The story of the grammarian and the boatman – Sufi Story from Masnavi

The Story of the Grammarian and the Boatman – From Rumi’s Masnavi Volume I

A grammarian went on a boat wide with a Boatman.

He was a self-conceited and asked Boatman, “Have you ever studied grammar?”

“No,” replied the Boatman.

“Half your life has been meaningless.”, exclaimed grammarian with vanity.

The boatman was sad and grieved, but avoided responding to him.

After some time, the wind pushed the boat into whirlpool

“Tell me, you know how to swim?”, shouted the boatman to the grammarian.

“No, why would I”, replied the grammarian

“O grammarian”, the boatman said, “then your whole life has been wasted, because our boat is sinking soon”


Know that maḥw (self-effacement) is needed, not naḥw (persian grammar) for success in this path

if you are maḥw (dead to self ans ego), then be fearless and plunge in the sea of divine ishq.



Sultan and Sufi: Miniature by A.R. Chughtai


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