Literary Comment ‘Kahlil Gibran’


Literary Comment ‘Kahlil Gibran’

Thanks to social media, it quoted a verse from 'The Prophet' written by Kahlil Gibran and immediately it prompted me to refer to his life and other works. As I cannot dare to review his works I hereby present views from old articles. It is heartening to find that he was the most respected literate and he was the most-read poet after Shakespeare. His works were translated into most languages of our world including Japan. His book “The Prophet” was translated into Indian languages including Telugu.


Kahlil Gibran, known in Arabic as Gibran Khalil Gibran, was born January 6, 1883, in Bsharri, Lebanon, which at the time was part of Syria and part of the Ottoman Empire. He was depicted as one of the great thinkers in the history of thought.

Though he considered himself to be mainly a painter, lived most of his life in the United States, and wrote his best-known works in English, he was the key figure in a Romantic movement that transformed Arabic literature in the first half of the twentieth century.

Educated in Beirut, Boston, and Paris, Gibran was influenced by the European modernists of the late nineteenth century. His early works were sketches, short stories, poems, and prose poems written in simple language for Arabic newspapers in the United States. These pieces spoke to the experiences and loneliness of Middle Eastern immigrants in the New World. 

Being an artist and a poet, He chose the metaphorical language of literature as his way of discourse and became known as a philosopher-poet. He was ascribed as The Mystic, The Philosopher, The Religious, The Heretic, The Serene, The Rebellious and The Ageless.

The Intelligence and Spirituality are two major fundamentals of any individual's personality. Kahlil managed his life and works with right balance of these two factors and he attracted majority of society. Kahlil Gibran life and works reflect right mixture of these components. For his short span of life of 48 Years, his volumes of work, in Arabic and English is amazing. Each book is soul churning and lyrical beauty.

The prominent books are mentioned below:


English                                                            Arabic

The Madman                                                 Spirits Rebellious

The Forerunner                                             The Broken Wings

The Prophet                                                  A Tear and A Smile 

Sand and Foam                                             The procession  

Jesus, son of man


There was a strong belief that he was associated and well versed with Indian philosophy. Subsequently it was felt that his encounter with great Indian Poet Tagore would have influenced his works. But his famous Prophet was published earlier.  However Tagore and Gibran have lot in common and that is “Their life-loving wisdom, insights into human nature, spirit of tolerance, and ecstasy in beauty.”

Many feel that his works are akin to Upanishads and Bhagvad Gita and they are also universal and practical.

“He offered a dogma-free universal spiritualism as opposed to orthodox religion, and his vision of the spiritual was not moralistic. In fact, he urged people to be non-judgmental.”



Some of his profound statements: 

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

“You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts.”

“Here I sit between my brother the mountain and my sister the sea. We three are one in loneliness, and the love that binds us together is deep and strong and strange.”



You were born together and together you shall be for evermore

You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days

Aye, you will be together in silent memory of God

But let there be spaces in 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 cup but drink not from one cup

Give one anther of your bread but eat not from the same loaf

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you alone

Even as the strings of lute are alone though they quiver with the same music

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For the hand of life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.




Your children are not your children

They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you.

And though they are with you 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 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

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 arrows that fly, so He loves also the bow that is stable.


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  • Vallinath Mangalampalli

    A retired computer professional. I like writing off beat themes. Generally the characters are taken from average, middle class families. I have lot of interest in reading books about cosmos and western philosophers. I belong to Hyderabad, Telengana.

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