We all want to be known and try very hard that people don’t forget us after our body leave this world. We want people to notice us, to remember us and to miss us. We fear that we will have to face death one day but we also fear that our friends, family members and even this world will not think about us once we are gone. The second death comes when our mark will be erased from this world and no one will remember that once there was this man or a woman. We spent lots of time in creating our identity and then spend more time to keep the identity and we expect people to remember it even when we are not alive. We are so attached to this so called identity that we waste our human life.
We fear that we will die again when people will forget us and we will face our second death. I read this idea in the book “Have a little faith” by Mitch Albom and was touched immensely. This is so profound that we work hard for our entire life just to delay the second death, but we all know that it is going to come just like the first one. Whatever we do and whatever we leave behind, one day will come when our friends, relatives and this world will forget us and that is how the life works. Then why do we spend so much time in acquiring wealth for our kids and grandkids? Why do we make temples and write down our names in the list of trustees? Why can’t we just do a small act of kindness every single day and live the life in the current moment?
We can go to any limit to be known and that is well explained by Mitch in his book. I would like to put his quotes as a reference as he has done it perfectly. It is with reference to America, but I see most of it reflects for other countries too. “The second death. To think that you died and no one would remember you. I wondered if this was why we tried so hard to make our mark in America. To be known. Think of how important celebrity has become. We sing to get famous; expose our worst secrets to get famous; lose weight, eat bugs, even commit murder to get famous. Our young people post their deepest thoughts on public web sites. They run cameras from their bedrooms. It’s as if we are screaming Notice Me! Remember Me! Yet the notoriety barely lasts. Names quickly blur and in time are forgotten.”
It all depends on our intentions. Sometimes I visit one Mother Teressa home near my place where they take care of street people. I find it very strange when people come to donate and want their names to be written somewhere. Many a times they themselves have no idea what they are looking for, but they just ask the supervisor to write their name somewhere. I saw one guy who was literally desperate to be known. He donated some food and normally supervisor gives you receipt if you have paid cash. Supervisor explained the same to that guy, but he was disappointed that his name was not going anywhere. He argued for almost ten minutes to find if there is anyway where he can get something to prove that he has donated food. he left with lots of disappointment. Now I leave it to you to decide what was his intention.
I have also seen people who will not help their poor relatives, but will donate crores of rupees to build temples. We fail to realize that if we really want to live forever, then we will have to stay in the hearts of people and not in the minds of people. This is only possible when we act with the intention of kindness and not expecting anything in return, not even delaying the second death. If I have to think of the people who will live forever, then names that comes in my mind are Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teressa and Nelson Mandela. They are great examples of kindness. They gave their life for others and lived selflessly. Mother Teressa did not expect anything in return, in fact she just gave love to each and every person she met. Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela spent their life for their countries without expecting in return to be known.
All these great people lived selflessly and gave only love. I know that we cannot reach to such greatness, but even if we can become 1% of what they were then the kindness will flourish on the earth for longer time.They never worried whether world will remember them or not. When we stop running after creating the identity, we find our true self. Instead of finding the answer to question “who am I?” to the world, ask to your inner self. Instead of worrying about world to remember you, work on what you can give to this world selflessly. Both deaths are inevitable but the question is how you make your and others life beautiful.
I think it all comes with the understanding that we are a soul residing in the physical body. The day we will realize that we are a soul, we will be relived from many struggles of life. I am not claiming that I know anything about the soul, but yes somewhere I have started realizing that life is much more than we think and the purpose of our life is not to be known but to touch lives. I try to do my part by writing on this blog and hopefully you find it useful, but my search is still on.