Bhaja Govindam [Praise/Seek Govinda (Vishnu)] also known as Moha Mudgara (Hammer [to shatter] illusion) is a popular 8th century Hindu devotional composition in Sanskrit attributed to Adi Shankara. This work of Adi Shankara underscores the view that devotion (Bhakti) to God, Govinda, is a vastly important part of general spirituality, as emphasised by Bhakti Yoga and the Bhakti movement. This work is generally considered a summary of Adi Shankara's Advaita Vedanta philosophy.
Original text in Sanskrit
भज गोविन्दम् भज गोविन्दम्
(Translation : Seek Govind, Seek Govind)
गोविन्दम् भज मूढ मते । सम्प्राप्ते सन्निहिते काले नहि नहि रक्षति दुखृन्करणे ।। १ ।। मूढ जहीहि धन आगम तृष्णाम् कुरु सद्बुद्धिम् मनसि वितृष्णाम् । यल्लभसे निज कर्मोपात्तम् वित्तम् तेन विनोदय चित्तम् ।।
(Translation : Seek Govind alone, you fool) 
(bhaja govindam bhaja govindam, govindam bhaja mudha mate) sam prapte sannihite kale, na hi na hi raksati dukrn-karane
|Part of a series on|
|Hindu scriptures and texts|
|Related Hindu texts|
This 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 (jnana) matures and lodges securely in the heart, it becomes wisdom (vignyana). When that wisdom (vignyana) is integrated with life and issues out in action, it becomes devotion (bhakti). Knowledge (jnana) which has become mature is spoken of as devotion (bhakti). If it does not get transformed into devotion (bhakti), such knowledge (jnana) 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.
The metre is moraic (मात्राछन्दस्). Apart from the first verse, all other verses have 16 mAtrAs, which tend to fit the description of the pAdakulakam variety of mAtrAsamaka [मात्रासमक] in vRtta-ratnAkara.
There is a story attached to the composition of this Hymn. It is said that Shri Adi Shankaracharya, accompanied by his disciples, was walking along a street in Varanasi one day when he came across an aged scholar reciting the rules of Sanskrit grammar repeatedly on the street to earn more money from any students who would be interested in learning it. On watching this, Adi Shankaracharya in anger went up to the scholar and advised him not to waste his time on Drukrukarane rules of Grammar at his age but to turn his mind to God in worship and adoration which would only save him from this vicious cycle of life and death and not the money earned through the teaching of the rules of Grammar. The hymn "Bhaja Govindam" is said to have been composed on this occasion.
The composition consists of thirty-three verses. Besides the refrain of the song beginning with the words "Bhaja Govindam", Shankaracharya is said to have sung twelve other verses. Hence, the hymn bears the title "Dvadasamanjarika-Stotra" (A hymn which is a bunch of twelve verse-blossoms). The fourteen disciples who were with the Master on that occasion are believed to have added one verse each. These fourteen verses are together called "Chaturdasa-manjarika-Stotra" (a hymn consisting of fourteen verse-blossoms).
Artist M. S. Subbulakshmi is mainly popular for singing this hymn.
- Review Yogalife, sivananda.org, 2003.
- Bhaja Govindam, by Sankarācārya, Chinmayananda, Translated by Brahmacharini Sharada. Published by Chinmaya Publications Trust, 1967. Page5-7.
- Swami Chinmayananda, Adi Sankaracharya's Bhaja Govindam. Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, 2005.ISBN 817597107X.
- Rajgopalachari, C. Bhaja Govindam. ISBN 81-7276-309-3.
- Bhaja govindam bhaja govindam bhaja govindam mudha mate: "You fools, you mudha mate..." Mudha mate means "you fools." He was addressing the whole world, "you fools." Bhaja govindam: "Just become devotee of Krsna. Just become Krsna consciousness." Prapte sannihite kale marane na hi na hi raksati dukrn-karane: "You are philosophizing. You are talking on grammar and this way and that way." Because these people, they want to establish impersonalism from Bhagavad-gita by strength of grammar. Such a nonsense they are. They want to understand God by..., through grammar. God is so cheap that He can be understood through grammar. Therefore especially he specified, prapte sannihite kale marane: "When death will catch you, your grammar, dukrn, prata, this will not save you. You fools. You please become Krsna conscious, Krsna conscious." That was the instruction of Sankaracarya.
- Bhaja Govindam Ancient Wisdom, Yogalife, Fall 2003 Issue. Sivananda.
- Commentary on Bhaja Govindam by C. Srinivas Kuchibhotla.
- The Hymns of Sankaracharya, by Śankaracarya, Telliyavaram Mahadevan Ponnambalam Mahadevan, Totakācārya, Sureśvarācārya. Published by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 2002. ISBN 81-208-0097-4. Page 33.
|Sanskrit Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Bhaja Govindam Side by side translation in Hindi and English
- Bhaja Govindam by C. Rajagopalachari (online book)
- Bhaja Govindam by K. P. Rathnakara Bhatta (online book)
- Bhaja Govindam : Follow Your Heart published by Vakils Feffer & Simons Pvt Ltd
-  Bhaja Govindam @ sanskritdocuments.org