Over the past ten years I am again and again reminded of the words of Kahlil Gibran: “Man cannot reap love until after sad and revealing separation and bitter patience and desperate hardship.”
It is true about Kahlil Gibran, but not true about love. Kahlil Gibran suffered much despair, anguish. He was not what you find him in his immensely important books, The Prophet, The Garden Of The Prophet, and Jesus, The Son Of Man. Kahlil Gibran was just the opposite.
And that is true about almost all the so-called great artists, painters, poets, sculptors, musicians, dancers. They are trying to fulfill their unfulfilled life in writing poetry, literature. That literature simply signifies their dream, not their reality.
Never meet any man like Kahlil Gibran. Read his book, The Prophet – it is immensely beautiful – but avoid Kahlil Gibran himself, because you will be very much disappointed, for the simple reason that you cannot believe that this man has produced one of the classics of the whole of history. His book stands like an Everest, but he himself lies deep down in the dark valley of despair, existential meaninglessness: angry about life, angry with life, angry about everything. And the reason is simple. It is a psychological truth that whatever you miss in your life, you fulfill in your dreams. Your dreams show what you are missing in your life.
You can try small experiments and you will be able to see it. Just fast one day, and in the night you can be certain of having a great feast in your dreams – all delicious foods, perhaps an invitation from the king, or the president in the White House. Your dream shows that during the day you have been hungry. These creative people are able to put their dreams into their writings – but they are their dreams.
So what Kahlil Gibran says about love is the experience of a man who wanted to love but could not love. He could not love because of his ego. The first need of love is that you should put aside your ego; and artists, poets, painters, musicians, are very egoistic people.
Kahlil Gibran could not put his ego aside. It was not love that became his despair, it was his ego that would not allow him freedom to move into the world of love. He was chained. The longing for love and being chained to the ego created the whole tension, the anguish of his life. He has to be pitied. He is certainly one of the greatest geniuses of this century, but that does not make him a great lover. The very fact that he was a great genius helped him to go on nourishing his ego. He never could become innocent like a child – of which he talks again and again in his writings. That is his dream.