Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Bhaj Govindam by Adiguru Shankaracharya

Rendition by M.S. Subbualakshmi

भज गोविन्दं
भजगोविन्दं भजगोविन्दं
गोविन्दं भजमूढमते .
संप्राप्ते सन्निहिते काले
नहि नहि रक्षति डुकृञ्करणे .. १..

Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, Oh fool !
Rules of grammar will not save you at the time of your death.

मूढ जहीहि धनागमतृष्णां
कुरु सद्बुद्धिं मनसि वितृष्णाम् .
यल्लभसे निजकर्मोपात्तं
वित्तं तेन विनोदय चित्तम् .. २..

Oh fool ! Give up your thirst to amass wealth, devote your mind to thoughts to the Real. Be content with what comes through actions already performed in the past.

नारीस्तनभर नाभीदेशं
दृष्ट्वा मागामोहावेशम् .
एतन्मांसावसादि विकारं
मनसि विचिन्तय वारं वारम् .. ३..

Do not get drowned in delusion by going wild with passions and lust by seeing a woman's navel and chest. These are nothing but a modification of flesh. Fail not to remember this again and again in your mind.

नलिनीदलगत जलमतितरलं
तद्वज्जीवितमतिशयचपलम् .
विद्धि व्याध्यभिमानग्रस्तं
लोकं शोकहतं च समस्तम् .. ४..

The life of a person is as uncertain as rain drops trembling on a lotus leaf. Know that the whole world remains a prey to disease, ego and grief.

यावद्वित्तोपार्जन सक्तः
स्तावन्निज परिवारो रक्तः .
पश्चाज्जीवति जर्जर देहे
वार्तां कोऽपि न पृच्छति गेहे .. ५..

So long as a man is fit and able to support his family, see what affection all those around him show. But no one at home cares to even have a word with him when his body totters due to old age.

यावत्पवनो निवसति देहे
तावत्पृच्छति कुशलं गेहे .
गतवति वायौ देहापाये
भार्या बिभ्यति तस्मिन्काये .. ६..

When one is alive, his family members enquire kindly about his welfare. But when the soul departs from the body, even his wife runs away in fear of the corpse.

तरुणस्तावत्तरुणीसक्तः .
परे ब्रह्मणि कोऽपि न सक्तः .. ७..

The childhood is lost by attachment to playfulness. Youth is lost by
attachment to woman. Old age passes away by thinking over many
things. But there is hardly anyone who wants to be lost in parabrahman

काते कान्ता कस्ते पुत्रः
संसारोऽयमतीव विचित्रः .
कस्य त्वं कः कुत आयातः
तत्त्वं चिन्तय तदिह भ्रातः .. ८..

Who is your wife? Who is your son? Strange is this samsaara, the world. Of whom are you? From where have you come? Brother, ponder over these truths.

सत्सङ्गत्वे निस्स्ङ्गत्वं
निस्सङ्गत्वे निर्मोहत्वम् .
निर्मोहत्वे निश्चलतत्त्वं
निश्चलतत्त्वे जीवन्मुक्तिः .. ९..

From satsanga, company of good people, comes non-attachment,from non-attachment comes freedom from delusion, which leads to self-settledness. From self-settledness comes Jiivan mukti.

वयसिगते कः कामविकारः
शुष्के नीरे कः कासारः .
क्षीणेवित्ते कः परिवारः
ज्ञाते तत्त्वे कः संसारः .. १०..

What good is lust when youth has fled? What use is a lake which has no water? Where are the relatives when wealth is gone? Where is samsaara, the world,  when the Truth is known?

मा कुरु धन जन यौवन गर्वं
हरति निमेषात्कालः सर्वम् .
मायामयमिदमखिलं हित्वा
ब्रह्मपदं त्वं प्रविश विदित्वा .. ११..

Do not boast of wealth, friends, and youth. Each one of these are destroyed within a minute by time. Free yourself from the illusion of the world of Maya and attain the timeless Truth.

दिनयामिन्यौ सायं प्रातः
शिशिरवसन्तौ पुनरायातः .
कालः क्रीडति गच्छत्यायुः
तदपि न मुञ्चत्याशावायुः .. १२..

