Saturday, 4 September 2010

The Garden Of The Prophet


Breaking News

The Little King

Kahlil Gibran was born among the cedars of Lebananon in the shadow of the white mountain he loved very dearly. Some say his family came from Acre Palestine and none really knew the date of his birth but it is said to be January 1, 1883. He was known in his homeland as the little king. Some believe him to be the reincarnation of Jesus and it is said he once confided to very close friends that a power informed him he was the son of man and he was very shaken by it. That is something for you to decide however. I believe it to be a very good possibility. He promised to return again.

His poetry and paintings allowed him to tower over contemporary Arab writers both in his homeland and in America. His pantheistic vision embraced a love of nature not seen since the mystics of medieval times.

I am alive like you, and I am standing beside you.
Close your eyes and look around, you will see me in front of you.
- Gibran’s words on his epitaph

Your daily life is your temple and your religion.
Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.
Take the plough and the forge and the mallet and the lute,
The things you have fashioned in necessity or for delight.
For in revery you cannot rise above your achievements nor fall lower than your failures.
And take with you all men:
For in adoration you cannot fly higher than their hopes nor humble yourself lower than their despair.

And if you would know God be not therefore a solver of riddles.
Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children.
And look into space; you shall see Him walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning and descending in rain.
You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees.

And now the ship entered the harbour and reached the sea-wall, and he came thus to the isle of his birth and stood once more amongst his own people. And a great cry arose from their hearts so that the loneliness of his home-coming was shaken within him.

“My comrades and my beloved, be bold and not meek; be spacious and not confined; and until my final hour and yours be indeed your greater self.”
And he ceased speaking and there fell a deep gloom upon the nine, and their heart was turned away from him, for they understood not his words.
And behold, the three men who were mariners longed for the sea; and they who had served in the Temple yearned for the consolation of her santuary; and they who had been his playfellows desired the market-place. They all were deaf to his words, so that the sound of them returned unto him like weary and homeless birds seeking refuge.

And Almustafa walked a distance from them in the Garden, saying nothing, nor looking upon them. And they began to reason among themselves and to seek excuse for their longing to be gone. And behold, they turned and went every man to his own place, so that Almustafa, the chosen and the beloved, was left alone.

“You are frail and you are formless, yet you are the beginning of giant oaks, and of the half-pencilled patterned of the willows against the sky.
“Once more I say, you are but roots betwixt the dark sod and the moving heavens. And oftentimes have I seen you rising to dance with the light, but I have also seen you shy. All roots are shy. They have hidden their hearts so long that they know not what to do with their hearts.

“But May shall come, and May is a restless virgin, and she shall mother the hills and plains.”

And Almustafa cried out in the aloneness of his spirit, and he said:
“Heavy-laden is my soul with her own ripe fruit. Who is there would come and take and be satisfied? Is there not one who has fasted and who is kindly and generous in heart, to come and break his fast upon my first yieldings to the sun and thus ease me of the weight of mine own abundance?

“My soul is running over with the wine of the ages. Is there no thirsty one to come and drink?

“Behold, there was a man standing at the cross-roads with hands stretched forth unto the passers-by, and his hands were filled with jewels. And he called upon the passers-by, saying: ‘Pity me, and take from me. In God’s name, take out of my hands and console me.’

“But the passers-by only looked upon him, and none took out of his hand.
“Would rather that he were a beggar stretching forth his hand to receive — ay, a shivering hand, and brought back empty to his bosom — than to stretch it forth full of rich gifts and find none to receive.

“Heavy-laden is my soul with her own ripe fruit;
Heavy-laden is my soul with her fruit.
Who now will come and eat and be fulfilled?
My soul is overflowing with her wine.
Who now will pour and drink and be cooled of the desert heat?

“Would that I were a tree flowerless and fruitless,
For the pain of abundance is more bitter than barrenness,
And the sorrow of the rich from whom no one will take
Is greater than the grief of the beggar to whom none would give.

“Would that I were a well, dry and parched , and men throwing stones into me; For this were better and easier to be borne than to be a source of living water When men pass by and will not drink.

“Would that I were a reed trodden under foot,
For that were better than to be a lyre of silvery strings
In a house whose lord has no fingers
And whose children are deaf.”

“Ay, you shall meet all these and more; you shall meet the lame selling crutches; and the blind, mirrors. And you shall meet the rich men begging at the gate of the Temple.

“To the lame give your swiftness, to the blind of your vision; and see that you give of yourself to the rich beggars; they are the most needy of all, for surely no man would stretch a hand for alms unless he be poor indeed, though of great possessions.

“I teach you not silence, but rather a song not over-loud.
“I teach you your larger self, which contains all men.”

