Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Kahlil Gibran

Syrian-American Mystic Poet, Painter

"“What is your religion?” Bravely I stated, “I believe in God and I honor His prophets; I love virtue and I have faith in eternity.”"

"A great love has made my heart a pure altar."

"Ambition beyond existence is the essential purpose of our being."

"A word of compassion to the weak criminal or prostitute is nobler than the long prayer which we repeat emptily every day in the temple."

"Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart."

"Desire is half of life; indifference is half of death."

"Can you not see with your soul’s eye the crushing of my heart?"

"Do not give to genius, but take from him! Thus only shall you be honoring him. do not mourn for him, but be merry, and drink deeply of his wisdom. Only thus will you be paying him the tribute rightly his."

"Do not expect good counsel from a tyrant, or a wrong-doer, or a presumptuous man, or a deserter from honor."

"I abstain from the people who consider insolence bravery and tenderness cowardice. And I abstain from those who consider chatter wisdom and silence ignorance."

"I am metaphor embracing reality, and reality revealing the singleness of the spirit; and a witness confirming the deeds of the gods."

"Every man is two men; one is awake in the darkness, the other asleep in the light."

"Even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each one of you, so the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also."

"Generosity is giving more than you can; pride is taking less than you need."

"Everything in life is good; even gold, for it teaches a lesson. Money is like a stringed instrument; he who does not know how to use it properly will hear only discordant music. Money is like love; it kills slowly and painfully the one who withholds it, and it enlivens the other who turns it upon his fellow man."

"Great truth that transcends Nature does not pass from one being to another by way of human speech. Truth chooses Silence to convey her meaning to loving souls."

"He who passes not his days in the realm of dreams is the slave of the days."

"Hate is a dead thing. Who of us would be a tomb?"

"Hell is not torture; hell is an empty heart."

"I shall die now, for my soul has attained its goal. I have finally extended my knowledge to a world beyond the narrow cavern of my birth. This is the design of Life... This is the secret of Existence."

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

"I have been here since the beginning, and I shall be until the end of days; for there is no ending to my existence. The human souls is but a part of a burning torch which god separated from Himself at Creation."

"Is Truth Beauty? Is Beauty Truth?"

"It is a heavenly love that is free from jealousy, rich and never harmful to the spirit."

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

"It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created in years or even generations."

"Is it not true, that every time we draw Beauty we approach a step nearer to Beauty? And every time we write the Truth we become one with it? Or do you propose to muzzle poets and artists? Is not self-expression a deeply seated need in the human soul?"

"In the house of Ignorance there is no mirror in which to view your soul."

"Know your own true worth, and you shall not perish. Reason is your light and beacon of Truth. Reason is the source of Life. God has given you Knowledge, so that by its light you may not only worship him, but also see yourself in your weakness and strength."

"Let there be spaces in your togetherness."

"Life emerges from within, and derives not from environs."

"Life is an island in an ocean of loneliness, an island whose rocks are hopes, whose trees are dreams, whose flowers are solitude, and whose brooks are thirst. Your life, my fellow men, is an island separated from all other islands and regions. No matter how many are the ships that leave your shores for other climes, no matter how many are the fleets that touch your coast, you remain a solitary island, suffering the pangs of loneliness and yearning for happiness. You are unknown to your fellow men and far removed from their sympathy and understanding."

"Life is that which we see and experience through the spirit; but the world around us we come to know through our understanding and reason. And such knowledge brings us great joy or sorrow."

"Life without Freedom is like a body without a soul, and Freedom without Thought is like a confused spirit... Life, Freedom and Thought are three-in-one, and are everlasting and never pass away."

"Limited love asks for possession of the beloved, but the unlimited asks only for itself."

"Love joins our present with the past and the future... Love is a divine knowledge that enables men to see as much as the gods... Love is a blinding mist that keeps the soul from discerning the secret of existence, so that the heart sees only trembling phantoms of desire among the hills, and hears only echoes of cries from voiceless valleys... Love is the rest of the body in the quiet of the grave, the tranquillity of the soul in the depth of Eternity... And so, all who passed spoke of Love as the image of their hopes and frustrations, leaving it a mystery as before."

"Make haste slowly, and do not be slothful when opportunity beckons."

"Many a time I have made a comparison between nobility of sacrifice and happiness of rebellion to find out which one is nobler and more beautiful; but until now I have distilled only one truth out of the whole matter, and this truth is sincerity, which makes all our deeds beautiful and honorable."

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

"Marriage is the union of two divinities that a third might be born on earth. It is the union of two souls in a strong love for the abolishment of separateness. It is that higher unity which fuses the separate unites within the two spirits. It is the golden ring in a chain whose beginning is a glance, and whose ending is Eternity."

"O soul! life is a darkness which ends as in the sunburst of day. The yearning of my heart tells me there is peace in the grave. O soul! if some fool tell you the soul perishes like the body and that which dies never returns, tell him the flower perishes but the seed remains and lies before us as the secret of life everlasting."

"Oh, how cruel is man’s ignorance."

"One hour devoted to the pursuit of Beauty and Love is worth a full century of glory given by the frightened weak to the strong."

"Only our spirits can understand beauty, or live and grow with it. It puzzles our minds; we are unable to describe it in words; it is a sensation that our yes cannot see, derived from both the one who observes and the one who is looked upon."

"Perfection is not for the pure of soul; there may be virtue in sin."

"Reason is light in darkness, as anger is darkness amidst light. Be wise - let Reason, not Impulse, be your guide."

"Solitude has soft, silky hands, but with strong fingers it grasps the heart and makes it ache with sorrow. Solitude is the ally of sorrow as well as a companion of spiritual exaltation."

"Remember that Divinity is the true self of Man."

"Silence illuminates our souls, whispers to our hearts, and brings them together. Silence separates us from ourselves, makes us sail the firmament of spirit, and brings us closer to Heaven; it makes us feel that bodies are no more than prisons and that this world is only a place of exile."

"Sorrow and poverty purify man’s heart; though our weak minds see nothing worthy in the universe save ease and happiness."