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A Sufi Parable of Sea

Painting by Edward Mitchell Bannister, Boat on Sea

Our Master, the great servant of God, may Allah be pleased with his servitude one day was by the Sea. This was his time for public discourse before his sunset prayer. Now today a great multitude of people gathered other than his inner circle of disciples to hear his words of wisdom that gives life to the heart. So he bade the boatman nearby and got up into the boat and asked the boat to be anchored near to the shore. He instructed the boat to be placed at such a distance that everyone in the crowd could behold his face as he spoke. Even the youngest among us could gaze at the effulgence of his face without any obstruction.

Today our master spoke in eloquent manner on the significance of this life, the eternal life to come, the appointed time of meeting our Maker, the Greatest Rendezvous awaiting us and need for a guide in spiritual path. This is how he ended his discourse:

If you cast yourself into a sea, without any guidance, this is full of danger, because man mistakes things which arise within himself for things arising elsewhere.

On the other hand, your travel on sea in a ship is also perilous, because there is danger of attachment to the vehicle.
 
In the one case, the end is not known, and there is no guidance. In the other case, the means becomes an end, and there is no arriving.

His power of speech is so piercing that it will have different effect upon different people. Some would weep, some would be speechless and motionless for hours, others would instantly feel light as air and a tremendous peace will descend upon them which would last more than a day, and some who couldn't take it would be forced even to leave the gathering. Today also there were many who were very touched, some looked bewildered. When most of them left, it was already dark and one of our brother who brought food for the Master spoke, "Dear Teacher, I have been contemplating over and over what you said, specially what was conveyed towards the end of today's discourse. The more I think, the more perplexed I feel. Could you please explain what you meant by the sea, the ship and condition of not arriving."

The Master turned to him and placed his hand upon his heart and said these words addressing him by his initiated name:

"Beloved Wadud, Allah is a witness of what I say. May Allah open your heart to understand the true reality. The sea is our existence. The shore upon which we find ourselves is this life. Even though we find ourselves here, but our true Home is on the other side of the ocean and thus we all must journey across the other side. Every soul that is born must die and cross over to the other side of the ocean.

Willingly or unwillingly, with submission and peace or not, we all must cross over where The True Kingdom is. The journey on the ship using which we cross over is the journey of our life and every soul is bestowed with a life journey.

The sea has many dangers, it comes with rough and trying waves, the directions can easily be misleading, there is real danger of drowning, more real than you can imagine because it is matter of the soul which is not really yours but the one Who gives it to you. Who doesnt know that a ship is better guided by a captain who knows how to read the charts and compass, who knows the currents and knows the danger of the sea. who knows the guiding manual for the ship.

That captain is the divine Guide sent sometime as Prophets, sometime as Messengers of God, sometime as saints and illuminated beings, these are the spiritual masters who are bestowed the knowledge. And in ever age they exist.

The sea can only be traveled by ship. But the ship is not the goal. It is only the means. Those who take the ship as goal will perish, for they will lose their way. Attachment to this world and the worldly life is as foolish as getting attached to the ship itself.

We all are traveler who are journeying to the other side of the shore where our True Home is. Competition over more and more stuff, accumulation of wealth, money, fame, job that enslave us, big cars and big homes are as much an attachment to the ship. The ship is used only to cross to the other side. The true captain is the Spiritual Guide, the Final Prophet and his successors, the living saints, the authentic guides with a living chain of transmission. The tools and guiding manuals are the authentic traditions, the sacred laws and Book of Wisdom, the Scripture that remains unchanged.

So to arrive we must get into the ship of safety which is guided by worthy guides and never take the ship itself as our goal. Then by Allah's will we shall be crossed over to the other side of the ocean riding on the waves of God's guidance in the Ocean of God's mercy.

Those who take themselves, their ego and their desire as their lord and guide are bound to perish. Those who ignore the Path traced by the divine principles will find themselves in danger, both in this world and the next. But those who board the sea of safety, submit to the law of the ship, obey the instruction of the captain, who journey by using the right tool and compass shall reach their destination. They not alone will arrive, but they shall be given the authority to guide others to shore with safety. And when they do, divine rewards awaits for them which no eyes have seen, no ears have heard and no heart can contemplate. And Who is better in rewarding than the Generous Friend who invites to His Truth, to His Kingdom, to His Bounty.

May Allah accept us all and invite us to embark on the ship of safety, bless our journey and reach us to our true destination. So be it, ameen."

Wa anna ila Rabbika al-muntaha
And that to your Lord is the finality.
- The Quran 53:42

La maqsooda illa-Llah.
There is no other destination but the Truth.

La mahbooba illa-Llah.
There is but one Beloved Friend - Allah.

La maqsooda illa-Llah.
The goal, aim and journey's end is Allah.

La ilaha illa-Llah.
There is but one Divine Reality - Allah.

A Sufi tale, inspired by the quote from 10th century Sufi mystic and poet Niffari, may Allah be pleased with His servant.


"Ihdinas Siratal Mustaqeem"
O Lord, please guide us to the Straight Path
 - Prayer of the Quran

I have never seen a man lost who was on a straight path.
- Saadi of Shiraz


# Further:
Following are links to Shaykh Nooruddeen Durkee's discourse on Travel: The Inner Journey via Youtube. A very illuminating sohbet regarding the world of plurality, the True Journey and how to prepare for the journey. How people of Ahadiyya must realize the truth of this journey to our real Home. May Allah preserve Shaykh Nooruddeen Durkee and give him a blessed life.

* Travel (Inner Journey) Part 1
* Travel, Part 2
* Travel, Part 3
* Travel, Part 4
* Travel, Part 5
* Travel, Part 6
* Travel, Part 7


More talks by Shaykh Nooruddeen can be accessed by Green Mountain Channel here.

+ Official site of Green Mountain School

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