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It’s fascinating how something as mighty and powerful as the ocean can be so soothing to our spirit. I’ve been longing to go back to the beach since I spent a couple hours in Daytona last spring.
I remember that trip clearly. The sun was shining and the breeze was cool, as I curled my toes in the warm sand. I began to walk closer to the water until my ankles were wet with the sea. I later leaned back on my blanket and closed my eyes, as the beating of my heart synced with the rhythm of the waves.
Those moments were very relaxing and refreshing to my heart and soul. So, I’m not surprised that oceans have significant spiritual meaning in the Baha’i Faith.
The Spiritual Meaning of Oceans
Oceans are incredibly vast bodies of water that appear to be limitless. The Baha’i writings often use oceans as a metaphor to describe how the verses of God contain infinite knowledge, wisdom, and insight.
Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths.
We can only learn so much from a cursory read of the religious scriptures. But when we immerse ourselves and dive deep into this ocean of words, we will discover a whole new world of spiritual meanings and insights.
In addition to signifying infinite wisdom and discoveries, oceans also represent unity and oneness. Whenever I gaze at the ocean waves, I can’t help but think of a quote from the Baha’i writings. Around the world, Baha’is are working toward a future where “all the nations and peoples of the world become as one soul and one spirit, in order that strife and warfare be entirely removed and the rancor and hostility disappear so that all become as the waves of one ocean, [and] the drops of one sea…”
Each of us can’t survive alone as one drop, but when humanity collectively unites and binds together, we will be as strong and everlasting as the sea.
A Dream About Swimming in the Ocean, and What It Meant
The beauty and majesty of the oceans may even appear in our dreams. For example, in the early 19th century, when Baha’u’llah was just a child, his father—the Vazír in Iran—had a profound dream of his son.
In his dream, Baha’u’llah:
appeared to him swimming in a vast, limitless ocean. His body shone upon the waters with a radiance that illumined the sea. Around His head, which could distinctly be seen above the waters, there radiated, in all directions, His long, jet-black locks, floating in great profusion above the waves.
As he dreamed, a multitude of fishes gathered round Him, each holding fast to the extremity of one hair. Fascinated by the effulgence of His face, they followed Him in whatever direction He swam. Great as was their number, and however firmly they clung to His locks, not one single hair seemed to have been detached from His head, nor did the least injury affect His person. Free and unrestrained, He moved above the waters and they all followed Him.
The Vazír was very moved by this dream of his son swimming in the ocean waters and knew it must have spiritual meaning and significance. So, he asked a famous soothsayer—a person who foretells the future—to interpret the dream for him. This soothsayer explained that this dream prophesied the “future glory of Bahá’u’lláh.”
The limitless ocean that you have seen in your dream, O Vazír, is none other than the world of being. Single-handed and alone, your son will achieve supreme ascendancy over it. Wherever He may please, He will proceed unhindered. No one will resist His march, no one will hinder His progress.
The multitude of fishes signifies the turmoil which He will arouse amidst the peoples and kindreds of the earth. Around Him will they gather, and to Him will they cling. Assured of the unfailing protection of the Almighty, this tumult will never harm His person, nor will His loneliness upon the sea of life endanger His safety.
That soothsayer then gazed intently at Baha’u’llah’s face, extolled all of his traits, and praised him profusely. His extreme admiration and awe of Baha’u’llah only strengthened the Vazír’s hope, confidence, and devotion to his son. The Baha’i writings say, “Like Jacob, he desired only to ensure the welfare of his beloved Joseph, and to surround Him with his loving protection.”
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Baha’is believe that Baha’u’llah is the most recent prophet, or Manifestation of God, to found a world religion and reveal God’s messages to humanity. In 1863, Baha’u’llah began to openly share the revolutionary principles of the Baha’i Faith, such as the oneness of religion, the abolition of all forms of prejudice, the equality of women and men, the independent investigation of truth, and the agreement of science and religion.
Although it’s not often that our dreams about oceans have prophetic meanings, you may want to pay attention the next time you dream of swimming in the sea. Remember to dive deep, because there is more to the ocean than meets the eye.