Chapter 1: A Dawn unto His Own Day
Almustafa, the chosen and the beloved, who was a dawn unto his own day, had waited twelve years in the city of Orphalese for his ship that was to return and bear him back to the isle of his birth.
And in the twelfth year, on the seventh day of Ielool, the month of reaping, he climbed the hill without the city walls and looked seaward; and he beheld his ship coming with the mist.
Then the gates of his heart were flung open, and his joy flew far over the sea. And he closed his eyes and prayed in the silences of his soul.
But as he descended the hill, a sadness came upon him, and he thought in his heart:
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.
It is not a garment I cast off this day, but a skin that I tear with my own hands.
Nor is it a thought I leave behind me, but a heart made sweet with hunger and with thirst.
Kahlil Gibran. The very name brings so much ecstasy and joy that it is impossible to think of another name comparable to him. Just hearing the name, bells start ringing in the heart which do not belong to this world. Kahlil Gibran is pure music, a mystery, such that only poetry can sometimes grasp, but only sometimes.
You have chosen a man who is the most beloved of this beautiful earth. Centuries have passed; there have been great men, but Kahlil Gibran is a category in himself. I cannot conceive that even in the future there is a possibility of another man of such deep insight into the human heart, into the unknown that surrounds us.
He has done something impossible. He has been able to bring at least a few fragments of the unknown into human language. He has raised human language and human consciousness as no other man has ever done. Through Kahlil Gibran, it seems all the mystics, all the poets, all creative souls have joined hands and poured themselves.
Although he has been immensely successful in reaching people, still he feels it is not the whole truth, but just a glimpse. But to see the glimpse of truth is a beginning of a pilgrimage that leads you to the ultimate, to the absolute, to the universal.
Another beautiful man, Claude Bragdon, has said a few beautiful words about Kahlil Gibran. He says, “His power came from some great reservoir of spiritual life, else it could not have been so universal and so potent. But the majesty and beauty of the language with which he clothed it were all his own.”
I have always loved this statement of Bragdon, even though not agreeing with it.
One need not agree with a beautiful flower; one need not agree with the sky full of stars - but one can still appreciate. I make a clear-cut distinction between agreement and appreciation - and a man is civilized if he can make the distinction. If he cannot make the distinction, he’s still living in a primitive, uncivilized state of consciousness.
I agree in a sense, because whatever Bragdon is saying is beautiful; hence, my appreciation. But I cannot agree because whatever he is saying is simply guesswork. It is not his own experience.