Bhaja Govindam 27: Give up desires, anger, delusion and greed (Verse 26)

Kāmaṃ krodhaṃ lobhaṃ mohaṃ tyaktvātmānaṃ paśyati soham |

Ātmaṅñnāna vihīnā mūdhāḥ te pacyante naraka nigūdhāḥ || 26 ||

Meaning – Give up desires, lust, anger, greed and delusion. Ponder about your true Self. Understand that fools i.e. those who fail to acquire Self-realization will be thrown into a secretive place in hell (naraka) wherein they will suffer terribly.

Giving up desire and anger is the essence that every good book preaches. This stanza teaches the adverse effects of failing to give up this desire and anger (kāma, krodha).

What connection does hell have with our desires and anger? In Bhagavatam it is said that Lord Narayana while preaching Maharishi Narada about the type of action, explained about the results of bad, sinful actions. In this context He mentioned the 28 types of hells that exist.  Succumbing to the 6 inner enemies of desire, anger, greed etc., those who proceed on the path of adharma (unrighteousness) will have to suffer dreadfully in Rourava and its associated 28 hells. Based on the type of the evil deed, the living entity will have to suffer in a different type of hell. On the other hand, those pious beings, who abide by dharma (righteousness) during their life, will enjoy the comforts of heaven. This is why it is extremely essential to abide by dharma.

Among the six inner enemies, desire (kāma) is the first. Everyone seeks that his desires should necessarily be fulfilled, but it is not always possible. From one desire stems another; fulfillment of one desire leads to the birth of another- in this manner desires are endless. Just as offering of ghee only increases the flames, the fulfillment of desires leads to the birth of endless more desires.  Amongst them some are fulfilled and some are not.

When a desire is not fulfilled, it instantly leads to anger (krodha). The person develops hatred towards those people and those circumstances due to which his desire could not be fulfilled. Wisdom as well as power of discrimination degenerates in such a person. When discrimination is lost, dharma will not be visible to him. To ensure that his desire is fulfilled in some way or the other, he will torture others. He will retort to vile and despicable methods. He will thus be eligible to be sent to hell.

Seeking to exclusively enjoy all that he has earned is greed (lobha). At every second he will worry that his earnings may get exhausted. The root of all this is moha (infatuation). Imagining the non-existing as existing and trying to acquire is delusion (moha). The fire fly sees the burning fire and believing that it is something awesome, runs and falls into it. Thus it meets its end. In the similar manner, the human being falling into infatuation & enticed by this world, runs towards it and is caught in the huge fire called desire and anger. All this is caused due to spiritual ignorance.

What exactly is spiritual ignorance? Not being able to understand one’s original Self is spiritual ignorance! Not realizing the happiness that inherently exists within, searching for it outside is ignorance! The person whose ignorance has been wiped away and in whom Spiritual Knowledge (Jnana) has dawned is able to see the triviality of his desires. He understands the limitations of this world and all its comforts. He begins the search for truth.

That is why this stanza asks the person to give up desires and anger (kaama-krodha) and to begin the search for truth.

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