“Seek Govinda, seek Govinda, seek Govinda, O fool! When the appointed time of death arrives, grammar rules surely will not save you.”
Adi Shankara, Bhaja Govindam ( Moha Mudgara)
Most individuals spend their days and nights consumed and preoccupied with fear, gossip, worries, news shows and trivial entertainment.
The concept of Ahara in Yoga and Ayurveda is an important concept to consider when contemplating how time is passed. Ayurveda refers to three pillars of life or Trayopastambha which support health and vitality:
Ahara (dietary intake)
Nidra (Sleep, rest)
Brahmacharya (conservation of life force, healthy relationships)
As stated in the classical Ayurvedic medical text the Charaka Samhita:
“The three supports of life are intake of food, sleep, and observance of brahmacharya. Being supported by these three well regulated factors of life, the body is endowed with strength, healthy complexion, growth, and continues until the full span of life, provided a person does not indulge in such activities which are detrimental to health.”
Ahara, while often considered to be simply one’s diet, truly means any substance we take into our bodies via not just the gastrointestinal system but also the senses of sight and sound. What we feed our mind is just as important, and sometimes more important, than what we feed our body.
Therefore, we should always be contemplating what we are “feeding our mind.” This verse from the Bhaja Govindam echoes this idea by bringing up important questions about what type of information is truly important for our spiritual health.
I find it amusing when individuals make outlandish claims on why Sanskrit mantras will not “work” unless the pronunciation is “perfect” or mock individuals who are not picture perfect with Sanskrit pronunciation claiming that faulty grammar reveals poor understanding of the materials. I often remind them that I know many Sanskrit professors who are masters of grammar and pronunciation yet lead miserable lives, most accepting no claims of any spiritual power from this sacred language. But their grammar is “perfect.”
More importantly we must consider the intention behind words and sounds, as words are containers not just for sonic qualities but also for spiritual qualities. This idea connects us to the important concept of devotion and Bhakti Yoga.
How much power does a word contain when the person who pronounces it believes in nothing but secular reality?
How much power does the same word contain when pronounced by a person deeply devoted to a Cosmic Deva?
Sankara is reminding us of this important consideration in this opening verse to his Bhaja Govindam. He is asking us to seek Govinda (Krishna), not pointless secular knowledge which at the moment of death provides us with nothing but “dead weight.” At any moment death may arrive, what will be on our minds when this unpredictable moment arrives?
The Bhagavad Gita shares an important idea connected to this verse from Shankara:
“At the time of death, one who leaves the body specifically remembering Me attains My nature—of this there is no doubt.
Oh son of Kunti, whatever state of being one remembers at the time of death, one certainly attains to that nature.
Therefore, always remember Me and fight! Surrender your mind and intelligence to Me and you will sure attain Me.”
This verse reveals esoteric Yogic concepts which are deeply important within Tantric Physics. Yet one does not need to be a Yogi to grasp the concepts revealed within these sacred words of Krishna.
We must remember what is most important in our lives daily, we must not take for granted any moments of our days which slowly flow by in the currents of Time. The moment of our death is a gnostic doorway indeed, but what other moments of “death” do we experience daily?
One of the most important ones is the moment before our conscious mind falls asleep. Whatever we fill our minds with before sleep is our ahara, our intake of impressions and mental nutrition.
What we have on our minds before we fall into the death of waking consciousness or nidra / sleep is taken deep into our nervous systems and imprints our pranic body. These imprints eventually form the background noise of our waking consciousness. Therefore, always consider what you watch, listen to, or contemplate before your waking consciousness drifts off into the darkness of sleep.
What we take into our minds and bodies daily eventually forms our personality and our perceptions of the world. Sankara and Krishna are reminding us to remember our priorities in this transient life.
What are you feeding your mind?
There is no time to waste……………..
Vaishnava Aghora Sampradaya