respect and compassion. Since this is the case, we would not exchange this old age of ours for a hundred youths. Yes, I can tell you certainly that even if they were to give me ten years of the Old Said’s youth, I would not give one year of the New Said’s old age. I am content with my old age, and you too should be content with yours!
For a year or two in Istanbul after returning from being held as a prisoner-of-war, I was overcome by heedlessness. The politics of the day directed my attention away from myself and scattered it on the outside world. Then one day I was sitting on a high spot overlooking the valley of the Eyüb Sultan graveyard in Istanbul when I was overcome by a state of mind in which, while I was looking down on it, it seemed my private world was dying and my spirit was withdrawing. I said: “I wonder if it’s the inscriptions on the gravestones that are giving me such illusions?”, and I drew back my gaze. I looked not at the distance, but at the graveyard. Then the following was imparted to my heart: “This graveyard around you holds Istanbul a hundred times over, for Istanbul has been emptied here a hundred times. You cannot escape from the command of the All-Wise and Powerful One who has poured all the people of Istanbul into here; you are no exception; you too will depart.”
I left the graveyard and with those awesome thoughts entered a small cell in Sultan Eyüb Mosque where I had stayed many times before. I thought to myself, I am a guest in three respects: I am a guest in this tiny room, I am also a guest in Istanbul, and a guest in this world. A guest has to think of the road. Just as I shall leave this room, so one day I shall leave Istanbul, and yet another day I shall depart from this world.
While in this state of mind, I, my heart, was overwhelmed by a most pitiful, grievous sorrow. I was not losing only one or two friends; I would be parted from the thousands of people I loved in Istanbul, and I would also part from Istanbul, which I also loved much. And just as I would be parted from hundreds of thousands of friends in this world, so I would leave the beautiful world, with which I was captivated and I loved. While pondering over this, I climbed once more to that spot in the graveyard. I had been to the cinema from time to time to take lessons, and just then all the dead of Istanbul appeared to me to be walking around, like the cinema shows in the present the images of the past. And all the people I could see at that time appeared to be corpses walking around. My imagination told me: some of the dead in the graveyard appear to be walking around as though on the cinema-screen, so you should see the people of the present, who are bound