BROKEN WINGS KAHLIL GIBRAN PDF
The Broken Wings. Kahlil Gibran. This page formatted Blackmask Online. resourceone.info FOREWORD. •. SILENT SORROW. •. THE HAND OF . Free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook. A novel written by Khalil Gibran and first published in Arabic in It is a tale of tragic love, set in turn-of-the-century. A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook Title: The Broken Wings Author: Kahlil Gibran eBook No.: resourceone.info Edition: 1 Language: English Character set.
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One More Library - Free online ebooks in pdf, epub, kindle and other formats. The Broken Wings Kahlil Gibran / Khalil Gibrán / Jalil Gibran (26 books). The Coming of the Ship lmustafa, the chosen and the beloved, who was a dawn onto his own day, had The Prophet The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Broken Wings by Khalil Gibran is free at resourceone.info - the free Library of Metaphysical New Thought Books and Texts with Links to New Thought.
But poets care unhappy people, for, no matter how high their spirits reach, they will still be enclosed in an envelope of tears. Selma was deeply thoughtful rather than talkative, and her silence was a kind of music that carried one to a world of dreams and made him listen to the throbbing of his heart, and see the ghosts of his thoughts and feelings standing before him, looking him in the eyes. She wore a cloak of deep sorrow through her life, which increased her strange beauty and dignity, as a tree in blossom is more lovely when seen through the mist of dawn.
God had made two bodies in one, and separation could be nothing but agony. The sorrowful spirit finds rest when united with a similar one. They join affectionately, as a stranger is cheered when he sees another stranger in a strange land.
Hearts that are united through the medium of sorrow will not be separated by the glory of happiness. Love that is cleansed by tears will remain externally pure and beautiful. I accepted, my spirit hungry for the divine bread which Heaven placed in the hands of Selma, the spiritual bread which makes our hearts hungrier the more we eat of it.
It was this bread which Kais, the Arabian poet, Dante, and Sappho tasted and which set their hearts afar; the bread which the Goddess prepares with the sweetness of kisses and the bitterness of tears.
As I reached the home of Farris Effandi, I saw Selma sitting on a bench in the garden resting her head against a tree and looking like a bride in her white silk dress, or like a sentinel guarding that place. Silently and reverently I approached and sat by her. I could not talk; so I resorted to silence, the only language of the heart, but I felt that Selma was listening to my wordless call and watching the ghost of my soul in my eyes.
In a few minutes the old man came out and greeted me as usual. When he stretched his hand toward me, I felt as if he were blessing the secrets that united me and his daughter.
We sat at the table enjoying the food and sipping the old wine, but our souls were living in a world far away. We were dreaming of the future and its hardships.
Three persons were separated in thoughts, but united in love; three innocent people with much feeling but little knowledge; a drama was being performed by an old man who loved his daughter and cared for her happiness, a young woman of twenty looking into the future with anxiety, and a young man, dreaming and worrying, who had tasted neither the wine of life nor its vinegar, and trying to reach the height of love and knowledge but unable to life himself up.
As we finished eating, one of the maids announced the presence of a man at the door who wished to see Farris Effandi. There was a moment of silence during which Farris Effandi stared at his daughter like a prophet who gazes at Heaven to divine its secret.
Then she came and sat opposite me on a divan covered with green silk. She looked like a lily bent to the carpet of green grass by the breeze of dawn. It was the will of Heaven that I should be with Selma alone, at night, in her beautiful home surrounded by trees, where silence, love, beauty and virtue dwelt together.
We were both silent, each waiting for the other to speak, but speech is not the only means of understanding between two souls. It is not the syllables that come from the lips and tongues that bring hearts together. There is something greater and purer than what the mouth utters. Silence illuminates our souls, whispers to our hearts, and brings them together. Silence separates us from ourselves, makes us sail the firmament of spirit, and brings us closer to Heaven; it makes us feel that bodies are no more than prisons and that this world is only a place of exile.
