Wise men have come to you to give you of their wisdom. I came to take of your wisdom:
And behold I have found that which is greater than wisdom.
It is a flame spirit in you ever gathering more of itself,
While you, heedless of its expansion, bewail the withering of your days.
It is life in quest of life in bodies that fear the grave.
There are no graves here.
These mountains and plains are a cradle and a stepping-stone.
Whenever you pass by the field where you have laid your ancestors look well thereupon, and you shall see yourselves and your children dancing hand in hand.
Verily you often make merry without knowing.
Others have come to you to whom for golden promises made unto your faith you have given but riches and power and glory.
Less than a promise have I given, and yet more generous have you been to me.
You have given me my deeper thirsting after life.
Surely there is no greater gift to a man than that which turns all his aims into parching lips and all life into a fountain.
And in this lies my honor and my reward, –
That whenever I come to the fountain to drink I find the living water itself thirsty;
And it drinks me while I drink it.
Some of you have deemed me proud and over-shy to receive gifts.
Too proud indeed am I to receive wages, but not gifts.
And though I have eaten berries among the hills when you would have had me sit at your board,
And slept in the portico of the temple when you would gladly have sheltered me,
Yet it was not your loving mindfulness of my days and my nights that made food sweet to my mouth and girdled my sleep with visions?
For this I bless you most:
You give much and know not that you give at all.
Verily the kindness that gazes upon itself in a mirror turns to stone,
And a good deed that calls itself by tender names becomes the parent to a curse.
Kahlil Gibran is making his most profound statements. Hence, don’t just listen to them: unless you drink them and let them become your blood, your bones and your marrow, you will not get the whole meaning and their beauty.
The first statement is of such tremendous importance that it is very difficult to find another statement which will be of equal importance.
Wise men have come to you to give you of their wisdom. I came to take of your wisdom.
Usually the disciple thinks – and has been made to think for centuries – that the master gives his wisdom to him. That is absolutely untrue. The master simply takes away all that you think wisdom but which is not wisdom, only borrowed knowledge. It looks like wisdom but is phony, because it is not rooted in your experience.