THE BHAJA GOVINDAM OF SANKARA

HUMBLE OFFERING TO GOVINDA, THE PROTECTOR OF ALL

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INTRODUCTION BY
 
C.L.RAMAKRISHNAN
       The word "Bhaja" ( Bj ), like its related word "Bhakti" ( B ), is derived from the Sanskrit root "Bhaj-Sevayam", ( Bj sEvayam ), meaning "in the service of".  The word "Seva" ( sEva ) means service and refers to the service of the Lord, and this service could take many forms such as devotees may have witnessed at Tirumala. Indeed the Bhagavata
(Skanda 7 - Adhyay 55 - Slokas 24-25) speak of eight forms  :

vN| ktIn| vNaE: mrN| padsEvnm .
AcIn| vdn| day| symam nvEdnm    
it p|sarpta vNaE: BEv lXNm
 
    The word "Govindam",on of the names of the Lord, literally means One who protects the cow (or also the earth). An ignorant person islikened to a cow as one that lacks the power of reason or the capacity to discriminate between right and wrong.     This work,the Bhaja Govindam is alsoknown as the "Moha Mudgara" (
maEh mr| ) which means a pestle that pulverises ignorance, for when ignorance is destroyed, knowledge will become self-evident.

    The title suggests dedication of the work by Sankara to his Guru Goudapada, but this is as much a dedication to the Lord Govinda, because in ancient Indian tradition, the Guruwas no less than the Lord Himself in human form, a view embodied in the popular sloka:
grb#' gvIN: gdEIvaE mhEr: .
gsaXat prb#' tmW grvE nm:

    Sankara has addressed his many works to every type of seeker, ranging from the novice to the scholar. Bhaja Govindam has a simplicity that seems addressed to the novice, yet it carries meaning that is profound. Each one of it's 31 verses points to the unreality of the many temptations of this transitory existence and ends with the recurring refrain urging us to seek Govinda as the ultimate Reality.
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