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Kathalaya: Bhajagovindam Stories‑4

Bha­jagovin­dam was com­posed by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. In this com­po­si­tion, Adi Sankaracharya talks about the impor­tance of devo­tion to God and how it can make our lives hap­py and ful­fill­ing. In this series we would be explain­ing the mean­ing of each slo­ka through a sto­ry. This month we take the slo­ka where Adi Shankara explains the futil­i­ty of boast­ing about wealth, friends and youth. Time can just take them away in a flash. We would be look­ing at the sto­ries of great Women saints and yogis who under­stood that beau­ty is just skin deep and absolute sur­ren­der is what can lib­er­ate one.

Slo­ka 2:मा कुरु धनजनयौवनगर्वं हरति निमेषात्कालः सर्वम् । मायामयमिदमखिलं हित्वा var बुध्वा ब्रह्मपदं त्वं प्रविश विदित्वा ॥ ११॥ maa kuru dhana jana yau­vana gar­vam harati nimesh­haatkaala sar­vam maayaa­mayami­dam akhil­am hit­vaa brahma­padam tvam prav­isha vid­it­vaaTrans­la­tion Do not boast of wealth, friends, and youth — these can be tak­en away in a flash by Time. Under­stand­ing that the world exists only in the illu­sion of Maya, you try to attain the Absolute.

Akka Mahade­vi

The sec­ond sto­ry is that of anoth­er great woman saint by the name Akka Mahade­vi. Akka Mahade­vi belongs to Kar­nata­ka. She was so true to her pur­pose that she even declared that she was a woman only for the name and that her entire body and soul belonged to Lord Shi­va. In a con­ser­v­a­tive soci­ety of those times, Akka Mahade­vi was a rev­o­lu­tion, a storm, a phe­nom­e­non! She was so fierce in her devo­tion to the Lord that she refused to wear clothes, some­thing that only male ascetics did. It is believed that due to her true devo­tion, her whole body was cov­ered with hair, pro­tect­ing her from the remarks of the soci­ety.

Avvai Paati Avvay­yar or Avvai Paati was born in a very rich fam­i­ly. But, right from child­hood she was immersed in pray­ing to Lord Gane­sha. So much was her devo­tion, that when her par­ents want­ed to get her mar­ried, she prayed that the Lord may take away her beau­ty and turn her into an old woman that very instant. She felt that if beau­ty and youth were the only things that stood between her and God, she would renounce them that very moment. She turned into an old woman in an instant and ever since then, there was no look­ing back. She ded­i­cat­ed her life com­plete­ly to the pur­suit of Truth and attained sal­va­tion. Some of her works are con­sid­ered to be as great as the Vedas.

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