Many years ago I heard a TV presenter talking about religion, and I remember him saying something like:

Like [ guru name ] said, religion is like a boat. It is very useful to to cross a river, but only a fool would drag the boat along with him/her after reaching the otherside.

I was curious about the Guru who would state that religion was in a sense fungible. I went to do some research today, but the only quotes I found seem to be very clearly not saying that at all:

But without true love and devotion entering into it, it remains like a boat without water. It is not difficult to push a boat that is floating in water, but extremely hard to drag the same boat on dry land. In the same way, if our life’s boat floats on the waters of true love and devotion, we can sail easily in it. http://www.hinduism.co.za/stories-.htm (possibly not the best source)

So it seems I mixed up the TV presenter's analogy, with the words of the Guru (that he was quoting).

However I thought I would check here -


Does anyone know of a Guru who did use the boat on water/land analogy to propose "Use religion while it is useful, then discard it"? Thanks

  • 1
    Dharma should be followed in every situations & at all places.I'm not sure which "GUru" made such a statement!
    – Rickross
    Apr 5, 2016 at 9:38
  • 1
    Nice Q & observation. This confusion might arise, because "Dharma" might have been interpreted as "Religion". See this. IMHO, the 1st Guru was right about dropping the Dharma (or religion) at certain stage. If one keep following Dharma, then a mode called Sattva (responsible for knowledge & happiness) continues to rise. The other 2 modes are: Rajas (passion), Tamas (ignorance). When one becomes conscious about Sattva, it binds the person & disallows to realize the ultimate God. So Gita (18.66) recommends ultimately to "drop Dharma".
    – iammilind
    Apr 5, 2016 at 9:39
  • Actually what i know boat analogy is, boat is our body (with soul) and water is Samsara or worldly desires. We should cross this ocean of Samsara or desires by staying in boat (body) but should not get affected by water or desires. If water comes into boat, boat sinks. Same is the case with body. If we have desires in our body, we will take many births and we live forever in ocean of birth and death. So, we should stay in water like Lotus flower. Lotus flower though it stays in water, never absorbs water. Thus Lotus flower is very significant in Hinduism.
    – The Destroyer
    Apr 5, 2016 at 12:11
  • 1
    The first boat analogy does not mean 'use religion in some situations'. It means that upon attaining the goal of Self-realization, the practices and rituals in the religions drop off, just as flowers that drop off. Obviously, this view is propounded by modern Advaita saints, who emphasize the importance of self-realization. In India, there have been lot of hatred and dogmas created because people's religious beliefs and practices do not match each others. Thus these saints say that Self-realization is more important and is the goal of all religions. Hope that makes sense. Good question.
    – Sai
    Apr 11, 2016 at 15:57
  • 1
    The second boat analogy is completely unrelated to the first one. It says that one's boat (life) becomes smooth and takes one quickly when it is used on water (with Devotion to God), rather than on land (with fears and hatred). All the best!
    – Sai
    Apr 11, 2016 at 15:59


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