(Understandings from Swami Mitrananda’s talk to Yuva Veers of Youth Empowerment Program 6th batch)
Gurucharanaambuja nirbhara bhaktah, samsaaraadachiraadbhava muktah
Sendriyamaanasaniyamaadevam, drakshasi nijahrudayastham devam || 31 ||
Meaning: Oh devotee at the lotus feet of the teacher (willing to learn and willing to follow), May you soon become liberated from samsar by disciplining your senses and the mind; and come to experience the Lord in your own heart.
In the first verse of Bhaja Govindam, Shankara instructs on the importance of seeking the Lord (Bhaja govindam bhaja govindam…). In the second and third verse he talks about the insignificance of wealth and delusion caused by seeking pleasures. He concludes the text in the last four verses (28 – 31) talking about disease & decay caused by pleasures, sufferings caused by wealth, how to handle ourselves so that we don’t get trapped in this samsaara; and best wishes for us to get liberated. Look at the chronological order in which he started and is concluding the text. Not every knowledgeable person can share knowledge and ideas so systematically. Shankara was excellence beyond comparison. He was an institution in himself. That is why Swami Chinmayananda called him as – The Spiritual General of India.
In Hindu culture, it is a practice that a student touches the Teacher’s feet out of respect. But why does he touch the feet? Why not the head or hands? A person stands on the ground on his feet. The feet of a Master represent ‘what he stands for’. The feet of the teacher or the sandals of the teacher represent two ideals of his life –
1. Get awakened (the Goal of life)
2. Awaken others (the way of life)
These are the ideals of a teacher and a student seeks These ideals for himself. In a dream, is there anything better than waking up? Spiritual urge should never become less important at any point of time. It is natural that while we are engaged in the rat race of life, we might not remember many of these lessons all the while. But if we can take out some time every day for contemplation and Sadhana, it will go a long way.
For a Master who has realized the Self, there is no more need for him to act in this world. But still he does for the sake of others. Visionary Saints like Vyasa, Swami Chinmayananda, Swami Vivekananda, Shankara, etc; could have retired into the forests or to the caves and spent their lives in solitude. But they chose the Other Way. After they Woke Up, they chose to come down (from the heights of Knowledge and Wisdom) to the common man just as how river Ganga comes down to serve humanity from the least accessible glaciers of the Himalayas.
Many have a goal. But most of them think that their career or ambition to be their Goal of life. In which field we choose to work is our Way of Life and we should never it to be our Goal of Life. Because if we misinterpret so, once we achieve our ambition, then we don’t have anything more to achieve. There’s no meaning in life when we don’t have anything to look forward to. While we choose our Way of Life, we should have this prayer – ‘Oh Lord! I’ve to cross. Let me be instrumental to cross’. We can pass through this process smoothly if we operate through our Swadharma. Swadharma is ‘My Dharma – The Purpose for which I am born’. It is discovering the talent in us and taking that as our way of life. If we are able to do that, then we shall not only cross but also make it happen smoothly. Majority of the people are not happy and successful in life because they are working for a living and not working as per their Swadharma.
In this way, having got the right Teacher, when one gets clarity of the purpose of his existence and lives an intelligent life by controlling his mind and senses, he shall experience God in his heart. It is not creating God; it is recognizing that God was always there.
That brings an end to this text. What Shankara tries to explain us is very subtle and cannot be fully perceived through mere reading or listening. We need to reflect upon it again and again. Contemplation is a must. The best way to absorb it would be learning it by-heart and chanting it daily. When we develop that habit, somewhere in our daily lives when we lose track or when we go wrong, these lessons will ring in our mind like an alarm and remind us –
• That we are not limited and finite as we think we are.
• That we can become free and liberate ourselves from all the bondages in this very birth – Here and Now – and need not wait for our death.
• That we are born as a human because of some good deeds we did in our past lives and this is a bonus round we have got where we can go beyond human and become Divine.
• That we have come here not by accident but with a purpose. Forgetting that purpose is a waste of our coming to this world.
• That we are still living in a dream and we need to wake up…and awaken others!