as one and face every situation without disturbing our state of mind. This requires a lot of sadhana and practice.

For students

Cultivate the habit of tolerance and forgiveness from young. Always put yourselves in others shoes. Think how would you have reacted in a situation; ie in a similar situation where other’s reaction or behaviour is affecting you. Even if you feel that you would have reacted rather responded to that situation in a better manner; give benefit of doubt to the other person; try to understand them before impatiently judging and criticising them.

At a younger age when you develop the habits of patience, love, forgiveness, compassion; at a later age it will become your nature and one day it will lead you to understand the actual purpose of life and also attain it.

Essence adapted from Bhaja Govindam by Swami Sukhbodananda

Bhaja Govindam- Verse 23 with story and essence


Verse 23

Kastvam Koham Kuta Ayatah

Ka Me Janani Ko Me Tatah

Iti Paribhavaya Sarvamasaram

Visvam Tyaktva Svapnavicharam

Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam

Who are you? Who am I? From where did I come? Who is my mother? Who is my father? Thus reflect, leaving aside the entire world, essence-less and a mere dream born out of imagination. Seek Govinda


Story based on Verse 23

Story of Sage Ribhu

There is a puranic story of Sage Ribhu and his disciple Nidagha. Although Ribhu taught his disciple the supreme Truth of the One Brahman without a second, Nidagha, in spite of his erudition and understanding, did not get sufficient conviction to adopt and follow the path of Jnana (Wisdom), but settled down in his native town to lead a life devoted to the observance of ceremonial religion. But the Sage loved his disciple as deeply as the latter venerated his Master. In spite of his age, Ribhu would himself go to his disciple in the town, just to see how far the latter had outgrown, his ritualism. At times the Sage went in disguise, so that he might observe how Nidagha would act when he, did not know that he was being observed by his Master.

On one such occasion Ribhu, who had put on the disguise of a village rustic, found Nidagha intently watching a royal procession. Unrecognized by the town-dweller Nidagha, the village rustic enquired what the bustle was all about, and was told that the king was going in procession.

“Oh! it is the king. He goes in procession! But where is he?” asked the rustic. “There, on the elephant,” said Nidagha. “You say the king is on the elephant. Yes, I see the two,” said the rustic, “but which is the king and which is the elephant?” “What!” exclaimed Nidagha. “You see the two, but do not know that the man above is the king and the animal below is the elephant? What is the use of talking to a man like you?” “Pray, be not impatient with an ignorant man like me,” begged the rustic. “But ‘you said ‘above’ and ‘below’ — what do they mean?”

Nidagha could stand it no more. “You see the king and the elephant, the one above and the other below. Yet ‘ you want to know what is meant by ‘above’ and ‘below”’ burst out Nidagha. “If things seen and words spoken can convey so little to you, action alone can teach you. Bend forward, and ‘ you will know it all ‘ too well”. The rustic did as he was told. Nidagha got on his shoulders and said: “Know it now. I am above as the king, you are below as the elephant. Is that clear enough?” “No, not yet,” was the rustic’s quiet reply. “You say you are above like the king, and I am below like the elephant. The ‘king’, the ‘elephant’, ‘above’ and ‘below’ — so far it is clear. But pray, tell me what you mean by ‘I’ and ‘you’?”

When Nidagha was thus confronted all of a sudden with. the mighty problem of defining a ‘you’ apart from an ‘I’, light dawned on his mind. At once he jumped down and fell at his Master’s feet saying: “Who else but . my venerable Master, .Ribhu, could have thus drawn my mind from the superficialities of physical existence to the true Being of the Self? Oh! benign Master, I crave thy blessings”.


This verse highlights the importance of questioning in our lives. We have unconsciously been thinking continuously of the body, mind and intellect being in this world. We usually never remember the presence of a fourth entity – the Self. It is only the Self that is immune to the influence of the world and only those who think incessantly of Atman become It. Thereafter they become one with that supreme Power, completely free and independent of the world.

The waking world that seems so real now is as real as the dream which we now understand to be a mere projection and dismiss. Any state appears real as long as we are in it. The moment we move to another plane it appears a meaningless projection. The waking state is also similar. So, the Master urges us to contemplate on ‘Who am I? ie The self by seeking Govinda and come out of the illusory world.

For students, from young they should be guided in this path through practise of silent sitting and in realising their inner potential which is not based on external factors. Once they develop the inner strength; their self confidence increases and they start believing in themselves ie their core rather than getting influenced by external factors limiting them. If they start practising this in their lives; in their later years it will be easier for them to understand the above concept of ‘Who am I?’

The story for students for this verse



Bhaja Govindam- Verse 22 with story and essence




Verse 22

Rathyā carpaṭa viracita kanthaḥ

 Puṇyāpuṇya vivarjita panthaḥ,

Yogī yoganiyojita citto

Ramate bālonmattavadeva

The yogin who wears only the rags made of old cloth, who walks the path that is beyond merit and demerit, whose understanding mind is joined in perfect yoga with its goal, revels (in truth) and lives thereafter-as a child or as a madman. Seek Govinda !!

Story based on verse 22

monk 1

There was a monk leading a simple life. The people of the town respected him for his simplicity as they considered him to be a wise man by all his actions. In the town a young unwed woman became pregnant which was an embarrassment. In order to save her boyfriend she declared to the elders of the town that this monk was responsible for her pregnancy.

When the monk was encountered he only answered, “Is that so?” He was shunted out of the town with the pregnant woman.

The monk went along with the pregnant woman but did not make her wrong for her untruth utterance and the shame she brought upon the monk. He continued to beg in the neighboring village not only for himself but for the pregnant woman who sullied his character.

After a few days the woman felt guilty, realised her folly, went back to her town and revealed the truth of who was really responsible for her pregnancy. The elders of the town who banished the monk were repenting for humiliating the monk. They came and profusely apologised. The monk only answered, “Is that so?”

A wise person has no image, thus is inwardly free. In such a case, he will be viewed as a child without any internal image as he is free. Such an inner freedom is unheard by the ignorant.


An important aspect of the wise man is that by wisdom, as he discovers fulfilment from within himself, he becomes a non-demanding person. He is happy with whatever comes his way.  He is walking along a path that is devoid of merit and demerit or virtue and vice. These are there only when there is an ego or a sense of doership behind an action.

He is focused upon yoga, one whose mind is focused upon the Lord, and one who abides in the knowledge of the Self. He is always happy. He is intoxicated with the happiness in his own heart. Like a child, he is free from all worries and anxieties. A mind without ego reveals in yoga. Ego divides and thus one feels it is other than oneself.

When we read and try to understand this one feels it is quite difficult to follow this and be egoless. For a start we can atleast start reflecting at our actions and see if we need to react or respond to a situation. When we start practising this reflection, we will start contemplating and improve bit by bit day by day. When we focus our attention to a larger good than looking and reacting to satisfy our ego; we will start moving forward in the path. Also when we start offering all our thoughts, actions and words to the Lord taking Him as the doer we will progress faster in this path.

Story relevant for students

For students; first thing to develop is the inner strength. Life will give you lot of challenges and opportunities to learn. If you learn and develop these values at a younger age, you will be able to face life courageously. Students have to enjoy and face life. You have to go through the experiences. Only when one has faced the situation and seen the pros and cons one will realise the values of these teachings. It will come in handy at the most important phase in your lives. So listen to this; you may not be interested or change now but these are the seeds of values being planted which will blossom one day when it is needed the most.

Story adapted from Swami Sukhbodananda’s  Bhaja Govindam



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