Shankaracharya’s Bhaja Govindam

A Call to Wakefullness

Discourses by Swami Chidananda

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Hardcover: vi + 89 pages
Book Dimensions: 8.25 x 5.25 x 0.22 inches
Shipping Weight: 120 grams

Table of Contents

Preface vi
Our Great Heritage 1
The Twin Ideals of Life 9
Nature of Life 13
The Great Call 15
Goal of Life 19
Bhaja Govindam 21
     Spontaneous Poetry 23
     The Refrain 25
     The Two Kinds of Knowledge 27
The Text 39


Chakravarti Rajagopalachari has said: “Sri Shankara has packed into the “Bhaja Govindam” song the substance of all Vedanta and set the oneness of jnana and bhakti to melodious music.”

Jagad-guru Bhagavad-pada Shankaracharya has written not only the most erudite and scholarly commentaries on the Indian scriptures, but has also authored, in easy to understand language, many lucid introductory texts, devotional hymns and small catchy lyrics of admonitions. “Bhaja Govindam” is a small poem of admonition, which contains profound philosophy. But more importantly, it is a call to awakening, it inspires everyone to pursue the higher values of life. It is easy to understand and can be sung beautifully. Some of the top singers have already rendered it beautifully making this popular song all the more popular.

The Acharya heard a scholar repeating a difficult grammar rule to learn it by heart. He was moved by this, thinking that this person is so particular about the secular knowledge, but he has completely neglected the higher Knowledge and the real purpose and Goal of the human birth. It was necessary to awaken this scholar from his ajnana-nidra. So like the upanishadic sages, the Acharya gave a call for awakening. On the spur of the moment came out from him this beautiful song of advice emphasising the importance of seeking God. Swami Chidanandaji has also given this call for awakening, day after day, throughout his life, and advised all to pursue the higher goal and purpose of the human birth.

Many scholars have written erudite commentaries on Bhaja Govindam showing mastery over Sanskrit language. It is quite likely that after reading such commentaries, the reader may get entangled in the beauty of language and scholarship, and will miss the message, the great call. Swami Chidanandaji does not try to show his scholarship, but uses this occasion to reiterate Jagadguru’s admonition. He has always tried to awaken the hidden Divinity of man by repeatedly emphasising the main message only.

In fact, Swamiji is advising his followers in all his talks to make endeavour to achieve the Goal of life even while living the secular life and pursuing secular ends. This emphasis of Swamiji makes this book very significant. It will certainly prove to be a very useful companion to all the seekers.

Swami Chidanandaji used to give three discourses on two different subjects during the annual Jnana-satra arranged by the Sangeet Kala Mandir Trust at Kolkata. This book is compiled from such discourses.

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