Bhaja Govindam 4: Verse 3- Give up infatuation for physical body

Nārī stanabhara nābhīdeśaṃ drṣhṭvāmāgā mohāveśam |

Etanmāṃsa vasādi vikāraṃ manasi vicintayā vāraṃ vāram

Meaning- Infatuated by a woman’s body, do not fall into delusion (moha). Understand that this enticing beauty is nothing but a transformation of the muscles, flesh and blood. Mentally ponder about this truth. Through constant contemplation, the reality will dawn upon you one day.

This stanza goads the person to give up his infatuation for a woman’s body and beauty. Woman therefore should not be under the misconception that this rule is applicable only to men. The truth is that it is equally applicable to both genders. It emphasizes that we should give up infatuation towards external physical beauty.

It is normal for people to focus their attention on the external physical beauty and not on the intellect (buddhi), wisdom or knowledge of the other person. Falling trap to lustful desires do not waste this human birth. This physical body, comprising of blood and bones, is prone to death and decay. When then should a person entertain any craving towards this impermanent object?

Kāma (lust and other desires) is the first among the 6 inner enemies and has the capacity to deceive even the greatest person. The power of proper judgment and discrimination (viveka) depletes in the person who is totally enveloped by desire. He fails to distinguish between good and bad. The story of Nahusha is a great example of this.

To obtain the position as the Lord of heaven is no ordinary feat. Only great Mahatmas who have performed rigorous penance are able to secure it. Even after obtaining this esteemed position, Nahusha developed infatuation for Saci-devi (Lord Indra’s spouse) and as a result fell down from that state. Even Maharishi Vishwamitra fell into the trap of passion and as a result had to forego his entire power of penance (tapas shakti).

Love for the physical body is the root for all this samsāra (repeated re-births). To put it differently, this passion for the gross body is the cause for fall of the human beings. The human being can obtain required peace only when he overcomes this love.

To ensure that the person does not fall prey to this illusion called physical body, the nature of the physical body is being detailed in this stanza. This physical body comprises of skin, flesh & muscles, pus, blood, bones, impurities in the form of fluids secreted and the like. At every second this physical body undergoes a change.

Swamiji too in his bhajan ‘nagaram nagaram Nārāyaṇa nagaram’ explains the nature of this human body. This human body is like a city supported by two pillars (legs). It has two long wires called hands. Like a huge beam resting on this structure the body rests. This entire structure is neatly covered with beautiful skin. It has 9 holes from which impurities are eternally thrown. Even sweat is nothing but an impurity. Such an impure solid mass has been given the name ‘shareera’ (body). We take great pride in appreciating and admiring it and take great pains to beautify it. Meanwhile old age sets in and the body undergoes many more changes. It will be diseased. We do not know at which minute this body will drop down. What will happen thereafter? When put in fire, it is reduced to ashes. When buried, it degenerates. When thrown/ simply discarded, it breeds germs and will rot.

Both men and woman should therefore refrain from this physical attraction towards their body and towards one other. Again and again, the impermanent nature of this physical body should be recollected so as to avoid falling in its trap. One should keep repeating the name of ‘Govinda’ to get over this illusion.

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