06th January is the birthday of the poet and writer Kahlil Gibran. Born in 1883 in Lebanon, Gibran grew up in Boston after his family immigrated to the US in 1895. His poetry, parables and plays explore themes like religion, love, philosophy and science. His masterpiece, THE PROPHET has been translated in over 100 languages. Gibran was also a painter and produced over 700 visual artworks that are displayed in various museums around the world including Lebanon, Mexico, Doha, Boston and New York.
Osho has spoken extensively on Kahlil Gibran’s poetry and books in His discourses. The discourse series The Messiah (Vol.1-2) are commentaries on Kahlil Gibran’s book THE PROPHET.
Osho says 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, that do not belong to this world. Kahlil Gibran is pure music.. He must be recognized as one of the best writers of this age. Just read his book: THE PROPHET, and you will be thrilled. 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.
OVER THE PAST TEN YEARS I AM AGAIN AND AGAIN REMINDED OF THE WORDS OF KAHLIL GIBRAN: “MAN CANNOT REAP LOVE UNTIL AFTER SAD AND REVEALING SEPARATION AND BITTER PATIENCE AND DESPERATE HARDSHIP.”
It is true about Kahlil Gibran, but not true about love. Kahlil Gibran suffered much despair, anguish. He was not what you find him in his immensely important books, THE PROPHET, THE GARDEN OF THE PROPHET, and JESUS, THE SON OF MAN. Kahlil Gibran was just the opposite.
And that is true about almost all the so-called great artists, painters, poets, sculptors, musicians, dancers. They are trying to fulfill their unfulfilled life in writing poetry, literature. That literature simply signifies their dream, not their reality.
Never meet any man like Kahlil Gibran. Read his book, THE PROPHET – it is immensely beautiful – but avoid Kahlil Gibran himself, because you will be very much disappointed, for the simple reason that you cannot believe that this man has produced one of the classics of the whole of history. His book stands like an Everest, but he himself lies deep down in the dark valley of despair, existential meaninglessness: angry about life, angry with life, angry about everything. And the reason is simple.
It is a psychological truth that whatever you miss in your life, you fulfill in your dreams. Your dreams show what you are missing in your life.
You can try small experiments and you will be able to see it. Just fast one day, and in the night, you can be certain of having a great feast in your dreams – all delicious foods, perhaps an invitation from the king, or the president in the White House. Your dream shows that during the day you have been hungry. These creative people are able to put their dreams into their writings – but they are their dreams.
So, what Kahlil Gibran says about love is the experience of a man who wanted to love but could not love. He could not love because of his ego. The first need of love is that you should put aside your ego; and artists, poets, painters, musicians, are very egoistic people.
Kahlil Gibran could not put his ego aside. It was not love that became his despair, it was his ego that would not allow him freedom to move into the world of love. He was chained. The longing for love and being chained to the ego created the whole tension, the anguish of his life. He has to be pitied. He is certainly one of the greatest geniuses of this century, but that does not make him a great lover. The very fact that he was a great genius helped him to go on nourishing his ego. He never could become innocent like a child – of which he talks again and again in his writings. That is his dream.
So, remember, while you are reading books written by unenlightened people, looking at paintings, sculpture, architecture made by unenlightened people, beware. These people were not blissful people themselves. They were capable of projecting their dreams, but they were not able to transform their dreams into a living reality within their own being. They were utter failures as far as their own being is concerned.
Love does not need you to go into depression, despair – NO! Just the opposite – Love needs you to go into silence, into peace, into meditativeness, into a tremendous rejoicing. Rejoicing just in the fact that you are alive. And out of this rejoicing; this dance; love radiates.
According to Kahlil Gibran’s statement, before you reach love you have to pass through hell. Strange training… a great school to teach love! And a man who has been in despair, depression, anguish, anxiety, will become farther and farther away from love.
No, if you want to experience love you have to pass through your inner paradise. You have to become centered; you have to become so peaceful that small things of life make you dance. Just a rose flower dancing in the wind, in the rain, in the sun – and something in you starts dancing with it. You are ready. You have graduated from the school of paradise; now love is your reward.
So, I contradict Kahlil Gibran absolutely and categorically, because it goes against my existential experience. I have been through my own paradise, and after that only the fragrance of love remains. You are so blissful that you would like to bless the whole world.
Kahlil Gibran is absolutely wrong. But what he is saying is his own experience, and he never graduated from hell. He never could manage to be a loving human being. He was always sad, always a long face, always angry – as if he was against existence itself, as if he wanted to ask existence, “Why have you chosen me to be born and suffer?”
If you want to write poetry about love, follow Kahlil Gibran.
If you want to experience love, then listen carefully to what I am saying to you.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Rajneesh Mandir, Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, USA.
From Bondage to Freedom
Chapter title: Learn the art of living
8 October 1985 am in Rajneesh Mandir
Osho has spoken on distinguished poets like Byron, Coleridge, D.H. Lawrence, Ghalib, Heinrich Heine, John Ruskin, Kahlil Gibran, Kalidas, Keats, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Milton, Oscar Wilde, Rabindranath Tagore, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Rumi, Rudyard Kipling, Shakespeare, Shelley, William Blake, Wordsworth and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses: