The Hammer For Smashing
Shankaracharya's Famous "Bhaja Govinda"
Worship Govinda, worship Govinda,
worship Govinda, you foolish rascal! When inevitable death arrives,
your grammatical word jugglery will not save you.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
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, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Lord Chaitanya also traveled
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.
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
are especially fond of printing books,
because books are very substantial preaching.
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
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
Sanskrit language. Practically speaking, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
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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