Selma looked at me and her eyes revealed the secret of her heart. We can see nothing. I remained silent, pondering her words, weighing the true meaning of each syllable. Then she looked at me as if she regretted what she had said and tried to take away those words from my ears by the magic of her eyes. But those eyes, instead of making me forget what she had said, repeated through the depths of my heart more clearly and effectively the sweet words which had already become graven in my memory for eternity.
Every beauty and greatness in this world is created by a single thought or emotion inside a man. Every thing we see today, made by past generation, was, before its appearance, a thought in the mind of a man or an impulse in the heart of a woman. The devastating wars which destroyed empires were a thought that existed in the mind of an individual. The supreme teachings that changed the course of humanity were the ideas of a man whose genius separated him from his environment.
A single thought build the Pyramids, founded the glory of Islam, and caused the burning of the library at Alexandria. One thought will come to you at night which will elevate you to glory or lead you to asylum. That word which Selma uttered that night arrested me between my past and future, as a boat which is anchored in the midst of the ocean.
That word awakened me from the slumber of youth and solitude and set me on the stage where life and death play their parts. The scent of flowers mingled with the breeze as we came into the garden and sat silently on a bench near a jasmine tree, listening to the breathing of sleeping nature, while in the blue sky the eyes of heaven witnessed our drama. The moon came out from behind Mount Sunnin and shone over the coast, hills, and mountains; and we could see the villages fringing the valley like apparitions which have suddenly been conjured from nothing.
We could see the beauty of Lebanon under the silver rays of the moon. Poets of the West think of Lebanon as a legendary place, forgotten since the passing of David and Solomon and the Prophets, as the Garden of Eden became lost after the fall of Adam and Eve. It reminds them of the temples of copper and marble standing stern and impregnable and of a herd of deer feeding in the valleys.
That night I saw Lebanon dream-like with the eyes of a poet. Thus, the appearance of things changes according to the emotions, and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves. As the rays of the moon shone on the face, neck, and arms of Selma, she looked like a statue of ivory sculptured by the fingers of some worshiper of Ishtar, goddess of beauty and love.
Why do you not tell me something about your past? The spirit that hears the whispering of flowers and the singing of silence can also hear the shrieking of my soul and the clamour of my heart.
I heard exhilarating music pulsing in the air and causing the whole universe to tremble. I know now what I did not know before. She became a supreme thought, a beautiful, an overpowering emotion living in my spirit.
It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created in years or even generations. Now, I feel the presence of something stranger and sweeter than brotherly affection, an unfamiliar commingling of love and fear that fills my heart with sorrow and happiness.
Who would believe that the month of Nisan which brought us together for the first time, is the month that halted us in the Holy of Holies of life?
Is it not the hand of God that brought our souls close together before birth and made us prisoners of each other for all the days and nights? An hour passed, every minute of which was a year of love. The silence of the night, moonlight, flowers, and trees made us forget all reality except love, when suddenly we heard the galloping of horses and rattling of carriage wheels.
Awakened from our pleasant swoon and plunged from the world of dreams into the world of perplexity and misery, we found that the old man had returned from his mission. We rose and walked through the orchard to meet him.
Then the carriage reached the entrance of the garden, Farris Effandi dismounted and slowly walked towards us, bending forward slightly as if he were carrying a heavy load. He approached Selma and placed both of his hands on her shoulders and stared at her. Tears coursed down his wrinkled cheeks and his lips trembled with sorrowful smile. All is done; may God bless you.
What do you mean? Where are you sending me? I understand everything. The Bishop has demanded me from you and has prepared a cage for this bird with broken wings. Is this your will, Father? Tenderly he led Selma into the house while I remained standing in the garden, waves of perplexity beating upon me like a tempest upon autumn leaves.
As I reached the end of the garden I heard the old man calling me and turned to meet him. I have ruined your evening with the shedding of tears, but please come to see me when my house is deserted and I am lonely and desperate.
Youth, my dear son, does not combine with senility, as morning does not have meet the night; but you will come to me and call to my memory the youthful days which I spent with your father, and you will tell me the news of life which does not count me as among its sons any longer. Will you not visit me when Selma leaves and I am left here in loneliness? Trembling with sorrow and filial affection. I felt as if my heart were choked with grief.
