An attempt to know, understand (and ultimately, transform) that which occurs on the fields of play - India (her politics, media, music) and beyond ...

Friday, March 10, 2006

Dilbert and The Prophet

The internet is an incredible roller-coaster in the dark (like Disneyland's Space Mountain) for the mind: you never know what's next. Today morning I was reading the wonderfully funny Scott Adams on Dilbertblog and within a few minutes I was inexorably drawn to another link on The Prophet. No, the link didn't have to do with The Cartoons (enough of them already!): it had to with Kahlil Gibran's work "The Prophet".

I had heard of Mr. Gibran before, but had never read him. Today I took the chance to read a couple of chapters from The Prophet and was completely awestruck by the thoughts expressed and the manner of expression. Here is a sample, the chapter On Marriage:

Then Almitra spoke again and said, "And what of Marriage, master?"
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

And from the chapter On Children:

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."
And he said:
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.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

And the following section, Mr. Kahlil Gibran seems to have directly observed India's moral-policers and law-makers:

But to whom life is a rock, and the law a chisel with which they would carve it in their own likeness?
What of the cripple who hates dancers?
What of the ox who loves his yoke and deems the elk and deer of the forest stray and vagrant things?
What of the old serpent who cannot shed his skin, and calls all others naked and shameless?
And of him who comes early to the wedding-feast, and when over-fed and tired goes his way saying that all feasts are violation and all feasters law-breakers?
What shall I say of these save that they too stand in the sunlight, but with their backs to the sun?
They see only their shadows, and their shadows are their laws.
And what is the sun to them but a caster of shadows?

Brilliant, isn't it?

Wikipedia tells us that
The Prophet is a book of 26 poetic essays written in 1923 by the Lebanese artist and philosopher Khalil Gibran.

In the book, a prophet who has lived in the foreign city of Orphalese for 12 years is about to board a ship to carry him home. He is stopped by a group of people, to whom he speaks about issues of life: love, marriage, hate, etc. Considered one of Gibran's best selling books, Gibran followed it by a book called Garden of Prophet, and was due to produce a 3rd part when he died.

What Mr. Gibran does on paper via sublime poetry, Mr. Julian Beever does on the sidewalk with chalk. Human creativity at its wondrous best!


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