First Published In: 1972.
A selection of exquisite writings on love, marriage and the spiritual union of souls.
For Kahlil Gibran, love was a way -- perhaps the supreme way -- of achieving self-realization and completeness as a
human being. Anyone can have their life transformed by the all-consuming power of an encounter with the Beloved. Yet
everywhere we see people trapped in joyless or arranged marriages, and passion sacrificed to convention.
Such themes dominate the section on love in Gibran's most celebrated book, The Prophet, but they are expressed with equal
eloquences in his earlier Arabic stories, parables and prose poems. It is because of works like these that the young author
became known as 'the Shelley of the East'. This important new translation of one of Gibran's major Arabic texts adds a fresh
dimention to our understanding of his whole philosophy and career.
-- Robin Waterfield
For Kahlil Gibran, love was a way--perhaps the supreme way--of achieving self-realization and completeness as a human
being. "The Beloved" is about transforming one's own life through love's all-consuming power. These exquisite writings
on love, marriage, and the spiritual union of souls adds a fresh dimension to our understanding of the philosophy of love
and its role in contemporary society.
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By: Muhammad Ali Zaidi (Campbell, CA USA)
For Khalil Gibran, love was a way perhaps a supreme way of achieving self-realization and completeness as a human being. Anyone can live their life transformed by the all consuming power of an encounter with "The Beloved". Particularly in the Eastern cultures there are people trapped in joyless or organized marriages; their passions sacrificed to convention. It is these segments of people that Gibran has brilliantly targeted. Gibran can write very complex social issues in quite simple terms. He can make these issues in a way that can make the reader feel one is taking a walk in a quiet wood, or bathing in a cool stream.
During the course of his reading one can observe that Gibran is a fervernt and outspoken champion of the cause of human rights. He has waged a struggle to strengthen the recognition of youth's freedom of action in love, and abolish from the social structure some of the prevailing ancient marriage customs. He has a strong condemnation of traditions of pre-arranged marriages of children by their parents, in complete disregard of the wishes of those so betrothed.
The ill-fated story of Lyla in `The Brides Bed' is an eye witness account recorded by Khalil. Lyla with courage, anguish and heroism broke in fury from this custom. She brought as a result on her self consequences extremely tragic. This is best described in Khalil's prose:
"... Come you cowards! Fear not the specter of death whose greatness will refuse to approach your littleness and dread not this dagger, for it is a divine instrument which declines to touch your filthy bodies and empty hearts. Look at this handsome youth, he is my beloved and I killed him because I love him. .... We sought a bed worthy of our love in this world which you have made so small with your ignorance and traditions. .... Then the bride lifted her dagger towards the sky, and like a thirsty person who brings the edge of a drinking glass to her lips, she bought it down and planted it in her chest..."
In the `Vision' he describes the social convention issue faced by one:
".. I am a lost human heart, imprisoned in the foul dungeons of mans dictates; tied with chains of earthly authority, dead and forgotten by laughing humanity whose tounge is tied and whose eyes are empty of visible tears. ..."
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By: ankh fire (USA)
I have probably not read any author with more of a gift for beautiful words than Kahlil Gibran. Just reading the English translation for this collection of his love-related Arabic works makes my bones ache with the amazing insights he portrays through moving language. This book is a very well assembled collection, with a decent introduction about Gibran's life (knowing the author, after all, is essential to understanding their work.)
With a nice harmonized blend of short stories and poetry, The Beloved is an important addition to both beginners' and the experienced's understanding of a very unique philosopher. It also includes some of Gibran's mystic artwork, for which he was almost as well known as for his writing. The translators/editors did an excellent job in portraying Gibran's style and gorgeous words as closely as possible to the original Arabic. No one has had the poetic rhythm Gibran did; hopefully appreciation for his extraodinary gift for language will grow. (PS, if you haven't read Gibran's The Prophet, do.)
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By: Caz (Kitchener, Canada)
My first venture into the words of Gibran was his most famous work, 'The Prophet.' Wonderful as it was, I must say that I prefer this piece of writing by far. What I found most astounding is that this was penned when he was a very young man! These are the words of an old soul who has tasted the heights and depths of the realm of love embraced and love lost. The language is musical, spare, deep... each word carefully chosen and perfectly placed (I speak of this particular translation of the original work). It is a short read but powerful and deeply impacting. This one is worthy of a permanent place on your bookshelf.