Daylight and darkness, dusk and dawn, winter and springtime come and go. Time plays and life ebbs away. But the storm of desire never leaves.

कथितो वैयाकरणस्यैषः .
उपदेशो भूद्विद्यानिपुणैः
श्रीमच्छन्करभगवच्छरणैः .. १२अ ..

This bouquet of twelve verses was imparted to a grammarian by the all-knowing Shankara, adored as the bhagavadpada.

काते कान्ता धन गतचिन्ता
वातुल किं तव नास्ति नियन्ता .
त्रिजगति सज्जनसं गतिरैका
भवति भवार्णवतरणे नौका .. १३..

Oh mad man ! Why this engrossment in thoughts of wealth? Is there no one to guide you? There is only one thing in three worlds that can save you from the ocean of samsaara, get into the boat of satsanga, company of good people, quickly.
Stanza attributed to Padmapada

जटिलो मुण्डी लुञ्छितकेशः
काषायाम्बरबहुकृतवेषः .
पश्यन्नपि चन पश्यति मूढः
उदरनिमित्तं बहुकृतवेषः .. १४..

There are many who go with matted locks, many who have clean shaven heads, many whose hairs have been plucked out; some are clothed in orange, yet others in various colors --- all just for a livelihood. Seeing truth revealed before them, still the foolish ones see it not.
Stanza attributed to Totakacharya

अङ्गं गलितं पलितं मुण्डं
दशनविहीनं जतं तुण्डम् .
वृद्धो याति गृहीत्वा दण्डं
तदपि न मुञ्चत्याशापिण्डम् .. १५..

Strength has left the old man's body; his head has become bald,his gums toothless and leaning on crutches. Even then the attachment is strong and he clings firmly to fruitless desires.
Stanza attributed to Hastamalaka

अग्रे वह्निः पृष्ठेभानुः
रात्रौ चुबुकसमर्पितजानुः .
तदपि न मुञ्चत्याशापाशः .. १६..

Behold there lies the man who sits warming up his body with the fire in front and the sun at the back; at night he curls up the body to keep out of the cold; he eats his beggar's food from the bowl of his hand and sleeps beneath the tree. Still in his heart, he is a wretched puppet at the hands of passions.
Stanza attributed to Subodha

कुरुते गङ्गासागरगमनं
व्रतपरिपालनमथवा दानम् .
ज्ञानविहिनः सर्वमतेन
मुक्तिं न भजति जन्मशतेन .. १७..

One may go to Gangasagar, observe fasts, and give away riches in charity! Yet, devoid of jnana, nothing can give mukthi even at the end of a hundred births.
Stanza attributed to vaartikakaara

सुर मंदिर तरु मूल निवासः
शय्या भूतल मजिनं वासः .
सर्व परिग्रह भोग त्यागः
कस्य सुखं न करोति विरागः .. १८..

Take your residence in a temple or below a tree, wear the deerskin for the dress and sleep with mother earth as your bed. Give up all attachments and renounce all comforts. Blessed with such vairgya, could any fail to be content?
Stanza attributed to nityaananda

योगरतो वाभोगरतोवा
सङ्गरतो वा सङ्गवीहिनः .
यस्य ब्रह्मणि रमते चित्तं
नन्दति नन्दति नन्दत्येव .. १९..

One may take delight in yoga or bhoga, may have attachment or detachment. But only he whose mind steadily delights in Brahman enjoys bliss, no one else . 
Stanza attributed to anandagiriH

भगवद् गीता किञ्चिदधीता
गङ्गा जललव कणिकापीता .
सकृदपि येन मुरारि समर्चा
क्रियते तस्य यमेन न चर्चा .. २०..

Let a man read but a little from giitaa, drink just a drop of water from the ganges, worship but once muraari. He then will have no altercation with Yama .
Stanza attributed to dRiDhabhakta

पुनरपि जननं पुनरपि मरणं
पुनरपि जननी जठरे शयनम् .
इह संसारे बहुदुस्तारे
कृपयाऽपारे पाहि मुरारे .. २१..

