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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   Reflections on Khalil Gibran's The Prophet
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Chapter 27: Breaking the Shell of the Past

A very poor statement - so superficial that sometimes I feel ashamed of Kahlil Gibran; any idiot can say it. It is not worthy of Kahlil Gibran: Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. It is a very simple and general statement.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

I hate this statement; he is supporting the idea that you must experience pain. It is a truism, but not a truth. It is very factual - a seed has to go through great suffering because unless the seed dies in his suffering the tree will never be born, and the great foliage and the beauty of the flowers will never come into existence. But who remembers the seed and its courage to die for the unknown to be born?

The same is true: if, the shell that encloses your understanding goes through suffering, breaks down, allows freedom to your understanding, there is going to be a certain pain.

But what is the shell? That’s how poets have escaped from crucifixion; he should have explained what the shell is. All the knowledge, all your conditionings, the whole process of your upbringing - your education, your society and civilization - they constitute the shell which keeps you and your understanding imprisoned. But he does not mention a single word of what he means by “shell.”

Obviously no religion has condemned Kahlil Gibran. If he had been more sincere and honest, then he himself would have known what pain is. He has received only praise for his beautiful poetic sayings, but behind that praise there is some weakness; something of the coward is still lurking in the darkness of his soul.

If he had said, “Your religion, your philosophy, your political ideology, your nationality, your race - these are all constituents of your imprisonment,” then, instead of having international respect and honor, he would have been condemned by all the religions, by all the nations, by all the races; which means by almost the whole world. I have been passing through that pain for my whole life, so when I say it, I say it out of my own experience.

Just make a single statement against those who are benefited by reducing the whole humanity to slaves, and all the powerful ones are going to be against you. And the masses are blind, the masses are not intelligent, the masses are poor; they are not going to listen to me - because what can I give them? I can give them understanding, but they cannot eat understanding, they cannot live by understanding. And their own conditioning is all that they have been taught - that it is wisdom.

So it is not only the powerful ones: those who are being exploited, whose power has been taken away by the powerful ones - otherwise from where will they get the power? - they are also going to follow them. The powerful ones are the shepherds, and they have reduced the whole humanity to a crowd of sheep.

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