Kahlil Gibran… the very name brings so much ecstasy and joy that it is impossible to think of another name comparable to him. Just hearing the name, bells start ringing in the heart which do not belong to this world. Kahlil Gibran is pure music, a mystery such that only poetry can sometimes grasp it, but only sometimes.
You have chosen a man who is the most beloved of this beautiful earth. Centuries have passed; there have been great men but Kahlil Gibran is a category in himself. I cannot conceive that even in the future, there is a possibility of another man of such deep insight into the human heart, into the unknown that surrounds us.
He has done something impossible. He has been able to bring at least a few fragments of the unknown into human language. He has raised human language and human consciousness as no other man has ever done. Through Kahlil Gibran, it seems all the mystics, all the poets, all creative souls have joined hands and poured themselves.
Although he has been immensely successful in reaching people, still he feels it is not the whole truth, but just a glimpse. But to see the glimpse of truth is a beginning of a pilgrimage that leads you to the ultimate, to the absolute, to the universal.
– The Messiah, Vol 1, Chapter #1
There are men who have found the truth and remained silent, because they don’t know how to express it. Kahlil Gibran is just the opposite — he has not found the truth, but he is capable of expressing. And for the humanity which lives in darkness, even his poetry appears as if it is coming from the source of self-knowing.
– The Messiah, Vol 2, Chapter #5
Kahlil Gibran has written tremendously beautiful words. They come so close to Christ, to Zarathustra, to Lao Tzu, to Gautam the Buddha, and there is every possibility many people will think that Kahlil Gibran is enlightened. He may even surpass Lao Tzu and Buddha and Christ as far as expression is concerned; his expression may be far more beautiful because he is a skilled poet, a very skilled painter. He has the sensitiveness to appreciate beauty, but howsoever he is appreciating it is unconscious.
– Philosophia Ultima, Chapter #10
Kahlil Gibran in his wonderful book THE PROPHET says lovers should be like pillars of a temple — supporting the same roof, but not too close to each other. Like pillars…. If they come too close, the whole temple will fall; if they go too far away, then too the whole temple will fall. They cannot come too close; they cannot go too far. They should be like pillars of a temple, supporting the same roof.
This is the art, the knack. If you want your love to be eternal, don’t come too close, because if you come too close then the need to go far away arises. If you come too close then you trespass on each other’s freedom — and everybody needs a space of his own. Love is beautiful when it co-exists with your space; if it starts trespassing on your space then it becomes poisonous. And lovers always behave foolishly and stupidly. When they are in love they don’t listen to anything; they try to come too close and then they destroy their love. Had they been a little wiser, they would not have come too close and then they would have remained close forever.
– Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 1, Chapter #5
I want to include another book by Kahlil Gibran, JESUS, THE SON OF MAN. It is one of the books which is almost ignored. Christians ignore it because it calls Jesus the son of man. They not only ignore it, they condemn it. And of course, who else cares about Jesus? If Christians themselves are condemning him, then nobody else cares about it.
Kahlil Gibran is a Syrian from very close to Jerusalem. In fact in the hills of Syria, people — a few people at least — still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Amid those high- reaching cedars, anyone, even a fool, is bound to be amazed, mystified. Kahlil Gibran was born in Syria under the cedars reaching towards the stars. He comes very close in representing the real man Jesus — closer than the four so-called disciples who wrote the gospels. They are more gossips than gospels. Kahlil Gibran is closer, but Christians were angry because he calls Jesus the son of man. I loved the book.
The book related different people’s stories about Jesus: a laborer, a farmer, a fisherman, a tax-collector — yes, even a tax-collector — a man, a woman, all possibilities. It is as if Kahlil Gibran is asking many people about Jesus — the real Jesus, not the Christian Jesus; the real Jesus, made of flesh… and the stories are so beautiful. Each story needs to be meditated upon.
Another book by Kahlil Gibran, THE MADMAN. I cannot leave it out, although I confess I wanted to. I wanted to leave it out because I am that madman about whom he is talking. But I cannot leave it out. He talks so meaningfully, so authentically about the very innermost core of the madman. And this madman is no ordinary madman, but a Buddha, a Rinzai, a Kabir. I wonder — I have always wondered — how Kahlil Gibran could manage it. He himself was not the madman, he himself was not the enlightened one. He was born in Syria, but lived unfortunately in America.
But there are wonders and wonders, questions without answers. How did he manage? Perhaps he did not manage it himself… perhaps something, someone — what Sufis call Khidr, and Theosophists call K.H., Koothumi — must have taken possession of him. He was possessed, but not always. When he was not writing he was a very ordinary man, in fact more ordinary than the so-called ordinary man: full of jealousy, anger, passions of all kinds. But once in a while he became possessed, possessed from above, and then something started pouring through him… paintings, poetry, parables.
– Books I Have Loved, Chapter #9
Again and again I come back to Kahlil Gibran. I have loved him and would have liked to help him. I have even waited for him, but he is not born yet. He will have to seek for some other master in the future. THE WANDERER is my choice for this number.
THE WANDERER, by Kahlil Gibran, is a collection of parables. The parable is the oldest method of saying that which is profound; that which cannot be said can always be said in a parable. It is a beautiful collection of small stories.
– Books I Have Loved, Chapter #11