His teachings have had tremendous impact on Hinduism and on religious thought of over a billion Hindus. He lived during a time when Hinduism was in decline with a rise of Buddhism and the first contacts of Islam in the Indian sub continent. This is generally attributed as the reason for the decline of Buddhism and the rise in what in modern times is called Hinduism. Several writers have written paens on Shankara, but to me Will Durant in his wonderful essay on Shankara encapsulates the essence of this titan of Vedantic thought. A small excerpt is provided herein as well as a link to the complete article.
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Oh fool! Rules of Grammar will not save you at the time of your death. Give up your thirst to amass wealth, devote your mind to thoughts to the Real. Be content with what comes through actions already performed in the past. Bodies are flesh, fat and blood. Do not fail to remember this again and again in your mind. Know that the whole world remains a prey to disease, ego and grief.
But no one at home cares to even have a word with him when his body totters due to old age. But when the soul departs from the body, even his wife runs away in fear of the corpse.
Youth is lost by attachment to woman. Old age passes away by thinking over many past things. Who is your son? Strange is this samsara. Of whom are you? Where have you come from? Brother, ponder over these truths. From self-settledness comes Jivan Mukti.
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? Each one of these are destroyed within a minute. Free yourself from the illusion of the world of Maya and attain the timeless Truth. Time plays and life ebbs away. But the storm of desire never leaves. Why this engrossment in thoughts of wealth?
Is there no one to guide you? There is only one thing in three worlds that can save you from the ocean from samsara.
Get into that boat of satsangha quickly. Seeing truth revealed before them, still the foolish ones see it not. Even then the attachment is strong and he clings firmly to fruitless hope. Still in his heart, he is a wretched puppet at the hands of passions.
Yet, devoid of jnana, nothing can give mukthi even at the end of a hundred births. Give up all attachments and renounce all comforts. Blessed with such vairagya, could any fail to be content?
But only he whose mind steadily delights in Brahman enjoys bliss, no one else. He then will have no altercation with Yama. It is indeed hard to cross this boundless ocean of samsara. Oh Murari! Redeem me through Thy mercy. 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. 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.
Your anger and impatience is meaningless. If you wish to attain the quality of Vishnu soon, have Sama Bhaava always. See yourself in everyone and give up all feelings of duality completely. Ponder over your real nature. Fools are they who are blind to the Self. Cast into hell they suffer there endlessly. Take delight to be with the noble and the holy.
Distribute your wealth in charity to the poor and the needy. Though death brings an end to everything, man does not gives up the sinful path. Reflect thus at all times. A rich man fears even his own son. This is the way of wealth everywhere. Chant the holy name of God and silence the turbulent mind. Perform these with care, with extreme care. May thou be soon free from Samsara. Through disciplined senses and controlled mind, thou shalt come to experience the indwelling Lord of your heart!
Bhaja Govindam Slokam Lyrics in Hindi and English With Meaning
The fourteen disciples are said to have accompanied him. The story goes that when he was walking along the streets of Kashi, he was pained to observe an elderly man trying hard to learn Sanskrit grammar. At his advanced age, the remaining valuable little time of his life should have been used for worshipping the God, instead of wasting on learning a language. This prompted Sri Sankara to burst out this composition, a sort of rebuke to foolish way of living. The Acharya urges the man to turn towards God and sing His glory instead of trying to learn a language. A censure is implied when the Acharya calls the man a fool Moodhamathe.
BhajaGovindam - Lyrics With Meaning
Dear holy sole! I received your book Bhajagovindam, which you have written with Bhakti and Sradha, is received. I have gone through that book. Your work is excellent with full of bhakti and it is really enjoyable to read it. The explanations in certain places is very beautiful, especially Stanzas 2, 7.