Chapter 9: Your Children Are Not Your Children
I said, “I know not.”
“Then why have you come to me?”
I said, “Just to see you and to see the people who are continually coming to you from morning till night.”
I watched him for almost six hours, and all the people who came had come with abstract questions: “Does God exist? Is the soul a reality? Is there life beyond death?” And he was answering them.
After six hours I said to him: “You are old, and I’m young. It doesn’t look right for me to say, but perhaps we may not see each other again, forgive me if it hurts you: you have wasted your whole life. In these six hours I have seen in what way you have wasted it. I have not heard a single question or a single answer that really concerns life. And these people have come from faraway places and you have lived a long life, but as far as I am concerned. Don’t feel that I’m not respectful to you, I am saying this because I am respectful. Whatever small time you have left, don’t waste it. At least in the evening of your life, inquire into something which is authentic.”
He was shocked, because nobody had ever told him this. But he was an honest man. He said, “I am old, and you are young, but you are right.”
The real question is not whether life exists after death. The real question is whether you are alive before death.
The real question is not whether God is love, just, fair, compassionate. The real question is, do you know what love is? Do you know what justice is? Do you know what compassion is? Have you lived and tasted all these treasures of existence?
The real question is not whether the soul exists or not. The real question is, have you ever entered into yourself to see whether there is any inner reality, or are you just a container without any content?
Kahlil Gibran is not a philosopher of the abstract. The people who are so interested in the abstract are really escaping from the real problems of life. They are cowards, not philosophers. But these cowards are dominating the whole world’s thinking.
All these questions are coming from women. And there was a great crowd of people - there were learned people, there were priests, there were philosophers. But when they asked, Almustafa - who represents Kahlil Gibran - did not answer them. The questioner may be an idiot; that does not mean you have to answer his stupid questions.
But the moment Almitra came out of the temple, Almustafa started answering the way perhaps nobody else has ever answered.