When I raised my head and he saw the tears in my eyes, he bent toward me and touched my forehead with his lips. Thus the sun enlivens and kills the fields with its heat. Words uttered in privacy will become unexpectedly common conversation. Deed which we hide today in the corners of our lodgings will be shouted on every street tomorrow. The discussion that took place between Bishop Bulos Galib and Farris Effandi that night was not over the problems of the poor or the widows and orphans.
The heads of religion in the East are not satisfied with their own munificence, but they must strive to make all members of their families superiors and oppressors. The glory of a prince goes to his eldest son by inheritance, but the exaltation of a religious head is contagious among his brothers and nephews. Thus the Christian bishop and the Moslem imam and the Brahman priest become like sea reptiles who clutch their prey with many tentacles and suck their blood with numerous mouths.
The sorrow of parents at the marriage of a daughter is equal to their happiness at the marriage of a son, because a son brings to the family a new member, while a daughter, upon her marriage, is lost to them.
In Lebanon, no Christian could oppose his bishop and remain in good standing. No man could disobey his religious head and keep his reputation.
The eye could not resist a spear without being pierced, and the hand could not grasp a sword without being cut off. Thus destiny seized Selma and led her like a humiliated slave in the procession of miserable oriental woman, and thus fell that noble spirit into the trap after having flown freely on the white wings of love in a sky full of moonlight scented with the odour of flowers. The wide strong box which the father and mother together have used for the safety of their wealth becomes a narrow, dark prison for the souls of their heirs.
The Almighty Dinar which the people worship becomes a demon which punished the spirit and deadens the heart. A week had passed. The love of Selma was my sole entertainer, singing songs of happiness for me at night and waking me at dawn to reveal the meaning of life and the secrets of nature. It is a heavenly love that is free from jealousy, rich and never harmful to the spirit. It is deep affinity that bathes the soul in contentment; a deep hunger for affection which, when satisfied, fills the soul with bounty; a tenderness that creates hope without agitating the soul, changing earth to paradise and life to a sweet and a beautiful dream.
In the morning, when I walked in the fields, I saw the token of Eternity in the awakening of nature, and when I sat by the seashore I heard the waves singing the song of Eternity.
And when I walked in the streets I saw the beauty of life and the splendour of humanity in the appearance of passers-by and movements of workers. Those days passed like ghosts and disappeared like clouds, and soon nothing was left for me but sorrowful memories. The eye with which I used to look at the beauty of spring and the awakening of nature, could see nothing but the fury of the tempest and the misery of winter. The ears with which I formerly heard with delight the song of the waves, could hear only the howling of the wind and the wrath of the sea against the precipice.
The soul which had observed happily the tireless vigour of mankind and the glory of the universe, was tortured by the knowledge of disappointment and failure. Nothing was more beautiful than those days of love, and nothing was more bitter than those horrible nights of sorrow. When I entered the garden I felt a power pulling me away from this world and placing me in a sphere supernaturally free from struggle and hardship. Like a mystic who receives a revelation of Heaven, I saw myself amid the trees and flowers, and as I approached the entrance of the house I beheld Selma sitting on the bench in the shadow of a jasmine tree where we both had sat the week before, on that night which Providence had chosen for the beginning of my happiness and sorrow.
She neither moved nor spoke as I approached her. She seemed to have known intuitively that I was coming, and when I sat by her she gazed at me for a moment and sighed deeply, then turned her head and looked at the sky. Look at me, my beloved Her face, that had resembled the unfolding, sun kissed leaves of a lily, had faded and become colourless.
Her sweet lips were like two withering roses that autumn has left on their stems. Her neck, that had been a column of ivory, was bent forward as if it no longer could support the burden of grief in her head. A look which reveals inward stress adds more beauty to the face, no matter how much tragedy and pain it bespeaks; but the face which, in silence, does not announce hidden mysteries is not beautiful, regardless of the symmetry of its features.
Selma, on that evening, was like a cup full of heavenly wine concocted of the bitterness and sweetness of life. I continued to look at Selma and listen to her depressed spirit and suffer with her until I felt that time has ceased and the universe had faded from existence. I could see only her two large eyes staring fixedly at me and could feel only her cold, trembling hand holding mine. My father, whom God chose for the purpose of my existence, will meet the man whom the world has selected to be my master for the rest of my life.
