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Osho Story on Alexander and Diogenes

Osho - Every man is born as a slave. It hurts to know it; we would like to be told that we are born as masters. We believe that we are masters -- nobody suspects it. The people who start suspecting their mastery are the only people who are capable of becoming, some day, masters. You doubt everything, but you never doubt your mastery over yourself, and that is the most doubtful thing, the most doubtable thing. What kind of mastery have you got? You are a slave, an utter slave of biological instincts, of sex, of anger, of greed, of ambition. You stink of all these things, you are full of all these things. And still you go on believing deep down somewhere that you are masters.

And rather than making an effort to destroy this slavery you start proving your mastery over others. You try to become Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan or Tamerlane. That is an effort to deceive yourself. That is an effort to prove something which is not there at all. You are trying to gather proofs about your mastery. Of course, if you become powerful enough over many people you can believe more easily that you are a master. It is easier for Alexander to believe that he is a master, but it is only a belief with no foundation to it. He is as much a slave as anybody else; maybe he is a far bigger slave than anybody else.

When he was coming to India, Alexander met a rare man, Diogenes. Had Diogenes been born in India he would have been considered a buddha; he was one of the awakened ones. Even Alexander was immensely impressed by him. He lived utterly naked by the side of a river. It was early morning when Alexander went to see him; he was lying naked on the bank of the river taking a sunbath. Seeing the man, feeling his presence, Alexander for the first time felt a kind of inferiority arising in him. He had come across many kings, he had defeated many kings, but here was a real king -- a master.

When you come across a master it is impossible not to feel the presence -- unless you are absolutely blind, absolutely deaf, utterly dead. Alexander must have been a little sensitive, a little alert, otherwise he would not have come to see this naked fakir. Just the fact that he came to see him, out of the way, shows that he had some deep feeling that all his possessions were not enough to make him contented: "There must be some other way to be contented. Life cannot be only possessions and power; life must have some more secrets to it."

He had heard many things about Diogenes: "He carries a lighted lamp in the day, in the full light of the day. Naked he is, but he carries only one thing in his hands -- a lamp, a lighted lamp. And people ask him, 'Why do you carry this lamp?' And he says, 'I am seeking and searching for a real man; I have not come across one yet. I carry this lamp so that I don't miss him.'"

A real man? Is he so rare? Alexander must have brooded over it. He must have thought, "I am a real man. Let me go and see this Diogenes." He had heard many stories about him: "He seems to be the most blissful person in the world. Nobody has ever seen him in anxiety, in anguish, in fear; he is utterly fearless."
Alexander had heard that once he was caught by a few people -- eight people were needed to catch this simple man -- but he told them, "Don't make so much effort, you need not. What do you want? Simply tell me."

They said, "We want to sell you in the slave market."
He said, "Then there is no need to strain yourselves so much -- I hate to give trouble to anybody. I am coming with you."

And he went with them, ahead of them. They followed him as if they were his followers. And when they reached the market where men were sold and purchased, everybody was attracted towards this beautiful man. He stood there on a platform and shouted, "Listen, all you slaves who have gathered here: a master is being sold! Is there any slave interested in purchasing a master?"

So many stories were in the air about Diogenes... Alexander slowly slowly became so interested that he went to see him. The very interest shows that there was some deep feeling in him about the futility of his own endeavors to conquer the world. And seeing Diogenes he immediately felt himself a nonentity, while Diogenes was an authentic being. Still he tried to laugh it away.

Diogenes said, "Stop laughing! Don't try to befool yourself! You can see the fact that you are missing life."
And Alexander said, "Yes, sir, I can feel it. For the first time I have seen a really alive person. What can I do for you? I have enough money, I can do anything. Just you say and it will be done."

Diogenes said, "I don't need anything. You may have all the money in the world, but I don't have any desire, so all your money is absolutely irrelevant. But one thing you can do is stand aside, because you are blocking the sun. That's all that I can ask from you and you will be kind enough if you can stand aside."

He didn't ask for anything. Alexander said to him, "If I have to come into the world another time, I will ask God to make me Diogenes instead of Alexander the Great."

Diogenes said, "Why wait for the next life? You can be Diogenes right now! Can't you see the point?" he said. "Nothing is needed to be a Diogenes. You are making so much effort to conquer the world and even if you succeed, what are you going to gain out of it? You will be as miserable as ever, in fact far more miserable, because right now your mind is occupied with the idea, with the ambition of conquering the world. Once you have conquered it you will be at a loss what to do. Better stop now!"

Alexander said, "I can understand -- you are right -- but I cannot stop in the middle of my journey. I have decided to conquer the world."

Diogenes said, "Then go, don't stop -- but death will stop you in the middle. It always stops everybody in the middle, and then you cannot do anything. Then you will remember me. And your victories won't help you at all. When death knocks on the door, a slave, a poor man, a great king, a world conqueror, all are the same -- they are all equal in the eyes of death. Death cannot knock at my door," Diogenes said. "Listen, and look into my eyes. I have conquered death. That is a real victory because I have come to know my real being which is deathless. I have come to experience my consciousness which was before I was born and which will be there after I am gone. I am eternal."

And the day Alexander died he remembered Diogenes -- with bitter tears, of course, because Diogenes was right: his whole life had been a sheer wastage. He had struggled and struggled for nothing.

You have heard the proverb: Nothing succeeds like success -- that is absolutely wrong. I suggest to you another proverb: Nothing fails like success. But because very few people succeed very few people come to know about it. Those who succeed, they always come to know the utter impotence of success.

Buddha says: A MAN IS NOT BORN TO MASTERY. The first thing to be understood is that you are a slave of unconscious forces. This is the beginning, the first step towards mastery; to recognize your slavery. To see that you are unconscious is the beginning of consciousness. But you go on throwing the responsibility on others, you never look inwards; for ANY causes you never look inwards.

Source - Osho Book "The Dhammapada, Vol12"

Osho on : Bodhidharma, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Dadu, Diogenes, Gorakh, Guru Nanak Dev, Hakim Sanai, Meera, Sahajo, Sarmad

Osho Stories on: Baal Shem, Naropa, Rabia, Ramanuja, Shirdi Sai Baba

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