Even this will pass away | Bhaja Govindam 4th stanza

(Understandings from Swami Mitrananda’s talk to Yuva Veers of Youth Empowerment Program 6thbatch)

Nalinidalagata jalamatitaralam, tadvadjeevitam atishayachapalam
Viddhi vyadhya abhimanagrastam, lokam shoka hatam cha samastam || 4 ||

Meaning: Life is so uncertain. It’s like a drop of water on a lotus petal which floats for a while but can be blown away any time. Know that the whole world is a victim of disease, ego (self-importance) and grief.

One of the best ways in learning something is the way of simile or metaphor. While life is going on smoothly, one tends to feel that it is going to be the same all the time. When a couple falls in love, they feel that they are going to live happily ever after. When a person becomes rich in his business and has achieved name and fame, he feels that this is going to be the same situation until he dies. With this comes an Ego – ‘I’m Somebody’. A body builder or a beautiful lady may be proud of their body. Wherever they go, they have eyes staring at them. But a death of one’s partner, one natural calamity, an incurable disease is enough to bring the person down and he’ll never be able to get up again.

If we go to Tata Memorial Hospital (the best cancer hospital in Asia), we can see a lot of people suffering from cancer. Some of them come from a very rich background and are willing to shell out any amount of money just to get a cure of the disease. But alas! Even bank balance cannot get a cure. Such a person might have been very successful in life and a very happy person too, until he got diagnosed with the disease. Is there any happiness left in his life now?

Parveen Babi, one of the most glamourous actresses of Bollywood in the 70’s and 80’s, who was the first Indian woman to appear on the Time magazine, had a miserable life in her middle age. She was once adored by a number of fans. But the truth is, her body was adored by the people, not her. When she lost her young looks and put up a lot of weight, she didn’t get any roles in movies. She was no longer wanted by the media and film industry. This hit her very bad and she became a victim to psychological disorders and died. How many people can we see today, right from teenagers to film actors, who are proud of their physical appearances?

How can we come out of such situations? This is what Shankara explains in these lines. To be able to withstand these turbulences in life, the mantra is – “Even this will pass away”. Once again, intelligent thinking and understanding of life is required here. Everything is temporary in life. Be it happiness or sorrow, name or fame, money or good looks; destiny can change in a fraction of a second. Even though we know this, we don’t remember this all the while, do we? Shankara says that is the reason we get shattered at calamities. We start identifying ourselves with the physical body, the fame or money we have earned. What grief and pain is caused by this wrong identification!

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5 thoughts on “Even this will pass away | Bhaja Govindam 4th stanza

  1. ഭോഗങ്ങളെല്ലാം ക്ഷണപ്രഭാചഞ്ചലം
    വേഗേന നഷ്ടമാമായുസ്സുമോർക്ക നീ.
    വഹ്നിസന്തപ്തലോഹസ്ഥാംബുബിന്ദുനാ
    സന്നിഭം മർത്ത്യജന്മം ക്ഷണഭംഗുരം.

    ഭൗതികലോകത്തിലെ സുഖ-ഭോഗങ്ങളെല്ലാം തന്നെ വളരെ കുറച്ചുസമയത്തേയ്ക്കുമാത്രം ഉണ്ടെന്നപ്രതീതി തരുന്നവയാണുലക്ഷ്മണാ……എല്ലാം ഒരു മിന്നൽ പോലെ, ക്ഷണമാത്രയിൽ വന്നുപോകുന്നവയാണു. ചുട്ടുപഴുത്തിരിക്കുന്ന ഇരുമ്പിന്റെ മുകളിൽ പതിച്ച ഒരു തുള്ളി ജലമെത്രപെട്ടെന്നാണോ അപ്രത്യക്ഷമാകുന്നത് അതുപോലെയാണീ മനുഷ്യജന്മം. യുഗങ്ങളുമായി താരതമ്യംചെയ്യുമ്പോൾ മനുഷ്യായുസ്സെത്ര തുച്ഛമാണു.

    (ലക്ഷ്മണനോടു പറയുന്നതായി തോന്നുമെങ്കിലും ഇത് നമ്മളോടല്ലേ ശ്രീരാമദേവൻ പറയുന്നത്? എന്നെന്നും നിലനിൽക്കുന്ന പരമസത്യത്തെ അന്വേഷിക്കൂ….നാളെ എന്തു സംഭവിക്കുമെന്നുനമുക്കറിയില്ല. ക്ഷണപ്രഭാചഞ്ചലമായ ഈ മനുഷ്യജന്മം ഒരു നിമിഷം പോലും പാഴാക്കാതെ, ‘ഏതൊന്നറിഞ്ഞാൽ എല്ലാമറിയുന്നുവോ, ശാശ്വതമായ ആ സത്യത്തെ സാക്ഷാത്കരിക്കൂ…’ ഭോഗങ്ങളെല്ലാം മിന്നൽ പോലെ വന്നുപോകുന്ന താൽക്കാലികസുഖങ്ങൾ പ്രദാനം ചെയ്യുന്നവയാണെന്നുമനസ്സിലാക്കിക്കൊണ്ട് ശാശ്വതമായ ആനന്ദത്തെ കണ്ടെത്തൂ. ഓരോശ്വാസവും വളരെ വിലയേറിയതാണു, സമയമൊട്ടും പാഴാക്കി കളയാതെ).

  2. (Taken from Adhyatma Ramayanam Malayalam: “Bhogangalellaam kshana-prabha-chanchalam, vegena nashtam-aayussum-orka-nee. Vahni-santapta-lohasthambu-bindunaa, sannibham marthya-janmam kshanabhanguram.” Meaning: Material comforts and enjoyments are fleeting and give only momentary pleasure. Human life is so uncertain and momentary that lasts just like a drop of water fallen on top of a red hot iron bar”).

    1. Susy Paul

      It means that as the frog in the mouth of a snake desires for food, world in the mouth of the ultimate conquerer time also goes behind earthly joys. It is useless that a frog that is about to be eaten by a snake desires for food, in the same manner, world hasvits desired.

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