First of all - "Govinda" not being "Narayana" can refer to any deity even by Vaishnavite rules.

But then a blog named shastranethralaya


Normally this is taken as a Bhakti text. But we’ll see it in its true form, like any other Acharya’s text this is also another which deals only with Vedanta.

So this stanzas summary is, they have to worship the Lord who is none other than the Self instead of wasting our time in different forms of action. Since no action can make us attain the ever attained.

  • 2
    Yes, Govinda = Krishna = Vishnu = brahman = Atman
    – user16581
    Feb 8, 2019 at 16:51
  • Bhakti and jnana.
    – user16581
    Feb 8, 2019 at 17:06
  • 1
    Vedanta is itself bhakti. Vedanta teaches both bhakti and jnana. Bhakti=Jnana
    – user9969
    Feb 8, 2019 at 17:18
  • In Bhaja Govindam Ahcarya clearly says in a following verse, "Dheyam Shripathi Roopamajasram". It clearly refers to Vishnu.
    – user13262
    May 26, 2019 at 18:41

5 Answers 5


Bhaja Govindam stotra is attributed to Krishna or Vishnu.

The author of Bhaja Govindam stotra is Adi Shankaracharya. He also wrote commentary on Vishnu Sahasranama. He gave a detailed explanation of the name Govinda. Not one or two, more than that.

From The Vishnu Sahasranama Bhashya with Adi Shankara commentary"

The Mahabharata, Mokshadharma (San., 343-41) says: "I first knew (vinda) the Earth (go) which was carried away and hidden in a cave (by an Asura), hence I am praised by the appellation 'Govinda' by Gods, and Scriptures." The Harivamsa (76-45 and 279-49) says: "I am Indra (Lord) over the Devas, thou art lord over the cows, hence the world will ever praise Thee as , Govinda '; speech is named 'Go,' and since thou conferest speech, 0 Lord, the Sages call you 'Govinda'."

Ka Go+ Vide has the following tell meanings: Go
1. Svarga (Heaven). He transcends the Heaven.
2. Arrows (He knows all the weapons).
3. Cattle. He is the leader of the ignorant ones.
4. Speech. He is to be known by the Vedas.
5. Thunderbolt; He has the Vajra marks on his feet.
6. Quarters; He is known in all quarters.
7. eyes; He is in the person residing in the eyes.
8. The sun ; He is in the form of the Sun.
9. Earth; He recovered the Earth from the Titans.
10. Waters; His seat is in the waters.
And Vid, to know.

He quotes the incident of Lord Vishnu's avatar Varaha saving Earth from Hiranyaksha and also Harivamsa incident where Indra praises Lord Krishna to show the name Govinda referring to Vishnu and Krishna (Adi Shankaracharya does not see difference between the two). Hence, the author's words need to taken as a reference and authority.

Hence, we can undoubtedly say Bhaja Govindam stotra is dedicated to Lord Krishna.

It is a Bhakti text because it says the people to recite the name of God. It recommends devotional path by chanting Lord's name. It is also a Vedanta text because in the stotra, Adi Shankara explains how a person in a samsara totally wastes his time assuming wealth, family and mortal life etc., as important. He asks us to concentrate on the reality and get out of the maya. It was originally called Moha Mudgaara (a hammer to shatter illusion). Vedanta teaches that there is only one reality and asks us to get out of maya. Hence, the stotra is not only a Bhakti text but also a Vedantic text.

  • No it is NOT a vedanta text.People with mudamati can not understand vedanta text.Its most probably not written by Sri Adi Shankara either
    – user17294
    Feb 9, 2019 at 3:46
  • 2
    That is why he said again and again - Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam Govindam Bhaja. He also said why temporary pleasures are an obstacles in his words. About authorship, this is one of the most agreed words of Adi Shankara. It is not like a random stotra. Feb 9, 2019 at 5:15
  • 3
    In Bhaja Govindam Ahcarya clearly says in a following verse, "Dheyam Shripathi Roopamajasram". It clearly refers to Vishnu.
    – user13262
    May 26, 2019 at 18:42

Original question title before OP edited it:
Does "Govinda" in the "Bhaja Govindam" prayer attributed to Adi Sankara refer to Krishna ?

From the VERY EXACT SAME blog article, at the beginning of the shloka's explanation

Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam – Definetly worship Govinda (Krishna)

I have bolded the word Krishna (it's in black color) in case it's not easily visible.

