Tuesday, January 25, 2011




Sri Adi Sankaracharya


(By Dhridhabhakta)





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


Ø To the one who has studied the Bhagavad Geeta even a little;
Ø To the one who has sipped at least a drop of Ganga water;
Ø To the one who has worshipped lord Vishnu at least once;
Ø to him, there will never be an occasion for quarrelsome argument with Yama, the Lord of Death.


This verse is highly symbolic.

Bhagavad Gita is the repository of both secular and spiritual knowledge. It is the highest knowledge available on earth, of the most intelligent way of living for human beings , which can easily turn us into the wisest men.

It starts with ‘Arjuna Vishadha Yoga’(1st chapter of Gita) – which portrays, not only Arjuna’s problems, but also, all of our problems. While Arjuna was relating his problems, lord Krishna was just listening. He did not speak; he did not offer solace; he did not offer advice;

The first sloka is a classic in itself :

Dhritarashtra asks Sanjaya : “What are my people(Kauravas) and Pandavas doing in Kurukshetra?”

This is the only sentence Dhritarashtra speaks in the whole of  Bhagavad Gita.

All problems of the world emanate from this one distinction we all make ; my people; and they.

They’ are ‘not my people’.

When some people are ‘my people’, even if they are very bad people; and when some other people are ‘not my people’ even if they are very good people, we become the root cause of  the problems of the world.

Dhritarashtra is no doubt blind by birth.

But, his real blindness is – his unwillingness to see and correct the ‘bad’ in ‘my people’ coupled with his unwillingness to see and accept the ‘good’ in the ‘other people’

This is the universal ‘dhritarashtra blindness’ disease. We are all afflicted with this highly contagious disease.

Crimes are committed; wars are fought; people become extremely unhappy – only because of this one reason.

Then starts the other disease – Arjuna’s sorrow. He is not sorrowful that the war is taking place. He is not unwilling to kill millions of soldiers. He is not unwilling to kill other great warriors. But, he is totally unwilling to make war with ‘his people’ who are now on the opposite side.

His grand father, Bhishma, his teachers Drona, Kripa and others are unfortunately on the side of Kauravas – due to some compelling historical reasons. These four, five people on the other side – make Arjuna extremely sorrowful.

Same problem again. My people vs other people. I can kill all others. But, how can I kill these ‘ my people’?

Lord Krishna lets Arjuna ventilate all his sorrow.

Only when Arjuna says – ‘I am your disciple. Because of sorrow, my intelligence is destroyed. Please teach me what I should do.’, Lord Krishna really starts teaching him the Gita.

This is also the traditional method of every spiritual Guru. Only when you are ready, only when you go to the Guru and surrender to him, he comes forward and then the teaching starts. Then the absorption starts. But, first, you must be absolutely ready to surrender to the Guru.

From the first sentence to the last sentence of Gita – it deals with the essential, day to day human problems, why they arise, why we suffer from them, and what are the different types of solutions suitable to different types of persons.

It is not that Jnana Yoga is suitable for all. No. Karma Yoga is more suitable for some. Bhakthi yoga is preferable for some. Gita teaches us the essential classification of Gunas, and classification of people based on Gunas, classification of the visible and invisible universe,  renunciation (Sanyasa), meditation, knowledge of the world and knowledge of the beyond, knowledge of the perishable and imperishable and so many other critical areas of wisdom.

A person who has studied Gita methodically – becomes a repository of both worldly wisdom and spiritual wisdom. Mere reading of Gita or its recitation is not what is meant here. A thorough study, of even one sloka per day, is a great way of making the day useful to you.

It is for this reason that  - the present verse of bhaja govindam says – study at least a little, of the Bhagavad gita;

The second prescription in the verse is – sip at least a drop of Ganga water.

What is so great about Ganga water?

Gita has come from Krishna’s wisdom.

Ganga has flown down to earth from Siva’s head. It acquired extraordinary purity when it was bound in the head of Lord Siva and was released from there. That is the reason to consider Ganga as the most sacred river. A drop of water going into you takes Siva’s wisdom and purity into you, along with it.

All rivers, even if born in Himalayas do not have that sanctity or purity. Ganga water is considered both sacred and pure.

The third task is – worship lord Vishnu at least once. Why so? Lord Vishnu is the sthithi karaka, the one who protects you. Brahma’s task is to create – which is over. You are already born. Siva’s task is to dissolve. That is long away. In the mean time, you are subject to birth and death and every time, the lord of death, Yama visits you, it is painful and fearful for you. The biggest fear for all is the fear of death.

Who can take away the fear of death? The one who protects you; Muraari, the lord Vishnu, who destroys the rakshasas. Mura – is also representative of the EGO in us. Surrender to Lord Vishnu takes away our Ego.  Where the Ego was, there, Lord Vishnu resides now - in us.

Worship Lord Vishnu at least once  - and, may you combine your thought, word, deed and emotion all, in your worship of Muraari.
Then, can the lord of death, Yama ever frighten you? No.

You don’t have to have any argument with him. When he comes to take you, he will look at you with the greatest respect – you, the one who has studied the Gita, drank into you Lord Siva’s purity with Ganga’s water, and worshipped Lord Vishnu, the protector.

Yama will take you with the best of honours and best of care. Wherever he takes you, he will take care of you very well. You don’t need to be afraid of him.

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