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Monday, April 13, 2015

Mercy For Weeping Souls

Have Mercy On Me, My Soul 
 BY Khalil Gibran

Why are you weeping, my Soul?
Knowest thou my weakness?
Thy tears strike sharp and injure,
For I know not my wrong.
Until when shalt thou cry?
I have naught but human words to interpret your dreams,
Your desires, and your instructions.

Look upon me, my Soul;
I have consumed my full life heeding your teachings.
Think of how I suffer!
I have exhausted my life following you.

My heart was glorying upon the throne,
But is now yoked in slavery;
My patience was a companion,
But now contends against me;
My youth was my hope,
But now reprimands my neglect.

Why, my Soul, are you all-demanding?
I have denied myself pleasure
And deserted the joy of life
Following the course which you impelled me to pursue.
Be just to me,
Or call Death to unshackle me,
For justice is your glory.

Have mercy on me, my Soul.
You have laden me with Love until I cannot carry my burden.
You and Love are inseparable might;
Substance and I are inseparable weakness.
Will e'er the struggle cease between the strong and the weak?

Have mercy on me, my Soul.
You have shown me Fortune beyond my grasp.
You and Fortune abide on the mountain top;
Misery and I are abandoned together in the pit of the valley.
Will e'er the mountain and the valley unite?

Have mercy on me, my Soul.
You have shown me Beauty,
But then concealed her.
You and Beauty live in the light;
Ignorance and I are bound together in the dark.
Will e'er the light invade darkness?

Your delight comes with the Ending,
And you revel now in anticipation;
But this body suffers with the life
While in life.
This, my Soul, is perplexing.

You are hastening toward Eternity,
But this body goes slowly toward perishment.
You do not wait for him,
And he cannot go quickly.
This, my Soul, is sadness.

You ascend high, though heaven's attraction,
But this body falls by earth's gravity.
You do not console him,
And he does not appreciate you.
This, my Soul, is misery.

You are rich in wisdom,
But this body is poor in understanding.
You do not compromise,
And he does not obey.
This, my Soul, is extreme suffering.

In the silence of the night you visit The Beloved
And enjoy the sweetness of His presence.
This body ever remains,
The bitter victim of hope and separation.
This, my Soul, is agonizing torture.
Have mercy on me, my Soul!


Khalil Gibran (1883 – 1931) was a Lebanese artist, poet, and writer. As a young man he immigrated with his family to the United States, where he studied art and began his literary career, writing in both English and Arabic. In the Arab world, Gibran is regarded as a literary and political rebel. His romantic style was at the heart of a renaissance in modern Arabic literature.

Gibran is chiefly known in the English-speaking world for his 1923 book The Prophet, an early example of inspirational fiction including a series of philosophical essays written in poetic English prose. He is the third best-selling poet of all time, behind Shakespeare and Laozi.

Many of Gibran's writings deal with Christianity, especially on the topic of spiritual love. But his mysticism is a convergence of several different influences: Christianity, Islam, Sufism, Judaism and theosophy. He wrote: "You are my brother and I love you. I love you when you prostrate yourself in your mosque, and kneel in your church and pray in your synagogue. You and I are sons of one faith—the Spirit."

(Alexandre Najjar. Kahlil Gibran, A Biography. 2008)

Weeping souls abound today. Everywhere, suffering people caught in circumstances that consume their happy existence cry out for help. How often do they look within to consider the necessary contact with their own immortal souls -- an internal dialogue that must take place on universal levels of consciousness and compassion?

In Hindu philosophy, the antahkarana (Sanskrit: the inner cause) refers to the totality of two levels of mind, namely the buddhi, the intellect or higher mind, and the manas, the middle levels of mind which exist as or include the mental body. Antahkarana, the path, or bridge, between higher and middle minds, serves as a medium of communication between the two. It is built by the aspiring person in mental matter in the effort to attain wisdom.

The verses of Gibran's "Have Mercy On Me, My Soul" echo the need for self-enlightenment to comprehend critical understandings of life. As examples of the theosophical identity and meaning of the poem, here a few sentences from the classical work The Voice of the Silence, translated and annotated by H.P. Blavatsky. 

Among many similar passages, The Voice of the Silence says:

1) “The Self of Matter and the SELF of Spirit can never meet. One of the twain must disappear; there is no place for both.” (Fragment I, p. 13)

2) “The ladder by which the candidate [to wisdom] ascends is formed of rungs of suffering and pain; these can be silenced only by the voice of virtue.” (Fragment I, p. 16)

3) “If thou would’st reap sweet peace and rest, Disciple, sow with the seeds of merit the fields of future harvests. Accept the woes of birth.” (Fragment II, p. 34)

Indeed, the human soul is an "all-demanding" entity of our human nature. Who of us does not feel the needs of the spirit, and the suffering inherent in our lives, suffering that sometimes feels too much to bear? Even the love, fortune, and beauty we encounter seems to fade as we age and accumulate fragilities of body and mind. Gibran writes ...

"My patience was a companion,
But now contends against me;
My youth was my hope,
But now reprimands my neglect...

"Substance and I are inseparable weakness.
Will e'er the struggle cease between the strong and the weak?"

In the speaker's dialogue with the soul, he reveals the knowledge that eternal delight comes with "the Ending," a new life that draws anticipation and revelation from the soul. The "unshackled" soul is victorious in death.

How are we -- with our suffering bodies bound by gravity and our perplexing, uncompromising souls "hastening toward eternity" -- supposed to exist in the dark valleys we often find ourselves dwelling? Gibran contends ...

"In the silence of the night you (the soul) visit The Beloved
And enjoy the sweetness of His presence.
This body ever remains,
The bitter victim of hope and separation.
This, my Soul, is agonizing torture.
Have mercy on me, my Soul!"
  

The poet draws his theme in the title of the work: "Have mercy on me, my Soul." Enjoying the pleasures and experiencing the suffering -- both inevitable peaks and depressions of life -- require God's mercy upon our souls. Those who do not look within and find meaningful communication and understanding of their own souls deny the gift of God. It is the soul that speaks with the Almighty and communicates our real reason for existence.

The wisdom we surely acquire, no matter how great its bounty, is weak and useless without Soul Power. Whether we call it antahkarana or soul searching, we must realize the soul, not the body, lives on and requires strengthening exercise. Our journey on earth is whole only if we feed the spirit even when we suffer pain.

Those with weeping souls who continually insist on finding material comfort or carnal pleasures to escape the pain do not comprehend that the mercies they bestow upon our souls, not the rewards they heap upon their physical selves, allow them to persist and, eventually, to grow in unison with God's purpose. Is it any wonder all love, beauty, and fortune mean nothing without a strong, virtuous soul?

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul?"

The King James Bible, Mark 8:36.

Instead of blaming others and finding temporary, fragile shelter in substances and in relationships  without lasting spiritual foundations, weeping souls must look within to sow seeds for future harvests. There, within each of us, is the power of mercy and the lasting love offered by God. I believe we will never fully comprehend our souls in this life, but unless we look towards them and seek clemency and strength, we will lead a hollow existence until both our body and our spirit fully expire.



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