In the heart of this city, the old man who accompanied me during my youth will meet the young man who will be my companion for the coming years. Tonight the two families will set the marriage date. What a strange and impressive hour! Last week at this time, under this jasmine tree, Love embraced my soul for the first time, okay. Now, while my father and my suitor are planning the day of marriage, I see your spirit quivering around me as a thirsty bird flickers above a spring of water guarded by a hungry serpent.
Oh, how great this night is! And how deep is its mystery! His voice should not be silenced, because he brings life to my heart, his wings should not be broken, because their motion removes the cloud from my heart. But listen, my beloved, listen carefully, I am standing today at the door of a new life which I know nothing about.
I am like a blind man who feels his way so that he will not fall. I neither know nor love him, but I shall learn to love him, and I shall obey him, serve him, and make him happy. I shall give him all that a weak woman can give a strong man. But you, my beloved, are still in the prime of life. You are free to traverse the world, making of your heart a torch to light your way.
Is it for this that the valley swallows the song of the nightingale in its depths, and the wind scatters the petals of the rose, and the feet tread upon the wind cup? Were all those nights we spent in the moonlight by the jasmine tree, where our souls united, in vain? Did we fly swiftly toward the stars until our wings tired, and are we descending now into the abyss?
Or was Love asleep when he came to us, and did he, when he woke, become angry and decide to punish us? We disobeyed no commandment, nor did we taste of forbidden fruit, so what is making us leave this paradise?
The broken wings
We never conspired or practised mutiny, then why are we descending to hell? No, no, the moments which united us are greater than centuries, and the light that illuminated our spirits is stronger than the dark; and if the tempest separates us on this rough ocean, the waves will unite us on the calm shore; and if this life kills us, death will unite us.
And now, my beloved, what shall we do? How shall we part and when shall we meet? Shall we consider love a strange visitor who came in the evening and left us in the morning? Or shall we suppose this affection a dream that came in our sleep and departed when we awoke? Shall we consider this week an hour of intoxication to be replaced by soberness?
Raise your head and let me look at you, my beloved; open your lips and let me hear your voice. Speak to me! Will you remember me after this tempest has sunk the ship of our love?
Will you hear the whispering of my wings in the silence of the night? Will you hear my spirit fluttering over you? Will you listen to my sighs? Will you see my shadow approach with the shadows of dusk and disappear with the flush of dawn?
Tell me, my beloved, what will you be after having been magic ray to my eyes, sweet song to my ears, and wings to my soul? What will you be?
I want you to remember me as a traveller remembers a calm pool in which his image was reflected as he drank its water. I want you to remember me as a mother remember her child that died before it saw the light, and I want you to remember me as a merciful king remembers a prisoner who died before his pardon reached him. I want you to be my companion, and I want you to visit my father and console him in his solitude because I shall be leaving him soon and shall be a stranger to him.
I shall sing your name as the valley sings the echo of the bells of the village churches; I shall listen to the language of your soul as the shore listens to the story of the waves.
I shall remember you as a stranger remembers his beloved country, and as a hungry man remembers a banquet, and as a dethroned king remembers the days of his glory, and as a prisoner remembers the hours of ease and freedom.
I shall remember you as a sower remembers the bundles of wheat on his threshing flour, and as a shepherd remembers the green prairies the sweet brooks.
Will a lover be satisfied embracing a ghost, or will a thirsty man quench his thirst from the spring or a dream? You will be in the home of a person whom chance has made most fortunate through your beauty and virtue, while I shall be living a life of suffering and fear. You will enter the gate of life, while I shall enter the gate of death.
You will be received hospitably, while I shall exist in solitude, but I shall erect a statue of love and worship it in the valley of death.
Love will be my sole comforter, and I shall drink love like wine and wear it like garment. At dawn, Love will wake me from slumber and take me to the distant field, and at noon will lead me to the shadows of trees, where I will find shelter with the birds from the heat of the sun.
