Bhaja Govindaṁ was written by Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya and is one of of his greatest composition.
There is a story attached to the composition of this Hymn. It is said that Shankara was walking along a street in Varanasi one day, accompanied by his disciples. He heard an old scholar studying the grammatical rules of sanskrit by Panini. Shankara was touched with pity at seeing the plight of the old man spending his years at a mere intellectual accomplishment, while he would be better off praying and spending the rest of his time to Govinda, the Supreme Lord. Taking pity on him, he went up and advised him not to waste his time on grammar at his advanced age but to turn his mind to God in worship and adoration. Shankara understood that the majority of the world was also engaged in mere intellectual, sense pleasures and not in the divine contemplation. Seeing this, he burst forth with the verses of Bhaja govindaṁ
In the verses of Bhaja Govindaṁ, Shankara, like no other, explains our fallacies, our wrong outlook for life, and dispells our ignorance and delusions. Thus bhaja govindaṁ was originally known as moha mudgāra, the remover of delusions.
Shankara explains, nay chides, us for spending our time in useless trivia like amassing wealth, lusting after (wo)men and requests us to discriminate and cultivate the knowledge to learn the difference between the real and the unreal, spirit and matter. To emphasise that, he concludes that all knowledge other than the Self-Knowledge is useless. Shankara makes the person realize how foolish he/she is in the conduct and behavior by these verses, and shows the purpose of our worldly existence, which is to seek Govinda and attain Him.
Shankara’s words may seem to be quite piercing and direct in this hymn, missing the softness and tenderness often found in his other texts. The reason is that this was an extempore recital to an old man, wasting his time. His words can be compared to a knife of a doctor. The doctor’s knife cruely removes the tumor with much pain, but removing the tumor ultimately restores good health in the patient. So is Shankara’s direct words, which pierce and point out our ignorance. It is a knife into the heart of worldiness, and by removing this tumor of ignorance, we can attain everlasting bliss by taking shelter of Govinda.