Boat in the Sea Metaphors in Rumi's Poetry

Rumi has beautifully used the Sufi metaphor "Boat in Sea" on numerous occasions throughout his vast poetic works. Taking clue and guidance from its Biblical references, "Boat in Sea" in Islamic beliefs and Sufism, as well as in Rumi's poetry, is in reference to a wandering Sufi and Dervish's mystical trip out of dry land to the water, meaning escaping the dehumanizing atrocities of our daily materialistic lives while out on the boat in a peaceful Sea. But Rumi goes further by cleverly pointing out to the fact that while it's a noble Sufi cause for a Dervish to renounce fame and fortune and take refuge in a boat on the sea, he/she must also realize that the Sea is not always as peaceful as it seems. Rumi argues poetically that the Sea is often a very dangerous place, or a "Force of Chaos" to paraphrase its Biblical metaphorical symbolism.

Rumi teaches us that the strength and condition of a Sufi's boat is always determined by a Dervish's determination and strong will to survive this mystical trip out in the "Sea of Chaos".
Rumi is at his best when he poetically compares a Sufi and Dervish to a Boat, and our materialistic and void of compassion World as the highly unpredictable and volatile Sea.
In sum, Rumi challenges all of us, the so called civilized MAN of 21st century, to slow down from our hectic day to day busy schedules, to take a deep breath, and to ponder deep upon the underlying mystical question: Will the sea drown our boat, or will we be able to safely reach the shore?

!مپرس از کشتی و دریا بیا بنگر عجایبها
که چندین سال من کشتی درین خشکی همی رانم

Don't ask about the boat and the ocean
come and witness the wonders:
For some years now
I've been sailing my boat
on the dry land!

کشتی و شب و غم و ما میرانیم
در بحر خدا بفضل و توفیق خدا

The boat, the night, the sadness
and I'm sailing
in the Sea of Love
With God's blessings and grace.

چو تخته تخته بشکستند کشتیهادرین طوفان
چه باشد زورق من خود که من بی پا وبی دستم

Board by board
the boats are being shattered
by this violent storm.
In what condition
will my boat be
if I'm finding my own self
to be so shattered?

درین دریا چه کشتی و چه تخته
درین بخشش چه نزدیکان و چه دوران

In His Sea,
a boat and a board are equally sailing.
By His Mercy,
His deniers and the ones closest to Him
are equally blessed.

در کشتی و دریایی خوش موج و مصفایی
زیری گه و بالایی ای زیر و زبر برگو
The boat is smoothly sailing
in the calm waves and fine waters
of this ocean,
coming up or going down
once in a while.
Refrain yourself
from turning this boat upside down.

گوید دریا که زکشتی بجه
در رو در آب مصفای من

The Sea is calling on you
Jump off the Boat!
Submerge yourself deep
into my fine waters!

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Thank you for visiting Maulana Rumi Online, a blog dedicated entirely to the life, works and teachings of Maulana Jalaluddin Muhammad Balkhi better known simply as Rumi here in our beloved America. Just as a memory refresher, all articles, e-books, images, links and reading materials listed in this Blog are solely for Educational purposes. This Blog is designed and maintained by yours truly, your comments, critiques or suggestions are quite welcome and greatly appreciated. As for my own Rumi Translations, you are welcome to copy and use them as long as it's not for commercial purposes. For best viewing, please try this Blog on Google Chrome Browser. This is a very long Blog though, so please make sure to use the Scroll To Top or Bottom Buttons at the left side, or Back To Top Button at the bottom right corner of your screen for smooth navigation. If you have any question, comment, critique or suggestion, please contact me by clicking the Contact Box embedded at the right middle corner. As Rumi would say, "Come, come, whoever you are, come back again.."!

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