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Sunday December 5, 2021

The Prophet: On Religion

The Prophet On religion illustration Ashok Bhowmik

And an old priest said, Speak to us of Religion.

And he said:

Have I spoken this day of aught else?

Is not religion all deeds and all reflection,

And that which is neither deed nor reflection, but a wonder and a surprise ever springing in the soul, even while the hands hew the stone or tend the loom?

Who can separate his faith from his actions, or his belief from his occupations?

Who can spread his hours before him, saying, “This for God and this for myself; This for my soul, and this other for my body?”

All your hours are wings that beat through space from self to self. He who wears his morality but as his best garment were better naked.

The wind and the sun will tear no holes in his skin.

And he who defines his conduct by ethics imprisons his song-bird in a cage.

The freest song comes not through bars and wires.

And he to whom worshipping is a window, to open but also to shut, has not yet visited the house of his soul whose windows are from dawn to dawn.

Your daily life is your temple and your religion.

Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.

Take the plough and the forge and the mallet and the lute,

The things you have fashioned in necessity or for delight.

For in revery you cannot rise above your achievements nor fall lower than your failures.

And take with you all men: For in adoration you cannot fly higher than their hopes nor humble yourself lower than their despair.

And if you would know God be not therefore a solver of riddles.

Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children.

And look into space; you shall see Him walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning and descending in rain.

You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees.

‘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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