Chapter 1: A Dawn unto His Own Day
Those small glimpses may be translated into words because they are only dewdrops. But the mystic has become the ocean; hence, silence becomes his song. All words seem so impotent, nothing seems to be capable of bringing his experience into any kind of communication. And the ocean is so vast and he is continuously one with it; naturally, he himself forgets that he is separate.
To create, you have to be there to create. To sing a song, you have to be there. But the mystic has become the song. His presence is his poetry. You cannot print it, you cannot paint it, you can only drink it.
To communicate with a poet is one thing, but to be in communion with a mystic is totally different. But it is good to begin with poets, because if you are not able even to absorb dewdrops, the ocean is not for you. Or, better to say, you are not for the ocean. To you, even the dewdrop will appear like a vast ocean.
Speaking on Kahlil Gibran is a very rare, almost impossible thing, because I am not a poet. I am poetry.
I am not a painter; I am the painting. Where the painter has got lost into the painting, I don’t know.
An ancient story is:
A Japanese emperor told all the painters of his country and the neighboring countries that he wanted a painting which looked as if it were real: “If you have painted a door, it will not look like a painting. Everybody will be mistaken and will try to enter it. Unless a painting is so real, I do not consider it a painting. And one who can paint such a thing, whatever he wants. Even if my whole empire is his desire, he will be rewarded.”
Thousands of painters came to the palace. They tried. But how can you paint a painting which will give the exact impression of the real?
But one painter said he would paint only on one condition: while he is painting, he should not be disturbed. No limitation of time should be imposed on him. And he does not paint on canvasses - he will paint on a big wall inside the palace. And unless the painting is complete, nobody is allowed to come in. The first man to see it complete will be the emperor.
The conditions were accepted. It took him almost six years. The emperor was getting old, but he had promised not to interfere. He kept his word. After six years, the painter went and told the emperor, “You can come.”
The painter took the emperor into the room. The emperor could not believe it. It really looked real. There were tall trees and a small winding footpath in the painting. The emperor asked, “Where does this path go?”
The painter said, “You can walk on it.”
And believe it or not - I don’t believe it, but it is so lovable - the painter entered with the emperor to show him the path and they have not returned.
If you try to think of it as a historical, factual thing you will miss the whole point. It is a parable. And it is absolutely true - not factual.