Self-knowledge XVII by Khalil Gibran
And a man said, "Speak to us of Self-Knowledge."
And he answered, saying:
Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always know in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.
And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.
Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.
Having self-knowledge is something really important to all human beings, which is extremely hard to achieve. In order to get that sense of self-knowledge, one must know what it is first. Through his poem titled self-knowledge, the poet Khalil Gibran tries to explain the nature of self-knowledge and the depths of our souls. He conveys to the readers that there are many things about ourselves that we are still unaware of.
This poem is solely devoted to the explanation and clarification of the concept self-knowledge. The poem is written in third person point of view. In the third line, day and night could be symbolized as happiness and sadness. The narrator is trying to convey to us that we already know the reasons for our happiness and sadness that happens to us. The narrator symbolizes our inner selves as treasure. The narrator is saying that there should be no scales to weigh our unknown treasure. Unknown treasure here could mean that we do not know what are truly inside unless we self-evaluate ourselves. The narrator here is trying to imply that we have a lot of things that we are unaware of ourselves. That is why the narrator said, "let there be no scales", because there could be more than one thing that we do not know about ourselves. The narrator is then using metaphor to compare our soul or inner self to sea, which has no boundaries and no measures. It is limitless. On the next line, it says, "Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth",( Gibran) which again ties back to the concept that there are many things that we are unaware of ourselves. When the narrator says "the truth", he is only implying that there is only one truth. When he says, " a truth", it means that we just found out only one truth, and we have many more truths to find out. And finally he ends the poem with a beautiful imagery and also a comparison using simile. He compares the soul, which is considered as the innermost substance of us to a lotus with countless petals. Our soul is going to keep on unfolding itself forever.
The purpose of this poem was to convey to the audience about what is self-knowledge and why is it important. The poet achieves this purpose through various ways like comparing our soul to a lotus flower with countless petals.