The Book of Mirdad
by Mikhail Naimy
"Whoever cannot find a temple in his heart, the same can never find his heart in any temple." Written by a close friend and biographer of Kahlil Gibran, The Book of Mirdad is a masterpiece of spiritual wisdom to rank alongside The Prophet. It is a timeless allegorical story about a mysterious stranger, Mirdad, who visits the remote mountain monastery of the Ark. There he assumes the role of teacher to the nine chosen Companions, and through his dialogue with them, we are given teachings which show us how it is possible to transform our consciousness and uncover the God within, by dissolving our sense of duality. The Book of Mirdad is among the great religious classics of the twentieth century and deserves to be the constant companion of any spiritual seeker.
Most of my close friends who are also seekers have read this book and have been taking about the story for quite a few years now. As the book is out-of-print I managed to get a copy from the local library and read it.
The book describes the story of Mirdad, who decides to leave everything behind to go and visit a remote temple which was built hundreds of years ago and is on the top of a mountain. The path up the mountain is dangerous but he perseveres in his path and, after losing everything, through an accident on a dark night he finds himself at the temple. However, this is only beginning.
What follows are chapters of individual spiritual gems that the seeker can either read as a story or pick at random. Although originally written in the early 20th century, the book manages to accurately describe so-called 'modern' life! The text is also so beautifully worded that you could read the phrases endlessly. With a few words Mikhail Naimy can keep you in silent thought for quite a while and also leave a warm light in your heart.
Here is a short extract from the book:
You do not know the joy of Love so long as there is hatred in your hearts. Were you to feed all things the sap of Life except a certain tiny worm, that certain tiny worm alone would embitter your life. For in loving anything, or anyone, you love in truth but yourselves. Likewise in hating anything, or anyone, you hate in truth but yourselves. For that which you hate is bound up inseparably with that which you love, like the face and the reverse of the same coin, If you would be honest with yourselves, then must you love what you hate and what hates you before you love what you love and what loves you.
Love is not a virtue. Love is a necessity; more so than bread and water; more so than light and air.
Let no one pride himself on loving. But rather breathe in Love and breathe it out just as unconsciously and freely as you breathe in the air and breathe in out.
For Love needs no one to exalt it. Love will exalt the heart that it finds worthy of itself.
Seek no rewards for Love. Love is reward sufficient unto Love, as Hate is punishment sufficient unto Hate.
Nor keep any accounts with Love. For Love accounts to no one but itself.
Love neither lends nor borrows; Love neither buys nor sells; but when it gives, it gives its all; and when it takes, it takes its all. Its very taking is a giving. Its very giving is a taking. Therefore is it the same to-day, to-morrow and forevermore. "
Aldo Cauchi Savona