Chapter 1: A Dawn unto His Own Day
The real painter dissolves himself into his painting, and the real poet disappears into his poetry. But that kind of creativity is of the mystic - and because the mystic disappears in his creativity, he has no time even to sign his painting, or his poetry. The poets can do that, because for a moment the window opens, they see the beyond, and the window closes.
Kahlil Gibran has written almost thirty books. The Prophet, which we are going to discuss, is his first book; the remaining are rubbish. This is a strange phenomenon - what happened to the man? When he wrote this he was just young, twenty-one years of age. One would have thought that now more and more would be coming. And he tried hard; he was writing his whole life, but nothing came even close to the beauty and the truth of The Prophet. Perhaps the window never opened again.
A poet is accidentally mystic. It is just by accident: a breeze comes, you cannot produce it. And because he became world famous - this is one book which must have been translated in almost all the languages of the world - he tried hard to do something better, and that’s where he failed. It is unfortunate that he never came across a man who could have told him a simple truth: “You had not tried when you created The Prophet, it happened. And now you are trying to do it.
“It has happened; it is not your doing. You may have been a vehicle. Something that was not yours.” - just like a child is born of a mother.
The mother cannot create the child, she is simply a passage. The Prophet belongs to the category of a very small number of books which are not dependent on your action, your intelligence, on you; on the contrary, they are possible only when you are not, when you allow them to happen, when you don’t stand in the way. You are so relaxed that you don’t interfere.
This is one of those rarest of books. In it, you will not find Kahlil Gibran - that’s the beauty of the book. He allowed the universe to flow through him; he is simply a medium, a passage, just a hollow bamboo which does not hinder the flute player.
In my experience, books like The Prophet are holier than your so-called holy books. And because these books are authentically holy, they have not created a religion around themselves. They don’t give you any ritual, they don’t give you any discipline, they don’t give you any commandments. They simply allow you to have a glimpse of the same experience which happened to them.
The whole experience cannot come into words, but something - perhaps not the whole rose, but a few petals. They are enough proof that a rose exists. Your window has just to be open, so a breeze sometimes can bring petals.
Those petals coming through a breeze into your being are really invitations of the unknown. Existence is calling you for a long pilgrimage. Unless that pilgrimage is made you will remain meaningless, dragging somehow, but not really living. You will not have laughter in your heart.
Kahlil Gibran avoids his own name by creating a fictitious name, Almustafa. That’s the beginning of The Prophet. Almustafa is the prophet.