Rest In Peace?


The cricketing world was left in shock upon hearing the news of Phil Hughes’ death after being hit by a bouncer. Social media was filled with RIP messages. I’ve always wondered what ‘Rest In Peace’ is supposed to mean.

Indian philosophy is about motion and change. It is not about permanence. Even death is not permanent because it is believed that there is life after death. One might disregard this as a myth, but I believe it is not incorrect. When an organism dies, it is fed on by bacteria and microbes that decompose the body and return the elements to nature. These are then absorbed by other organisms. So there is movement even in death. This is what it means when they say that the body might die but the soul is immortal; it only changes bodies. Death is not permanent; it is the beginning of new life. The ancient Egyptians recognised this too. Precious stones, jewellery and other goods were kept inside the tombs of rulers to aid in the ‘journey’ after death.

If death is indeed not about rest but about moving on, then why do we say ‘Rest In Peace’?