Kahlil Gibran's the Prophet

Master of Mysticism

Kahlil Gibran's book of poetry The Prophet is already a widely read book. Its language is ethereal and of celestial beauty. Life is delved deep and explored in all its possibilities, life is celebrated in all its nuances. Here life is passionately in love with life so much so that the pangs of death diminish with life flourishing in all its sublime beauty.

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) from Lebanon is of very humble birth. He immigrated to America to pursue the profession of a painter. He later joined Rodin school in Paris . His surrealistic touch of paintings did earn him a lot of accolades in no time from the connoisseurs of art. Had he been destined it could have created a world of himself and etched his name in the annals of art and painting. But that was not to be. The Prophet has made him all too famous all over the world.

Philosophy is literally littered and splattered in all passions everywhere in this book. What kind of philosophy? Very simple - spiritual and mystic in good measure - it is spiritual philosophy all the way. It is a spiritual odyssey into the human life and it particularly rests on the common people's craving for life. That is why Gibran is called to be the peoples' philosopher. His philosophy is just situational and is situated within the nitty-gritty elements of life.

It should reiterated that The Prophet is no common book of poetry, rather it is a book of philosophy passionately conveyed in verse and in impeccable simplicity. By the way Al Mustafa, the protagonist of The Prophet, leads us to ultimate destination and to a quest for meaning of life. Here Al Mustafa acts as the exponent of Gibran's philosophy which he does in a prophetic manner of a sage. He preaches truth and wisdom with prophetic authority. Truth opens the vista to wisdom and wisdom explores the pulsating love for and unflinching adherence to life. That is the true beauty of wisdom. It is mystic in subtle sense. And a kind of mysticism not far removed from spiritualism is explicitly imbued in Gibran's philosophy and literary works. That is why he is most often referred to mystic poet-painter William Blake (1757-1827). He had religiously carried his legacy to the point of revivalism and reaffirmed it in the faceless world of the 20th. Century.

I think in The prophet, Gibran has embarked on a mission to get to the meaning of death vis-à-vis life itself and to create a niche for death in life and this death instinct is very common with the mystics like Gibran. Like life itself, death has a strong metabolic consonance in life. As we can never disown life, so we cannot disown death either and in death only life becomes full and complete as though death is an open speculum in which life's whole universe gets reflected in full gaiety so much so that we can do a thorough soul-searching in a trinity of time. The trinity of past, present and future are inflated and deflated simultaneously to give way to a flux of time in temporal space and in the process life is laid bare and at rest to the eternity's sublime tranquility.

In The Prophet, Al Mustafa is all set to bid adieu to Orphalese to return back to the isle of his birth and for him to return back his ship is coming with the mist. Where will he return back? To the isle of his birth. Then the burning question prompts us to immediately ask that where he had been so long away from his home and hearth. He had been with his people alive with life's full glory and that is where his home and hearth is. He had seen all and experienced everything of life with a sage's wisdom. And now he is wise enough to leave a legacy and testimony to life for others to imbibe to life's content.

He will deliver everything what he has gained all through his life. That 'everything' is his wealth of wisdom. Now is the time to depart from this temporal space and to go back to his isle of birth where he will attain salvation. This salvation is a sort of mystical rebirth of his. So, he had had no right to prolong his stay. He had waited too long and at last he had got the call of his vehicle. He will board on that vehicle to carry him on to the path of salvation.

He will live in eternity but he will never be dead. His physical death ends only in spiritual birth, a beginning of a whole saga of life and death in continuity. That was why his beloved Almitra happened to hear him say at the departing moment :
"Forget not that I shall come back to you.
A little while, and my longing shall gather dust and foam for another body.
A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear me."
So, he departs only to come back again and again. He will come back to the whirlwind of life in many lives and deaths. The Prophet cannot be mortal, he is immortal in his wisdom.

Published by Kayzzaman

I am a retired person. Now I am totally involved in reading and writing. I am passionately in love with life.  View profile