Book Recommendation: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

I strongly believe that the perfect books come into your life at the right moment. There’s something in it that speaks to your specific place in space and time. And for the coming few days I will discuss all these books that made a difference to my life. I start this series with one such timeless book, The Prophet written by the acclaimed Lebanese-American artist, poet and writer Kahlil Gibran.

Last December, just before Christmas this petite book made its way into my home. Still trying to juggle the role of a new mother and adjusting to the new normal, I wasn’t at the best state of life. On enquiring who is the secret Santa, I discovered it’s my favourite blog community Blogchatter who gifted me this precious book for completing the A-To-Z challenge. And how it uplifted my spirit! It inspired my feeling adrift in a world in flux.

The 26 prose poems are pure wisdom wrapped in literature speaking to people at different stages of life. The theme of the book is that life is interwoven between the universe and the individual. Both are interlinked.

The Prophet Al Mustapha is about to set sail for his homeland after 12 years in exile on a fictional island Orphalese. Before leaving he imparts his wisdom on the big questions of life: love, family, work and death in the simplest possible way. Kahlil Gibran makes the reader walk through the reality of life while letting his words sink in their soul slowly and wisely. It’s the kind of book you can leaf through at random and find a passage that has meaning for you and where you are in your life at that very moment.

The success of the book lies in the fact that it offers dogma-free universal spiritualism as opposed to orthodox religion which appeals to even sceptic readers like me.
To quote a few gems:

On love – When love beckons to you follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep.

On Time – And is not time even as love is, undivided and paceless? But if in you thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons, And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.

In fact, there are too many quotes. If you have the habit of marking or highlighting the favourite quotes you would end up underlining the whole book.

This is a book one can’t just read once. I have already gone back to it twice and will visit it again and again. And each time I have discovered something new. As life changes, the book offers different perspectives to the same old building blocks of life – love, family, work and death.

In my current state two of my favourite quotes are on the topic of Work and Children.

On Work – And all knowledge is vain save when there is work, and all work is empty save when there is love; and when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.

On Children – Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

It is these timeless quotes, these simple view towards life that owes to its huge popularity. If the world had been this wise and simple there would have been peace all around.

Hence The Prophet has never been out of print since it was published in 1923. The perennial classic has been translated into more than 50 languages and is a staple on international best-seller lists.

Still, thinking about whether to read this or not? My recommendation is to go for this 61 pages book only. In these aggravated times, perhaps we can appreciate its sheer benignity.

–X–

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s My friend Alexa #MyFriendAlexa.

 

©Sreeparna Sen

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Comments

  1. Khalil Gibran is a joy to read. Your favourite current quotes make so much sense for all of as at this stage. That’s the best part of this book. It can give you the right quote for what you might be feeling. Beautiful review
    Deepika Sharma

  2. Such an apt and calm review of the book, Sreeparna. I loved the quotes that intrigues me to buy the book. I remember gifting this book to many of the community members and people liking it.

  3. I truly believe that a book comes to you when you need it the most. Just as you come across a book review that reminds you to pick up a book you were intending to.

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