You are on page 1of 23

Kahlil Gibran

Quotes

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin


brother.
A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not
the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through
the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?

A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.

Advance, and never halt, for advancing is perfection. Advance and do not fear the
thorns in the path, for they draw only corrupt blood.

All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.

All that spirits desire, spirits attain.

An eye for an eye, and the whole world would be blind.

And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of
separation.
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to
play with your hair.

Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and
concealed.

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.

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.

Coming generations will learn equality from poverty, and love from woes.

Death most resembles a prophet who is without honor in his own land or a poet who
is a stranger among his people.

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.

Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.

Exaggeration is truth that has lost its temper.


Faith is knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof.

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

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play
with your hair.

Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.

Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.

Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me
that which you need more than I do.

Hallow the body as a temple to comeliness and sanctify the heart as a sacrifice to
love; love recompenses the adorers.

I existed from all eternity and, behold, I am here; and I shall exist till the end of
time, for my being has no end.

I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness
from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.

I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church.
For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.

I prefer to be a dreamer among the humblest, with visions to be realized, than lord
among those without dreams and desires.

I wash my hands of those who imagine chattering to be knowledge, silence to be


ignorance, and affection to be art.

If my survival caused another to perish, then death would be sweeter and more
beloved.
If the grandfather of the grandfather of Jesus had known what was hidden within
him, he would have stood humble and awe-struck before his soul.

If the other person injures you, you may forget the injury; but if you injure him you
will always remember.

If you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave
your work.

If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if
they don't, they never were.

If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing
them to the trees.

If your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom?

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in
the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not
laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.

Knowledge cultivates your seeds and does not sow in you seeds.

Knowledge of the self is the mother of all knowledge. So it is incumbent on me to


know my self, to know it completely, to know its minutiae, its characteristics, its
subtleties, and its very atoms.

Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.

Life without liberty is like a body without spirit.

Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.

Love and doubt have never been on speaking terms.

Love is trembling happiness.


Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea
between the shores of your souls.

Love possesses not nor will it be possessed, for love is sufficient unto love.

Love... It surrounds every being and extends slowly to embrace all that shall be.

Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it but it divides us from
truth.

March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and
fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life's path.

Most people who ask for advice from others have already resolved to act as it
pleases them.

Much of your pain is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your
sick self.

No man can reveal to you nothing but that which already lies half-asleep in the
dawning of your knowledge.

Nor shall derision prove powerful against those who listen to humanity or those who
follow in the footsteps of divinity, for they shall live forever. Forever.

Of life's two chief prizes, beauty and truth, I found the first in a loving heart and the
second in a laborer's hand.

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are
seared with scars.

Pain and foolishness lead to great bliss and complete knowledge, for Eternal Wisdom
created nothing under the sun in vain.

Perplexity is the beginning of knowledge.

Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.
Poverty is a veil that obscures the face of greatness. An appeal is a mask covering
the face of tribulation.

Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.

Rebellion without truth is like spring in a bleak, arid desert.

Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.

Safeguarding the rights of others is the most noble and beautiful end of a human
being.

Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'

The eye of a human being is a microscope, which makes the world seem bigger than
it really is.

The just is close to the people's heart, but the merciful is close to the heart of God.

The lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then
becomes a host, and then a master.

The most pitiful among men is he who turns his dreams into silver and gold.

The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply.

The person you consider ignorant and insignificant is the one who came from God,
that he might learn bliss from grief and knowledge from gloom.

The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom
but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.

There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.

They consider me to have sharp and penetrating vision because I see them through
the mesh of a sieve.
Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in
motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration.

To be able to look back upon ones life in satisfaction, is to live twice.

To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already
achieved, but at what he aspires to.

Trust in dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Truth is a deep kindness that teaches us to be content in our everyday life and share
with the people the same happiness.

We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.

What difference is there between us, save a restless dream that follows my soul but
fears to come near you?

What is this world that is hastening me toward I know not what, viewing me with
contempt?

When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And
when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions
may wound you.

When we turn to one another for counsel we reduce the number of our enemies.

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. When you are sorrowful look
again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which
has been your delight.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you
are weeping for that which has been your delight.

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours
turns to music. Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings
together in unison?
Where is the justice of political power if it executes the murderer and jails the
plunderer, and then itself marches upon neighboring lands, killing thousands and
pillaging the very hills?

Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to
laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.

Wisdom stands at the turn in the road and calls upon us publicly, but we consider it
false and despise its adherents.

Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it
is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take
alms of those who work with joy.

Would that I were a dry well, and that the people tossed stones into me, for that
would be easier than to be a spring of flowing water that the thirsty pass by, and
from which they avoid drinking.

Yesterday is but today's memory, and tomorrow is today's dream.

Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel
only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself
that you truly give.

You have your ideology and I have mine.

You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might also pray in the
fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing
for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet
they belong not to you.

Your daily life is your temple and your religion. When you enter into it take with you
your all.

Your friend is your needs answered.

Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude
you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind
looks at what happens.

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Zeal is a volcano, the peak of which the grass of indecisiveness does not grow.