  • In Bhaja Govindam Ahcarya clearly says in a following verse, "Dheyam Shripathi Roopamajasram". It clearly refers to Vishnu.
    – user13262
    May 26, 2019 at 18:42

It may be treated as a Bhakti text - but its deeper meaning is Advaitic.


भजगोविन्दं भजगोविन्दं गोविन्दं भजमूढमते |

संप्राप्ते सन्निहिते काले नहि नहि रक्षति डुकृञ्करणे ||१||

bhaja govindam bhaja govindam, govindam bhaja mūḍḥamate

samprāpte sannihite kāle nahi nahi rakṣatiḍukṛnkaraṇe – 1

What should I do? bhaja govindam bhaja govindam govindam bhaja mūḍḥamate. bhaja means worship. bhaja govindam means worship Govinda. What is Govinda? Govinda is that freedom, the wholeness, the immortality, and the totality that I am seeking. In common usage, Govinda means Lord Kṛṣṇa. The word go means cow. The one who protects the go is Govinda, the Lord was a cowherd, so he was called Govinda. But the word go has several other meanings as well. When we analyze the meanings of the word Govinda, we understand that, in this context, Govindameans the limitless Self.

i. Another meaning of the word go is prtvī or earth. Lord Kṛṣṇa is called Govinda, the protector of the earth.

ii. go can also be taken to mean the sense organs. Govinda, then, is the one who impels the sense organs, the one who enlivens the sense organs, or the one who directs the sense organs to perform their appointed functions.

iii. The word go also means speech. In this sense, it means the one who is behind all speech. Govinda is the one because of whom all speech occurs, and because of whom words have the ability to reveal their meanings.

iv. Thus, the name Govinda is not necessarily limited to Lord Kṛṣṇa. In a broad sense, it means the Self, the truth or the Consciousness. It is the happiness that is behind every name and form and, indeed, that which is behind everything in the creation. That Self is Govinda.

भज् has lots of meanings:

revere, worship, adore

which make sense in the Bhakti interpretation


to apply one's self to, pursue, practise, cultivate, be engaged in;

which is the deeper intended meaning.

"Worship Krishna" is the meaning for ordinary folk and "be engaged in the Atman" is the meaning for Advaitic seekers.


Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya composed a beautiful treatise on Lord Govinda or Krsna. It is **


** Here Adi Shankaracharya clearly refers to Lord Krsna when he says Govindam Paramanandam. Also the stanzas speak about the Lila’s of Lord Krsna at Vrindavan. **

सत्यं ज्ञानमनन्तं नित्यमनाकाशं परमाकाशं गोष्ठप्राङ्गणरिङ्खणलोलमनायासं परमायासम् । मायाकल्पितनानाकारमनाकारं भुवनाकारं क्ष्माया नाथमनाथं प्रणमत गोविन्दं परमानन्दम् ॥ १॥

Worship Govinda who is supreme bliss, real, knowledge, infinite, and eternal, who is free from Ákásha (and other upádhis), who is the highest light, who was eager as a child to crawl in the cow-pen, who is really free from difficulties, but who appears to be in difficulties (or who is the abode of máyá, cause of all), who appears manifold due to máyá, who appears as the world, who is the Lord of the earth and shri, and who has no Lord to control him. (1)

मृत्स्नामत्सीहेति यशोदाताडनशैशव सन्त्रासं व्यदितवक्त्रालोकितलोकालोकचतुर्दशलोकालिम् लोकत्रयपुरमूलस्तम्भं लोकालोकमनालोकं लोकेशं परमेशं प्रणमत गोविन्दं परमानन्दम् ॥ २॥

Worship Govinda who is supreme bliss, who showed the fear of a child when beaten by Yashodá saying, You are eating earth''. and in whose opened mouth was seen the row of fourteen worlds, visible and invisible, who is the support of the three worlds (vis., Svarga, pruthvè, pátála), who is in the form of the worlds, visible and invisible, who cannot be seen, who is the controller of the universe and who is the supreme Lord. (2)

त्रैविष्टपरिपुवीरघ्नं क्षितिभारघ्नं भवरोगघ्नं कैवल्यं नवनीताहारमनाहारं भुवनाहारम् । वैमल्यस्फुटचेतोवृत्तिविशेषाभासमनाभासं शैवं केवलशान्तं प्रणमत गोविन्दं परमानन्दम् ॥ ३॥