At night, Love will embrace me, and I shall sleep, dreaming of the heavenly world where the spirits of lovers and poets abide. In the Spring I shall walk side by side with love among violets and jasmines and drink the remaining drops of winter in the lily cups. In Summer we shall make the bundles of hay our pillows and the grass our bed, and the blue sky will cover us as we gaze at the stars and the moon. In Autumn, Love and I will go to the vineyard and sit by the wine press and watch the grapevines being denuded of their golden ornaments, and the migrating flocks of birds will wing over us.
In Winter, we shall sit by the fireside reciting stories of long ago and chronicles of far countries. During my youth, Love will be my teacher; in middle age, my help; and in old age, my delight. Love, my beloved Selma, will stay with me to the end of my life, and after death the hand of God will unite us again. Selma was weeping as if her eyes were lips answering me with tears. Those whom Love has not chosen as followers do not hear when Love calls.
This story is not for them. Even if they should comprehend these pages, they would not be able to grasp the shadowy meanings which are not clothed in words and do not reside on paper, but what human being is he who has never sipped the wine from the cup of love, and what spirit is it that has never stood reverently before that lighted altar in the temple whose pavement is the hearts of men and women and whose ceiling is the secret canopy of dreams?
What flower is that on whose leaves the dawn has never poured a drop of dew; what streamlet is that which lost its course without going to the sea? Selma raised her face toward the sky and gazed at the heavenly stars which studded the firmament. She stretched out her hands; her eyes widened, and her lips trembled. On her pale face, I could see the signs of sorrow, oppression, hopelessness, and pain.
What sin has she committed to deserve such a punishment? For what crime has she been awarded everlasting castigation? Oh, Lord, Thou art strong, and I am weak. Why hast Thou made me suffer pain? Thou art great and almighty, while I am nothing but a tiny creature crawling before Thy throne.
Why hast Thou crushed me with Thy foot? Thou art a raging tempest, and I am like dust; why, my Lord, hast Thou flung me upon the cold earth?
Thou art powerful, and I am helpless; why art Thou fighting me? Thou art considerate, and I am prudent; why art Thou destroying me?
Thou hast created woman with love, and why, with love, dost Thou ruin her? With Thy right hand dost Thou lift her, and with Thy left hand dost Thou strike her into the abyss, and she knows not why. In her mouth Thou blowest the breath of Life, and in her heart Thou sowest the seeds of death.
Thou dost show her the path of happiness, but Thou leadest her in the road of misery; in her mouth Thou dost place a song of happiness, but then Thou dost close her lips with sorrow and dost fetter her tongue with agony. With Thy mysterious fingers dost Thou dress her wounds, and with Thine hands Thou drawest the dread of pain round her pleasures.
In her bed Thou hidest pleasure and peace, but beside it Thou dost erect obstacles and fear. Thou dost excite her affection through Thy will, and from her affection does shame emanate. By Thy will Thou showest her the beauty of creation, but her love for beauty becomes a terrible famine. Thou dost make her drink life in the cup of death, and death in the cup of life. Thou purifiest her with tears, and in tears her life streams away. Oh, Lord, Thou hast opened my eyes with love, and with love Thou hast blinded me.
Thou hast kissed me with Thy lips and struck me with Thy strong hand. Thou has planted in my heart a white rose, but around the rose a barrier of thorns. Thou hast tied my present with the spirit of a young man whom I love, but my life with the body of an unknown man. So help me, my Lord, to be strong in this deadly struggle and assist me to be truthful and virtuous until death. Thy will be done. Oh , Lord God.
Selma looked down, pale and frail; her arms dropped, and her head bowed and it seemed to me as if a tempest had broken a branch from a tree and cast it down to dry and perish. I took her cold hand and kissed it, but when I attempted to console her it was I who needed consolation more than she did.
I kept silent, thinking of our plight and listening to my heartbeats. Neither of us said more. Extreme torture is mute, and so we sat silent, petrified, like columns of marble buried under the sand of an earthquake. Neither wished to listen to the other because our heart-threads had become weak and even breathing would have broken them.