Born again, death again, again to stay in the mother's womb ! It is indeed hard to cross this boundless ocean of samsaara. Oh Murari ! Redeem me through Thy mercy.
Stanza attributed to nityanaatha

रथ्या चर्पट विरचित कन्थः
पुण्यापुण्य विवर्जित पन्थः .
योगी योगनियोजित चित्तो
रमते बालोन्मत्तवदेव .. २२..

There is no shortage of clothing for a monk so long as there are rags cast off the road. Freed from vices and virtues, onward he wanders. One who lives in communion with god enjoys bliss,pure and uncontaminated, like a child and as an intoxicated.
Stanza attributed to nityanaatha

कस्त्वं कोऽहं कुत आयातः
का मे जननी को मे तातः .
इति परिभावय सर्वमसारम्
विश्वं त्यक्त्वा स्वप्न विचारम् .. २३..

Who are you ? Who am I ? From where do I come ? Who is my mother, who is my father ? Ponder thus, look at everything as essenceless and give up the world as an idle dream.
Stanza attributed to surendra

त्वयि मयि चान्यत्रैको विष्णुः
व्यर्थं कुप्यसि मय्यसहिष्णुः .
भव समचित्तः सर्वत्र त्वं
वाञ्छस्यचिराद्यदि विष्णुत्वम् .. २४..

In me, in you and in everything, none but the same Vishnu dwells. Your anger and impatience is meaningless. If you wish to attain the status of Vishnu, have samabhaava, equanimity, always.
Stanza attributed to medhaatithira

शत्रौ मित्रे पुत्रे बन्धौ
मा कुरु यत्नं विग्रहसन्धौ .
सर्वस्मिन्नपि पश्यात्मानं
सर्वत्रोत्सृज भेदाज्ञानम् .. २५..

Waste not your efforts to win the love of or to fight against friend and foe, children and relatives. See yourself in everyone and give up all feelings of duality completely.
Stanza attributed to medhaatithira

कामं क्रोधं लोभं मोहं
त्यक्त्वाऽत्मानं भावय कोऽहम् .
आत्मज्ञान विहीना मूढाः
ते पच्यन्ते नरकनिगूढाः .. २६..

Give up lust, anger, infatuation, and greed. Ponder over your real nature. Fools are they who are blind to the Self. Cast into hell, they suffer there endlessly.
Stanza attributed to bhaarativamsha

गेयं गीता नाम सहस्रं
ध्येयं श्रीपति रूपमजस्रम् .
नेयं सज्जन सङ्गे चित्तं
देयं दीनजनाय च वित्तम् .. २७..

Regularly recite from the Gita, meditate on Vishnu in your heart, and chant His thousand glories. Take delight to be with the noble and the holy. Distribute your wealth in charity to the poor and the needy.
Stanza attributed to sumatir

सुखतः क्रियते रामाभोगः
पश्चाद्धन्त शरीरे रोगः .
यद्यपि लोके मरणं शरणं
तदपि न मुञ्चति पापाचरणम् .. २८..

He who yields to lust for pleasure leaves his body a prey to disease. Though death brings an end to everything, man does not give-up the sinful path.

अर्थमनर्थं भावय नित्यं
नास्तिततः सुखलेशः सत्यम् .
पुत्रादपि धन भाजां भीतिः
सर्वत्रैषा विहिआ रीतिः .. २९..

Wealth is not welfare, truly there is no joy in it. Reflect thus at all times. A rich man fears even his own son. This is the way of wealth everywhere.

प्राणायामं प्रत्याहारं
नित्यानित्य विवेकविचारम् .
जाप्यसमेत समाधिविधानं
कुर्ववधानं महदवधानम् .. ३०..

Regulate the praaNa-s, life forces, remain unaffected by external influences and discriminate between the real and the fleeting. Chant the
holy name of God and silence the turbulent mind. Perform these with care, with extreme care

गुरुचरणाम्बुज निर्भर भकतः
संसारादचिराद्भव मुक्तः .
सेन्द्रियमानस नियमादेवं
द्रक्ष्यसि निज हृदयस्थं देवम् .. ३१..