“And if there be aught of beauty that I have declared not unto you, then once again shall I be called, ay, even by mine own name, Almustafa, and I shall give you a sign, that you may know I have come back to speak all that is lacking, for God will not suffer Himself to be hidden from man, nor His word to lie covered in the abyss of the heart of man.

“I shall live beyond death, and I shall sing in your ears
Even after the vast sea-wave carries me back
To the vast sea-depth. I shall sit at your board though without a body,
And I shall go with you to your fields, a spirit invisible. I shall come to you at your fireside, a guest unseen. Death changes nothing but the masks that cover our faces. The woodsman shall be still a woodsman,
The ploughman, a ploughman, And he who sang his song to the wind shall sing it also to the moving spheres.”

And the disciples were as still as stones, and grieved in their heart for that he had said: “I go.” But no man put out his hand to stay the Master, nor did any follow after his footsteps.

And Almustafa went out from the Garden of his mother, and his feet were swift and they were soundless; and in a moment, like a blown leaf in a strong wind, he was far gone from them, and they saw, as it were, a pale light moving up to the heights.

And the nine walked their ways down the road. But the woman still stood in the gathering night, and she beheld how the light and the twilight were become one; and she comforted her desolation and her aloneness with his words: “I go, but if I go with a truth not yet voiced, that very truth will seek me and gather me, and again shall I come.”

Then said Almitra, “Speak to us of Love.”

And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them.

And with a great voice he said:

When love beckons to you follow him,

Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,

Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

And when he speaks to you believe in him,

Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

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.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.

He threshes you to make you naked.

He sifts you to free you from your husks.

He grinds you to whiteness.

He kneads you until you are pliant;

And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,

Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,

Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;

For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, I am in the heart of God.”

And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.

To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;

To return home at eventide with gratitude;

And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

And that disciple who was called Hafiz said unto him: “Master, tell us of the city of Orphalese, (America) and of that land wherein you tarried those twelve years.” And Almustafa was silent, and he looked away towards the hills and toward the vast ether, and there was a battle in his silence.

Then he said: “My friends and my road-fellows, pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
“Pity the nation that wears a cloth it does not weave, eats a bread it does not harvest, and drinks a wine that flows not from its own winepress.
“Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero, and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.
“Pity the nation that despises a passion in its dream, yet submits in its awakening.
“Pity the nation that raises not its voice save when it walks in a funeral, boasts not except when its neck is laid between the sword and the block.
“Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox, whose philosopher is a juggle, and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking.
“Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpetings, and farewells him with hootings, only to welcome another with trumpetings again.
“Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years and whose strong men are yet in the cradle.
“Pity the nation divided into fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation.”

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, “Speak to us of Children.”

And he said:

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.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.


The people looked upon Father Samaan as their guide in the field of spiritual and theological matters, for he was an authority and a source of deep information on venial and mortal sins, well versed in the secrets of paradise, hell, and purgatory.

Father Samaan’s mission in North Lebanon was to travel from one village to another, preaching and curing the people from the spiritual disease of sin, and saving them from the horrible trap of Satan. The Reverend Father waged constant war with Satan. The fellahin honoured and respected this clergyman, and were always anxious to buy his advice or prayers with pieces of gold and silver; and at every harvest they would present him with the finest fruits of their fields.

One evening in autumn, as Father Samaan walked his way towards a solitary village, crossing those valleys and hills, he heard a painful cry emerging from a ditch at the side of the road. He stopped and looked in the direction of the voice, and saw an unclothed man lying on the ground. Streams of blood oozed from deep wounds in his head and chest. He was moaning painfully for aid, saying, “Save me, help me. Have mercy on me, I am dying.” Father Samaan looked with perplexity at the sufferer, and said within himself, “This man must be a thief. He probably tried to rob the wayfarers and failed. Someone has wounded him, and I fear that should he die I may be accused of having taken his life.”

Having thus pondered the situation, he resumed his journey, whereupon the dying man stopped him, calling out, “Do not leave me! I am dying!” Then the Father meditated again, and his face became pale as he realized he was refusing to help. His lips quivered, but he spoke to himself, saying, “He must surely be one of the madmen wandering in the wilderness. The sight of his wounds brings fear into my heart; what shall I do? Surely a spiritual doctor is not capable of treating flesh-wounded bodies.” Father Samaan walked ahead a few paces when the near-corpse uttered a painful plaint that melted the heart of the rock and he gasped, “Come close to me! Come, for we have been friends a long time. You are Father Samaan, the good shepherd, and I am not a thief nor a madman. Come close, and do not let me die in this deserted place. Come, and I will tell you who I am.”

Father Samaan came close to the man, knelt, and stared at him; but he saw a strange face with contrasting features; he saw intelligence with slyness, ugliness with beauty, and wickedness with softness. He withdrew to his feet sharply, and exclaimed, “Who are you?”

With a fainting voice, the dying…

No comments:

Post a Comment