Bhaja Govindam – Adi Shankaracharya Verse – 28

HariH Aum Gurubhyo NamaH |

Bhaja Govindam Verse – 28

सुखतः क्रियते रामाभोगः,पश्चाद्धन्त शरीरे रोगः।
यद्यपि लोके मरणं शरणं,तदपि न मुञ्चति पापाचरणम् ॥२८॥
SukhataH kriyate ramabhogaH pascaddhanta sarire rogaH,

yadyapi loke maranaM saranaM tadapi na muñcati papacaranam. – 28

  • Explanation of Pujya Swami Viditatmananda Ji

Very readily one indulges in carnal pleasures; thereafter, alas, come diseases of the body. Even though the ultimate end is death in this world, man does not give up his sinful behavior.

The acarya presents another observation of life here. He asks us to observe how a common man exhausts himself and squanders this precious opportunity of human life without recognizing its value.

Sri Sankaracarya says in Vivekacudamani, The status of a human being, the disposition of one who longs for freedom, and being under the tutelage of a teacher – this three-fold blessing is difficult to gain and has its cause only in the grace of the Lord.

There are three things that are said to be rare, of which manusyatvam, gaining birth as a human being, is one. In the very first verse of the Vivekacudamani, Sri Sankaracarya says that there are millions and millions of species in this whole universe, and the human being is but a minuscule part of all the creatures in this whole universe. However, to be born as a human being is a great blessing, jantunam nara-janma durlabham. It is a rare privilege, and we should utilize this precious opportunity. In this birth, the human form enjoys certain distinctions, certain privileges, which are not available to other life forms.

There are several features common to the human being and other beings: eating, sleep, sense gratification. However, human beings have one distinction. They have an intellect. They can think, and they have an urge to evolve. There is an urge to change, an urge to improve, an urge to progress. Such an urge does not appear to be there in any other life form. That is the reason why, for centuries, the cows have been what they are. There is no change in their lifestyle or their diet.

The animals have not even thought that they could cook grass or spice it up a little bit! We see the sparrows building the same kind of nests for centuries together. They know whatever architecture they need to know. That is all. There is no improvement at all. Whereas, we can see the degree of progress human beings have made. That shows that the human being is a very privileged species.

Therefore, this human form is not acquired to merely be wasted away in eating, drinking, and making merry. An animal form is more suitable for that. If eating well is the goal of life, I’d better become a buffalo, which has a big stomach, and can eat a lot of food. They have no freedom to change their instincts, whereas, the human being has freewill, which is a great privilege. Therefore, man should contemplate upon the purpose of life. Life should not be wasted away merely in sensuous pleasures, but people do that.

SukhataH kriyate ramabhogaH. SukhataH, easily, rama means woman. RamabhogaH means carnal pleasures. Man succumbs easily to the impulse for lust or pleasure. The tongue has a natural affinity for taste. The ears have a natural affinity for sound. Our sense organs have a natural affinity for sense objects. That is how they have been created.

Therefore, they always extend outwards, reaching out for pleasure. It is very easy. Just as it is very easy for water to flow from a higher level to a lower level, so also, it is very natural for this mind, this sense organ, to expand from the inside to the outside. The outward flow of the mind can be compared to the outward flow of the river.

The seat of the mind is the heart. From there, it runs out through these apertures, the sense organs, into the world. Because this is something natural, and very easy and instinctive, the river of the mind is always flowing out, resulting in all the energy being exhausted or wasted away. Therefore, the common man wastes away all his energy in the play of the senses. He wastes away his life.

What happens then?

Pascaddhanta sarire rogaH. Pascad, thereafter. Hanta, alas. Hanta is a term used to express pity. What a pity it is, that after having spent his life merely in sense pleasures, he suffers from all kinds of bodily diseases, sarire rogaH. As Bharthari says, bhoge rogabhayam [Vairagya Satakam, 31], whenever there is an attachment to pleasures, an attachment to sense gratification, there is also rogabhayam, the fear of roga or disease. Whenever one is engaged in sensuous pleasures, there definitely is going to be disease. Most of the diseases that we are suffering from are there because we abused our body.
God has created this body to be quite capable of doing what it is meant to do, but we utilize our body for purposes different from what it is designed for. We utilize the stomach as a storehouse for food; we keep on dumping food. It is not meant to be used that way. Pujya Swamiji used to say that one man would run 20 miles each day. This is very funny. We are not horses. How can someone run 20 miles every morning? Doesn’t he have anything else to do? Thus, we abuse the faculties that God has given us.

There is a saying in Sanskrit, ati sarvatra varjayet, you must always avoid excess in anything. However, our life is full of excesses and indulgence, full of abuse to the body. That is the reason why we soon start suffering from a variety of diseases such as diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. We abuse the body. When people get nervous, they eat food. If I don’t feel good or I am bored, I go to the refrigerator and pull out something to eat.

We don’t realize, however, that what we eat, what we drink, what we read, or what we hear has an influence on our mind. The abuse of the body is not merely confined to the body, but breeds many diseases of the mind as well. People seem to have all kinds of problems. A normal person is hard to find. As long as they don’t talk, so long, everything is fine. It is only when they start talking that we realize the kinds of craziness out there. All this is because we do not live our life intelligently.

Yadyapi loke maranam saranam. People see that maranam or death is the ultimate end. I cannot survive for ever. I see that life is short and so the time and opportunities I have at my disposal are also short. At the time of death I am not going to take anything with me. The wealth that I have accumulated is not going to come with me.

Even though the person knows that he is ultimately going to die, he does not give up his sinful ways, papacaraam na muñcati.

“Swamiji, I am a very straightforward and righteous person. Sin does not apply to me.” You are righteous, perhaps, as far as honesty is concerned. Still, that is not the only righteous way.

What are you doing about yourself?

What is the purpose for which you are here?

Are you utilizing your energies for that purpose, or are you squandering it away on something else? That is also a papa. To abuse this body and squandering away this body in sense gratification is also a papa or a sin.

When the appointed time comes, none of these pursuits are going to help you. They are not going to protect you. Therefore, spend your life in a worthwhile pursuit that will save you or help you at the time of death.

HariH Om __/\__
Courtesy : Sri Subramaniyam Balaji
Credit : Swami Viditatmananda Saraswathi Ji


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