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Chapter 32: Time Remains Where It Is

And an astronomer said, Master, what of Time?
And he answered:
You would measure time the measureless and the immeasurable.
You would adjust your conduct and even direct the course of your spirit according to hours and seasons.
Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank you would sit and watch its flowing.

Yet the timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness,
And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.
And that that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.
Who among you does not feel that his power to love is boundless?
And yet who does not feel that very love, though boundless, encompassed within the centre of his being, and moving not from love thought to love thought, nor from love’s deeds to other love’s deeds?
And is not time even as love is, undivided and paceless?

But if in your thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons.
And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.

Kahlil Gibran is a category in himself. That is what is most surprising in him, and the most mysterious. There are moments when he seems to be a mystic of the highest order - a Gautam Buddha, a Jesus, a Socrates. And at other times the mystic simply disappears, leaving behind only a poet who sings beautiful but contentless songs, who speaks in words of gold, but there is no authentic experience in those words, no existential taste.

It is very difficult for an ordinary man to distinguish between when Kahlil Gibran is a mystic and when he is just a poet. Sometimes, when he is just a poet, he appears more beautiful. He is a born poet; he is like a river that sometimes becomes very shallow - but when the river is very shallow it sings songs. And sometimes the river becomes very deep - but then there is only silence.

Today’s statements would have been perfectly right on the lips of a Heraclitus, or Chuang Tzu, or Nagarjuna. There would have been no surprise if Buddha were speaking these words.

The surprise is that Kahlil Gibran is not yet an awakened man yet, in some miraculous way, he speaks of those depths and those heights which are available only to the enlightened. That’s why I say he is a category in himself - a strange mixture of the mystic and the poet.

As a poet, the greatest mystic will look poor in comparison to Kahlil Gibran; but as a mystic, Kahlil Gibran only once in a while spreads his wings in the open sky and reaches to the boundless, to the unlimited, without any fear, without even looking back.

In his soul, the poet and the mystic are both present - he is a very rich man. The poet is more often awake, the mystic once in a while, but the mixture of these two has created a new category to which only one other man, Rabindranath Tagore, can belong. I know only of these two persons who belong to this strange category.

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