Selections from K. Gibran's

"The Prophet"

On Marriage: . . . Let there be space in your togetherness. Love one another, but make not the bound of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your soul.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but each one of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oaktree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

On Children: Your children are not your children. They are the life’s longing for itself. They come through you, but not from you. You may give them your love, but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies, but not their souls; for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow which you cannot visit, even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

On Giving: What is the fear of need than need itself? Is not the dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?

There are those who give little of the much they have – and they give it for recognition, and their hidden desire makes their gift unwholesome.

And there are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life and their coffers are never empty.

There are those who give in joy and their joy is their reward.

It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding; and to the openhanded the search for one who shall receive, is joy greater than giving.

And is there aught you would withhold? All you have shall one day be given; therefore give now, that the season of giving is yours and not your inheritors’.

You often say, 'I would give, but only to the deserving.’ The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture. They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.

On Teaching: No man can reveal to you aught but which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge. The teacher who walks in the shadow of his temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom, but rather of his faith and his lovingness. If he is indeed wise, he does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom, but rather lead you to the threshold of your own mind.

On Friendship: Your friend is your needs answered. He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving. And he is your board and your fireside; for you come to him with your hunger and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind, you fear not the ‘nay’ in your own mind, nor do you withhold the ‘ay’. And when he is silent your mind ceases not to listen to his heart; for without words in friendships all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared with joy that is unacclaimed.

When you part from your friend you grieve not; for that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain for the climber is clearer from the plain.

And let there be no purpose in friendship, save the deepening of the spirit.

If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also. 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.

On Talking: You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts; and when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips and sound is a diversion and a pastime. And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered; for thought is a bird of space that, in a cage of words, may indeed unfold its wings, but cannot fly.

There are those of you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone. The silence of their loneness reveals to their eyes their naked self and they would escape.

And there those, and without knowledge or forethought, reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand.

And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words. In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence.

On Religion: Is not religion all deeds and all reflections and that which is neither deed nor reflection, but a wonder and a surprise ever springing in the soul, even while the hands hew the stone or tend the loom? Who can separate his faith from his action or his belief from his occupation? Your daily life is your temple and your religion. Whenever you enter into it, take with you your all. Take the plough and the forge and the mallet and the lute, the things you have fashioned in necessity or for delight. For in reverie you cannot rise above your achievements, nor fall lower than your failures.


Published by "Simple Wisdom ", 42/1 Asgiri Vihara - Kandy