THE READER: Featuring Kahlil Gibran
Kahlil Gibran – The Poet Of Spiritual Love, was born on this day i.e. 6th January in 1883. To celebrate his birthday, I am featuring in this section of my Blog – “The Reader” his most beautiful and lovely book “The Prophet”. Published in 1923, it became extremely popular in the 1960s counterculture. Kahlil Gibran is the third best selling poet (after Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu) in the world. But before I share his profound thoughts from the book “The Prophet” on many different aspects of life, love and living, let me give you a brief note about the poet.
|Khalil Gibran, Photograph by Fred Holland Day,|
Gibran held his first art exhibition of his drawings in 1904 in Boston, at Day's studio. During this exhibition, Gibran met Mary Elizabeth Haskell, a respected headmistress ten years his senior. The two formed an important friendship that lasted the rest of Gibran’s life. Though publicly discreet, their correspondence reveals an exalted intimacy. Haskell influenced not only Gibran’s personal life, but also his career. In 1908, Gibran went to study art in Paris for two years. While there he met his art study partner and lifelong friend Youssef Howayek. While most of Gibran's early writings were in Arabic, most of his work published after 1918 was in English. His first book in 1918 was The Madman, a slim volume of aphorisms and parables written in biblical cadence somewhere between poetry and prose.
Much of Gibran's writings deal with Christianity, especially on the topic of spiritual love. But his mysticism is a convergence of several different influences: Christianity, Islam, Sufism, Hinduism and theosophy.
TEXT AND IMAGES FROM WIKIPEDIA
Now coming back to the book...
The Prophet, is a book composed of twenty-six poetic essays. The book became especially popular during the 1960s with the American counterculture and New Age movements. Since it was first published in 1923, The Prophet has never been out of print. Having been translated into more than forty languages, it was one of the bestselling books of the twentieth century in the United States.
In the book, the Prophet of God after spending his years with people of Orphalese, is planning to leave for a journey deep into the ocean, from where he may or may not come. The people then gather around and as him questions about life, living, love, work etc and he replies them in kind of poetic essays. While reading this book of poetic essays, I have had noted down a lot of his thoughts that invoked a deep sense of understanding within me. Only some of them I am reproducing here...
(To read my full selection, click here...)
The Coming of the Ship
And she hailed him, saying:
|The Prophet By Kahlil Gibran|
IMG Curtsey Itunes
And now your ship has come, and you must needs go.
And he answered,
People of Orphalese, of what can I speak save of that which is even now moving within your souls?
· When love beckons to you follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
· Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
|Gibran's home in Bsharri|
· You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
· Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
· And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
· Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
· You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
· You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth. For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life's procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.
· Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
On Joy and Sorrow
|Khalil Gibran memorial in Boston, Massachusetts.|
· Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
· The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
· And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfilment. You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief,
On Reason and Passion
· Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against passion and your appetite.
· Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.
· For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction. Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion; that it may sing; And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes. And since you are a breath In God's sphere, and a leaf in God's forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.
|Khalil Gibran memorial in Washington, D.C.|
· Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
· Much of your pain is self-chosen. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:
· Your friend is your needs answered. He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
· For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
· And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit. For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
· For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill? Seek him always with hours to live. For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
· You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance. For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether?
· When you pray you rise to meet in the air those who are praying at that very hour, and whom save in prayer you may not meet. Therefore let your visit to that temple invisible be for naught but ecstasy and sweet communion. For if you should enter the temple for no other purpose than asking you shall not receive.
· God listens not to your words save when He Himself utters them through your lips.
· Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide? And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?
· And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy. It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth, But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.
· Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror
|The Gibran Museum and Gibran's final resting place,|
in Bsharri, Lebanon.
· Is not religion all deeds and all reflection,
· Your daily life is your temple and your religion. Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.
And now it was evening.
And Almitra the seeress said, "Blessed be this day and this place and your spirit that has spoken."
And he answered, Was it I who spoke? Was I not also a listener?
Then he descended the steps of the Temple ...
As the book was so full of profound thinking, I could not post all that I liked here, as it was getting to be a large post. But in case you would like to read my full selection of thoughts from the book, click here...
TEXT OF THE BOOK FROM http://wikilivres.info/wiki/The_Prophet
ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
Thus Spoke Zarathustra - Nietzsche