Written by London swaminathan

Date: 1 August 2018


Time uploaded in London – 6- 52 am    (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5277


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What is Bhaja Govindam?

Bhaja Govindam is a hymn in Sanskrit. Adi Shankara wrote part of it i.e. first 12 stanzas.

Bhaja Govindam teaches the fundamentals of Vedanta in simple, musical verses. Children can easily learn the Advaita philosophy of Shankara through these verses. Young men can remove all his delusions, and so the poem is also called as ‘Moha Mudgara’ (it means the hammer that strikes at delusion).


A popular story describes the circumstances in which this great poem broke out from the inspiring heart of the Teacher Shankara. It is said that once in Benares (Varanasi/ Kasi)  Shankara along with his fourteen disciples (followers) was going , he overheard an old pundit (scholar) repeating to himself grammar rules. Shankara realised that it is a mere intellectual accomplishment and thus wasting his time in life.  Immediately he burst forth into these stanzas, known as Moha Mudghara, now popularly known as Bhaja Govindam.


“Grammar rules will never help anyone at the time of death. While living, strive to realise the deathless state of purity and perfection.”

The opening stanza is repeated as a refrain or chorus, at the end of the each of the following verses. First twelve stanzas were given out by Shankara himself. They go under the name of the Dwadasaha- Manjarika- Stotram (A hymn which is a bunch of twelve verse-blossoms) . Shankara’s followers, inspired by the Guru, added one each and those fourteen are called Caturdasa Manjarika Stotra ( a hymn which is a bunch of fourteen verse-blossoms). At the end Shankara concluded it with a few more stanzas totalling 31 stanzas.


I am giving below the first stanza:

Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam,

Govindam Bhaja Mudamathe

Samprapte sannihite Kale

Na Hi Na Hi  Rakshati Dukurunckarane



“Seek Govind (god), Seek Govind (god), Oh Fool!

When the appointed time comes (death), grammar rules surely will not save you”.


The grammar-rule that has been indicated here stands for “all secular knowledge and possessions”. The grammatical formula mentioned here in DUKRUNCKARANE is from the Dhatupada of Panini’s grammar treatise Sidhanta Kaumudi.


Tiru Valluvar in his Tamil Veda ‘Tirukkural’ also emphasise this point:


‘Learning and scholarship are of no avail if they do not lead

One to worship at the wise one’s divine feet’- Kural 2

In fact we can compare every stanza of Bhaja Govindam with Tamil Couplets in Tirukkural!


Source book- Bhajagovindam by Chinmaya mission with my inputs on Tirukkural.