It was midnight, and we could see the crescent moon rising from behind Mount Sunnin, and it looked in the midst of the stars, like the face of a corpse, in a coffin surrounded by the dim lights of candles. And Lebanon looked like an old man whose back was bent with age and whose eyes were a haven for insomnia, watching the dark and waiting for dawn, like asking sitting on the ashes of his throne in the debris of his palace. The mountains, trees, and rivers change their appearance with the vicissitudes of times and seasons, as a man changes with his experiences and emotions.
The lofty poplar that resembles a bride in the daytime, will look like a column of smoke in the evening; the huge rock that stands impregnable at noon, will appear to be a miserable pauper at night, with earth for his bed and the sky for his cover; and the rivulet that we see glittering in the morning and hear singing the hymn of Eternity, will, in the evening, turn to a stream of tears wailing like a mother bereft of her child, and Lebanon, that had looked dignified a week before, when the moon was full and our spirits were happy, looked sorrowful and lonesome that night.
We stood up and bade each other farewell, but love and despair stood between us like two ghosts, one stretching his wings with his fingers over our throats, one weeping and the other laughing hideously.
The beauty of trees, the moonlight, the deep silence, everything about me looked ugly and horrible. The true light that had showed me the beauty and wonder of the universe was converted to a great flame of fire that seared my heart; and the Eternal music I used to hear became a clamour, more frightening than the roar of a lion.
In most countries the young men win while the parents lose. The woman is looked upon as a commodity, purchased and delivered from one house to another. In time her beauty fades and she becomes like an old piece of furniture left in a dark corner. The woman of yesterday was a happy wife, but the woman of today is a miserable mistress.
In the past she walked blindly in the light, but now she walks open-eyed in the dark. She was beautiful in her ignorance, virtuous in her simplicity, and strong in her weakness.
Today she has become ugly in her ingenuity, superficial and heartless in her knowledge. Will the day ever come when beauty and knowledge, ingenuity and virtue, and weakness of body and strength of spirit will be united in a woman? I am one of those who believe that spiritual progress is a rule of human life, but the approach to perfection is slow and painful.
If a woman elevates herself in one respect and is retarded in another, it is because the rough trail that leads to the mountain peak is not free of ambushes of thieves and lairs of wolves.
This strange generation exists between sleeping and waking. It holds in its hands the soil of the past and the seeds of the future. However, we find in every city a woman who symbolizes the future. In the city of Beirut, Selma Karamy was the symbol of the future Oriental woman, but, like many who lie ahead of their time, she became the victim of the present; and like a flower snatched from its stem and carried away by the current of a river, she walked in the miserable procession of the defeated.
Mansour Bey Galib and Selma were married, and lived together in a beautiful house at Ras Beyrouth, where all the wealthy dignitaries resided. Farris Effandi Karamy was left in his solitary home in the midst of his garden and orchards like a lonely shepherd amid his flock.
The days and merry nights of the wedding passed, but the honeymoon left memories of times of bitter sorrow, as wars leave skulls and dead bones on the battlefield. The dignity of an Oriental wedding inspires the hearts of young men and women, but its termination may drop them like millstones to the bottom of the sea. Their exhilaration is like footprints on sand which remain only till they are washed away by the waves.
Spring departed, and so did summer and autumn, but my love for Selma increased day by day until it became a kind of mute worship, the feeling that an orphan has toward the soul of his mother in Heaven. My yearning was converted to blind sorrow that could see nothing but itself, and the passion that drew tears from my eyes was replaced by perplexity that sucked the blood from my heart, and my sighs of affection became a constant prayer for the happiness of Selma and her husband and peace for her father.
Mansour Bey was a man to whom all the luxuries of life came easily; but, in spite of that, he was dissatisfied and rapacious. The Bishop went to church in the morning and spent the rest of the day pilfering from the widows, orphans, and simple minded people. But Mansour Bey spent his days in pursuit of sexual satisfaction. On Sunday, Bishop Bulos Galib preached his Gospel; but during weekdays he never practiced what he preached, occupying himself with political intrigues of the locality.
