Bhaja Govindam – Adi Shankaracharya Verse – 30

HariH Aum Gurubhyo NamaH |

Bhaja Govindam Verse – 30


प्राणायामं प्रत्याहारं,नित्यानित्य विवेकविचारम्।
जाप्यसमेत समाधिविधानं,कुर्ववधानं महदवधानम् ॥३०॥
PranayamaM pratyaharaM nityanitya vivekavicaram,

japyasameta samadhividhanaM kurvavadhanaM mahadavadhanam – 30


  • Explanation of Pujya Swami Viditatmananda Ji

The control of breath, the sense withdrawl, discriminating between the permanent and the impermanent, along with a mind that is absorbed in doing japa, perform these with care, with great care.

Verses 28 and 29 have told us about the calamitous and foolish pursuit of artha and kama. We have to apply the pratipaksa bhavana in order to withdraw our mind from this preoccupation with artha and kama, so that the attention of the mind can be drawn to what we really have to do. Verse 30 tells us what to do when we achieve this.

In the earlier two verses, the acarya told us what not to do, and here we are told what to do, kuru mahad avadhanam. Avadhanam means great care. Mahad avadhanam, with great care or very carefully. With great care, may you do this. What is he asking us to do? Pranayamam Pratyaharam nityanitya
vivekavicaram japyasameta.

Pranayamam is control of the breath. The control of the breath is the control of all our faculties, which implies exercising control over our sense enjoyments. What the acarya calls Pranayamam, really means the control of all the sense organs of perception, and organs of action. With all these faculties, the hands, legs, speech, eyes, and ears, I do what is necessary. I do properly and alertly what I have to do, no more, no less. This is self-control.

Pratyaharam is the withdrawal of the senses. It is the withdrawal of the mind from its preoccupations. I should slowly withdraw the mind from other things and begin to focus the mind upon the Self. The first step is the practice of discipline and having a sense of proportion in all my activities, through self-control and alertness. The second is the withdrawing of the mind from its external preoccupations and focusing it upon the self.

Let there be a sense of proportion in everything that we do in our life. In ahara, food, and in vihara, walking and moving around. In whatever karma you perform, always have a sense of proportion. When you talk, talk what is necessary, what is proper, what is right, what is pleasant and what is truthful. In whatever you do, always be alert. May you be alert in all the actions that you perform and may you not waste any effort.

Do what is right; neither more, nor less. That is called having a sense of proportion. In food, avoid eating too much, and avoid eating too little. In sleep, avoid sleeping too much and avoid sleeping too little. In speech, avoid speaking too much, and avoid speaking too little. In action, avoid doing too much and avoid doing too little. If it is too little, you get too lazy. If you do too much, you get exhausted.

May you design the activities in your life in such a manner that your focus is always maintained upon what you want to do, meaning acquiring a knowledge of yourself. Let your whole life be designed around the pursuit of knowledge.

Nityanitya vivekavicaram is the discrimination or viveka between nitya and anitya. Let my intellect be engaged in discrimination. Let me become an enquiring, thinking or contemplative person. Let me not take things for granted. There are so many notions and assumptions in our life, which we have never stopped to analyze. Therefore, let me consider what is nitya and what is anitya, or what is permanent and what is impermanent.

Let our lives be totally dedicated or devoted to the pursuit that we have chosen for ourselves. Let no action ever be wasted. This also can come in the practice of Pranayamam. Let the mind always dwell upon understanding what is nitya and what is anitya, what is permanent and what is impermanent, what is desirable and what is not desirable, what is conducive to my goal and what is not. Let the mind always be alert.

Ultimately, it is a study of the scriptures, the study of Vedanta, which unfolds the nature of the nitya vastu, Truth. Thus may we develop the ability to discriminate between the truth and the untruth, the real and the unreal.

Japyasameta samadhividhanam. Samadhi means the relaxation of the mind, the absorption of the mind. When the mind is devoid of the various distractions and disturbances, it becomes silent. That silence is the total relaxation of the mind, the absorption or total abidance of the mind.

When the mind is free from all its distractions, then the mind abides. So samadhi here, means the abidance of the mind in the self. How is that to be achieved? Japyasameta, by doing japa. We have talked about japa or the repetition of a holy name in the mind. It prepares the mind and cleanses the mind, purifies the mind and makes it silent. Ultimately, that silent mind can have abidance in the self.

Kurvavadhanam mahadavadhanam, do this everyday, do this carefully and do this with great care. In all of this we should exercise a great deal of care and patience. When it is said here, do this with great care, it also means exercise patience. We should have patience. Sometimes, the first thing that people want to do is meditate.

Everybody wants to start with dhyanam. In the practice of astanga-yoga, meditation or dhyanam is only the seventh stage: yama or restraint, niyama or good conduct, asana or correct posture, praayama or regulation of breath, pratyahara or withdrawl of the mind, dharana or fixing the mind, and then dhyanam or meditation. Only when you have completed the first 6 stages is your mind is ready for dhyanam.

Yama is having the values of life like non-violence, honesty, self-control, truthfulness, and non-possession. Niyama is santosa or contentment, tapaH or austerity, saucam or inner and outer cleanliness, svadhyaya or the study of scriptures, and Isvara pranidhanam or the worship of the Lord.

Asana is control at the level of the body. Pranayama is the control of the breath. Pratyahara is the withdrawal of the senses. Dharana is the ability to concentrate. Then comes dhyanam, meditation. Therefore, the whole life is designed for accomplishing the goal that we are discussing.

Kurvavadhanam mahadavadhanam, do it carefully, and with patience. Don’t be in a haste. To dedicate myself to the pursuit is fine, but often, there is also haste, “I want to do it right now. It should happen rightaway!” We hurt ourselves, sometimes, in being in such a haste.

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

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