The Prophet

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Overview

Kahlil Gibran—poet, philosopher, and artist—was born in Lebanon in 1883 but spent his final twenty years of life living in the United States. The three books that compose this audiobook are collections of Gibran's aphorisms, parables, and poetic essays.

The first book, The Prophet, was originally published in 1923 and is considered Gibran's masterpiece. It is written in prose poetry in twenty-eight parts, and deals with such topics as love, freedom, good and evil, religion, and ...

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Overview

Kahlil Gibran—poet, philosopher, and artist—was born in Lebanon in 1883 but spent his final twenty years of life living in the United States. The three books that compose this audiobook are collections of Gibran's aphorisms, parables, and poetic essays.

The first book, The Prophet, was originally published in 1923 and is considered Gibran's masterpiece. It is written in prose poetry in twenty-eight parts, and deals with such topics as love, freedom, good and evil, religion, and death. It is a mystical and intensely subjective work, presenting the human soul as essentially noble and good.

In The Forerunner, originally published in 1920, Gibran asserts that "nobody is to be blamed for our 'being' and 'having' but ourselves." Gibran makes it clear that we are our own destiny and not the toy of a blind fate.

Finally, the titular entity of The Madman, originally published in 1918, is not literally mentally unbalanced; on the contrary, he is perfectly healthy. His madness is only in the eyes of others. Gibran asserts that we tend to be what society expects from us, even though these expectations could be detrimental for the development of our self-identity. Oftentimes, we veil our true selves with masks out of fear of being ridiculed by others.

A brilliant man's philosophy on love, marriage, joy and sorrow, time, friendship and much more.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
There are many editions of this 1923 book, one of the unstoppable triumphs of the last 100 years. Gibran's poetic prose, half New Testament and half Walt Whitman, is used as serious advice and spiritual counsel by millions. This is a new, annotated edition.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400137947
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Library - Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Kahlil Gibran (1883–1931) was a poet, philosopher, and artist whose most famous work is The Prophet, a book of twenty-six poetic essays that explore some of the mysteries of life.

Jonathan Reese (d. 1999) was a founding member of Berkeley's Straw Hat review and narrator of The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer and Travels in Alaska by John Muir.

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Read an Excerpt

LOVE

Then said Almitra, "Speak to us of Love."

And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said: 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. And when he speaks to you believe in him, though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. He threshes you to make you naked. He sifts you to free you from your husks. He grinds you to whiteness. He kneads you until you are pliant; and then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; for love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "Godis in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God." And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. 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. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving; To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy; to return home at eventide with gratitude; and then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

* * * *
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 for evermore. You shall be together when the 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.

* * * *
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. 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.

* * * *
GIVING

Then said a rich man, "Speak to us of Giving."

And he answered: You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them to morrow? And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the over-prudent dog burying bones in the track less sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city? And what is fear of need but need itself? Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable? There are those who give little of the much which they have--and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome. And there are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.

There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward. And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism. And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space. Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.

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. And is there aught you would withhold? All you have shall some day be given; therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors'.

You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving." The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture. They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish. Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you. And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream. And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving? And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed? See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving. For in truth it is life that gives unto life--while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

And you receivers--and you are all receivers--assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives. Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings; for to be overmindful of your debt is to doubt his generosity who has the free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father.

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Table of Contents

The Coming of the Ship 3
On Love 12
On Marriage 16
On Children 18
On Giving 20
On Eating and Drinking 24
On Work 27
On Joy and Sorrow 32
On Houses 34
On Clothes 38
On Buying and Selling 40
On Crime and Punishment 42
On Laws 48
On Freedom 51
On Reason and Passion 55
On Pain 58
On Self-Knowledge 60
On Teaching 62
On Friendship 64
On Talking 66
On Time 68
On Good and Evil 70
On Prayer 74
On Pleasure 77
On Beauty 81
On Religion 84
On Death 87
The Farewell 89
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 115 )
Rating Distribution

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(91)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

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(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 115 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing

    When I picked this up, I had no idea what to expect. My mouth stands open. I feel like I've read a map to the entryway of my soul. I keep going back and reading my favorite parts over and over. I am in love with these words. They come off the page in my own voice, like they speak from somewhere I have been already, remember acutely. Gibran himself is a prophet, only a prophet could speak such true words. I want to quote him here to give you a taste, here the prophet is speaking of love:

    "For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

    Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

    So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

    Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.

    He threshes you to make you naked.

    He sifts you to free you from your husks

    He grinds you to whiteness.

    He kneads you until you are pliant;

    And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

    ...

    But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,

    Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,

    Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears."

