Sunday, October 26, 2008

How to remember the dead

People we are with who have been good to us and/or have taught us something should be held in respect and high esteem at least in proportion to their contribution to us. We are not always in the presence of such people in fact we may meet some of them only once in our lives but we remember them, not necessarily for their person but also for the ideas or the good that they represent. We therefore remember them so that we can do good or apply the lesson they have taught us.

Some people have contributed to us, like they have contributed to the whole of humanity, without us ever having met them. These would include people such as the prophets, the saints, scientists such as Einstein, war heroes, etc.

I feel there is merit in remembering them, at least remembering them as the person that represents the ideas that they have given to us.

There are different ways of remembering such people, for example by making monuments or naming streets after them, by making the homes of such people into a museum and simply visiting them at their graves.

Some people who have touched us deeply like our parents and grandparents are also worthy of remembering whether we are with them or not.

I was going with my cousin to his house and while crossing a graveyard he asked us to stop by on his grandfather’s grave to pay our respects. When we got off into the graveyard in an Iranian city I saw beautiful black marble tablets with engravings on them decorated at times with flowers and some even with beautiful stones to go along with the flowers and the black marble. I found that most interesting. We kept on moving further till we came to the grave of my cousin’s grandfather who had written a piece of poetry that he had asked to be put as an epitaph on his grave. Seeing the grave had some dirt on it he took a pipe and washed the black marble. A few people came by on a grave a little further. While my cousin was cleaning the grave some drops of water fell over on the people who were a further away. They simply moved over a little bit. Once done my cousin asked if they wanted the pipe. They took it washed their grave and washed the next two graves on the side.

Coming to such a grave and remembering the person and what he represents I think is beautiful. The event that I have described shows the amount of respect with which the ones who have passed away are remembered in Iran.

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