The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is basically a set of poetic essays written in the form of a story. It starts with Al-Mustafa, the prophet, who waited for 12 years in the City of Orphalese for his ship, which had come to take him to the place he belonged to. Before boarding the ship, sadness holds him and he thinks of the time he spent there and how the city was grateful to him and now that he is leaving behind all this, which makes him feel a bit uneasy. While he is off to leave, he is stopped by the people of the city and is questioned about life and worldly affairs. And he answers (or rather confuses) all their questions in a poetic manner before bidding a farewell.
This is supposed to be a self-help book, to enlighten people with truth of the elements of life and death and it did enlighten me. Enlightened me to not go with the flow, the hype and the opinion of majority of people! I’m bitterly disappointed by this epitome of absurdity this book had to share with us, intending to throw some light on the vital themes of life with forced, pretentious, and philosophical writing.
While reading, most of the things discussed here were quite familiar to me and I could resonate much with it. Then I realized most of the parts covered in here were part of a subject in our elementary school, called ‘Value of Education’ wherein we were taught about mannerism, etiquette, life lessons, etc. derived from religious texts of Quran, Bible and Bhagwad Geeta. (Yes, we had such a thing in school!).
There! I see, that’s what my friend, Nadira had pointed out while we were discussing this book after I finished reading, that this work is more or less copied from religious texts and presented with exquisite word play to cover up for the content.
Most of the essays started well-off with beautiful narration, comparing matters of life to the cosmos, good to listen to, some poetry, some word play. But then as I read further it started to not make sense at all. 9/10 things in here are well-known to anyone reading the book before-hand and then there are sentences flowing so melodiously that tries to trap the reader to not focus on where this is going, more of what I feel an attempt to hypnotize him/her with utter nonsense. (Gibran did succeed in doing this to majority of people reading his work)
Here are some of the quotes which you can keep as your WhatsApp/Facebook status to look cool and philosophical on the internet! (Unless, you want to be called an idiot)
“Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself, Love possesses not nor would it be possessed: For love is sufficient unto love.”
(I don’t know what he is taking about, but yes it’s poetic so I’m gonna assume it to be a form of Art and not comment about it)
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.”
(Okay! So, I was actually not sad when my kitten died last year , it was just me hiding my inner joy with the tears I shed)
“When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
(And what about someone who doesn’t believe in God?)
“For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.”
(Yes, life and death are one… and The Earth is Flat!)
“God listens not to your words save when He Himself utters them through your lips.”
“When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.”
“Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”
(I wonder, what did he smoke when he wrote these lines..!)
“What is word knowledge but a shadow of wordless knowledge?”
(Okay! we are done here! This is mere bullshit!!)
I can go on and on but then this is not what I actually want to do right now! This book is full of all these kind of quotes which question you, rather than giving an unambiguous answer! Manipulating minds of the readers, to fall into the wordgasm which has nothing to offer but mere nonsensical words of wisdom! Plus, it has illustration by the author himself, in between the pages, to beautify the book maybe, that has nothing to do with the essays of wisdom & enlightenment! Is it some form of Art or some idiotic figures to divert the attentions of the readers? The author knows the best!
Irony is that this book has such a high rating on Goodreads ,I felt a bit awkward at my own-self for not liking it. But as I read some of the reviews, I found out that some didn’t get the supposed true meaning of it and want to read it a couple of times to truly understand it, yet a 5 star rating!! Kudos to that!
My rating : * / 5