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The Hammer For Smashing Illusion

Shankaracharya's Famous "Bhaja Govinda"

Text 1

Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, you foolish rascal! When inevitable death arrives, your grammatical word jugglery will not save you.

Vedic Authority Re-established

The reason Shankara appeared to preach his particular philosophy was to re-establish the Vedic authority. Before Shankara's appearance and after Krishna's appearance, there set in a decline of Vedic culture whereby the followers of the Vedas took advantage of certain scriptural injunctions which recommend animal sacrifices and opened slaughterhouses and indulged in animal killing which is, of course, very sinful and not at all sanctioned by Vedic injunctions. The animal killing mentioned in the Vedic literature refers to animal sacrifices which were sometimes performed for the purpose of testing Vedic mantras by rejuvenating the sacrificed animal back to life. They did not actually kill the animal, but by the potency of the mantra, the brahmanas were able to give a new life to an old animal. In this way, the efficacy of their mantras was tested; but eventually this practice deteriorated into gross animal killing.

Empowered Personalities

For the purpose of redirecting the misguided Vedic civilization, Lord Buddha appeared about a thousand years before Shankaracharya. As Shankaracharya's authority is established by the Padma Purana, so Buddha's authority is established by the Bhagavat Purana (Srimad-Bhagavatam) in which his name, the place of his birth and the mission that he would execute during his presence on Earth are all mentioned. Although Buddha deprecated the Vedic authority by saying that he did not accept Vedic literature and that he had his own religion (ahimsa, or non-violence), nevertheless, he is recognized as a shaktyavesha avatara (empowered personality) who descended from the spiritual stratum to the material plane for doing some extraordinary work on behalf of Krishna. Lord Buddha did not teach about the eternal soul or the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead. He taught a kind of moral philosophy, which is called "The Noble Eightfold Path" (right thought, right action, and so on). By teaching the people in general about non-violence and other basic principles of moral behavior, he stopped them from being sinful in the name of religion. In one sense he made them irreligious, but in another sense he brought them closer to the path of righteousness by advocating nonviolence, truthfulness, cleanliness and so on.

Covered Buddhism

Therefore, after one-thousand years of Buddhism which was spread throughout India and the rest of Asia, Shankara appeared to again re-establish the authority of the Vedic literature. But because Buddhism had become so widespread and so ingrained, he introduced a kind of covered Buddhism. It was also a sort of atheism because the impersonal conception of God is erroneous and misleading. In the ultimate understanding, the Absolute Truth is as we are: a sentient individual living entity. The only difference between the living entity and the Absolute is that the Absolute Supreme Personality of Godhead is not limited in any of His opulences or potencies, whereas we (jivatma ) are just fragments. We are anu (atomic), whereas the Supreme Lord is vibhu (infinite and unlimited) in every respect.

Something More, But Not Complete

Adi Shankara introduced something more than Buddhism, but something less than the complete conception of the Absolute Truth. In this way he at least brought the general mass of people back under the shelter of the Vedic authority. Then 500 years ago, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is also accepted on the statements of Vedic authority such as the Chaitanya Upanishad, Srimad-Bhagavatam and other scriptures appeared.

Lord Chaitanya is Himself the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appearing in the age of Kali to re-establish the full conception of the Absolute Truth and to distribute the most perfect philosophy of Absolute Truth known as achintya-bhedabheda-tattva. Lord Chaitanya appeared as a devotee of Krishna and by His activities he showed us how to worship Krishna in the Kali-yuga (the age of quarrel and violence). That worship primarily consists of the sankirtan movement, the process of congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Changing the Course of the World

Lord Chaitanya based the authority of this process on the statement of the Brihan-Naradiya Purana and other Vedic literatures, where it is said that in this age there will be no success in practicing other methods of self-realization such as meditation, sacrifice and temple worship. These were formerly recommended in Dvapara-yuga, Treta-yuga and Satya-yuga; but in this age the only process that would be acceptable and successful is the process of hari-nama, the chanting of the holy name of the Lord: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Lord Chaitanya also traveled far and wide, the length and breadth of India, for six years preaching His sankirtan movement, which practically changed the course of the religious life of India and the whole world.

Starting a Spiritual Revolution

Lord Chaitanya predicted in His time, "In as many towns and villages as there are all over the world My name will be known." This prediction was fulfilled through the agency of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Goswami Prabhupada, who was the spiritual master of our guru, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. It was Bhaktisiddhanta who introduced a revolutionary type of preaching activity by utilizing all the products of modern technology, such as automobiles and the printing press. Our spiritual master has expanded that principle to the maximum degree by utilizing every modern technological creation or invention for the preaching mission of Lord Chaitanya. We are especially fond of printing books, because books are very substantial preaching.

Books are the Basis

The unique characteristic of a human being is that he can speak, whereas animals cannot. He can hear and he can speak; therefore we find books in the human society. Books are the essence of speech. We do not find books in any other species of life. We do not find religion in any other species of life. The books of religion, known as the Vedic literature, are the original books of knowledge in human society. They are also known as the Vedas and have been preserved in the Sanskrit language. Practically speaking, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has unlocked the treasure house of Vedic wisdom by translating the most essential of those books, such as Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam into the English language.

We are praying to the lotus feet of our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, that we may be able to make some contribution in the field of book publication and distribution by translating and commenting on this Moha-Mudgara-Stotra (The Hammer for Smashing Illusion), by Sripad Shankaracharya, a book very much needed in this dark moment of history, the Kali-yuga. Hare Krishna.

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Hansadutta das
Rittvik Representative of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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