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The Boat and the Ocean

Posted on July 24, 2014 at 8:20 PM

"In each and every heart, the Unseen is seen. You yourself are the Ocean and the Boat."


This quote from the Sikh Faith sounds like a Zen Buddhist koan (a 'paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment' - Merriam Webster dictionary). It reminds me of this quote from the Baha'i Faith: 


"This most great, this fathomless and surging Ocean is near, astonishingly near, unto you. Behold it is closer to you than your life-vein!"


So what is the 'ocean' an analogy for in these scriptures? In Baha'i texts the ocean is often a symbol of the Revelation of a Prophet or 'Manifestation' of God (a man or woman destined to be the mediator between us and the Creator). The revelation of any particular prophet is manifested in part in their Teachings. 


In the Sikh quote I see the Ocean as the Spirit of Life or Holy Spirit - that divine Spark that some religions teach differentiates us from other animals. The Boat is the human body. It is restricted to a particular place and time, while the Ocean in comparison is practically limitless. But inside us (actually in our 'heart,' which it seems to me doesn't mean our physical hearts that pump blood, so in a sense it is not really 'inside' us at all) we contain an unseen and often-times unfelt Ocean of our own.


Do you have a favorite quote or song that uses the analogy of an ocean (or sea)?


We'd love to hear from you. You can submit quotes, song lyrics or poetry using our Feedback form.

Categories: Quotes, Spiritual Themes

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