Saturday, January 29, 2011




Sri Adi Sankaracharya






(... Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam, Govindam..)


Ø wealth, is calamitous and ruinous; reflect thus constantly;
Ø there is not even a little happiness from it;
Ø truth is - to the rich, there is fear, even from one’s  own son;
Ø everywhere, this, is the ordained way.


Is wealth Good or bad? Does wealth give happiness or unhappiness?

There are two opinions on this question.

One opinion is - yes; wealth is good; you must earn it; Only lazy people don’t earn and remain poor; Hard working hands create wealth; thinking minds create wealth; the lazy man can never be happy; and so on;

The other opinion is – wealth is bad; nobody becomes wealthy without deceiving others; a wealthy man has no chance of entering the portals of heaven; A biblical verse says - "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

These are two opinions at two extreme ends of the spectrum of such opinions – with many laced in between.

Adi Sankara has  said – you can earn money and wealth by your own, honest, hard labour. He also said – spend it on your happiness. His disciple in the previous verse, has said – distribute wealth to the needy persons.

If you are doing all these – you are earning wealth ; you are also spending it – on your own happiness; and you are distributing to the poor and the needy.

The present verse is however referring to the wealth of the rich man, who doesn’t spend. He makes huge wealth, but does not know how to spend it on his own happiness or distribute to the needy.

Such greedy, miserly man’s wealth does not give him any happiness what so ever. Likewise, a man who is spending his wealth (possibly earned by his forefathers) very lavishly and purposelessly also cannot derive happiness from his wealth or spending.

This ugly wealth creates ugly thoughts in them minds of all persons around him. Even his own son will be looking more towards taking away that wealth from the father and enjoying it himself. His sons will be quarreling among themselves and with their parents. Were there not Kings who killed their own brothers and jailed their parents, to enjoy the kingdoms themselves? Many wars and many disputes are for wealth grabbing.

This verse also refers to the wealth of the person with huge un-satiated thirst for wealth.

Some one thinks, if I have one lakh rupees / dollars, I would lead a happy life. I won’t need any more.
But, there are many with such one lakh rupees /dollars of wealth. They are thinking – if I have one million rupees / dollars, I will be totally satisfied. I won’t need any more.
But, there are many with such one million rupees/ dollar wealth. They are thinking – If I have one billion rupees / dollars, that would totally satisfy me. I won’t any thing more.
But, the man with one billion rupees/ dollars is as much dis-satisfied, as the one with one million, who is as much dis-satisfied as the one with one lakh. Money grows; but dis-satisfaction continues; or even grows exponentially, for most people. Money addiction is worse than drug addiction. Only difference is – money addiction doesn’t kill; it prolongs the dis-satisfaction for a full life.

That is why – do not compare the ‘external’ image of others with your internal image. They won’t be proportional. They won’t match. The richest man may be highly miserable in his internals – while you may be much happier than him – if, you are not in the money addiction game.

In any case – wealth creates many enemies – known and unknown. This much is true at all times and places. Sharing wealth creates at least one friend – the almighty.





(... Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam, Govindam..)


Ø Praanaayaama, the control of life’s energy flow in you;
Ø Pratyaahaaram, the sense-withdrawal from their respective sense-objects;
Ø Nitya anitya viveka vichaaram or the constant enquiry for the wisdom of discriminating between the permanent and the impermanent;
Ø Jaapya sameta samaadhi vidhaanam; reaching the state of Samaadhi ( total inner silence); along with japa,
Ø perform, with great diligence.


Pranaayaama and Prathyaahara are two stages of the Ashtaanga Yoga, delineated by Patanjali. It was not the invention or discovery of Patanjali. It was there from the days of Lord Siva.

It is said that Adi Sesha, the ancient, divine king cobra with thousand heads which is used as the seat of Lord Vishnu, was born as Patanjali to give the yoga Sasthra to humanity in a consummate idiom.