Freedom XIV (Translated)


by Khalil Gibran
Khalil Gibran

And an orator said, "Speak to us of Freedom."

And he answered:

At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself and
worship your own freedom,

Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he
slays them.

Ay, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have seen the
freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff.

And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of
seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of
freedom as a goal and a fulfillment.

You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights
without a want and a grief,

But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked
and unbound.
And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains
which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon
hour?

In truth that which you call freedom is the strongest of these chains, though its
links glitter in the sun and dazzle the eyes.

And what is it but fragments of your own self you would discard that you may
become free?

If it is an unjust law you would abolish, that law was written with your own hand
upon your own forehead.

You cannot erase it by burning your law books nor by washing the foreheads of
your judges, though you pour the sea upon them.

And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within
you is destroyed.

For how can a tyrant rule the free and the proud, but for a tyranny in their own
freedom and a shame in their won pride?

And if it is a care you would cast off, that care has been chosen by you rather
than imposed upon you.

And if it is a fear you would dispel, the seat of that fear is in your heart and not in
the hand of the feared.

Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the desired and
the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherished, the pursued and that which you
would escape.

These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling.

And when the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers becomes a
shadow to another light.

And thus your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a
greater freedom.
Kahlil Gibran

"Perplexity is the beginning of


knowledge"
KAHLIL GIBRAN QUOTES

"When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and
steep."
-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
"But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your
desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully." -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

"You give but little when you give of your possessions.


It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."
-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

"It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked,


through understanding; And to the open-handed the search for one
who shall receive is joy greater than giving." -Kahlil Gibran

"If you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle
man's ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night."
-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

"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.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see
that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."
-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
"Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and
your judgment wage war against passion and your appetite.
Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn
the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and
melody."
-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

"Much of your pain is self-chosen.


It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals
your sick self." -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

"Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'
Say not, 'I have found the path of the soul.' Say rather, 'I have met
the soul walking upon my path.'" -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

"The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space,
but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the
voice that echoes it." -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

"You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;


And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart
you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered."
-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

"[Beauty] is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song
you hear though you shut your ears." -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

"You have been told that, even like a chain, you are as weak as your
weakest link. This is but half the truth. You are also as strong as
your strongest link." -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

"Live for yourself- live your life. Then you are most truly the friend
of man." -Kahlil Gibran

"You may forget the one with whom you have laughed, but never the
one
with whom you have wept." -Kahlil Gibran

Excerpts from "THE PROPHET"


By Kahlil Gibran

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 the white
wings of death scatter your days.

Ay, 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 no 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.

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 to-
morrow, which you cannot visit, not even
in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek


not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries


with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children


as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path


of the infinite, and He bends you with His
might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand


be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Quotations from "Love Letters"


A book of letters between Kahlil Gibran &
Mary Haskell
A man can be free without being great, but no man can be great
without being free.
(Kahlil Gibran’s letter May 16, 1913.)

"With you, Mary," he said today, "I want to be just like a blade of grass,
that moves as the air moves it -to talk just according to the impulse of
the moment. And I do."
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal January 10, 1914.)

Sometimes you have not even begun to speak - and I am at the end of
what you are saying.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal. July 28, 1917.)

You have helped me in my work and in myself. And I have helped you
in your work and in yourself. And I am grateful to heaven for this you-
and-me.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal. March 12, 1922.)

Demonstration of love are small, compared with the great thing that is
back of them.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal. April, 28, 1922.)

I care about your happiness just as you care about mine. I could not be
at peace if you were not.
(Kahlil Gibran from his dairy 23rd April 1923)

What-to-Love is a fundamental human problem. And if we have this


solution - Love what may Be- we see that this is the way Reality loves -
and that there is no other loving that lasts or understands.
(Mary Haskell’s Letter. February 2, 1915.)

I am so happy in your happiness. To you happiness is a form of


freedom, and of all the people I know you should be the freest. Surely
you have earned this happiness and this freedom. Life cannot be but
kind and sweet to you. You have been so sweet and kind to life.
(Kahlil Gibran’s letter. January 24, 1923.)

When I am a stranger in a large city I like to sleep in different rooms,


eat in different places, walk through unknown streets, and watch the
unknown people who pass. I love to be the solitary traveler !
(From Kahlil Gibran’s Letter. May 16, 1911.)
I want to do a great deal of walking in the open country. Just think,
Mary, of being caught by thunder storms! Is there a sight more
wonderful than that of seeing the elements producing life through pure
motion ?
(From Kahlil Gibran’s Letter. May 24, 1914.)

Knowledge is life with wings.


(Kahlil Gibran’s Letter. November 15, 1917.)

What the soul knows is often unknown to the man who has a soul. We
are infinitely more than we think.
(Kahlil Gibran’s Letter. October 6, 1915.)

Marriage doesn’t give one any rights in another person except such
rights that a person gives -
nor any freedom except the freedom which that person gives.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal. May 27, 1923.)

Among intelligent people the surest basis for marriage is friendship -


the sharing of real interests-
the ability to fight out ideas together and understand each other’s
thoughts and dreams.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal. May 26, 1923.)

