Maharshi – the great sage, Veda Vyasa said:

‘Samsa:ra arnava magna:na:m
Vishaya a:kra:ntha che:tasa:m
Vishnu po:tham vina: na:mya:th
Kimchi dasti para:yanam’

Some people believe that the word, samsa:ra means their family: the spouse, the children, the cousins, the loans, the expenses, the hardships etc. It neither means the family nor the troubles that one may face. It is defined as the ego (or the arrogance) that one possesses. What does ego actually mean in practical sense? Why did Sri Veda Vyasa referred to ego as an arnavam, an ocean? How do we sail through this ocean safely and happily?

When you feel that everything in the family or office runs because of you, that is called ego! When you forget that the body given to you or the abilities within you are all a result of a Supreme power, that is called ego!

We extend this ego so deeply and broadly to everyone and everything connected to us. To indicate how intensely deep and how widely spread this ego is, sage Veda Vyasa termed it as ‘arnavam’, the ocean!

This ego (the ocean) nourishes many dangerous animals such as sharks (desires)! These sharks (desires) can easily eat us (destroy our knowledge)!  A small boat may not protect us well from these dangerous sea animals. But, there is a very big and powerful ship that can protect you. Bear in mind, they (the dangerous animals – the desires) will exist in the ocean. But, they will not impact us when we are shielded in this wonderful ship called, Vishnu po:tham!

You may say, “How can I feel that I have no role to play? I cook and make food that my family eats. I make money that my family needs. I am the reason that they have a good meal, Isn’t it?”

Here’s an example. Let’s take a cashier in a bank. When you ask him/her to deposit cash into your account, he simply accepts it and safely transfers money to your account. When you ask him to withdraw cash from your account, he simply releases cash and hands it over. The cashier does not think even for a second that the cash belongs to him when it is in his hand, because it simply does not! He performs his duty and submits his work to the bank.

But, when we conduct ourselves every day, we feel that the family or the wealth belongs to us – not to the ultimate power, God!

But, does that mean I have no connection or no bondage to my family?

No, we are definitely connected to the family just like the cashier is connected to the cash. The cashier is expected to perform his duty very sincerely and with utmost care. Similarly, we should also perform our activities very sincerely and with utmost care. We have no right to ignore our duties. We should happily and sincerely attend all our activities as a tool of the Supreme power, Vishnu. Every single member of our family, for that matter every being we work with is a child of that God. Just remembering this fact and submitting our work to the true owner (God) releases us from ego, the samsa:ra!

This is the Vishnu po:tham that will protect us from the sharks! Shall we sail in it for a happier and safer journey :-)

-From the discourse of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji,
-12th Feb 2019, After Kalyanotsavam, Vijaya Kiladri
-Cashier example, 6th Feb 2019, Initiation Event