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Sunday December 5, 2021

The Prophet: On Death

The Prophet on Death illustration Ashok Bhowmik
You would know the secret of death.

Then Almitra spoke, saying, We would ask now of Death.

And he said:

You would know the secret of death.

But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.

If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;

And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.

Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.

Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?

Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance. And now it was evening.

And Almitra the seeress said, Blessed be this day and this place and your spirit that has spoken.

And he answered, Was it I who spoke? Was I not also a listener?

‘The Prophet’ is now in the public domain. Text reproduced from The Project Gutenberg Ebook

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Ashok Bhowmik
Ashok Bhowmik is an Indian artist born in Kolkata. He studied art at the prestigious Govt. College of Art & Crafts in Kolkata and later joined the same institution as a faculty member. He later joined Kala Bhavan, the art department of Biswa Bharati University in Santiniketan. He is now a resident of Santiniketan and spends his retirement in the cultivation of arts. His art reflects social and political themes.

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