Sankara’s Smithy – Strike 5 – The “love”ly blow


Link to the Tamil Podcast


Adi Sankara has so far explained to our closed mind, that body, wealth , lust, life are all impermanent. 

Our mind at times can be very rigid and closed. Even after taking four strikes at Sankara’s Smithy, it will not let go. It will come out with this response:

"Do you how much attached, are my kith and kin? I have plenty of them. If something happens to me, they will come and help me”

May be, it's true. But how often and for how long do siblings and relatives help? Can you answer?

Come on! The fifth strike awaits us in Sankara’s Smithy. After receiving it, the answer to this question will be automatically available.

Sanskrit Verse

यावद्वित्तोपार्जन सक्तः

स्तावन्निज परिवारो रक्तः |

पश्चाज्जीवति जर्जर देहे

वार्तां कोऽपि पृच्छति गेहे ||

Adi Sankara

English Transliteration

Yaavad vithOpaarjana saktha:

TaavannijaparivaarO raktha:

Paschaajjeevati jarjara dehe

Vaarta kOpi na prchati gEhE

Meaning of the Sanskrit Words

यावद्  yaavad So long as 

वित्त-उपार्जन-सक्तः vithah upaarjana saktha: - one is able to earn money (), [only] Vitta = wealth; Upaarjana = earning / acquiring; Shaktah = capability / vigor

तावत् taavat - until then

निज परिवारः nija parivara: - one’s relations

रक्तः raktha: - remain affectionate

पश्चात् paschaat - later i.e.,when one is unable to earn

जर्जर देहे जीवति jarjara dehe jeevati - one lives in a decript body Jiivati = living (when you are living without earning); Jarjara = feeble/ frail (by disease etcetera), Dehe = in the body;

कोपि न kOpi na - No one

गेहे gEhE - at home

वार्तां पृच्छति vaarthaam prchati - bothers to ask even a word

Meaning in English

As long as there is the capability to earn, so long the kith and kin are attached to you. Later on, when you come to live with an infirm body no one at home cares to speak even a word with you.


Man is a social animal, they say. Man seeks security in relationships such as those of family, husband, wife, brothers, sisters or children, in the hope that they will always be with him. Those who sit all around you are called parivara. ParitaH means surround you. You are attached to your parivara, your family, your friends and retinue and feels that the love and attachment is mutual.  But, is this feeling of security/attachment/love eternal or permanent in life time? 

There is a common saying that “There ain't no such thing as a free lunch“. It is a popular adage. [The "free lunch" refers to the once-common tradition of Saloons/Bars in the USA providing a free lunch to patrons who had purchased at least one drink. Many foods on offer were high in salt (e.g., ham, cheese, and salted crackers), so those who ate them ended up buying a lot of beer. You get lunch free if hou have money to buy beer, as simple as that. If not, out you go & you are no more a patron].

We command respect in our corresponding circles of influence as long as we are of use to those around. When our “utility factor” wanes, so does the respect we command.

In our professional careers, we see/have seen several cases of Bosses/CEOs/MDs/Chairmen getting entry refused, the very next day of their exit/retirement at the very same organisations they have contributed and were controlling for years.

When the titles are taken away from us or the process of time diminishes our abilities, fewer people seem to find any value/utility in us anymore. But that is the nature of the world isn’t it?

You are so attached to your parivara, your family, your friends and retinue, but only so long as you are capable of earning and making money. Later on, when you become old and infirm, and are no more capable of earning any money or commanding any respect, what happens to you? Nobody will ask after your welfare, even in your own home. Today, you are receiving a lot of respect from people because you are capable of earning money. Here, money implies all potential.

If one becomes a liability in old age, physical burden and financial burden, with dependence on others, quality of love changes.
People send application to Lord to relieve the person from pain but actually they actually want freedom from that person who is of no more value. They don’t express it but that is the hidden agenda in the mind.

Aren’t we seeing a growing number of parents left at old age homes/elder care institutions, ashrams? Aren’t we seeing increase in domestic litigations for property?

The adage is equally applicable in the case of “parivaar” too. Any source of love from anyone is conditional love. Nobody loves anyone for that person. Everybody loves only for their own well being. If I expect unconditional love from world, it is my Moha – delusion. When I mistake conditional love as unconditional love, world gives me shock one day.

Sri Sankaracarya points out this very crude fact of life here.


It is an undeniable fact that we have eternal love for ourselves. No one dislikes oneself; that love manifests itself as a feeling of happiness/pleasure.

Similarly, the incomparable love, which we have for the incomparable object (vastu), i.e., that love towards the imperishable, eternal, omnipresent Lord, is also imperishable.

Just as the unprocessed love that I have within me does not perish and naturally manifests itself as happiness/pleasure (smile), so is the love of the Lord. When that love is expressed, the dual form it, is devotion and pleasure). If that love is not expressed and experienced within us, that devotion and pleasure that exists within us and we are aware about it, is Bliss. After all the Supreme Reality is nothing but pure existence, pure consciousness and pure Bliss. That is Govindham.

If we understand that happiness/love, we will not seek it outside. This is the essence of this Sloka.

Thus, Adi Sankara tries to clear our closed mind with five strong Hammer strokes by stating clearly that body, material, lust, life and relationship are all impermanent. It is up to us to live our lives.

A word of caution.

“Because of the transitory nature of wealth, fame and name, Shankara asks us to temper the value we place on these frills of life. This is not to say that we must shun wealth and fame. In fact we must enjoy it while it we have it. But we must derive our sense of value and self-worth from something deeper and more permanent. We must find our worth from pursuing our goal of self-development and self-purification. Because the only thing that remains with us is are our spiritual assets which are gained through introspection, reflection and contemplation on the higher values of life”.

Let us absorb this and contemplate our future course of actions. We will get ready for the next strike in the next blog. Until then……

God Bless

Author: prabhusponder

A novice venturing out to explore the meaning of life

2 thoughts on “Sankara’s Smithy – Strike 5 – The “love”ly blow”

  1. Such simplicity and yet so profound! and your translation and commentary take it to the next level…life will be “vyartha” if we do not learn from these !

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