Oh devotee of the lotus feet of the Guru ! May thou be soon free from Samsara. Through disciplined senses and controlled mind, thou shalt come to experience the indwelling Lord of your heart !

मूढः कश्चन वैयाकरणो
डुकृञ्करणाध्ययन धुरिणः .
श्रीमच्छम्कर भगवच्छिष्यै
बोधित आसिच्छोधितकरणः .. ३२..

Thus a silly grammarian lost in rules cleansed of his narrow vision and shown the Light by Shankara's apostles.

भजगोविन्दं भजगोविन्दं
गोविन्दं भजमूढमते .
नहि पश्यामो भवतरणे .. ३३..

Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, Oh fool! Other than chanting the Lord's names, there is no other way to cross the life's ocean.

Background to Bhajan
Bhaja govindam is one of the minor compositions of the spiritual giant, Adi Shankaracharya. It is classified as a prakaraNa grantha, a primer to the major works. Though sung as a bhajan,it contains the essence of vedanta and implores the man to think,``Why am I here in this life ? Why am I amassing wealth, family, but have no peace ? What is the Truth ? What is the purpose of life ? The person thus awakened gets set on a path to the inner road back to the God principle.

During his stay in Kashi, Shankaracharya noticed a very old man studying the rules of sanskrit by Panini. Shankara was touched with pity at seeing the plight of the old man spending his years at a mere intellectual accomplishment while he would be better off praying and spending time to control his mind. Shankara understood that the majority of the world was also engaged in mere intellectual, sense pleasures and not in the divine contemplation. Seeing this, he burst forth with the verses of Bhaja govindaM.

In 31 verses, he, like no other, explains our fallacies, our wrong outlook for life, and dispells our ignorance and delusions. Thus bhaja govindaM was originally known as moha mudgaara, the remover of delusions.

Shankara explains, nay chides, us for spending our time in useless trivia like amassing wealth, lusting after (wo)men and requests us to discriminate and cultivate the knowledge to learn the difference between the real and the unreal. To emphasise that, he concludes that all knowledge other than the Self-Knowledge is useless, Shankara makes the person realise how foolish he is in the conduct and behavior by these verses, and shows the purpose of our worldly existence, which is to seek
Govinda and attain Him.

Bhaja govindam is divided into dvaadasha manjarikaa stotram and chaturdasha manjarika stotram. At the end of composing the first stanza, it is said that Shankara burst forth with the next 11 stanzas of bhaja govindam. Thus stanzas 1-12 are called dvaadash manjarika stotram. Inspired by the extempore recital by Shankara, each of his 14 disciples composed a verse and the 14 verse compendium is called chaturdasha manjarika stotram. Shankara added the finishing touches by adding five of his own stanzas at the last.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra 28th July 2011


Arrived at Jammu from Lucknow by VaranasiJammu Tawi Super Fast train (12237). Departure from Lucknow 18:15 hrs & Arrival at Jammu next day 11:25 hrs.
Renowned as city of temples with attractive surroundings & located at the foot hills of Himalayas Jammu is the winter capital of the state Jammu and Kashmir. It is believed that Raja Jamboolochan founded this city in 14th century BC. The city, which figured in ancient epic Mahabharata, was named first as Jamboo, but later it has become Jammu. History and archeological evidence says that Jammu was the integral part of Harappa civilisation. Jammu city is known for its ancient temples, imposing palaces and historically renowned places. To list a few important attractions Shri Mata Vaishno Devi temple, Gauri Kund Temple, Bahu fort, Amar mahal, Amarnath caves, Mubarak Mandi Palace complex, Gadhadharji Temple, Dogra Art museum and many more. Surinsar Lake is a natural attraction here.
At the Railway station counter of JKTDC was set up for Shri Amarnath ji yatris providing assistance in hotel booking & other information. We were taken in a Maruti Van by JKTDC to hotel Jammu Residency in Raghunath Bazar near Raghunath temple (Distance: about 06 kms from Railway station, 13 kms from Airport). Room was good sized with all necessary amenities. Complex also houses two good quality restaurants - Wazwan Restaurant: serves Kashmiri non-vegetarian cuisine from Rista to Tabakmaaz in typical Kashmiri ambiance. Indian mughlai food is also served. Vegetarian Restaurant offers pure vegetarian food, especially for those tourists who arrive from Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine.