The Ashtaanga Yoga consists of (i) Yama (ii) Niyama (iii) Aasana (iv) Pranayama (v) Prathyahara (vi) Dharana (vii)Dhyana (viii) Samaadhi.

Of these, Yama (behavioural restrictions) and niyama (observances)  have been dealt with a lot in Bhaja Govindam so far, without calling them by these names.

Aasana is the posture of sitting for Yoga practice. It needs to be easy, comfortable and enduring.

Once these are done – the body and mind are both ready for other practices.

Pranayama – though done by taking control over breath, is actually taking control over the life energy circulating in the body which is properly called Prana. This gives huge control over body an mind functions.

Pratyahara is a method of withdrawing senses from their respective sense objects. Adi Sankara and his disciples have stressed the need for sense-control in many verses in Bhaja Govindam. Pratyahaara is a yogic method for achieving this aim.

Dharana – is a method for achieving concentration or focus. This must be done in the same order. Do Dharana after Pratyahaara. An experienced practitioner may however get into Dharana without going through the process – as it becomes instantaneous for him.

Dhyana – follows after Dharana. It is contemplation or meditation. The English words do not exactly denote Dhyana but very nearly so. Dhyana must  follow Dharana, to be really effective. As stated earlier, An experienced Yogi may go into Dhyana without the earlier processes. They become instantaneous for him.

Samadhi –Samadhi is the ultimate state in yoga sadhana.The deepest Dhyana tends to become samaadhi. Here also, there are two types of samaadhi – savitharka and Nirvitharka.

It is not proposed to go into their details in this post. It is intended to cover these in a series of posts exclusively on Ashtanga Yoga.

These are however mentioned here to indicate that Adi Sankara is commending the Astanga Yoga Path – up to the Samadhi stage to all Sadhakas.

Yoga is a great aid for the Sadhaka, though Jnana Yoga path enunciated in Vedanta  is considered the ultimate tool for final liberation.  Whether Yoga by itself gives enlightenment – is not a big topic for debate.

In addition to this, therefore, Adi Sankara has asked us to do constant enquiry into the permanent and the impermanent and keep our sights clearly on the permanent. This is called Nithyanithya viveka vicharam. Dharana and Dhyana will then happen on the permanent – and not on the impermanent.

Samaadhi will bring in the enlightenment. Adi Sankara has added the words – japa sametha. Since, the whole verse deals with Ashtanga Yoga processes – we may derive the meaning of japa also from there. V.1.27 of Yoga sutras says – “thathra vachakaha pranavah.” i.e., Eswara is represented by the sound of AUM or pranava sabda. It is sometimes represented as Ohm, or Om etc. v.1.28 says – “thath japasya thath artha bhavanam.” Contemplate on OUM and its meaning and identify your self with it. This is the japa prescribed in Yoga sutras.

Adi Sankara says – practice all these with great diligence and care.

Today – the world is taking to Ashtanga Yoga in greater numbers – but the purity of the practice is much less. Yet, there is no denying the fact that this yoga, even in bits and pieces is doing a lot of good to people, in achieving some control over their bodies and minds.




(... Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam, Govindam..)


Ø O great devotee of the lotus-feet of the Guru;
Ø become liberated from the samsaara, very soon, ,
Ø through disciplining of the sense organs and the mind,
Ø in this manner, you will experience the Lord, that dwells in your own heart.


This is the last and final verse in Bhaja Govindam.

Adi Sankara is stressing the need for devotion and surrender to the Guru. Be devoted to your Guru, the one who removes the darkness of ignorance from your heart. You will become liberated from all the suffering through your devotion to the Guru. Samsaara in this verse, represents all the suffering in this world. Liberation from this suffering happens through the disciplining of the sense organs and the mind.

When the liberation from Samsaara happens, you will experience the lord who dwells in your own heart.

Liberation is – from the Maya, outside of you. Guru is the torch light showing the right path. Enlightenment is the experiencing of the lord deep within your own heart.

