book : Kahlil Gibran | The Prophet
song : Alkindi | Vieja Música Arabe
Everybody recognizes Kahlil Gibran as one of the greatest poets along with Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu. And one might consider this book as his magnum opus. Even so, large number of readers detest the book for its intricate wordplay that might come off as empty rhetoric. As for me, this is one of the greatest poems ever written. Yes, the words are rather delicate. Yes, the analogies used are vaguely verging on blatant. Yes, reading some formulas as an adult might sound leaning on lustful or placid. Having said that, then what made me lop off those shallow perspectives and opted to be infatuated with The Prophet?
“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.”
Presumably this is the most evolving passage from all the books I’ve read. I first came across The Prophet when I was in junior high, then I read it again in high school, and again in college, and just finished it for the hundredth time last night. Leafing through its pages throughout each part of my life provides me pristine meaning. It oddly transformed itself into a new reading with a new wisdom to reap. Prior to an inexplicable prophet departure, he felt inclined to offer presents for the people in spite of the fact that he has nothing to own. Thus, he bestows them with wisdom. To avoid any confusion, the book does not tell you about the prophet per se, it opens a door to how a being walk through every single juncture in its life. How is it to be a child, to venture, to grow, to sacrifice, to die, to be in love.
“For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. “
This eloquent series of poetry speak the true sense of knowledge. Immune to dogma, bigotry, authority and metaphysics. It contains as many paradoxical patterns as those obtained in numerous literature’s chef-d’œuvre including Way of Life by Lao-Tzu, Buddha teachings, The Beatitudes of Jesus Christ and Sahih Al-Bukhari.
“Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows - then let your heart say in silence, “God rests in reason.” And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky, - then let your heart say in awe, “God moves in passion.“
I am not what you call religious but I’m much keen on books about religion and spiritual knowledge. Gibran’s works are never about life manual or prepackaged truths. Reading through the book will only engrave an egocentric semblance of utopia in mystical energy. Reading into it will transcend oneself as a life reflection that touches one’s nadir. This is merely a literature merit, The Prophet verbalizes holy excerpt without being holy, a religious book without a religion. Coincidentally, I’m currently using this last quote ever since Revianti Oksinta—my best friend—went home to the hands of God just days ago:
“When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in her may be clearer in her absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.“
All images are Kahlil Gibran’s artworks.