What difference does it make, whether you live in a big city or in a


community of homes ?
The real life is within.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal. May 27, 1923.)

But now I can put myself in your hands. You can put yourself in another
person’s hands when he knows
what you are doing and as respect for it and loves it. He gives you
your freedom.
(Mary Haskell’s Journal. June 20, 1914.)

Mary, what is there in a storm that moves me so ? Why am I so much


better and stronger and more certain of life when a storm is passing ? I
do not know, and yet I love a storm more, far more, than anything in
nature.
(Kahlil Gibran’s letter August 14, 1912.)

I often picture myself living on a mountain top, in the most stormy


country (not the coldest) in the world. Is there such a place ? If there is
I shall go to it someday and turn my heart into pictures and poems.
(Kahlil Gibran’s letter March 1, 1914.)
Imagination sees the complete reality, - it is where past, present and
future meet... Imagination is limited neither to the reality which is
apparent - nor to one place. It lives everywhere. It is at a centre and
feels the vibrations of all the circles within which
east and west are virtually included. Imagination is the life of mental
freedom. It realizes what everything is in its many aspects ...
Imagination does not uplift: we don’t want to be uplifted, we want to
be more completely aware.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal. June 7, 1912.)

What is poetry ? "An extension of vision - and music is an extension of


hearing."
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal. June 20, 1914.)

When the hand of Life is heavy and night songless, it is the time for
love and trust. And how light the hand life becomes and how songful
the night, when one is loving and trusting all.
(From Kahlil Gibran’s letter December 19, 1916.)

A true hermit goes to the wilderness to find - not to lose himself.


(Kahlil Gibran’s letter October 8, 1913.)

If I accept the sunshine and warmth I must also accept the thunder and
lightning.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal. March 12, 1922.)

If I can open a new corner in a man’s own heart to him I have not lived
in vain. Life itself is the thing, not joy or pain or happiness or
unhappiness. To hate is as good as to love - an enemy may be as good
as a friend. Live for yourseld - live your life. Then you are most truly
the friend of man. - I am different every day - and when I am eighty, I
shall still be experimenting and changing. Work that I have done no
longer concerns me - it is past. I have too much on hand in life itself.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal. December 25, 1912.)

I realized that all the trouble I ever had about you came from some
smallness or fear in myself.
(From Mary Haskell’s Journal. June 12, 1912.)

Follow your heart. Your heart is the right guide in everything big. Mine
is so limited.
What you want to do is determined by that divine element that is in
each of us.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal. March 12, 1922.)
The relation between you and me is the most beautiful thing in my life.

It is the most wonderful thing that I have known in any life. It is eternal.

(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal. September 11, 1922.)

An expression of that sacred desire to find this world and behold it


naked; and that is the soul of the poetry of Life.
Poets are not merely those who write poetry, but those whose hearts
are full of the spirit of life.
(Kahlil Gibran’s letter July 17, 1915.)

The professors in the academy say, "Do not make the model more
beautiful than she is," and my soul whispers,
"O if you could only paint the model as beautiful as she really is."
(Kahlil Gibran’s letter November 8, 1908.)

That deepest thing, that recognition, that knowledge, that sense of


kinship began the first time I saw you, and it is the same now - only a
thousand times deeper and tenderer. I shall love you to eternity. I
loved you long before we met in this flesh. I knew that when I first saw
you. It was destiny. We are together like this and nothing can shake us
apart.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal March 12, 1922.)

Each and every one of us, dear Mary, must have a resting place
somewhere.
The resting place of my soul is a beautiful grove where my knowledge
of you lives.
(Kahlil Gibran’s letter November 8, 1908.)

We are expression of earth, and of life - not separate individuals only.


We cannot get enough away from the earth to see the earth and
ourselves as separates. We move with its great movements and our
growth is part of its great growth.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal May 5, 1922.)

The trees were budding, the birds were singing - the grass was wet -
the whole earth was shining. And suddenly I was the trees and the
flowers and the birds and the grass - and there was no I at all.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal May 23, 1924.)

Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colours; let me swallow the sunset
and drink the rainbow.
(Kahlil Gibran’s letter November 8, 1908.)
The most wonderful thing, Mary, is that you and I are always walking
together, hand in hand, in a strangely beautiful world, unknown to
other people. We both stretch one hand to receive from Life - and Life
is generous indeed.
(Kahlil Gibran’s letter October, 22, 1912.)

His love is as restful as Nature itself. He has no standard for you to


conform to, no choice about you, but is simply with your reality, just as
Nature is. You are real, so is he: the two realities love each other - voila
!
(From Mary Haskell’s Journal December 29, 1912.)

No human relation gives one possession in another - every two souls


are absolutely different. In friendship or in love, the two
side by side raise hands together to find what one cannot reach alone.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal June 8, 1924.)

I want to be alive To all the life that is in me now, to know each


moment to the uttermost.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal June 7, 1912.)

You listen to so much more than I can say. You hear consciousness.
You go with me where the words I say can’t carry you.
(Kahlil Gibran from Mary Haskell’s Journal June 5, 1924.)