Its sensibility is sponsored by the poems of Rumi and Attar, who are Persian poets of the 12th and 13th centuries. I guess it’s a religious song, just about our strangerhood on the Earth and how it’s resolved. ‘One by one, the guests arrive/Guests are coming through/The openhearted many/The brokenhearted few.’ [The guests ask] ‘Where is God? Where is truth? Where is life?’
More information about The Guests can be found at Celebrating Leonard Cohen’s First Live Performance Of The Guests In 27 Years – Madrid 2012: A Dossier On The Song.
A great video of a great rendition of The Guests can be viewed at Pristine Video: Leonard Cohen Performs The Guests On French TV – 1979.
The featured quotation is from Leonard Cohen: Remembering the Life and Legacy of the Poet of Brokenness by Mikal Gilmore (Rolling Stone: 30 November 2016) Note: The entire article – an excellent read – is available at the link.