    -Kahlil Gibran

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2007

    Just What I Needed...& Still Need

    I remember I had to read this book in high school. I was 16, and quite frankly, hanging out with my friends and partying were much more fun than some silly homework assignment. Fast forward 19 years. I was in B&N a few weeks ago, and I happened to have stumbled on the book. I wanted something to read, so I thought, 'Eh, why not? It looks like a quick read.' So, I bought it. Well, all I can say is, 'Wow! What a disservice I did to myself back then by not reading this book!' Then again, maybe I wasn't prepared for such an awesome piece of work. I think you need to experience life to really appreciate this book. My first time reading it, I was BLOWN AWAY. I actually started crying in a few areas of the book because I could relate so much of it to my own life and experiences. The first time, I read it as a novel. Now, I use it as a reference tool for life. When my son rebels, I turn to the 'Parenting' section. When my heart was broken earlier this year, I went to the 'Love' section. Sometimes, my intensity is too much for daily life, so that's when I flip to the 'Reason vs Passion' section. I have read a lot of books in my time, but I must say that this is probably the most SPECIAL book I have ever had or read. Now, I'm not some super-intellectual who dwells in the World of the Intelligencia. I'm just a regular person who really needed a book like this in her life. Honestly, I think Mr. Gibran wrote this book for people like me. Heck, I was thinking that he wrote it JUST for me :-) Enjoy.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2007

    My bible.

    I was recommended this book by a very dear friend of mine. I'm very happy that she did. The Prophet is the closest thing to a bible I've ever embraced. The range of subjects, from Love, to Pain, Children, Work, and Laws and Prayer are written about and sung so beautifully.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 13, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Truly Inspiring

    The Prophet proved to be one of the most inspiring books I have read so far. Being only 19, I found the book to be interesting and highly important. I believe everyone should read this book and learn it. I hope you'll get a chance to read this great book because it will be well worth it!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2006

    A book to be savored

    This book serves you best when you read it slowly, revisiting the topics when needed. Gibran's work is ideal for those who enjoy the wisdom genre and welcome introspection.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2005

    The Book provides vision of life in true sense

    no words are eneogh in praise of the book. One who is fond of reading and even the one who is not fond of reading must read this book. it provides true insight to the problems which arise while understanding the life, complications of emotions&relations.Reading this arouse the curiosity of reader to read the other books of the Great Writer.Moreover the drawings by Gibran are also amazing

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    True Masterpiece

    I first read this book as a teenager. It has remained on my bookshelf, being read many, many times. I have given it as a gift to several people, over the years. It is one of my favourite books.

    The Prophet is a classic, and is considered to be Kahlil Gibran's masterpiece. Gibran himself considered it his "greatest achievement". Originally published in 1923, it has been translated into 28 languages, and is still a popular piece of literature today.

    The book is a beautiful blend of poetry and philosophy. Each chapter takes on a particular topic, or aspect of life. "The Prophet" speaks on love, work, law, freedom, pain, time, and many other important issues we all deal with as we journey through life. Each beautifully written chapter is also illustrated by Gibran.

    The importance and beauty of this book is immeasurable and timeless. This book should be on every bookshelf of those who truly enjoy the beauty of poetry and classic literature, to be enjoyed and appreciated by every generation. The life lessons offered by Kahlil Gibran are timeless in essence and belief.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Prophet: Telling it like it should Be

    An amazing Oriental (Oriental in the academic sense, meaning Middle Eastern spiritualist) Christian book. The mixture of prose and poetry fits the mood of the spiritual explorer. The artwork is thought provoking adding a visual richness to the intellectual pursuit of truth seekers. This book is not a "self-help" Joel Osteen easy read. Be ready to invest time and effort, if you so do you, will not be disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2007

    Simple, Beautiful and Outstanding

    One of the best books i have ever read. It is very simple and covers most of the issues we face daily. It shows you the beauty in every thing and a realistic view based on Gibran's experience in life. Simply a MASTERPIECE...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2006

    Deep and personal

    I found out about this book from a guest editor piece by Hilary Duff in Seventeen magazine. She had included some excerpts from the book in her piece. They were hard-hitting and deep, so I decided to take on the challenge of reading the book for myself. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is probably one of the deepest books that anyone could ever read. It was originally published in 1923. Interspersed among the proverbs in the book are pages of the author¿s own drawings. The drawings do not really add anything to the meaning of the book though, and they feature nudity. The book has twenty-eight sections, two of which are basically an introduction and a closing. The other twenty-six cover a wide range of topics from love, children, clothes, friendship, beauty and death to work, houses, laws, pain and time. I like this book because of its many wonderful insights about some topics to which I can actually relate. I was amazed at how something written in the early 1900s can transcend the ages and still hold some relevance to the early 2000s. Some of Gibran¿s proverbs are toe-stompers: ¿But if in your fear you would seek only love¿s peace and love¿s pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love¿s threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears. Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed For love is sufficient unto love.¿ Still others of Gibran¿s proverbs are full of wisdom: ¿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 thought they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love buy 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. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.¿ I found the book to be uplifting overall, although I cannot pull any one individual uplifting proverb because the book, through its depth of wisdom and insight, lightens any bad day. I would definitely recommend that everyone read this book at some point in their lives.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2014

