Adi Sankara’s Bhaja Govindam

Popularly known as Bhaja Govinda Stotra, this poem is also known as the Moham Mudhgarah – a hammer to crush delusion.  Bhaja Govindam seems like a devotional song, but it also contains, within the simplest of Sanskrit verses, the very essence of Indian Advaita philosophy. As a poetic work, it is a devotional song par excellence, and as a philosophical treatise, there are few that can compare.

Some of the stanzas most meaningful to me follow…


má kuru dhanajanayauvanagarvam
harati nimeúát kalaç sarvam,
máyámayam idam akhilam hitvá,
brahmapadam tvam praviùa viditvá.

Do not be proud of wealth, kindred, and youth;
Time takes away all these in a moment.
Leaving aside this entire (world) which is of the nature of an illusion,
and knowing the state of Brahman,
enter into it.

shayyá bhütalam ajinam vásaç
kasya sukham na karoti virágaç.

Living in temples or at the foot of trees, sleeping on the ground, wearing deer-skin,
renouncing all possessions and their enjoyment –
to whom will not dispassion bring happiness?

Satsañgatve nissañgatvam
nissañgatve nèrmohatvam
nirmohatve niùcalitatvam
niùcalitatve jèvanmuktiç.

Through the company of the good, there arises non-attachment;
through non-attachment, there arises freedom from delution;
through delusionless-ness, there arises steadfastness;
through steadfastness, there arises liberation in life


For the full text and translation, visit Kamakoti’s Bhaja Govindam page.


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