It is stormy, windy and rainy in Goa for the last few days. Seeing the wind and the heavy downpour, I started wondering, "What an experience it would be to be in such a storm and wind in a boat in the middle of the turbulent ocean". A crazy thought, I guess.
But then I got this insight that, "Well, we are already in the middle of an ocean with violent winds around." The scriptures explain that, this material world is a huge ocean of birth and death, with turbulent winds and storm of problems and miseries all around us and we, tiny entities being caught in this terrible and powerful ocean are struggling helplessly to stay afloat and stable in the midst of all this drama. This material world is not so easy to overcome however powerful and expert one may be just as, even an expert swimmer is unable to swim across an ocean.
Therefore Lord Krishna tells us in Bhagvat-gita 7.14
"daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī
mama māyā duratyayā"
"This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difﬁcult to overcome."
So, what is the hope for us to overcome this insurmountable ocean of birth and death?
Lord Krishna Himself answers this question is the second part of this very verse of the Bhagvat-gita. He says -
"mām eva ye prapadyante
māyām etāṁ taranti te"
"But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it."
The key is simple, "Surrender unto Him". His lotus feet are compared to a boat that can safely pligh us across this dangerous shark infested ocean of miseries as Srimad-bhagvatam 10.14.58 explains -
"samāśritā ye pada-pallava-plavaṁ
mahat-padaṁ puṇya-yaśo murāreḥ
bhavāmbudhir vatsa-padaṁ paraṁ padaṁ
padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām"
"For those who have accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation and is famous as Murāri, the enemy of the Mura demon, the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf’s hoof-print. Their goal is paraṁ padam, Vaikuṇṭha, the place where there are no material miseries, beyond this material world where there is danger at every step."
Narottam Das Thakur, a great Vaishnav Saint of medieval times prays in a similar mood in his famous song, "Gauranga Karuna Karo" showing us how we should pray to the Lord so that we can weather the stormy weather of this world -
"podechi bhava tuphāne nāhiko nistār
sri carana tarani dāne, dāse karo pār"
"I am plunged amidst the violent hurricane-
stricken waves in the ocean of this material world, from which there is no escape. Kindly give me the gift of Your divine lotus feet, which are compared to a boat in which Your servant may cross over the ocean of birth and death."