Sankara and the Authorship Issue (Bhaja govindam, Mohamudgara)

Christophe Vielle christophe.vielle at UCLOUVAIN.BE
Mon Apr 7 07:55:50 UTC 2008

About the popularity of the work, see:

on-line version of the text in 31 stanzas at

in 33 stanzas (+ 2 verses at the end) at


in 34 stanzas (same + colophona after 12 counted as 13) at

To the editions referred to in the previous discussion, one can add:

-/Srii/sa;nkaragranthaavali.h, ed. T.K .Balasubrahmanyam, 20 vols, 
/Sriirangam: Vani Vilas Press, 1910, 1927, vol. 18, pp. 62-69 (I did 
not check in the memorial ed. 12 vols, 1968; rev. ed. 10 vols, 
1981-1983, and Samata Books, Madras, 1998).

- the editions given
in the BIBLIOGRAPHY OF INDIAN PHILOSOPHIES (on-line version of Volume 
I of Karl Potter's The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies) at

379.13.1 Edited by A.V.Suryanarayana. Hyderabad 1975

379.13.1.1 Edited by Purusottamatirtha. Palikatta 1964

379.13.1.2 Translated by R.N.Westbrook Aingar and Jessie Duncan. Bombay 1965

379.13.1.3 Edited by Chinmayananda and translated by 
Saradapriyananda. Madras 1967; Bombay 1979

379.13.1.4 Edited by Ravindra Kelekara. Gaya 1973

379.13.1.5 Edited and translated by Gurudasananda. Tanjore 1974

379.13.2 Saradapriyananda, "Bhaja Govindam", Shankara the Missionary. 
Bombay 1978 94-99

379.13.3 Edited and translated in The Voice of Sa.mkara [vol./date?], 39-88

379.13.3.1 Edited and translated by Kasturilala Kharabande. New Delhi 1990

379.13.3.2 Edited by Maharapuram Nataranjan Krishnamani. New Delhi 1996

379.13.4 Edited with commentary by S. Geethamuni Amma and S. 
Sobhanna, and translated by R. Bindu. Delhi 1998

- the references in Sternbach HIL 1974, p. 65  [who talks about 
"devotional gnomic stray verses" and  "over 40 editions of this poem"]

With best wishes,
Christophe Vielle

>Christophe Vielle and Peter Wyzlic have already given very useful
>bibliographic information. The former has also pointed out how we have an
>essentially single composition known with two names.
>The composition is also spoken of as Dvaada;sa-pa;njarikaa and
>It is preserved in a popular tradition as well as scholarly tradition. I
>have seen pamphlet editions as well as inclusion in such publicatiions as
>the multi-volume ;Saa:nkara-granthaavalii. Cassettes carrying its renditions
>by outstanding singers such as M. S. Subbalakshmi and M. Balamuralikrishna
>are still sold in India.
>Several of its verses can be used to strengthen the students' knowledge of
>Indian scripts. Students beginning their study of Sanskrit benefit much by
>reading and hearing it (especially in the renderings of Subbalakshmi and
>others) after they have learned the basics of Devanagari (or other
>Brahmi-derived scripts).
>It is inaccurate to characterize the composition, even in its Bhaja Govindam
>version, as devotional. It is not a praise of or invocation to any
>particular god. The word stotra applied to it does not fit in the strong or
>literal sense of the word and may even be based on shaky manuscript evidence
>(earlier or more reliable mss may simply have Moha-mudgara.h,
>Dvaada;sa-pa;njarikaa or Carpa.ta-pa;njarikaa). The message throughout is
>that of (a) impermanence of all things and (b) the need for detachment and
>renunciation (a forcefully and beautifully delivered message). For the
>Advaitin, Govinda is simply a prop for brahman (although ;Sa:nkara could
>have written at least some of the moving devotional hymns ascribed to gods
>such as Govinda).
>ashok aklujkar

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list