Barbara Young

Barbara Young

Kahlil Gibran’s Almustafa on everyday gods

“Let us speak no more now of God the Father. Let us speak rather of the gods, your neighbours, and of your brothers, the elements that move about your houses and your fields.

“You would rise in fancy unto the cloud, and you deem it height; and you would pass over the vast sea and claim it to be distance. But I say unto you that when you sow a seed in the earth, you reach a greater height; and when you hail the beauty of the morning to your neighbour, you cross a greater sea.

“Too often do you sing God, the Infinite, and yet in truth you hear not the song. Would that you might listen to the songbirds, and to the leaves that forsake the branch when the wind passes by, and forget not, my friends, that these sing only when they are separated from the branch!

“Again, I bid you to speak not so freely of God, who is your All, but speak rather and understand one another, neighbour unto neighbour, a god unto a god.

“For what shall feed the fledgling in the nest if the mother bird flies skyward? And what anemone in the field shall be fulfilled unless it be husbanded by a bee from another anemone?

“It is only when you are lost in your smaller selves that you seek the sky which you call God. Would that you might find paths into your vast selves; would that you might be less idle and pave the roads!

“My mariners and my friends, it were wiser to speak less of God, whom we cannot understand, and more of each other, whom we may understand. Yet I would have you know that we are the breath and the fragrance of God. We are God, in leaf, in flower, and oftentimes in fruit.”
Kahlil Gibran (also transliterated Khalil and Kalil; Jubrãn, Gubran, Jibran) in The Garden of the Prophet, completed and published posthumously by Barbara Young, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1981), p. 39-41. First published (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1933).