Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

The Prophet is a timeless classic written by Kahlil Gibran. It is believed to be a semi-autobiographical compilation of 26 poetic discourses and has since been translated into more than 20 languages. Kahlil Gibran, a great philosopher, poet and artist was born in Lebanon in 1883. He died of a liver disease in New York in April 1931.
A Prophet who has been living in a foreign city for twelve years is now leaving that city and is preparing to board a home bound ship, when the people of that foreign city surround him to ask questions of the heart. He then imparts his wisdom on various aspects of life related to human existence and survival. He has covered all spheres of life, from the basic needs of a person such as the housing, clothing, eating and drinking, work; to emotional needs and relationships such as joy and sorrow, love, marriage, children, friendship, pain, giving, prayer, pleasure, reason and passion, talking, self-knowledge, death; to social aspects such as law, freedom, buying and selling, crime and punishment, time, beauty, good and evil, teaching, religion.
He says-
On Marriage
You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
On Children
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.
On Giving
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
On Freedom
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.
Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the desired and the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherishes, the pursued and that you would escape.
These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling.
And when the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers becomes a shadow to another light.
And thus your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.
On Reason and Passion
Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and judgement wage war against passion and your appetite.
Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.
If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
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.
On Self-Knowledge
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.
I'm sure by now after reading the above verses, you know what to expect from the book.
This is not just another ordinary book, but one where you can find a solution to all your doubts, confusion, problems and dilemma, if any. Keep it always close to you.

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