Bishop Bulos was a thief who hid himself under the cover of night, while his nephew, Mansour Bey, was a swindler who walked proudly in daylight. However, the people of Oriental nations place trust in such as they—wolves and butchers who ruin their country through covetousness and crush their neighbours with an iron hand. Why do I occupy these pages with words about the betrayers of poor nations instead of reserving all the space for the story of a miserable woman with a broken heart?
Writing in English definitely increased Englishspeaking readers recognition of Gibrans abilities as a writer, since they started reading his original work rather than a translated one. After the outbreak of World War I, Gibrans political activity increased. Kahlil Gibran passed away peacefully at Vincents hospital in New York. Among other people close to Gibran, his sister, Marianna, and his best friend Naimy were by his side.
He was buried in his birthplace in his motherland.
Jesus The Son Of Man
Gibran left behind a rich literary production and four hundred pieces of paintings and drawings. The Prophet is Gibrans literary and artistic masterpiece. It remained Americas best selling book after The Bible during the 20th Century. It has been translated into at least twenty languages and has become one of the greatest classics of our time.
The book is said to be a testimony to the genius of Gibran. There are signs that Gibrans mind was obsessed with the spiritual hunger of the world and the desire in his soul to write a book on this need: The world is hungry, Mary, and I have seen and heard the hunger of the world; and if this thing is bread it will find a place in the heart of the world, and if it is not bread it will at least make the hunger of the world deeper and higher Beloved Prophet, , p. It is a long time that readers have found themselves returning to the glorious pages of the book to reabsorb its wisdom.
Its beloved poetry is commonly read at weddings, baptisms, and funerals throughout the world. The Chicago Evening Post Literary Review said of The Prophet: Truth is here: truth expressed with all the music and beauty and idealism of a SyrianThe words of Gibran bring to ones ears the majestic rhythm of EcclesiastesFor Kahlil Gibran has not feared to be an idealist in an age of cynics.
Nor to be concerned with simple truth where others devote themselves to mountebank clevernessThe twenty-eight chapters in the book form a little bible, to be read and loved by those at all ready for truth qtd in Young, , p.
The book portrays the journey of a banished man called Almustafa, which in the Arabic language means the chosen one. As he prepares to go back to the isle of his birth, he wishes to offer the Orphalese, the people among whom he has been placed, gifts but possesses nothing.
The people gather around him, and Almitra, the seeress, asks him to give us of your truth and the mans spiritual insights in twenty-six poetic sermons are his gift. As a wise sage and man of great vision, Almustafa teaches moral values, the mysteries of life, and timeless wisdom about the human experience: marriage, children, friendship, pleasure, death He, for example, calls for balancing heart and mind, passion and reason, and for giving without recognition because the givers joy is his reward.
Almustafa describes the yearning of the soul for spiritual regeneration and self-fulfillment. He teaches that mans purpose in life is a mystic quest towards a Greater Self, towards Godhood and the infinite. He talks about your larger selves p. This image reflects a romantic vision of eternal rebirth, reincarnation, and continuity of life. It evokes the Unity of Being which Gibran believes in rather than fragmentation.
Almustafas soul, hence, will return again to its mystical path towards a greater soul. The positive and optimistic teachings of the book are appealing. Almustafa strongly believes in the power of the human soul. Speaking of God and Evil, Almustafa has this to say: You are good when you are one with yourself Yet when you are not one with yourself you are not evil. For a divided house is not a den of thieves; it is only a divided house.
And a ship without rudder may wander aimlessly among perilous isles yet sink not to the bottom. In his sermon on Reason and Passion, for example, he writes: 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 p. Critics agree that The Prophet is partly autobiographical. Mary is often said to be the inspiration for Almitra, and America or New York for the city of Orphalese.
The twelve-year wait Almustafa experienced before returning home from the land of the Orphalese seems to equal Gibrans own twelve-year stay in New York City.
Kahlil Gibran , Ameen Rihani , and Mikhail Naimy , the key figures in the history of modern Arabic literature, became citizens of the U. As ambassadors of their homeland to the West, they celebrated the glorious past of the Arab world but attacked what they considered its backward present. They produced enduring works that were dedicated to modernism and constituted a channel for new ideas, but remained Arab in essence.
