Ali Salami

Contemplations on Death By Sadeq Hedayat

What a terrifying and awe-inspiring word that is! Hearing it evokes heart-rending emotions: it robs the lips of laughter, the hearts of joy, brings darkness and depression and causes a thousand kinds of disturbing thoughts to pass before our eyes.

Life is inseparable from death. Without life there would be no death, and without death there would be no life. From the largest star in the sky to the smallest particle on earth, everything eventually dies: rocks, plants, animals come into the world one after the other and embark on a journey into nothingness, becoming mere dust in the corner of oblivion. The earth continues to spin indifferently in the infinite expanse. Nature begins to live anew on its remains: the sun shines brightly, the breeze whispers, the flowers are fragrant, the birds sing and all living creatures bustle about.

The sky smiles, the earth nourishes, and Death with his ancient scythe reaps the harvest of life…

Death looks at all beings with the same eye and makes their fates the same: he knows neither rich nor poor, lowly nor noble, and in the dark abyss he lays people, plants and animals side by side. Only in the graveyard do the tyrants and oppressors cease their tyranny, the innocent are not tortured, there are neither oppressors nor oppressed, the great and the small are lulled into a sweet sleep. What a peaceful and pleasant sleep it is that does not see the dawn, that does not hear the cries and tumult of life. It is the best refuge for the pains, sorrows, sufferings and injustices of life. The fiery passions are extinguished. All these conflicts, carnage, brutalities, struggles and vanities of mankind die down and find peace in the dark, cold and narrow bosom of the earth.

If there were no death, everyone would long for it; cries of despair would rise into the sky and curse nature. If life did not end, how bitter and frightening would it be?

When the hard trials of life extinguish the deceptive lights of youth, when the fountain of kindness dries up, when cold, darkness and ugliness take hold, it is death that remedies the situation and lays the bent body, the wrinkled face, the tired flesh in a bed of peace.

Oh death! You soothe the sorrow and suffering of life and lift the heavy burden from our shoulders. You give direction to the aimless, unhappy soul that wanders in dark days. You are the antidote to sorrow and despair and dry the tears of the unhappy. You are like a loving mother who takes her child in her arms after a stormy day, caresses it and rocks it to sleep. You are not the bitter, animal life that leads people astray and plunges them into terrible maelstroms. You are the one who laughs at human pettiness, arrogance, vanity, greed and lust and covers their shameful deeds with a veil. Who has not already tasted your bitter-sweet wine?

Men have made your face terrifying and flee from you, mistaking the radiant angel for an angry demon! Why do they fear and slander you? You are a bright light, but they see you as darkness; you are the harbinger of joy, but at your threshold they lament. You are not a messenger of sorrow, you are the healer of withered hearts. You open the gates of hope to the hopeless, you welcome the weary and exhausted caravan of life and free them from the toils of travel and exhaustion. You are worthy of praise; you possess eternal life…

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