After taking bath we went to Raghunath temple which is about 100 meters from this hotel. After spending the evening doing puja & jaap at the temple we just roamed around the market and after taking early dinner retired to our hotel for early morning schedule next day.

Shri Amarnath ji Yatra 05th August 2011

Felicitation picture of chachaji Shri Rajendra Shankar Tripathi, Advocate, Unnao on successfully completing the Yatra in this age by Shri Kripa Shankar Singh, MLA, UP.

Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra 29th July 2011

We woke up very early at 2 AM to be ready after bath & morning meditation to take the car at 03:30 AM, provided by the hotel, to Yatra base camp at Bhagwati Nagar, Jammu which is about 3-4 Kms from the hotel at Raghunath Bazar. Base camp looked like a fortified area with lots of security check by CRPF. The complex also has a yatri niwas providing cheap accommodation to yatris, besides Bus reservation counter & BSNL temporary SIM card counter.

Yatra Route
: there are two routes to the yatra
  1. JAMMU – PAHALGAM – HOLY CAVE: Distance from Jammu to Pahalgam 315 Kms. This is traditional but longer route (about 46 kms distance from Pahalgam to Holy Cave) consisting of many temples connected with the mythological story of Shri Amarnath ji yatra.
  2. JAMMU – BALTAL – HOLY CAVE: Distance from Jammu to Baltal 430 Kms. this is shorter route (about 14 kms distance from Baltal to Holy Cave) without any temples enroute.
ROUTE MAP (courtesy shrine board website)

Earlier one had to trek the entire distance from the starting points of yatra i.e. Pahalgam or Baltal but now Helicopter services are available by Pawan Hans and Alpine up to Panchtarni. From there one has to trek the remaining 06 kms. We had chosen the shorter route through Baltal & back to Jammu.
After taking ticket for Baltal we boarded bus at about 04:00 AM. Fare by regular JKTDC bus is Rs.365/- per person. Baltal is about 430 kms from Jammu. Bus was full with enthusiastic yatris, most of them being first timers. All vehicles moved under full security cover in a convoy with CRPF vehicles at the start & end.
Journey was very nice but very long also. It was a little warm at the start but after 2-3 hours the weather changed and it became cool. There are lots of Langars by NGOs at regular intervals feeding the yatris with all humility & care. What a gesture. Bus moved through picturesque Patnitop & other places.
 In the afternoon our convoy was stopped and there was a huge jam for about 3 hours. We learnt that some extremists had planted a bomb below some bridge on the route which was diffused by CRPF. Kudos to them. It is due to their extreme 24 hours vigil that the normal public & yatris are safe in the valley.
We came near Jawahar Tunnel which is about 2.5 kms long and after crossing this you enter the beautiful Kashmir Valley. Just after the tunnel the scenery is so beautifully breathtaking. After some more breaks at Langars we reached Srinagar at 08 PM; passing through the very beautiful and mammoth Dal Lake the convoy reached another CRPF camp for the yatris at Manigam, about 30 kms from Srinagar. Place was high security area with Langars & tents and good arrangements for toilets & bathrooms. Again cannot thank enough the govt. for arrangements & NGOs for their hospitality. Good food in variety was available. We took one tent for night stay who charged a meager Rs.100/- for the night. Tired from the full day journey we said our prayers and went to sleep. Ahead was another early morning journey as Baltal was still about 80 kms.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Shri Amarnath ji - the Legend & stories of Holy cave

There is famous Rig Vedic Verse that says "Ekam Sat" that is "There is one Being, the sages call Him by many names." The God (Parmeshwar) has three deities who carry on the world. This is Known as Holy Trinity: Brahma - the creator, Vishnu - the perpetuator of life and Shiva (Mahesh ) - the purifier and perpetuator of good and destroyer of evil. Rig Veda refer Shiva as Rudra as in its following verse. "We Worship Tryambaka (Rudra), Who spread Fragrance and Increases Nourishment, May He release me, like the cucumber from its stem, From Mortal Life, But not From Immorality." (Rig Veda Mandal VII Sukta 59 and Mantra 12).

