[Advaita-l] Adi Sankara's Bhaja Govindam - 20

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 23 14:57:57 EDT 2022

(Continued from previous post)
Verse 25
Shatrou mitrE putrE bandhou mA kuru yatnam vigrahasandhou
Sarvasminnapi pashyaatmaanam sarvathrotsuja bhedagnanam
Do not make (mA kuru) effort (yatnam) (to create) division or attachment (vigrahasandhou) among enemies (shatrou), friends (mitre), offsprings (putrE) or relatives (bandhou). See (pasya)
in everything (sarvasminnapi) oneself (aatmaanam). Forsake (utsruja) everywhere (sarvatra) the sense of difference born of ignorance (bheda agnaanam).
An emancipated soul devoid of likes and dislikes (raga dvesha) accepts people as they are. As the Bhagavad Gita says, he is one without any agenda (sarvaarambhaparityaagi) in his interactions
with the world. As one who understands and perceives everything in the world as a fragment of the Divine, he can view any sense of duality only as a result of ignorance, and sees oneself in
everyone in the sense of appreciating the all pervasiveness and oneness of aatman, the true Self. Once again, Bhagavad Gita calls him the seer who sees every being as oneself (aatmavat sarvabhootaani
yo pashyati sah pashyati). This verse is a prescription to evolving to be such an emancipated being. It asks one to get above the self defeating acts of fostering either closeness or enmity
among others, to give up any feelings of division among people, and to see oneself in everything.
Verse 9
Satsangatve nissangatvam Nissangatve nirmohatvam
Nirmohatve nischalatatvam nischalatatvE jeevanmukthih
Detachment (nissangatvam) [results from] good company (satsangatve); freedom from delusion (nirmohatvam) from detachment (nissangatve); an unwavering abidance in truth (nischalatatam) from
lack of delusion (nirmohatve); and ultimate salvation (jeevanmukthih) from such abidance in truth (nishalatatvE).
There is a saying, “Tell me who thy friends are, and I will tell thee who thou art.” It is not only that like people attract each other hang together, but it is important that one who wants
to evolve spiritually should seek out good company. Such good company comes in the form of great teachers and religious exponents, spiritually inclined friends and colleagues, prayer groups,
religious discourses and gatherings, etc. This verse extolling the virtue of such good company says that such company gives one the ability to overcome delusions that lead to attachment towards
impermanent things and relationships. When such delusions are shed, one’s mind focuses on the permanent – the Ultimate Reality – and one develops an unwavering anchoring in (spiritual) values
leading one to eventual emancipation from mundane bondages.
Verse 31
Gurucharanambuja nirbhara bhakthah samsaradachiradbhava mukthah
Sendriyamanasaniyamadevam drakshyasi nijahrudayastham devam
Oh one who is steadfastly clings to the lotus feet of one’s Guru (gurucharanambhuja nirbhara bhaktah)! May you become (bhava) a liberated one (mukthah) soon (achiraat) from attachment (samsaaraad).
In this way (evam) through the control of your mind and sense organs (sendriyamanasaniyamad), you will come to see (drakshyasi) the Lord (devam) dwelling in one’s own heart (nijahrdayastam).
Just as Sanskrit didactic works begin with an invocatory verse and by spelling out the qualifications of the one to whom it is addressed to, they also end with a phalastuti a verse explaining the
benefits accruing to the study of the piece. This verse serves that purpose and indirectly also emphasizes the need to have a Guru for guidance and adherence to the teachings of that Guru. The benefits
coming from such guidance of the Guru that formed the many verses we have discussed is asserted to be the ability to shed one’s attachments to the impermanent and to not only realize the Permanent but
to obtain the true knowledge that that Permanent one indeed resides within. Self realization (atmajnana) liberating one and attaining the status of emancipation even while living in the world, i.e.,
becoming a jeevanmuktah is claimed to be benefit accruing to one learning and practicing the teachings of this work that summarize Vedanta.
The ultimate goal of a spiritual aspirant is the shedding of illusions that create various types of bondage towards impermanent things and relationships and to attain liberation through true knowledge
of the permanent and real. That path is not easy, and there are many specific steps that one can take to evolve. Some of the important ones listed in Bhaja Govindam can be summarized as follows.
1.    Develop a sense of prayerfulness and faith in the Lord immediately.
2.    Understand the impermanent nature of our body and its ultimate decay and avoid any narcissist attachment to oneself.
3.    Yet, take care of the body as the abode of the soul by performing needed austerities, exercising due discipline in the form of control over one’s senses, and avoiding indiscriminate
        indulgence in harmful pleasures.
4.    Understand that all our relationships are evanescent and develop a measured detachment even towards close family members like one’s spouse and children.
5.    Shed all pride and vanity such as those arising from youthfulness, bodily strength, wealth, or connections, since they make no difference in the eyes of death and time.
6.    Understand all possessions and wealth as being major distractions and even as having much destructive potential, and therefore eschew consciously their indiscriminate pursuit as well as
        undue attachment towards them.
7.    Develop an attitude of contentment accepting one’s lot and results of one’s actions as ordained by one’s karma and as a gift of god (iswara prasada).
8.    Respect nature (like water and rivers) and live in harmony with all things and all beings.
9.    Strengthen your spirituality through visiting holy places, reading scriptural texts, and above all through good company.
10.    Appreciate the oneness, indivisibility, universality and omnipresence of the Divine and develop a sense of oneness with all.
11.    Practice meditation and prayer that help to rise above the mundane and the external world.
12.    Attach yourself to a spiritual teacher (guru) and follow the teachings of the scriptures under the guidance of the guru.

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