Worship Govinda who is supreme bliss, who killed the mighty enemies of the Devas and reduced the weight of the world, who removes the disease of birth (from his devotees), who is one, who had butter for his food, though not requiring food at all, who swallowed the world (during pralaya), who shines brilliantly in the pure and clear mental mode, who cannot be revealed by anything else, who adores shiva, and who is wholly auspicious. (3)

गोपालं प्रभुलीलाविग्रहगोपालं कुलगोपालं गोपीखेलनगोवर्धनधृतिलीलालालितगोपालम् । गोभिर्निगदित गोविन्दस्फुतनामानं बहुनामानं गोपीगोचरपथिकं प्रणमत गोविन्दं परमानन्दम् ॥ ४॥

Worship Govinda who is supreme bliss, who is the protector of the world, who made his advent in the world as Gopála through his lilá, who is the protector of the race (of Yádavas) and of cows, who made the cowherds happy by lifting up through his lilá the Govardhana mountain were the gopès used to play, whose name ``Govinda'' is uttered clearly by the cows (or scriptures), who has may names, and who is beyond the reach of the ignorant. (4)

गोपीमण्डलगोष्ठिभेदं भेदावस्थमभेदाभं शश्वद्गोखुरनिर्घूतोद्धतधूलीधूसरसौभाग्यम् । श्रद्धाभक्तिगृहीतानन्दमचिन्त्यं चिन्तितसद्भावं चिन्तामणिमहिमानं प्रणमत गोविन्दं परमानन्दम् ॥ ५॥

Worship Govinda who is supreme bliss, who was present in each of the different groups of gopis, who appears in different forms, who is one and nondual, whose beautiful form was covered by the dust raised always by the hooves of the cows, whose blissful nature is realized by sraddhá and bhakti, who is unimaginable, whose existence is known to the wise, and whose greatness is like that of the gem cintámani. (5)

स्नानव्याकुलयोशिद्वस्त्रमुपादायागमुपारूढं व्यदित्सन्तिरथ दिग्वस्त्रा ह्युपुदातुमुपाकर्षन्तम् । निर्धूतद्वयशोकविमोहं बुद्धं बुद्धेरन्तस्थं सत्तामात्रशरीरं प्रणमत गोविन्दं परमानन्दम् ॥ ६॥

Worship Govinda who is supreme bliss, who climbed up the tree carrying the clothes of women busily engaged in their bath and who made them come close to him for the purpose of giving the clothes to them who were naked and who desired to get back their clothes, who is free from duality, grief and delusion, who is wise, who dwells in the intellect, and who is pure-existence. (6)

कान्तं कारणकारणमादिमनादिं कालमनाभासं कालिन्दीगतकालियशिरसि मुहुर्नृत्यन्तं नृत्यन्तम् । कालं कालकलातीतं कलिताशेषं कलिदोषघ्नं कालत्रयगतिहेतुं प्रणमत गोविन्दं परमानन्दम् ॥ ७॥

Worship Govinda who is supreme bliss, who is beautiful, who is the ultimate cause, who is the source of everything, who is without beginning whose colour is like that of the dark cloud, which often danced excessively on the hood of the serpent Kálindè inhabiting the river Kálindè (Yamuna), who manifests as time, who transcends the measures of time, who knows everything, who is te destroyer of the evil of kali, and who is the controller of the motion of the three dimensions of time. (7)

वृन्दावनभुवि वृन्दारकगणवृन्दाराध्यं वन्देऽहं कुन्दाभामलमन्दस्मेरसुधानन्दं सुहृदानन्दम् । वन्द्याशेषमहामुनिमानसवन्द्यानन्दपदद्वन्द्वं वन्द्याशेषगुणाब्धिं प्रणमत गोविन्दं परमानन्दम् ॥ ८॥

Worship Govinda who is supreme bliss who is in the land of Brindávan which is worshipped and saluted by many groups of Gods, whose nectar-bliss of spotless smile resembles kunda flower, who is infinite bliss, whose feet are praised and worshipped by the minds of all great sages adored by all, and who is the ocean of praiseworthy qualities. (8)

