Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bhaja Govindam

Another translation that I've been wanting to post in a while now! Makes enormous sense; almost like the whole Bhagavad Geetha condensed into thirty three verses. I've tried my best to keep the translations intact; do drop me your suggestions and corrections, if any.

For more on the work, check out; I just noticed that they've a translation posted too; but I think mine's way better and more precise.

Bhaja Govindam

Worship Govinda, the cowherd,

Worship Govinda,

Worship Govinda, O Fool!

When you have reached the very end, your rules wouldn’t save you!


Oh Fool! Give up your desire to heap riches,

And in a good mind, be content with all your heart.

What you get is a result of your actions;

Festoon your mind with such good thoughts!


And in the illusions of a woman’s bosom and navel,

You would fall in lust; but these are but mere flesh,

Think and rethink; these are but mere flesh.


Like a drop of dew on a lotus leaf, so is a man’s life,

We, the world, all grieve, are egotists, and are diseased.


As long as a man raises and protects his family,

He earns the respect of his peers and they hail him.

But to the lived man, with frail body;

No one asks; no one speaks.


As long as the breeze lives in a man,

All question his good health,

And the moment the air skips the body,

Even his wife fears what remains of him.



As your childhood, is spent in games,

And youth in the women,

And as an elder, in thoughts of the past.

Without a thought to the creator.


Who is your wife? Who are your children?

In the ways of the world, these are like bursts of surprise.

Whose are you? Where and who did you come from?

Think of these truths here, dear Brother.


From the friendship of the good, stems non-attachment.

From non-attachment, you lose your desires.

As you lose your desires, you stand your ground.

And as you stand your ground, you realise life.


As your youth goes by, who is the lustful?

What is a lake, when the water is gone?

As your money is spent, where is your family?

As the truth is revealed, what is the world?


Don’t pride in your wealth, people and youth;

In a minute, time would sweep it all away.

Kill all your desires and illusions,

And realise the truth and God, enter.


The days are just evenings and mornings.

The seasons, just winters and springs.

As the games of time takes your life with them,

But the winds of your desire never leave.


These blossoms of twelve verses,

Were imparted to a scholar,

Through the knowledge and enlightenment of Adi Shankara, the honourable.


Why would you think of your wife and wealth?

Oh fool! Don’t you have a guide, a director?

Hurry and hop into the vehicle of the good,

Free from the pulls of the three worlds.


They roam the world in matted locks,

In tonsured heads, in orange robes,

In many colours;

But as fools, they don’t see the truth, even when it is revealed,

All guises, of their worldly bodies.


The body is weak, the head is bald,

The teeth fallen, his bones in pieces,

The old man has been cast away from home,

Despite all, he clings to the spheres of desire.


The fire in front, the sun at his back,

And in the night, he hugs himself, surrendering to the cold.

His hands stretched out, he lives a mendicant,

Despite all, he clings to his wants.


Journeying to the holy river Ganges,

He holds his fast, gives all he possesses,

But the knowledge eludes him, despite all,

In a hundred births, he isn’t blessed with the truth.


Live as you would under a temple’s tree,

Wearing deer-skin, the earth as your bed.

Give everything, your greed, in sacrifice,

Would this not fill you sate, this pride?


The way of the sages, or the ways of the greedy,

The friendship of the good, or devoid of friendships,

The scholar who loves thoughts,

He is the one that is blessed, and the only blessed.


The one that thinks in the Bhagavad Geetha,

The one that drinks but a drop from the enormity of the Ganga.

The one that recites the name of the flutist.

He hasn’t a word to quarrel with the God of Death, Yama!


And we are born, again,

And we die, again,

And again fall into the wombs of the mother,

This odyssey, is too long, too tiring.

Protect me, Oh flutist, please do.


Rags on the road, he picks for clothes,

The scholar that counts his blessings and walks,

He is a scholar that has mastered his senses,

He walks on, like a child, like a drunk.


Who are you? Who am I? Where did we come from?

Who is my mother? Who is my father?

Question thus, while everything else is tasteless,

Let go of all, all these pointless dreams.


There is but one Protector; in you, in me, in everyone,

So quell your anger and deceit, meaningless.

In an equal mind, you’d dwell everywhere,

And you are the Protector.


In enemies, in friends, in your children, in kin,

Don’t fight, for love or hate.

In all, in you, you’d see the soul,

In everyone, for this difference is but foolish.


Lust, anger, greed, desire,

Cast them away, become your soul, become the you.

The fools that can’t see themselves,

They would suffer forever, like in hell.


Recite his thousand names, sing the Bhagavad Geetha,

Think of his many forms, the lord,

Lose your thoughts in the company of the good,

Give to the poor,

And needy.


The man who lives in pleasures and joy,

Leaves his body, to disease, like prey.

And even though he would die, and fall to the Gods,

He is still haunted by his bad deeds and sins.


The meanings and meaningless,

Of the happy life,

There is but no joy in that!

The rich man is afraid of his own son!

For that is wealth, as we see it, all over!

Control your breaths, every meal,

And your joys and sorrows, know your discretions and indiscretions,

Chant his name, to your end, through your fate,

Give yourself to him, in care, and more care.


Oh follower of the Teacher, at the lotus of his feet,

May you be free of everything worldly, soon.

And your senses and heart, be one with the Lord,

And from your true soul, you would see him, the Lord.


A fool, there was none, but the scholar of grammar, his vision cleared,

By Adi Shankara, the holy one,

Taught by him as yearned, shown the arms of light.


Worship Govinda,

Worship Govinda,

Worship Govinda, O Fool!

Chant his name, and everything is revealed,

For there is none other to cross the ocean called life.  


Satan! said...

Thats some effort! :)
Can you pitch in the original verse alongside each translated line for more clarity?

Arun Sethuraman said...

@Satan: Sure! Will do...haven't really tried using other fonts on sure it works...:)

pyrochic said...


Anonymous said...

ok, I'm nit-picking as usual. The word flutist is highly contentious. Flautist seems to be the Webster way to go, but that sounds like indigestion, doesn't it? Certainly, we don't want to refer to the Dark Lord (evocative, isn't it - alas, lost on the Potter-fed teens today) as that, then. How about flute-player then? That makes sense. Plus anyway, you don't have a rhyme scheme - so it shouldn't do any damage.