Friday, February 3, 2017

The Prophet

Book: The Prophet 
Author: Kahlil Gibran
First Published: 1923 by Alfred A. Knopf
No. of Pages: 107
Genre: Prose Poetry

I believe that the greatest gift a man can give to his fellow beings is the unadulterated joy that his work is. 11 years it took the Lebanese American Gibran to craft 'The Prophet': A perennial classic, with millions of copies sold worldwide. It has never been out of print since the first time it got published in 1923To string together such beautiful pearls out of the sea of our consciousness requires a conscientious spirit working in God's realm. This book is a teacher who guides one to the threshold of his/her own mind. It does not tell you the destination, but shows you the way. It teaches you to discover and find meaning in the very ordinary and mundane.
Here’s what I think:

"Though words are needed to communicate, they can never perhaps give expression to the delights of a liberated soul.
For a spirit that knows how to soar, needs not the crutches words are.
For words render feelings bound, contained and defined;
Yet my heart feels a gladness that his very words gave wings to my own thoughts, which rose in humility to acknowledge the elegant design, simple truth and beauty of life."

My copy of the Prophet

The Prophet, masterfully fashioned in Gibran’s prose-poetry style, comprises twenty-eight chapters. A rich poetic concoction of allegory and metaphors, this wholesome soup for the soul conveys his musings through a prophet named Almustafa. The protagonist of the story, Almustafa has spent 12 years in the city called Orphalese. As he prepares to embark on the voyage back home to the city of his birth, he is met by people at the city gates. The people of Orphalese leave their work in the vineyards and gather around Almustafa to ask him what lies between birth and death. Almustafa’s answers to the common men and women of Orphalese have been transcribed in 26 of these chapters. These ruminations are a journey in themselves because they cover so many aspects of life such as love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, houses, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death. From my personal experience, every time I read it, I understand it a bit more. Suffice it to say that it is a book for all ages.

Here are some of my favourite verses from The Prophet:

On Marriage 

"Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of Love. Let it be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. 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."

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 Joy & Sorrow
·         Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
·         The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

·         Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced. 

    On Reason and Passion:
Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.
Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.
But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

On Pain:  
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun,
So must you know pain.
Every word was a joy and every sentence a knowledge that was always there. The Prophet is a work of pure love, is a way of life, and teaches one many things, the most important of all:

On Religion:  

"Your daily Life is your Temple and your Religion.
When you enter into it, take with you your all."

Last Chapter:
"And what is word knowledge but a shadow of wordless knowledge?
Your thoughts and my words are waves from a sealed memory that keeps records of our yesterdays,
And of the ancient days when the Earth knew not us nor herself,
And of nights when Earth was upwrought with confusion."

A Weary Wanderer Seeking Rest,
A hungry Spirit Finding Food,
A Treat for the Eyes,
A Feast for the Soul...
his book is a celebration of so much and more. 

I give it 9.5/10
And, I am closing this review with my thoughts about the creator of this literary masterpiece.

To Kahlil, With Love…

Courtesy: Simon Howden  

If I could meet you,
I’d stand before you and say nothing.
Words won’t do a thing.
But if I remembered in future having loved you in the past,
I’d stand in future,
Someday, I’d stand naked in front of you to say nothing,
Hoping you’d know what I wish to convey,
Because we've been fashioned from the same clay of the one you like to call ‘Unseen’.
When that blessed silence would enclose us,
Your heart would resonate with mine,
And you’d know that I love you…
That I have always loved you, ever since I saw your picture in your work.

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