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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   Reflections on Khalil Gibran's The Prophet
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Chapter 23: Except Love, There Should Be No Law

Then a lawyer said, But what of our Laws, master?
And he answered:
You delight in laying down laws,
Yet you delight more in breaking them.
Like children playing by the ocean who build sand-towers with constancy and then destroy them with laughter.
But while you build your sand-towers the ocean brings more sand to the shore. And when you destroy them the ocean laughs with you.
Verily the ocean laughs always with the innocent.
But what of those to whom life is not an ocean, and man-made laws are not sand-towers,
But to whom life is a rock, and the law a chisel with which they would carve it in their own likeness?
What of the cripple who hates dancers?
What of the ox who loves his yoke and deems the elk and deer of the forest stray and vagrant things?
What of the old serpent who cannot shed his skin, and calls all others naked and shameless?
And of him who comes early to the wedding-feast, and when over-fed and tired goes his way saying that all feasts are violation and all feasters law-breakers?
What shall I say of these save that they too stand in the sunlight, but with their backs to the sun?
They see only their shadows, and their shadows are their laws.
And what is the sun to them but a caster of shadows?
And what is it to acknowledge the laws but to stoop down and trace their shadows upon the earth?
But you who walk facing the sun, what images drawn on the earth can hold you?
You who travel with the wind, what weather-vane shall direct your course?
What man’s law shall bind you if you break your yoke but upon no man’s prison door?
What laws shall you fear if you dance but stumble against no man’s iron chains?
And who is he that shall bring you to judgment if you tear off your garment yet leave it in no man’s path?
People of Orphalese, you can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing?

Then a lawyer said, But what of our Laws, master?
And he answered:
You delight in laying down laws,
Yet you delight more in breaking them,
Like children playing by the ocean who build sand-towers with constancy and then destroy them with laughter.

It is an important statement. It has to be understood, with all its implications. First, who are the people who delight in laying down laws? Kahlil Gibran has completely forgotten about the quality of people who lay down the laws - they are the weakest in humanity. Because they are weak they join together in a crowd, and all the laws they make are just to prevent the strong people and their mob. The weaker majority of humanity lays down the laws through its representatives to hide its weakness, and to be strong by its majority.

Your laws are not out of love, out of sincerity, out of silence. Your laws are out of fear. And anything based in fear is ugly. Even though there are laws to protect the weak, the stronger are far more clever, far more cunning. The laws are made by their representatives to protect the weak, but in fact they are used to protect the cunning and the clever, the rich and the powerful, against the poor, against the weak.

It is a very complicated question. You make the laws and you are going to be the victim of your own laws, because you cannot prevent the strong people from taking over your laws and using them against you.

While Adolf Hitler was in Germany he was chosen, elected through democratic means, as the chancellor of the country. But once he was the chancellor of the country he himself became the law. And the same laws were turned against the people who had elected him.

There exists no lawfulness in the world because the basic stone of the foundation is missing. Love does not exist - how can law exist?

Napoleon Bonaparte is reported to have said, “I am the law. My word is the law.” Might has always been right in the whole past of humanity, and we are not yet out of the dark ages. Might is still right.

Might should not be right; right is far superior to might. Might is animal, right is human.

But why do all these armies exist? Why are people asked not to carry arms? And the police and the government and the army - they can carry disastrous arms, murderous arms, to protect you. And remember: whoever has power, in the name of protection becomes your master. His power destroys your dignity, your humanity, your pride.

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