Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart, and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty be you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
Kahlil Gibran sometimes touches almost the center of your being. But sometimes he misses the target completely. And those who understand only poetry will not be able to make the distinction when he is on the sunlit peaks and when he is just like you in the darkness of the valleys.
Yes, even when he is with you, in the darkness of the valleys, he is a great poet. He can manage to make statements which sound very profound. But they are absolutely empty. Today’s statements belong to that category – beautiful poetry but utterly contentless.
My commentaries on Kahlil Gibran are going to be the beginning of a new sort of commentary. There are almost one thousand commentaries on Srimad Bhagavadgita, the Hindu holy scripture. They all differ from each other. And so is the case with other scriptures, like Badrayana’s Brahmasutras. They have been commented upon for centuries.
But there is not a single commentary in the whole world which finds statements which are not right or which are superficial. They are the commentaries of followers, and followers are always blind. They think everything that is written in Srimad Bhagavadgita has to be right.
Therefore I am saying this is the beginning of a new way of commentary. I am not a follower of anybody. When I see the truth, I am ready to die for it. It does not matter from whom it comes – from Raidas, a shoemaker; or Badrayana, a great seer, perhaps the greatest Hindu who has some truth in him – if I see that what is being said is superficial I am not going hide it from you. And if I see there is something which is false I am going to expose it to you.
All the old commentaries are false in a way. Everything is right! The idea seems to be, “How can Badrayana be wrong?” So the commentators have been trying to manipulate words to give them new meanings, new colors, just to protect the idea that Badrayana is consistently true.
I cannot do that. I may agree with anyone if truth is there. And I will disagree with anyone. However ancient and however respected, I am going to disagree, because to me it is not a question of the man who has written the book. It is a question of being always with truth and never allowing untruth just for the sake of consistency.
Kahlil Gibran cannot be consistent, because he is a great poet – but only a poet; he is not a mystic. He has not seen the reality in its totality. He has not experienced himself, his own individuality.
But he is a magician as far as words are concerned. Even in these statements his magic is profound. But the meaning is missing.