May we all experience the lord within, with the blessings of Adi Sankara, the great guru.

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Sri Adi Sankaracharya



(Attributed to Sri Sumati or Sumitra)




(... Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam, Govidnam..)


Ø Bhagavad Geeta and Vishnu’s thousand names (Sahasranaamam) - are the ones to be chanted (sung),
Ø the form of Vishnu, the Lord of Lakshmi, is the one to be meditated upon, always,
Ø the mind is to be led, in the association (company) of the good,
Ø wealth is to be distributed, to the needy.


The problem creators are the five senses and their controller, the mind. These are our sense instruments and they are always attracted to sense objects in the outside world. The meeting of the senses with their respective sense objects creates all transactions of the individual with the world. We have understood this in many ways.

Now, the disciple of Sankaracharya (Sri Sumathi) says – give them appropriate inputs and make them your allies in acquiring self knowledge.

(i)                 Chant, sing or read the Gita. There is no better input for the tongue, ears, eyes and the mind. While chanting or singing Gita with the tongue, you can close your eyes or look at the Gita Taxt. Simultaneously, please your ears with your own Chanting / singing of the Gita.
(ii)               Sri Sumati is now adding Vishnu Sahasra nama stotram to the list of Sacred texts to chant. It is a beautiful, lyrical and devotional hymn, containing the thousand names of lord Vishnu and takes us through the great deeds of Lord Vishnu and many facets of his incarnations.
(iii)             Sri Sumati now asks us to - Meditate. Meditate upon Lord Vishnu’s form, with Goddess Lakshmi at his feet. Involve your whole being in the meditation process. Fill your mind with Vishnu’s divine Image.
(iv)             These three steps ensure that your mind is fixed on Vishnu’s visible form (as lord of Lakshmi), his great deeds (described in sahasra nama Stotram) and his message to us (in the Gita).Your whole being is filled with Vishnu now.
(v)               Even so, for worldly living, one step is extremely important. Adi Sankara prescribed Sathsang, the company and friendship of good people,  as the most important first step which leads to final liberation. Sri Sumathi is also prescribing this step, in order to keep us on the right path. Sathsang effectively neutralizes one’s ego, which is the biggest hurdle to cross.
(vi)             For human beings, the first consciousness is of the triangular format called Jeeva – Jagath – Eswara. I am the Jeeva. What I see, feel and sense is the Jagath. The one who  is the creator, sustainer and dissolver of me and the Jagath, is the Eswara. Most cultures stay with this format.
(vii)           People who are bound to Jagath, are always in delusion and can never be happy. But, people who are devoted to Eswara, rather than the Jagath, transcend the Jagath and ultimately discern the truth that the triangular format is itself an illusion and that there is only Brahman, nothing other than Brahman and that “ I am the Brahmanaham brahmasmi”.
(viii)          There is one last thing to be practiced. All that you have of the Jagath, is called, your wealth. What do you do with this wealth? Your wealth must be shared with the needy person. Adi Sankara has said earlier – earn wealth by your honest, hard labour; and spend it for your happiness. One of the best things that give real happiness is, spending your hard earned money on the needy persons.
(ix)             Vishnu does not come to you in his physical (Vishnu) form on a daily basis. He comes to you in the form of the needy person. See Vishnu in the needy person and satisfy his needs. Do not turn out the needy person and turn out Vishnu thereby, from your doorstep. Deena janah means one who is in dire need.
(x)               This verse represents the last of the bouquet of fourteen verses (chathurdasa Manjarika stotram) attributed to the disciples of Adi sankara.





(... Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam, Govindam..)


Ø For the sake of happiness, one indulges in, carnal pleasures;
Ø later on, alas, disease arises in the body;
Ø even though, death is the ultimate end, in the world;
Ø even then, one does not, leave, sinful behaviour.


From this verse on, the last 4 verse are the concluding verses for Bhaja Govindam, from Adi Sankaracharya. Sankara high lights the most important steps before concluding the Bhaja Govindam.

