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The Eye Of The Prophet
by Kahlil Gibran


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Excerpt

Quest For The Return

I have lived from the alpha of Creation and I shall live until the omega of Eternity. And my existence shall never wither away.
I have floated in the universe of the infinite and flown in the upper air of the imaginary world. There I was close to the circle with its divine light; here, I am in the prison of matter.
I have listened to the teachings of Confucius and the wisdom of Brahma. And I have been with Buddha in the shade of the Knowledge-Tree. And now I face ignorance and apostasy.
I have climbed Mount Sinai where in the past Jehovah rose up before the eyes of Moses. I have purified my body in the Jordan and I have lived through the miracles of the Nazarene. And at Medina I have listened to that Messenger repeat the Word in Arabic. And now I am undecided.
I have known the strength of Babel, the glory of Egypt, and the splendor of the Greeks. And perpetually I see weakeness and servility, always present in all these creations.
I have kept company with the magicians of Ayn Dour.
Elsewhere I have been the guest of the Assyrian hermits, and I have followed the prophets in the land of Palestine.
And still I am searching for the truth.
I have learned wisdom revealed in India and poetry breathed forth in Arabia. And I have heard the melodies that formed in the hearts of the countries where the sun is dying. And I see myself as still blind and I remain deaf to the sound of my unspeaking lips.
I have endured the ferocity and greed of conquerors and I have suffered beneath the yoke of tyrants. And I remain a force which fights at the stroke of every minute.
I have seen and heard all that when still a child, and I shall continue to look and listen to all the shallow deeds of my youth. Once my hair is white I shall brush against the fringes of fulfillment and I shall regain the dwelling of Allah.
If you are dead, he will restore life for you.
And if you die again, he will raise you up until the hour comes for your return to him.

A Winged Word

There is within me a friend who consoles me every time that troubles overwhelm me and misfortune afflict me. The man who does no feel friendship towards himself is a public enemy, and he who finds no confidant within himself will die of despair. For life streams out of man's inner self and in no way from what surrounds him.
I have come in order to say one single word, and I shall say that word today. But if death were to prevent me from doing so, then it will be said Tomorrow. For Tomorrow will leave no secret in the book of Eternity.
I have come in order to live in the glory of Love and in the light of Beauty. On this earth I live, and no one can drive me away from the spheres of Life. If my eyes are torn, I shall feel joy as I listen to the songs of Love and the melodies of Beauty. And if my ears are cut off I shall feel pleasure in touching the upper air, in the sighs of lovers and the fragrance of Beauty. And finally if my mouth is stopped, I shall live with my soul. for the soul is the daughter of Love and Beauty.
I have come into this world with a purpose, to be for everyone and with everyone. And that which I accomplish today in solitude, the masses will form into its echo Tomorrow. What is spoken today by one heart alone will be spoken Tomorrow by thousands of hearts.

Youth and Hope

Youth walked before me, and I followed it to a remote field. There it stopped and raised its eyes towards the clouds which were drifting across the sky, like a flock of sheep. The it looked at the trees whose bare branches were stretched out towards the sky in a gesture of invocation, asking for their foliage to return.
And I said: "O Youth, to what place have we come?"
Youth replied: "To the field of confusion. Take care of yourself."
Then I cried out: "Let us leave without delay, this place frightens me."
But Youth objected: "Be patient, for it is from doubt that knowledge is born."
Then, as I looked round, I saw a graceful silhouette coming towards us. I asked: "Who is this woman?"
And Youth replied: "It is Melpomene, daughter of Zeus and Muse of Tragedy."
"But, fortunate Youth," I cried, "what can Tragedy want of me while you are beside me?"
And Youth answered me: "She has come in order to show you the earth and its afflictions, for he who has never looked at suffering cannot claim to see joy."
Then the spirit covered my eyes with his hand. And when he withdrew it, Youth had gone. I remained alone, divested of any earthly clothing. I called out: "O you Daughter of Zeus, where then has Youth gone?"
Melpomene said not a word, but she took me under her wings and transported me to the summit of a high mountain. Below me I saw the earth and all that it contains. It lay open like the pages of a book, on which the secrets of the universe were surely printed. I remained with the youth girl, full of fear, reflecting on the mystery of Man and attempting to decipher the symbols of Life.
And I saw overwhelming things.
On the earth the angels of happiness were struggling with the demons of unhappiness. Standing among them I saw Man, torn apart sometimes by hope, sometimes by despair.
I saw love and hate playing with the heart of man, love hiding from him his guilt and intoxicating him with the wine of submission, adoration, and flattery, while hate incited him to defiance, stopped his ears, and made his eyes blind to the truth.
And I saw the city crouch down over its slums and sieze the clothing of Adam's son. And in the distance the compassionate fields wept over the sorrow of Man.
I saw priests with raging mouths who resembled crafty foxes, and I saw false Messiahs trying to obtain the happiness of man while conspiring against him.

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