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(转载)A Voice of Consciousness
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Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) - A Voice of Consciousness

 
Manbir Singh Chowdhary

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Khalil Gibran, author of The Prophet, was one of the most profound writers of modern times. Having drawn from an array of spiritual mysticism including Sufi Masters, Jalal-Ud-Din Rumi and Imam Al Ghazali, the universal persona of his writing speaks directly to the very core of the human soul.

In The Treasury of Khalil Gibran, edited by Martin L. Wolf, Gibran writes:

"All things in this creation exist within you, and all things in you exist in creation; there is no border between you and the closest things, and there is no distance between you and the farthest things, and all things, from the lowest to the loftiest, from the smallest to the greatest, are within you as equal things. In one atom are found all the elements of the earth; in one motion of the mind are found the motions of all the laws of existence; in one drop of water are found the secrets of all the endless oceans; in one aspect of you are found all the aspects of existence."

Gibran was born to a Maronite family in the village of Bsharri, an area surrounded by the natural beauty of Lebanon's ancient cedar trees and the majestic mountains of Sannin and Famm al-Mizab. The rustic beauty of his birthplace proved to be a source of inspiration throughout the poet's life.
 
Khalil Gibran

Gibran's childhood in Lebanon came to a halt at age 11, his family emigrating to the United States as a result of religious turmoil that ravaged the country. Despite having witnessed war and destruction in the name of religion, Gibran remained committed to "unity of being" by stressing the underlying commonality between various forms of spiritual thought, and the oneness of all humanity.

His masterpiece, The Prophet, first published in 1923 by Alfred Knopf, has sold over 10 million copies, and been printed in over 20 languages.

In The Prophet, Gibran addresses the question of God:

"And if you would know God, be not therefore a solver of riddles. Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children. And look into space; you shall see Him walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning and descending in the rain. You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees."

The poet also stresses the importance of Love:

"When you love you should not say, 'God is in my heart,' but rather, 'I am in the heart of God'. And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course."

Dr. Suheil Bashrui, an internationally recognized authority on the works of Khalil Gibran writes:

"In truth, The Prophet is a work of such universal appeal that there is little to be gained from speculating on the identity of persons or places represented in it. For Gibran's purpose was a lofty one, and his belief in the 'unity of being', which led him to call for universal fellowship and the unification of the human race, is a message which retains its potency today as do the messages of all great poets. Inspired by his experiences in a country far from the land of his origins, he strove to resolve cultural and human conflict, in the process developing a unique genre of writing, and transcending the barriers of East and West as few have done before or since. He became not only Gibran of Lebanon, but Gibran of America, indeed Gibran the voice of global consciousness: a voice which increasingly demands to be heard in the continuing Age of Anxiety."

Gibran's contribution to his adopted homeland as a prominent literary figure, manifest itself in President John F. Kennedy's famous words, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

Thirty-six years before President Kennedy's 1961 Inaugural Address; Gibran, in his work The New Frontier (1925), had already prompted his brethren in the Middle East:

"Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country? If you are the first, then you are a parasite; if the second, then you are an oasis in a desert."

Dr. Bashrui, in his article entitled, Khalil Gibran of America, states that the poet was impressed by the great technological achievements of America, and mindful of the material well-being of the majority of its citizens, but viewed his adopted home from the vantage-point of his own cultural heritage and recognized that the picture was incomplete.

"Consequently he sought to infuse some Eastern mysticism into Western materialism, believing that humanity was best served by a man capable of bestriding the two cultures and acknowledging the virtues of each," Dr. Bashrui writes.

Khalil Gibran, whether writing from the depths of his inner-being regarding the importance of realizing one's true self, or using the pen to lash out against hypocrisy and authoritarian rule; one thing is certain -- The beauty of his poetry and the philosophy behind it will remain timeless.

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