    ....when you are in complete surrender and on the path obedience

    ....when you are in complete surrender and on the path obedience to the ONE and Only True Creator, this book will touch your spirit in such a way that if you don't already know GOD, The Prophet minces no words in stating the TRUTH. Prepare to be AMAZED and Extremely beside yourself, have a box of tissue at beside you and know that you will soul will call out to the Creator in prayer, even unknowingly...enJOY!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 11, 2014

    theprophetThe Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is a short book about a m

    theprophetThe Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is a short book about a man named Almustafa who lives in the city of Orphalese and Is getting ready to leave the city after twelve years of living there among the people. The people in the city ask him to tell them about a variety of things, anything from love to eating and drinking to houses and good and evil.


    I found this book to be a quick read and some gems of wisdom were found within. My favorite chapter was entitled, "On Giving" where we are shown that it is when "we give of ourselves that we truly give." This gem of wisdom is one among many found in this section. I also enjoyed the line which sates, "Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights, is worthy of all else from you."


    I would recommend this book to those who want a short quick read that is packed with gems of wisdom for our everyday lives.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2013

    This book was given to my wife and I as a wedding present 37 yea

    This book was given to my wife and I as a wedding present 37 years ago. Since then I can't count how many times I have purchased another copy to give as a gift.
    The words in this book speak to the heart and the eloquence of the writing style is beyond compare.
    A must for any home.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    A classic everyone should read

    This book should be required reading for high school children lol. It's my favorite book and many of my most favorite quotes of all time are in it. Very inspiring and enlightening.

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  • Posted November 27, 2012

    Wise and Wonderful

    This book has been on my book shelf (and now my nook) since the 1960s. It's stood the test of time still ringing true - wise and wonderful. A passage was read at my wedding and more recently when we scattered by Dad's ashes on his beloved lake. This is a MUST HAVE for every book lover!

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  • Posted November 10, 2012

    this has been the guide to my path and lighthouse to return from

    this has been the guide to my path and lighthouse to return from further afield. I have quoted nothing more often than this quiet jewel and have always been comforted by the feelings gained.

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  • Posted May 18, 2011

    A Must Read!!!

    This book teaches you about love and family like no other. A cohesive collection of poems that are easily readable, yet exquisitely beautiful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Poetic Prose for Inner Peace

    If you are looking for a spiritually inspiring text that transcends religious dogma, this is an excellent book to pick up. It is a quick, easy read, but a lot of wisdom is packed into each page.

    The first and last chapters are really the only parts that involve plot. The 25 short chapters in between are essentially philosophical musings and inspirational advice on difference aspects of life. They could just as easily be read without the first and last chapters, and in any order. Still, I would recommend reading the whole thing through the first time, because it is a lovely story. But the beauty of this book is that you can go back to any topic for which you feel you are in need of guidance, and it will be just the 2-3 page inspiration that you need at that moment. You can (and will) keep coming back to it.

    There are chapters on Love, Pleasure, Work, Reason & Passion, Joy & Sorrow, Clothes, Eating & Drinking, Laws, Giving, Friendship, Time, etc. Each chapter draws out the yin and the yang on each topic, and gives spiritual, motivational guidance. Moreover, the writing style is so poetic, you are bound to be entranced by the sheer beauty of the language. It leaves you feeling at peace with life and whatever struggles you are currently facing. I highly recommend it to anyone searching for inner peace.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2010

    Keep for Life

    This book covers all life events ; poetry and prose that will be a lifelong companion and inspiration. A great gift for anyone but particularly young people (grads, etc) who will treasure it as they mature.

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  • Posted April 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    THE PROPHET... Gibran's masterpiece that truly sees beyond the vial

    The Prophet is a book about life and truth written by a man that saw both clearly. His use of opposites, such as joy and pain; reason and passion; death and life leads to real self-revelation. His dialogue on pain and its fruit is the most beautiful parable I have ever read. Gibran delivers his sublime messages, not with stilted words and puffy language, but through simplicity of word and humility of deed... My HIGHEST recommendation!

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