The Prophet
By Kahlil Gibran, a Classic Masterpiece
Excerpt by Homa Liaghat

 

 

This book, which is Gibranís Masterpiece, has become one of the beloved classics of our time. Published in 1923, it has been translated into more than twenty languages, and the American edition alone has sold more than four million copies. It contains his philosophy on major concepts in human life, such as love, joy, self-knowledge, freedom, Law, religion, reason, etc. Here is a summary of some of the concepts.

 

- Love

When love comes to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, though its hidden sword may wound you. For even as he is for your growth, he is for your pruning. Even as he ascends you to your height, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them. But if in your fear you would seek only loveís peace and pleasure, then it is better for you to cover yourself into the seasonless world, where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives nothing but itself, and takes nothing but from itself. Love does not possess, nor would it be possessed. And do not think that you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.

 

- Giving

You give little, when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself, that you truly give. For what are your possessions, but things that you keep and guard for fear that you may need them tomorrow. And what is fear of need but need itself. There are those who give little of the much they have, and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome. And there are those who have little and give it all. There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward. There are those who give with pain and that pain is their baptism. And there are those who give and know no pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue. They give as the flowers spread their fragrance into space. Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes he smiles upon the earth. And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.

 

-Pain

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Just as the stone of the fruit must break, so that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain. And if you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy. If you accept the seasons of your heart, as you have always accepted the four seasons, you would watch with serenity the winters of your grief. 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 tranquility. For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen.

 

- Death

How will you find the secret of death, unless you seek it in the heart of life. In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond. Like seeds dreaming beneath the snow, your heart dreams of spring. Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountaintop, then shall you begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.