How to eradicate the miseries of life? | Bhaja Govindam 10th stanza

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

Vayasigate kah kaamvikarah, shushke neere kah kaasarah
Ksheenevitte kah parivaarah, jaate tattve kah samsaarah || 10 ||

Meaning: When old age comes, where is lust? Where is the lake when water has gone? Where are one’s family and retinue once wealth is gone? Where is samsaara, the world, once the Truth is known?

The last part of the verse says that when Truth is known, the world disappears. How can that be? Everything in the world remaining as it is, how can the world just disappear for a person who has realized the Truth? Here let’s take an example we discussed in the earlier notes of the goldsmith. We see different (Forms in) ornaments, but a goldsmith sees only gold (the Substance). It’s not that he does not see the form, but he goes beyond the form. He knows that form has no value. It is the Substance that carries the value. In the same way, a Self-Realised person is able to accept and accommodate any person (good or bad), not because he has intellectually realized the Self, but because he is able to experience the Knowledge and abide in it. He also sees the world just like you and I, but he is not affected by the world and hence he’s always at peace.

Now, let’s look at the earlier part of the verse.
Lust comes to the youth. Once that age is gone, lust also goes away. There are always people around a rich person. He might think that it’s because the people love him, but in reality, they love his money, not him. Once money is gone, the retinue will disappear. Similarly, if there is not water, where’s the lake? What is Shankara trying to tell us? It’s definitely not about lust, water nor money. We need to go deeper into his words.

When people think about service projects, the common examples are building orphanages & old age homes, free medical treatment for the poor, treating AIDS patients, etc. Is creating an infrastructure for all these a solution for these problems? Think! Are building old age homes going to reduce the number of neglected elderly people? Is arresting all the corrupt politicians going to remove corruption one and for all? All these are of course necessary, but doing all this, the battle is not won. We are fighting only against the ‘Effect’ not the ‘Cause’. If we need to eradicate something from the root, we need to fight at the Cause-level. What is the cause of all these problems? Isn’t it lack of self-control, reducing family values, greed for power and wealth, etc? Who’s fighting for creating awareness of all these qualities? Is the Govt. doing something? Does our education system talk about family values, how to manage our senses, how bad is greed, lust, anger, etc? They do spread awareness on issues like AIDS but what is the solution they are advising? Are they saying anywhere having physical relation with anybody other than your spouse is a bad thing? They might give some other solution to prevent AIDS in catchy slogans, but is that going to create a healthy society?

For a healthy individual, society or a country, strong family values and values of life are very essential. A lot of educational information drilled into the brains is not going to create a healthy individual. He has to be taught the Art of Living. This Knowledge of the scriptures is not ringing bells, doing some blind rituals or lighting a few incense sticks. It’s a Knowledge the shows us a path where we can intelligently lead a happy & peaceful life without any stress & strain and enjoy life at the fullest. Para Vidya (knowledge of the Self that is prescribed in the scriptures) is the only thing will help to build noble values. Few spiritual organizations like Ramakrishna Mission, Art of Living Foundation, Chinmaya Mission, etc have taken up the task of educating the masses with this Supreme Knowledge. A below average or mediocre mind might think that these organizations are doing only discourses. What these institutions do are at a very subtle level and that’s why people can’t see it. When the fight is at the Effect-level, everybody can see it. But when the fight is at the Cause-level, only intelligent ones can see it.

Imagine, when children and youth are supplied with the right values and attitude towards life, what are the chances that they might go astray in life? Very less, isn’t it? This way, a few people are trying to reach out the masses and make a difference to an entire generation who will follow noble values in life thus creating a better tomorrow. Now, is that just an ordinary discourse? Isn’t that a more nobler social work?

What Shankara says here is Cause & Effect Theory. In the book ‘Manual of Self-Unfoldment’, Swami Chinmayananda speaks about four laws of Cause & Effect.

1. For every effect, there is a cause.
2. Cause is nothing but effect in a different form.
3. If the cause is removed, there is no effect.
4. The cause is concurrent and inherent in the effect.

If we are able to think over this deeply, we will realize how to tackle any problem at the Cause level so that the Effect is never generated.

Misery is the Effect. Ignorance is the Cause. The Solution is Para Vidya.


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