After twelve years in the city of Orphalese, the prophet. Mustafa, is beginning his return journey home. As he makes his way to the ship, the townsfolk question him on the meaning of various issues central to daily life. On topics like love, marriage, friendship, giving and many others, Gibran offers his mediations through the prophet’s imparted advice and sayings.
Hailed by many to be Gibran’s best work, The Prophet was published in the 1920s and contains 26 poetic essays that will invite you to contemplate the inner self. It enables one to have a clearer sense of yourself and of those that surround us all.
“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.”
“For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”
While these lines may appear a tad trite to the cynical, they did strike a chord in me with their eloquence. These simple words carry great spiritual weight, provoking me to re-think my existing concepts of self, happiness and my relationships to the outside world.
Somewhat similar to Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, this book does have a spiritual slant to it. But, the religious aspect does not overpower the intended aim of the essays In fact, if you replace it with Christianity or Buddhism or even Catholicism, the effect will not be jarring at all and the flow and pacing of the book will still remain uninterrupted. In the end, the concept of “God” is irrelevant in this context.
The quest for meaning in life is indeed complex and this challenge has been taken on by many learned and wise philosphers, ever since Man has gained consciousness of the self-concept. Let Kahlil Gibran strip away the myriad of hidden layers of Life and be enlightened on matters that will illuminate new perceptions.
This article is contributed by Elizabeth Lee, Librarian, Children’s Services @ High Browse Online