Below you’ll find my thoughts about the book!
Why I Read The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
I read and reviewed The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran in 2006 because two of the interviewees in my book Tales of People Who Get It indicated that this was the one book that had a profound impact on their lives. I read the book trying to understand their points of view.
What is The Prophet by by Kahlil Gibran About?
First published in 1923, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is a compilation of 26 poetic essays that deal with love, marriage, giving, work, joy and sorrow, buying and selling, laws, freedom, reason and passion, self-knowledge, talking, pleasure, death and so much more. It’s beautifully written in very simple, poetic language.
The book starts off with Almustafa, the “chosen and beloved” one who has been living in a foreign country, Orphalese, where the people have embraced him for the past 12 years. His ship has returned and he must return to the land of his birth. He is saddened, but he knows that he must leave. Gibran’s genius comes out in the simplicity of his writing.
“How shall I go in peace and without sorrow? Nay, not without a wound in the spirit shall I leave this city. Long were the days of pain I have spent within its walls, and long were the nights of aloneness; and who can depart from his pain and his aloneness without regret? Too many fragments of the spirit have I scattered in these streets, and too many are the children of my longing that walk naked among these hills, and I cannot withdraw from them without a burden and an ache.”
UPDATE: First Published 2010
Almitra the “seeress,” the first one to embrace him when he first arrived in Orphalese, understands that he must depart. She senses his deep longing to return to his roots, but before he leaves she wants him to impart some of his wisdom. Almitra asks, “Speak to us of Love.” He responds:
“When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden… And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course…”
Various people in the community ask him to talk about various things, which result in the 26 poetic essays, which are Almustafa’s responses. The book imparts words of wisdom, some of which are outlined below.
Words of Wisdom
- On joy and sorrow: Your joy is your sorrow unleashed
- On work: You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth… And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life
- On giving: You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. For what are your possessions but things you guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
- On buying and selling: It is in exchanging the gifts of the earth that you shall find abundance and be satisfied. Yet unless the exchange be in love and kindly justice, it will but lead some to greed and others to hunger
- On self-knowledge: Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights. But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge
YouTube video of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
If you cannot view the YouTube video of The Prophet click here.
Should You Buy The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran?
Though The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran was first published over eight decades ago, anyone can find something that’s of relevance to them today. I enjoyed this book, and I was able to see how this book could have a major influence on someone’s life. I would like to add that some of the most successful leaders have relied on poetry to inspire them, and they have learned incredible lessons in the process. I recommend The Prophet.
Books by Kahlil Gibran
What are your thoughts on reading poetry? What inspires you? What do you have to add to the conversation? Let’s keep the conversation flowing, please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.