One of the most influential books in the world, The Prophet by Khalil Gibran changed my life and it will never be the same. Through Almustafa, Gibran talked about children, friendships, love, marriage, and life’s truths in dreamy poetry and with great clarity.
More than a decade ago, I first read a passage that concerns on the love of parents to their 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.
I had no idea where it came from or who the author was, and the verb Google-it was unheard of, but those very words captivated me. It was written so eloquently and full of truth, and you cannot ignore its irony as if it sets you free once you’ve accepted its bittersweet revelation.
Who wrote this? Is there more aside from this? were my questions. After some years, I blurted this to a friend, and he led me to Khalil Gibran.
The next weekend, I went to our local bookstore and found Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet. FINALLY — I opened it slowly, like opening a chest filled with gold. After completing the passage, I was overwhelmed with bliss, as though I’ve inhaled life itself.
Gibran did not only talk about children, and he shared his wisdom on love, marriage, 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 — and that’s a lot!
Since then, Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet became one of my life’s manuals whenever I hit some challenges and needing guidance.
Here’s a passage which I believe an ideal relationship should be:
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.
Spaces in your togetherness, it sounded weird, right? Gibran softly echoes that losing one’s self (i.e. individuality or identity) in love is never a good idea. Most lovers are guilty of this; they lost everything, even their self-worth (and self-respect) when they are committed in a relationship. That’s unhealthy and uncool. A certain loving distance is needed: for growth and self-actualization. And the next verses after that were heart skipping.
Club 3510 Review
| Rate: 5 out of 5 stars | Description: Gibran’s classic masterpiece The Prophet hits where it should hit. Poetry, philosophy, and spirituality you all got it here. It’s like a treasure; only in words. An interstellar rate from Club 3510!
| Rate: 5 out of 5 stars | Description: Gibran stringed his words so elegantly that even a twelve-year-old will understand it, a twenty-year-old will appreciate it, and an eighty-year-old will treasure it. It is for everyone. And there are no signs of haughty philosophical terms that will make you nuts. Definitely a delightful read!
| Rate: 5 out of 5 stars | Description: This publication included a photograph of Gibran and his drawings. There are twelve illustrations in this book and all we can do is to be awed.
| Rate: 5 out of 5 stars | Description: The paper used was thick, not the usual kind, cream-colored, and we love it.
| Rate: 5 out of 5 stars | Description: Complete with a book jacket, the hardcover binding is tough. The size, 5.7 x 8.5 inches, is also perfect; not that big and not that too small. Protect with a plastic cover and you can bring it anywhere. A tough book for great journeys!
| Rate: 5 out of 5 stars | Description: The book is less than a thousand Philippine peso. And with all of these intellectual and inspirational benefits, you got a fantastic bargain. So buy it!
| Rate: 5 out of 5 stars | Description: Buy the book and read it. It is best read in late afternoons with a strong coffee. If you are rebel, you should have this at your nightstand; Gibran was a political rebel. He had written materials about overthrowing governments and breaking institutions, particularly against abusive sheiks and flawed religion. Some of his books were publicly burned and banned. If you are a lover of life, you should read this every morning. If you are a religious folk, study the book. Gibran had written on Christianity, the Bible, and studied its Aramaic writings. He was from a Christian family who grew up in an Islamic environment.
The prophet, Almustafa, has lived in the foreign city of Orphalese for 12 years and is about to board a ship which will carry him home. He is stopped by a group of people, with whom he discusses topics such as life and the human condition. The book is divided into chapters dealing with 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. (Wikipedia)
- Title: The Prophet – Gibran’s Masterpiece
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author(s): Kahlil Gibran
- Language: English
- Genre(s): Prose Poetry
- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
- ISBN-10: 0394404289
- ISBN-13: 978-0394404288
- Book Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
Khalil Gibran (full Arabic name Gibran Khalil Gibran, sometimes spelled Kahlil; Arabic: جبران خليل جبران / ALA-LC: Jubrān Khalīl Jubrān or Jibrān Khalīl Jibrān) (January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931) was a Lebanese artist, poet, and writer. Born in the town of Bsharri in the north of modern-day Lebanon (then part of Ottoman Mount Lebanon), as a young man, he immigrated with his family to the United States, where he studied art and began his literary career, writing in both English and Arabic. In the Arab world, Gibran is regarded as a literary and political rebel. His romantic style was at the heart of a renaissance in modern Arabic literature, especially prose poetry, breaking away from the classical school. In Lebanon, he is still celebrated as a literary hero. (Wikipedia)
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.
Then Almitra spoke again and said, “And what of Marriage, master?”
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
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.
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.