The first verse deals with the major weakness of man towards the opposite sex. Man indulges in carnal pleasures because of his in-born lust towards opposite sex. Most heinous sins arise out of this lustful attraction. Both Ramayana and Maha Bharata wars principally arise out of this lustful behavior.

If only Ravana did not abduct Sita – there would have been no Ramayana war at all.

If only Duryodhana and his brothers did not humiliate Draupadi in full view of their court, there would not have been the Maha Bharata War.

Yayaathi, Viswamitra and many other great kings and sages fell because of their in-born lust. The western epics also are full of the adverse impact of lustfulness.

From day one of the creation to this day, man’s lustful behavior towards the opposite sex has propelled him to commit all sins.
People know that disease is certain and death too is certain.

Yet people stray from the righteous path of Dharma-Artha-Kaama-Moksha and indulge in sins, out of their lustfulness.

Righteous behavior does permit sexual relations and deriving happiness there from. It also leads one towards liberation. But, it is the unrighteous lust that poses the biggest danger, leading man to commit all sins.

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Sri Adi Sankaracharya


(Attributed to Bharati Vamsa)




(... Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam, Govindam..)


Ø Desire, anger, greed, delusion,
Ø having relinquished,
Ø the seeker in the Self, 'He am I', (i.e., sees himself everywhere)
Ø those who have no self-knowledge,
Ø are the fools,
Ø they, are tortured, in hell as captives.


Let us first see a few famous quotes on desire, anger, greed and delusion :

ABOUT ANGER : I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies – said Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC). He says - It is the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it.

ABOUT GREED : “There is no calamity greater than lavish desires.

There is no greater guilt than discontentment.

And there is no greater disaster than greed.” says Lao-tzu (604 BC - 531 BC).

ABOUT GREED, ANGER & IGNORANCE : “The world is always burning, burning with the fire of greed, anger and ignorance; one should flee from such dangers as soon as possible.”- Buddha

ABOUT ANGER : …“Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.”

…Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal

with the intent of throwing it at someone else;

you are the one who gets burned.”  - Buddha.

DESIRE : There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it – George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950).

Regarding the nature of desire (or want), the science of Economics says that – wants are unlimited; as each want is satisfied, another takes its place. This premise is the base for Economics.

So, these are some of the Famous Quotes on Desire, Anger, and greed.

The whole of Bhagawad Gita contains several verses dealing with desire, anger, greed and delusion.

Among the three Gunas of Sathva, Rajas and Thamas – Sathva does not create any of the problems aforesaid. Rajas tends to create anger, greed and desire (vs.12 of Guna thrayam Vibhaga yoga, Gita). Moha or delusion arises primarily from Thamas ( vs.13 of Guna Thraya Vibhaga Yoga, Gita).

Desire is the root cause of all evils. In most of the world cultures, this has been recognized.

It is in the nature of human mind to generate Desires. Every thought contains the seed of a desire.

All Human efforts are directed towards the satisfaction of some human desire. Whatever you do – you are striving to satisfy some desire. When do desires end? only with the last breath. This unfortunately is the reality about desire.

But – the real problem here is – not desire per se. Kaama or desire is actually one of the four PURUSHARTHAs, or, the four, well-recognized essential goals of man. Readers can see the article on Dharma-Artha-Kaama –Moksha in this blog, elsewhere.

Desire must be under your control. You must not be under the control of the Desire. This is the essential requirement for happiness.

Ask your self –

(i)                 Have you chosen the desire after careful thought, or, has it chosen you and is possessing you?
(ii)               Are you in control of the desire, or, is the desire in control of you and driving you?
(iii)             Is your desire in accordance with Dharma?
(iv)             Will the satisfaction of the desire lead you to happiness and contentment, or, will it lead to further desire, discontentment and dissatisfaction?

