Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 07 Feb 2005


When Shankara recommended singing devotional songs, why do You preach about Karma Yoga to please God?

[“Bhaja Govindam” means singing songs on Lord Krishna or Vishnu as the path to please the Lord. But you are preaching the Karma Yoga (service). Please explain?]

The meaning of ‘Bhaja’ means service (Bhaja—Sevayaam) and not singing songs. Similarly the word Govinda does not mean Krishna or Vishnu. It can mean even Lord Shiva. Actually the word Govinda means the Lord in the human body. The word ‘Go’ means the human body which is the composite of all the senses. The word ‘Vinda’ means the Lord who has attained the human body. Therefore Govinda means the Lord in human form. The meaning of the sentence is that one should do practical service and participate in the mission of the Lord in human form. Knowledge is the very important step before you follow the spiritual path. Only after attaining the true knowledge, can you choose the true path to reach the goal. Finding the true path is the first step and walking in the true path (Karma Yoga) is the next step. Therefore, knowledge and practice are the only two steps. In between these two, the words and feelings (prayers and devotion) have no place at all.

When you know the true path to reach Delhi, what will be your next step? Your next step is only following the path practically. There is no intermediate step in which you express your feelings and sing songs on the path or on the goal i.e., Delhi. This intermediate step is brought as a twist by the people who are unable to practice the knowledge. First you must have the knowledge of the goal i.e., Delhi. After this you may praise and develop the desire to reach Delhi. This stage is Bhakti [devotion] in which you do prayers, meditation etc., This Bhakti will strengthen your determination to reach Delhi. Once you are determined, you must search for the knowledge of the path and once you have obtained the knowledge of the path, you must walk in it i.e., you must practice Karma Yoga. There is no need of Bhakti at this stage. If you are again going to Bhakti, it means that your determination was not complete. But first you must have the knowledge of the goal.