The Yajurveda describes Shiva as ascetic warrior Whose robe is of Deer Skin and He carries Trishul. According to the verse Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram, the life is described as having three facets - Truth (Satyam), Good (Shivam) and the Beautiful (Sundaram). Shiva is a living God. The most Sacred and ancient books of India, the Rig Veda narrates His presence in the hymns. Vedic myths, rituals and even astronomy testify to His existence from the dawn of time. The Mohanjodaro and Harrapa findings confirm Shiva worship in the ancient India. According to the older scriptures, He has three places of His residence. One is Kailash Parvat another  is Lohit Giri under which Brahamputra flows and third is Muzwan Parvat.
The Holy Cave
Amarnath Cave is named after Mount Amarnath (5,486 m), where it is located at a height of 3,886 m. Because of this height, the cave is covered with snow for most of the year. Only for a short period in summer, the entrance is accessible. The cave is an ice cave; it contains a certain amount of ice stalagmites. The Lingam forms naturally toward the end of each summer from water dripping inside the 135-foot-high grotto.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra 1st August 2011

Jammu in the morning after taking breakfast at Vaishnavi Dham, we decided to take a tour of the city. As such Jammu city is known for its ancient temples. We booked auto who took us to a place called Mini Haridwar situated on the banks of river Jammutawi. The temple complex houses replica temples of Chardham (Badrinath, Rameshwaram, Jagannathpuri & Dwarka), 12 Jyotirlingas, Pashupatinath among others. Also there is temple showing Devi taking rest in lying position (this is somewhat rare). A very nice atmosphere filling one with religious fervor. From there we went to Naudurga temple. There were shops authorised by Laddakh government selling varied range of woolens being carpets, pashmina shawls, blankets etc with attractive schemes. From there we went to Bahu Fort where the famous Bawey Wali Mata Temple is placed interior to the fort and the temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali.  It is assumed that this famous temple is constructed in 1822, immediately after Maharaja Gulab Singh took the throne of the Kingdom. Goddess, Bawey Wali Mata, is the presiding deity of the Jammu region. Lots of devotees throng to this temple offering prayers on Tuesdays and Sundays. It is strongly believed that the Bawey Wali Mata has mystical powers and the temple is second only to Mata Vaishno Devi temple.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Shri Amarnath ji Yatra - darshan at the Holy Cave 30th July 2011

Visited the Holy cave of Shri Amarnath ji for Darshan of Shivlinga. Divine atmosphere there. Sat in meditation for about 10 minutes, could actually feel the presence of Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvati. Divine experience among beautiful natural surroundings. Mountains with snow laden tops.
Started the day from Yatra camp at Manigam (30 Kms from Srinagar) at 08 AM by JKTDC bus in CRPF convoy to Baltal (Yatra starting point) through picturesque Sonmarg along the beautiful Indus valley.
Sonmarg is about 84 kms from Srinagar, at an altitude of 2,740 m from the sea level Known as the 'Meadow of Gold', Sonmarg is set amidst a valley of flowers and lakes. The word “Son” literally means “Gold” in Hindi, and this golden beauty covered with white snow is most attractive in the spring. The exotic flora of the region is nurtured by the Sindh river. Sonmarg is the gateway to Ladakh. The dense forests of Sonmarg comprise of sycamore and alpine flowers, silver birch, fir and pine. The place is frequently visited by nature lovers in the search of tranquil peace and soothing natural beauty. The stunning blue water lakes and grasslands are the other attractions. The enchanting beauty of the towering snow clad mountains is a real treat to the eyes. We  had to stop for checking by Army. Could see camps along the river. How one wishes there was more time for 2-3 days stay at Sonmarg. REALLY BEAUTIFUL.
After reaching Baltal at about 10 AM, we deposited luggage in Locker room. Lots of Langars & stay tents with arrangements for toilets available.