Sushil Kumar's Blog

straight from my heart and soul

The Saint by Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran is my favourite storyteller, with lesser words and great social message, deeply embedded in the story, his stories always has surprising ends. It was another master storyteller Oscar Wilde who said “every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” But this story ‘The Saint’ is one step ahead to Oscar Wilde’s concept of sinners. It says if your harmless lie may comfort a restless soul then let it be happen.

In my youth I once visited a saint in his silent grove beyond the hills; and as we were conversing upon the nature of virtue a brigand came limping wearily up the ridge. When he reached the grove he knelt down before the saint and said, “O saint, I would be comforted! My sins are heavy upon me.”
And the saint replied, “My sins, too, are heavy upon me.”
And the brigand said, “But I am a thief and a plunderer.”
And the saint replied, “I too am a thief and a plunderer.”
And the brigand said, “But I am a murderer, and the blood of many men cries in my ears.”
And the saint replied, “I am a murderer, and in my ears cries the blood of many men.”
And the brigand said, “I have committed countless crimes.”
And the saint replied, “I too have committed crimes without number.”
Then the brigand stood up and gazed at the saint, and there was a strange look in his eyes. And when he left us he went skipping down the hill.
And I turned to the saint and said, “Wherefore did you accuse yourself of uncommitted crimes? See you not this man went away no longer believing in you?”
And the saint answered, “It is true he no longer believes in me. But he went away much comforted.”
At that moment we heard the brigand singing in the distance, and the echo of his song filled the valley with gladness.

Buddha with Angulimala

Buddha with Angulimala

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9 thoughts on “The Saint by Kahlil Gibran

  1. Saint was not telling the lie at all if you bother for deeper meaning. Nor was he telling it for satisfaction of the other person. He was breaking the myth of superiority of one person over other.

    • No, the saint was lying to comfort the brigand to show that the brigand was not the only sinner. Doesn’t the author asks “Wherefore did you accuse yourself of uncommitted crimes?”

  2. Hi Sushil,

    This is a lovely fable. The saint clearly guided the brigand to shift his perspective about himself. As you read this today, what learning do you see for our more complex world?


  3. VIOLETA on said:

    Very interesting fable… It got me thinking… Is it better for the individual and the world to rehabilitate criminals or to comfort them? Does comfort rehabilitate or does it make the criminal comfortable in his criminal activities? At the same time, I wonder if this fable is about roles. We all have a role to play. Police officers, judges, and lawyers play the role of judge to help keep the streets safe. But to keep balance, i guess the world also needs an opposite and that was the role the saint played — no judgement, just acceptance and comfort. Hmmh… interesting. 😀

    • For our own faults we act like advocate to save ‘us’ and for the faults of ‘others’ we act like ‘judge’ to ridicule and condemn them. This is the reason why we always seek peace and calm in outer world and not within our own mind and soul. 🙂

      • VIOLETA on said:

        So true… it’s so much easier to point fingers and meddle in other people’s problems.

  4. VIOLETA on said:

    I just came across this quote and immediately thought about you and this fable. 🙂

    “Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” ~ Mother Teresa

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