Author : Sankara, commentary by Swami Chinmayananda
Bhaja Govindam is one of Adi Sankaracarya's most beautiful works,composed in clear and effective language and addressed to simple folk struggling with the demands of life,but also capable of keeping intellectual philosophers engrossed.It is rightly described as a fragrant bouquet of verses.The clear,precise and eloquent commentary of Swami Chinmayananda adds to the fragrance of the original composition,inviting the spiritual seeker to reflect upon the meaning of the verses,attempt to understand.absorb and live the truth behind the words.
This timeless composition is a reminder that the author, Adi Shankaracharya, who is often regarded as a stalwart advocate of the Jnana Marga (Jnana Yoga) or the "Path of Knowledge" to attain Mukti,yielded to none in appreciating, indeed enjoining the Bhakti Marga (Bhakti Yoga) or the "Path of Faith/Devotion" to the same goal,and as C. Rajagopalachari put in his commentary, "When intelligence matures and lodges securely in the heart, it becomes wisdom. When that wisdom is integrated with life and issues out in action, it becomes devotion. Knowledge which has become mature is spoken of as devotion. If it does not get transformed into devotion, such knowledge is useless tinsel." In this prayer, Adi Shankaracharya emphasizes the importance of devotion for God as a means to spiritual development and to liberation from the cycle of birth and death. The prayer leaves one in no doubt that the renunciation of our egotistical differences and surrender to God makes for salvation. Many scholars hold that this composition encapsulates with both brevity and simplicity the substance of all Vedantic thought found in whatever other works that Adi Shankaracharya wrote: The refrain "Bhaja Govindam" which defines the composition and gives it its name invokes the almighty in the aspect of Vishnu; it is therefore very popular not only with Sri Adi Shankaracharya's immediate followers, the Smarthas, but also with Vaishnavas and others.