By Adi Sankaracarya
Worship Govinda, Worship Govinda, Worship Govinda. Oh fool ! Rules of Grammar will not save you at the time of your death.
Oh fool ! Give up your thirst to amass wealth, devote your mind to thoughts of the Real. Be content with what comes through actions already performed in the past.
Do not get drowned in delusion by going wild with passions and lust by seeing a woman’s navel and chest. These are nothing but a modification of flesh. Do not fail to remember this again and again in your mind.
The life of a man is as uncertain as rain drops trembling on a lotus leaf. Know that the whole world remains a prey to disease, ego and grief.
So long as a man is fit and able to support his family, see the affection all those around him show. But no one at home cares to even speak one word to him when his body totters due to old age.
When one is alive, his family members enquire kindly about his welfare. But when the soul departs from the body, even his wife runs away in fear of the body.
One’s childhood is lost by attacment to playfulness. Youth is lost by attacment to woman. Old age passes away by thinking over many past things. But there is hardly anyone who wants to be lost in the Supreme.
Who is your wife ? Who is your son ? Strange is this material world. Of whom are you ? From where have you come ? Brother, ponder over these truths here.
From pure assocaition comes non-attacment, from non-attacment comes freedom from delusion, which leads to self-realisation. From self-realisation comes liberation.
What good is lust when youth has fled ? What use is a lake which has no water ? Where are the relatives when wealth is gone ? Where is samsara when the truth is known ?
Do not boast of wealth, friends, and youth. Each one of these are destroyed within a minute. Free yourself from the illusion of the world of maya and attain the timeless truth.
Daylight and darkness, dusk and dawn, winter and springtime come and go. Time plays and life ebbs away. But the storm of desire never leaves.
This bouquet of twelve verses was imparted to a grammarian by the all-knowing sankara, adored as Bhagavatpada.
Oh mad man ! Why this engrossment in thoughts of wealth ? Is there no one to guide you ? There is only one thing in the three worlds that can save you from the ocean from samsara. Board the boat of pure association quickly. (Stanza attributed to Padmapada.)
There are many who go with matted locks, many who have clean shaven heads, many whose hairs have been plucked out; some are clothed in saffron, yet others in various colors —- all just for a livelihood. Seeing truth revealed before them, still the foolish ones see it not. (Stanza attributed to Totakacarya.)
Strength has left the old man’s body; his head has become bald, his gums toothless and he is leaning on crutches. Even then the attacment is strong and he clings firmly to fruitless desires. (Stanza attributed to Hastamalaka.)
Behold the man who sits warming his body with the fire in front and the sun at the back; at night he curls up the body to keep out the cold; he eats his beggar’s food from the bowl of his hand and sleeps beneath the tree. Still in his heart, he is a wretced puppet at the hands of passions. (Stanza attributed to Subodha.)
One may go to Ganga Sagara, observe fasts, and give away grains in charity ! Yet, devoid of true knowledge, nothing can give liberation even at the end of a hundred births. (Stanza attributed to Suresvaracarya. )
Take your residence in a temple or below a tree, wear the deerskin for the dress, and sleep with mother earth as your bed. Give up all attacments and renounce all comforts. Blessed with such renunciation, could any fail to be content ? (Stanza attributed to Nityananda).
One may take delight in yoga or bhoga, may have attachment or detachment. But only he whose mind steadily delights in Brahman enjoys bliss, no one else. (Stanza attributed to Anandagiri.)
Let a man read but a little from the Gita, drink just a drop of water from the Ganga, worship Murari just once. He then will have no meeting with Yama. (Stanza attributed to
Born again, death again, birth again to stay in the mother’s womb ! It is indeed hard to cross this boundless ocean of samsara. Oh Murari ! Redeem me through thy mercy. (Stanza attributed to Nityananda)
There is no shortage of clothing for a renounced man so long as there are rags cast off on the road. Freed from vice and virtue, onward he wanders. One who lives in communion with God enjoys bliss, pure and uncontaminated, like a child and as someone intoxicated. (Stanza attributed to Nityananda. )
Who are you ? Who am I ? From where do I come ? Who is my mother, who is my father ? Ponder thus, look at everything as essenceless and give up the world as an idle dream. (Stanza attributed to Surendra. )
In me, in you and in everything, none but the same Vishnu dwells. Your anger and impatience is meaningless. If you wish to attain the abode of Vishnu soon, have samabhava always. (Stanza attributed to Medhatithira. )
Do not waste your efforts to win the love of or to fight against friend and foe, children and relatives. See yourself in everyone and give up all feelings of duality completely. (Stanza attributed to Medhatithira. )
Give up lust, anger, infatuation, and greed. Ponder over your real nature. Fools are they who are blind to the Self. Cast into hell they suffer there endlessly. (Stanza attributed to Bharativamsa.)
Regularly recite from the Gita, meditate on Vishnu [ by reciting Vishnu Sahasranama] in your heart, and chant His limitless glories. Take delight to be with the noble and the holy. Distribute your wealth in charity to the poor and the needy. (Stanza attributed to Sumatira. )
He who yields to lust for pleasure leaves his body a prey to disease. Though death brings an end to everything, man does not gives up the sinful path.
Wealth is not welfare, truly there is no joy in it. Reflect thus at all times. A rich man fears even his own son. This is the way of wealth everywhere.
Regulate the life-airs, remain unaffected by external influences and discriminate between the real and the fleeting. Chant the holy name of God and silence the turbulent mind. Perform these with care - with extreme care!
Oh devotee of the lotus feet of the Guru ! May you soon be free from samsara. Through disciplined senses and controlled mind, you will come to experience the Indwelling Lord of your heart!
Thus was a silly grammarian lost in rules cleansed of his narrow vision and shown the light by Sankara’s disciples.
Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, Oh fool ! Other than chanting the Lord’s names, there is no other way to cross the life’s ocean.