Chapter 4: Until the Hour of Separation
And when he entered into the city all the people came to meet him, and they were crying out to him as with one voice.
And the elders of the city stood forth and said:
Go not yet away from us.
A noontide have you been in our twilight, and your youth has given us dreams to dream.
No stranger are you among us, nor a guest, but our son and our dearly beloved.
Suffer not yet our eyes to hunger for your face.
And the priests and the priestesses said unto him:
Let not the waves of the sea separate us now, and the years you have spent in our midst become a memory.
You have walked among us a spirit, and your shadow has been a light upon our faces.
Much have we loved you. But speechless was our love, and with veils has it been veiled.
Yet now it cries aloud unto you, and would stand revealed before you.
And ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.
Kahlil Gibran, in the name of Almustafa, is giving the very essence of mysticism. He is not preaching any religion, he is preaching religion as such.
In fact, the very existence of three hundred religions on the earth indicates definitively that man has missed understanding the very spirit of religion. There cannot be three hundred chemistries - not even three - there cannot be three hundred mathematics. About the objective world, we are so clear - that science is one, and can only be one, without any adjective attached to it. It would look so stupid to say Hindu science, Mohammedan science, Christian physics, Jaina mathematics. But that’s what has happened with religion.
And religion is your very soul, your very interiority, your very subjectivity. How is it possible that there can be so many religions? There can be only one religiousness. I will not even call it a religion for the simple reason that the moment you use a noun, growth has stopped. “Religion” means something has come to a stop. “Religiousness” means something continuously growing, flowering, bringing new spaces and new secrets unrevealed to you, undreamed of.
Religion is the very river of existence. It knows no beginning, it knows no end.
All the religions are against me for the simple reason that I am exposing their falsity, their fakeness, their masks.
For this reason, Kahlil Gibran has chosen a name, Almustafa, so that he can put all the experiences of all the mystics of the world - past, present and future - into this name. Man has limitations because he is born in a limited society, conditioned by his parents as Hindu, as Mohammedan, as Christian. Almustafa is not born of any parents. He is not born at all, he does not exist. Almustafa is simply a symbol of all those flames that have become awakened while we have remained asleep.
Almustafa represents the very central core of pure religiousness. Remember this: he is not preaching any religion. And this is one of the reasons he was not understood before the time of his departure. Everybody suspected. Because he is not a Hindu, Hindus cannot accept him. He is not a Mohammedan, Mohammedans cannot accept him. He does not belong to any organized religion.
Kahlil Gibran has such great insight that rather than choosing a historical person he has chosen a fictitious name, vast and big, which need not belong to anybody. Yet everybody can belong to him.