If you are in control – and the desire will definitely lead to happiness for you and no unhappiness to others, and it is in accordance with Dharma, then, there is no problem with the desire, or, you having the desire. Go ahead. Satisfy your desire. If the goal is reached, wonderful. If the goal is not reached, then also, wonderful. No resentments; no regrets; no angers; no greed; no delusions. Life is still full of happiness.

But – most other desires are habit forming. They create deeper and deeper craving in you. They consume your happiness and create fixation.

If such desire is not satisfied – it leads to Krodha (Anger).Most wars by Kings are out of unsatisfied desires, leading to anger. Most ordinary people also become angry, when their desires are not satisfied. It is in the nature of desire, to create anger.

Desire is the first level of disaster. Anger is the second level of disaster. When we act in anger – we destroy ourselves and others. As Gandhiji said – an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

Anger in us generates anger in others. While desire is not contagious but consumes us only – anger, which is its second stage, is highly contagious and consumes the whole world, including us.

Suppose, desire is SATISFIED. Then what?

Sorry. No desire is fully satisfied. It leads to dissatisfaction  and it creates LOBHA, or, GREED. Now, you want more of it. And, you don’t want to share it with any one else. You want to protect it; preserve it; ward off others from it. So many of your efforts will rivet round the object of the satisfied desire.

You are effectively, still, around the so called SATISFIED DESIRE!! Desire hasn’t left you before its satisfaction, or, after its satisfaction. Either it becomes Anger, or, it becomes, Greed. Lobha – is not mere Greed. It connotes some thing more of all that we 
have described here.

While desire is the first stage in which, control is easier, when the same desire turns into anger, it becomes more difficult to control. When desired object is possessed, or, when it starts possessing us, it creates lobha or greed, in which stage, it is more difficult to control.

Moha is usually translated as Delusion. Moha is delusion; but, it also connotes the attachments caused by delusion. Moha is created by Maya. As we can see from Guna thraya Vibhaga Yoga, Moha arises out of thamo guna. In another Post, we will see the genesis of Guna thraya, their effects and their effective use – in another post.  

Just look back at your own life so far – your past. Was everything that you did – was it the best you could do, or, given a chance, can you improve on it? You can. Then, why did you fail to do it in the first place?

Things are happening all around you – and most of them are, not even an iota, in your control or influence. If you carefully and clearly think of it, you are being swept through your life, by so many forces around you – and there is nothing much that you are able to do about them.

That – is Maya. Moha arises out of it. You don’t understand all that is happening either within you or around you. You laugh, You smile, you become angry, you become greedy, you become lustful, you become disappointed, you become morose, you become mad, and all that, without your conscious control and without even your awareness. This is Moha. This is Maya.

Can You come out of it? Yes. You can. Seek to know your self. All solutions to these problems of Kaama, Krodha, lobha and moha are within you. Once the journey to your interior starts, many things become clear automatically. As self knowledge increases, these four decrease proportionately.

There is no circular relationship here. As self knowledge increases, these four come down automatically. There is no way that these four will come down first, without self knowledge. Self Knowledge is first; and decrease in the four weaknesses comes next – as a consequence.

This is the problem. Avoid anger, we may tell our self and others. No one is able to do it.

But tell them – know your self. As they search themselves – and know more of themselves, first desires (outside the dharma path) disappear gradually. Angers disappear as a consequence. Greed disappears as a consequence. Delusion disappears as a consequence.

The man with self knowledge sees himself in every thing (and everywhere) and sees everything in himself. All beings are part of him, and, he is part of all beings. How can he be angry, or greedy with himself? His delusion disappears with the arrival of self knowledge.

Knowing the self is the Key. It is the only key.

Those who do not know their own SELF, evidently, they are foolish. They are bound to nurture in themselves, all sorts of desires, one after another, and all of these desires will lead to either anger, or, greed and delusion.

All sins are committed under the influence of insatiable desires,  anger, greed or delusion.

Such people lead their earthly life itself  like hell – and, the doors of heaven are barred for them after death. They are thrown into hell to pay for all of their sins.

Hence, Know thy self.

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