Chapter 5: Disclose Us to Ourselves
And others came also and entreated him. But he answered them not. He only bent his head; and those who stood near saw his tears falling upon his breast.
And he and the people proceeded toward the great square before the temple.
And there came out of the sanctuary a woman whose name was Almitra. And she was a seeress.
And he looked upon her with exceeding tenderness, for it was she who had first sought and believed in him when he had been but a day in their city.
And she hailed him, saying:
Prophet of God, in quest of the uttermost, long have you searched the distances for your ship.
And now your ship has come, and you must needs go.
Deep is your longing for the land of your memories and the dwelling-place of your greater desires; and our love would not bind you nor our needs hold you.
Yet this we ask ere you leave us, that you speak to us and give us of your truth.
And we will give it unto our children, and they unto their children, and it shall not perish.
In your aloneness you have watched with our days, and in your wakefulness you have listened to the weeping and the laughter of our sleep.
Now therefore disclose us to ourselves, and tell us all that has been shown you of that which is between birth and death.
And he answered:
People of Orphalese, of what can I speak save of that which is even now moving within your souls?
Kahlil Gibran has covered in these few words the whole spectrum of spiritual growth. First, we saw the innocent people come to him: farmers, gardeners, leaving their work in their fields, rushed toward him.
Whenever truth has arrived, the innocent are the blessed ones who recognize it. Have you ever thought about it? - not a single rabbi ever came to listen to Jesus. Strange as it may seem, because the days when Jesus lived were the highest peak of Jewish wisdom and Jerusalem had the most learned, scholarly rabbis of any city in the world.
The people who came to listen to Jesus were uneducated, uncultured - farmers, fishermen, gardeners, carpenters. Amongst his apostles, none was from the higher strata of the society. None was a brahmin, none was a pundit, none was a professor.
Jerusalem was the seat of the Jewish university; people traveled from faraway lands to Judea to be educated in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was at the very peak of its youth. But none of these learned people came to listen to Jesus. The reason? - because they believed they knew it all: they have read all the scriptures, they are acquainted with all the wise sayings of the past. Their memories were full, but memory is not intelligence.
In fact, the more knowledgeable you become, the less is the possibility of your ever becoming intelligent enough to discover yourself. Your knowledge does not give you your real being, it only creates a pseudo ego, and the egoist cannot go to a carpenter’s son, Jesus, who knows nothing because he has no certificates.
Only one man - and because he was the only one, his name is still remembered. He was a professor in the university; Nicodemus was his name. But even he could not gather courage enough to come to Jesus in full daylight. He was afraid: “What will people say? ‘He is a professor of religion, and he goes and asks questions to an uneducated young man who has never seen the scriptures?’” Hence he went in the middle of the night when everyone was asleep; even Jesus’ intimate apostles were asleep. He woke up Jesus, introduced himself: “I am a professor of religion in the university; Nicodemus is my name. Please forgive me for disturbing your sleep.”
Jesus said to him, “Don’t be worried about it, because I will disturb your far deeper sleep. But you are a coward, and on this path cowards cannot move. It needs guts - and the first symbol of a courageous man is to recognize that he knows not, that all his knowledge is borrowed, that he is repeating words of others, that he has never entered into silences of his own soul, that he is blind.”