Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 06 Mar 2020


What is the inner meaning of the custom of the wife respectfully treating her husband to be Lord Vishnu?

[Reply to a question by Tinku K] Swami replied: The reason behind this custom, like many others, is money. In the ancient tradition, the husband used to be the earning member of the family and the wife used to be the non-earning member. Since God is said to be in money, the wife calls her husband God, even if it is only lip-service. She also serves him for the same reason. Similarly, a businessman calls his customers as costumer-Gods! But times have changed and now, the wife also earns, in many cases. So, you will see a corresponding change in the attitude of the wife. As per the old system, the husband being the earning member, contributes to the family by sacrificing his hard-earned money. When the wife is not an earning member, she gratefully contributes to the family in terms of service, since she is unable to contribute in terms of sacrificing hard-earned money.

The same equivalence between service and the sacrifice of money is also seen in spiritual life. Saints (monks) are unable to sacrifice money to God because they do not earn any money. They themselves are supposed to beg for their food, as per tradition. But they can serve God. So, service, which is the path of the saint, is termed karma saṃnyāsa, where the word saṃnyāsa denotes sainthood. If the devotee is a householder, then apart from doing some service, the devotee is also supposed to sacrifice the fruit of his work (karma phala tyāga), which is the sacrifice of his hard-earned wealth to God.

Keywords: | Shri Dattaswami | Karma Samnyaasa samnyasa sanyasa