Monday, February 08, 2010

Osho ~ Alexander and Diogenes


Osho : When Alexander the Great was coming to India he met one great man, Diogenes. In their dialogue there is one point which is relevant. Diogenes asked him, "What are you going to do after you have conquered the whole world?"

Alexander said, "After I have conquered the whole world, I am going to relax, just like you."

Diogenes was having a sunbath, naked. He lived naked, by the side of a river, and he was lying in the sand enjoying the morning sun and the cool breeze.

Diogenes laughed and he said, "If after conquering the whole world you are just going to relax like me, why not relax right now? Is conquering the whole world a precondition for relaxation? I have not conquered the whole world."

Alexander felt embarrassed because what he was saying was right. Then Diogenes said, "Why are you wasting your life in conquering the world -- only to relax, finally, just like me. This bank of the river is big enough, you can come, your friends can come. It is miles long and the forest is beautiful. And I don't possess anything. If you like the place where I am lying down, I can change!"

Alexander said, "Perhaps you are right, but first I have to conquer the world."

Diogenes said, "It is up to you. But remember one thing: have you ever thought that there is no other world? Once you have conquered this world, you will be in difficulty."

It is said that Alexander became immediately sad. He said, "I have never thought about it. It makes me feel very sad that I am so close to conquering the world ... and I am only thirty-three, and there is no other world to conquer."

Diogenes said, "But you were thinking to relax. If there was another world, I think first you would conquer that and then relax. You will never relax because you don't understand a simple thing about relaxation -- it's either now or never. If you understand it, lie down, throw these clothes in the river.

If you don't understand, forget about relaxation. And what is the point in conquering the world? What are you going to gain by it? Except losing your life, you are not going to gain anything."

Alexander said, "I would like to see you again when I come back. Right now I have to go, but I would have loved to sit and listen to you. I have always thought of meeting you -- I have heard so many stories about you. But I have never met such a beautiful and impressive man as you. Can I do anything for you? Just a word, a hint from you, and it will be done."

Diogenes said, "If you can just stand a little to the side, because you are preventing the sun. That will be enough gratitude -- and I will remain thankful for my whole life."

When Alexander was leaving him, Diogenes told him, "Remember one thing: you will never be able to come back home because your ambition is too great and life is too short. You will never be able to fulfill your ambitions, and you will never be able to come back home."

And actually it happened that Alexander never could reach back home. He died when he was returning from India, just on the way.

A fictitious story has been prevalent for these two thousand years. The story has some significance, and some historicity also about it, because on the same day Diogenes also died.

Both died on the same day, Alexander a few minutes before, and Diogenes a few minutes after him; hence the story has come into being ... When they were crossing the river that is the boundary of this world and the kingdom of God, Alexander was ahead of Diogenes, just a few feet ahead, and he heard a laughter from behind.

It seemed familiar and he could not believe it -- it was Diogenes. He was very much ashamed, because this time he was also naked. Just to hide his embarrassment, he told Diogenes, "It must be an unprecedented event that on this river a world conqueror, an emperor, is meeting a beggar" -- because Diogenes used to beg.

Diogenes again laughed and said, "You are perfectly right, but on just one point you are wrong." And Alexander asked, "What is the point?"

Diogenes said, "The emperor is not where you think he is, nor is the beggar where you think. The beggar is ahead of me. You have come losing everything; you are the beggar. I have come living each single moment with such totality and intensity, so rich, so fulfilled, that I can only be called an emperor, not a beggar."

This story seems to be fictitious, because how can one know what happened? But it seems to be significant. The moment you know that life and existence are fleeting phenomena ... it does not mean you have to renounce them; it simply means: before they fly away, squeeze the juice of every moment.

That's where I differ from all the enlightened people of the world. They will say, "Renounce them, because they are changing." And I will say, "Because they are changing, squeeze the juice quickly. Before they escape, taste them, drink them, rejoice in them. Before the moments go away, make them a celebration, a dance, a song."

Because they are fleeting, that does not mean you have to renounce them. It simply means that you should be very alert, so nothing can escape without being squeezed completely.

This world has to be lived as intensely and totally as possible, and it is not against your awareness. In fact, you will have to be very aware not to miss a single moment. So awareness and enjoying this life can grow together simultaneously. And this is my vision of the whole man.
Source: “The Great Zen Master Ta Hui” - Osho

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