गोविन्दाष्टकमेतदधीते गोविन्दार्पितचेता यो गोविन्दाच्युत माधव विष्णो गोकुलनायक कृष्णेति । गोविन्दाङ्घ्रिसरोजध्यानसुधाजलधौतसमस्ताघो गोविन्दं परमानन्दामृतमन्तःस्थं स तमभ्येति ॥

who recites this Govindáashtakam by fixing his mind on Govinda and uttering the names of Govinda, Acyuta, Mádhava, Vishnu, Gokulanáyaka and Krushna, and gets all his sins washed off by the nectar of meditation on the lotus-feet of Govinda, attains the indwelling Govinda, the nectar of the supreme bliss. (9)

॥ इति श्रीमच्छङ्कराचार्यविरचितं श्रीगोविन्दाष्टकं सम्पूर्णम् ॥

Hence, the above answer clearly establishes that Govinda as referred to by Adi Sankaracharya is none other than Paramatman, Parabrahman- Lord Krsna.

  • 1
    Are you sure this stotra is by Adi Shankaracharya?
    – user17294
    Feb 9, 2019 at 13:29
  • Off course it is. You can google Govindashtakam and get the results. It is also sung by Amma MS Subbulakshmi. Feb 9, 2019 at 13:31
  • 1
    google do not provide every correct information.Please go thru the views of the different researchers.Even Vivekachudamani is not accepted by all as written by Adi Sankara
    – user17294
    Feb 9, 2019 at 13:33
  • I had sourced it from Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, in the official lineage of Adi Shankaracharya. There can be no better authenticity that Adi Sankara has penned it. kamakoti.org/shlokas/kshlok20.htm Feb 9, 2019 at 13:48
  • Does the Mathamnaya of Adi Sankara of the four maths include Kanchi? No. JagannathaPuri, DwarakaPuri, Yotirmath or yoshimath and Shringeri Math are the four authentic Shankara Mutts.There has been much debate about the validity of the claims of Kanchimath and these are available on net
    – user17294
    Feb 9, 2019 at 13:52

Yes, it seems so.

Because, bhajanaa comes from the root "भज्" which commonly means worshipping. It also has several other meanings. please check: http://sanskritdictionary.com/?iencoding=iast&q=भज्&lang=sans&action=Search

As Swami Vivekananda points out

"নির্গুণ পরব্রহ্মের এই নির্গুণ স্বরূপ অতি সূক্ষ্ম বলিয়া প্রেম বা উপাসনার পাত্র হইতে পারেন না" meaning that the Nirguna Swarupa of Para-Brahman can not be worshipped as the form is very very subtle (quoted in Sri Sri Totapuri-Prasanga, Publisher: Netai Chandra Basu, Lake Kalibari, ISBN 978-81-935349-1-5).

According to Sri Trailanga Swami, Nirguna Brahman as The Supreme Self can not be worshipped. It has

to be known by Neti Neti Vichaara in Jnanamarga (Reference:Mahavakyaratnabali, Sri Sri Trailanga Swami, quoted in Ibid page 77).

These opinions I value morevas they are coming from realised saints. Otherwise, there IS one Brahma-Stotra, commonly known as written by Sankaracharyya, which reads

Tadekam smaramah tadekam bhajaamah where bhajana is being used for a separate meaning.

, But we have to remember that this advice is meant for common masses.The stotra repeatedly uses the expressions like

sakridapi yasya na Murari-samarchha, tasya yamah kim kurute archaam

iha samsaare khalu dustaare kripaaya apaare paahi Muraare

gyeam Gita-nnamasahasram ghyeam Sripati-rupam ajasram

(Reference:Stavakusumanjali, Udbodhan, page 388-89)

In the same stotra, different names like Murari, Sripati and Govinda are being used. Murari and Sripati means Sri Krishna or Vishnu quite definitely.

And that the stotra is meant for the masses is clear from its describing the different stages of life like youth and old age and their limitations.(ibid oage 309-393).

For following the Jnana-Marga for knowing the Supreme Self, six properties sama,dama, titiksha, uparati,sraddha, samadhana are neede alongwith mumukhutwa.Ibid page 72.

So here I think Govinda means Sri Krishna and not the Formless Para-brahman.

All do not believe that this stotra is composed by Adi Shankaracharyya by the way.

  • In Bhaja Govindam Ahcarya clearly says in a following verse, "Dheyam Shripathi Roopamajasram". It clearly refers to Vishnu.
    – user13262
    May 26, 2019 at 18:43

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .