Unfiltered Wisdom – Khalil Gibran, Thoughts on God

in #life6 years ago

Khalil Gibran was an artist, poet, and author in both English and Arabic. He's best known for “The Prophet,” published in over 40 languages and one of the most successful books of the 20th century.

young khalil.jpg

His life was short and fraught with tragedy. He was born in 1883 in the Ottoman Empire in what is today Lebanon, but emigrated, at age 13, to America with his mother and siblings. At the age of 15 his mother wanted him to return to his ancestral home to absorb the culture and attend a Maronite Christian preparatory school. In 1902, at the age of 19 he returned to Boston via Ellis Island, only to learn that his younger sister had died two weeks earlier from tuberculosis. A year later his older brother died of tuberculosis and his mother died of cancer. He died at the age of 48 from tuberculosis and liver damage resulting of prolonged alcohol abuse.

Though his life was short, his influence lives on. Imagine, even Elvis Presley was deeply influenced by Khalil Gibran. Here is the description from Sothebys Auction House of a copy of “The Prophet” which contains an inscription by Elvis :

The Prophet became one of Presley's favorite books after receiving his first copy in 1956. He reportedly read passages to his mother and over the years gave away many copies to friends and colleagues, as the example at hand attests. Inscribed to Tom Diskin, longtime assistant to Elvis's manager "Colonel" Tom Parker. source

Here is a photo of notes Elvis made in his own copy of “The Prophet.”

Khalil Gibran was raised as a Christian -- his mother's father was a priest in the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch. Eventually he came to believe in the unity of all religions, and was influenced by Sufi mysticism and the teachings of the Baha'i Faith.


Khalil Gibran on God

In the beginning God moved in space, and out of His measureless stirring the earth was born and the seasons thereof. Then God moved again, and life streamed forth, and the longing of life sought the height and the depth and would have more of itself.

Then God spoke thus, and His words were man, and man was a spirit begotten by God's Spirit. And when God spoke thus, the Christ was His first Word and that Word was perfect; and when Jesus of Nazareth came to the world the first Word was uttered unto us and the sound was made flesh and blood.

John The Beloved Disciple In His Old Age: On Jesus The Word - Jesus, The Son of Man (1928)


Vain are the beliefs and teachings that make man miserable, and false is the goodness that leads him into sorrow and despair, for it is man's purpose to be happy on this earth and lead the way to felicity and preach its gospel wherever he goes. He who does not see the kingdom of heaven in this life will never see it in the coming life. We came not into this life by exile, but we came as innocent creatures of God, to learn how to worship the holy and eternal spirit and seek the hidden secrets within ourselves from the beauty of life. This is the truth which I have learned from the teachings of the Nazarene.

Khalil in Spirits Rebellious (1908) "Khalil The Heretic" Part 3

Our God, who art our winged self, it is thy will in us that willeth. It is thy desire in us that desireth. It is thy urge in us that would turn our nights, which are thine, into days which are thine also. We cannot ask thee for aught, for thou knowest our needs before they are born in us: Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all.

Kahlil Gibran: Masterpieces (ed. 2007)


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 rain. You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees.

Kahlil Gibran: Masterpieces (ed. 2007)

Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.

Kahlil Gibran: Sand and Foam

young khalil.jpg


Young Khalil Gibran b/w image from Wikipedia, colorized with graphics and effects by @roused
Photo of Elvis' note on “The Prophet” – copyright unknown.
Remaining images are free use from pixabay.com with effects by @roused


Never heard of Khalil Gibran. There is more of these recent universalistic religions than I knew of. I somehow like that people keep thinking and updating, no matter if it is philosophy, political ideology or religion. There should be fresh thoughts also even though some of the things Buddha or Jesus said 2000 years ago still is legitimate.

The different faiths are somehow analogous to rivers. They all flow back to the ocean. The more ancient ones have a lot of twists and turns, and the water is sometimes a bit murky, but you can reach the same destination traveling on any of them.

The spiritual essence of the world religions is timeless, but the less important rites, rituals, and dietary rules change. On the practical side, the conditions of the world and humanity also change, as does our knowledge base, so it makes sense that a revelation would reflect that too.

Anyway, I think you would like Khalil Gibran, he was a painter who also painted with words.

I have found some of the paintings. Very fascinating. I really got my horizon expanded which is not really that common :)

I have a little bit more to share in a later post about him as an artist. So stay tuned :-)

That'll be great!

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