Ameen Rihani came to be known as the father of Arab American literature and also the father of Arabic prose poetry; Mikhail Naimys name is associated with literary criticism that helped revive traditional Arabic literature.
As for Kahlil Gibran, his writings penetrate to our emotional and spiritual awareness. In America, they were impressed with values of freedom and democracy in addition to scientific progress, but rejected what they saw as an excessive materialism at the expense of spirituality.
Meanwhile a powerful counter-current was flowing in different parts of the world against Materialism. In India there were holy men equal to any teachers of her golden age Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Ramana, Maharshi, Sri Aurobindo, and Mahatma Gandhi who eagerly inspired faith in the power of non-violence to change the world.
Gibran, re-visioning Christianity in the light of Islamic Sufi mysticism, is of this group of inspired teachers of the modern world. All these were persecuted in one way or another: Gandhi was repeatedly imprisoned. Yeats, great world-poet as he was, was ridiculed by his contemporaries who were ignorant of the great mainstream of civilization from which he drew his knowledge. Gibran was dismissed for the opposite reason, because of his immense following of ordinary men and women, for he answered to a deep need within the Western world, starved as it was, of its spiritual food.
Communism and capitalism alike have believed that mankind could be fed on bread alone but once again the prophets of the ever-living spirit have shown that the Word of 10 God is the necessary food of the soul. It is as if one mind had spoken through their several voices, none more eloquent or beautiful than the lonely voice of the Christian Lebanese Arab, Kahlil Gibran. Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
When it comes to expressing our patriotic fervour, many of us would naturally recall the rich statement which John F. Kennedy proudly mentioned on his Inauguration Day in and attained the highest grade of popularity in many nations, worldwide. But in fact, these two sentences had been published in a non-journalistic, mystic article some fifty years prior to J. The article was targeted to the young people in the Arabian territories, who were under the sovereignty of The Ottomon Emperor, encouraging them to fight for their long-lost independence.
By virtue of the phenomenal success of his chef-doeuvre The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran, a visionary youth, turned out to be the most famous Arab-American ever and one of the worlds great writers.
That is to say, Kahlil Gibran is not, as many may think, a one-book legend, as his earlier writings are equally monumental. His message and images have resonated among peoples of diverse cultures and brought them together in appreciation of his art. In his life and work-which were inspired by his experiences as an immigrant in an adopted land- Gibran resolved cultural and human conflicts and developed in the process a unique consciousness, one that transcended the barriers of East and West.
His belief in the unity of being, his awareness of spiritual continuity, his call for universal fellowship and the unification of the human race all retain their potency today, as do the messages of all great poets. Among modern poets it would be 11 hard to find one who has toiled and laboured more arduously than Gibran to promote a universal culture of peace, one that unites both East and West. Gibran particularly moved his readers with The Prophet, the words of which eloquently carry deep truths of our human existence.
The Prophet, which Gibran considered as his greatest achievement, remains widely popular; another Bible for millions of people around the world, and hence fulfilling Gibrans desire to be a poet-prophet. Yet, despite the degree of self-confirmation and global reputation he reached, he is not yet part of the American literary canon. Many biographical works have been published, but Gibran has not been studied enough and most universities in America do not teach him in their English Departments.
People of Orphalese, you can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing? The Broken Wings, trans. Anthony R. New York: Citadel Press, The sorrowful spirit finds rest when united with a similar one. Extreme torture is mute, and so we sat silent, petrified, like columns of marble buried under the sand of an earthquake.
The first one carries a torch; the second, a guitar; the third, a censer; the fourth a jug of wine; the fifth, a branch of roses; the sixth, a wreath of laurel; the seventh, a bow and arrow; and all of them look at Ishtar reverently. Youth, my dear son, does not combine with senility, as morning does not have meet the night; but you will come to me and call to my memory the youthful days which I spent with your father, and you will tell me the news of life which does not count me as among its sons any longer.
His eyes were sunken and looked like two deep, dark valleys haunted by the ghosts of pain. It is a heavenly love that is free from jealousy, rich and never harmful to the spirit.
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