Story Behind Composition of Bhaja Govindam by Adi Shankara
“Bhaja Govindam” is a popular devotional hymn composed by the 8th-century Indian philosopher and saint, Adi Shankaracharya. The hymn consists of 31 verses that emphasize the importance of seeking knowledge, renouncing worldly desires, and focusing on spiritual pursuits.
As the story goes, Shankaracharya was once walking along the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi (also known as Kashi), when he came across an old man who was studying the grammar of Sanskrit.
Shankaracharya asked the old man why he was studying such a subject at his advanced age, and the man replied that he was trying to provide for his family by becoming a pandit (scholar). Shankaracharya was moved by the man’s dedication to learning but also realized that the man’s attachment to worldly possessions was hindering his spiritual growth.
This incident inspired Shankaracharya to compose the hymn “Bhaja Govindam,” which is also known as “Moha Mudgara” or “The Hammer that Destroys Delusion.” In the hymn, Shankaracharya reminds people to seek knowledge and focus on spiritual pursuits instead of getting caught up in worldly desires and material possessions.
The hymn also emphasizes the importance of living in the present moment and cultivating a sense of detachment.
The hymn has been widely popular in India and has been translated into several languages. It is often chanted in Hindu temples and is considered to be a powerful devotional tool for those seeking spiritual growth and enlightenment.