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A Story of Alexander the Great

Recalled by Shahid Khatai, Dec 26

I was blessed to be in beloved Mohanji’s presence this Christmas on December 25, 2013 in Bangalore city.

There was a group of about 15 people who gathered together at Respected Preeti Duggalji’s apartment.

We started with some breathing exercises and Om chanting.

Then we all did the 360 degree meditation.

When we opened our eyes it was a delight to see Mohanji sitting before us.

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Mohanji narrated a wonderful story which I would like to share.

A story of Alexander the Great

This is a story about what “greatness” is all about. Alexander The Great is considered as the conqueror of the world in his time. His intent and intention was to become the emperor of the world. He set out with his army to conquer the world. Before he started his journey, he went to his teacher (guru) Aristotle and asked him, what he can get for him, when he returns back victorious after his conquest of the world. The master replied ” I have just one desire. I would like to meet and be with a great master from India.” Alexander respected Aristotle and considered him as the greatest in knowledge and wisdom of his time. He believed that none can be better than Aristotle. Nevertheless, determined that no desires of his guru should be unattended, he promised to bring him the best of masters from India and started on his journey. Alexander believed that it would be a piece of cake for him as anyone who is worth his salt would want to serve the world conqueror for special favors or at least nobody would dare to be on the wrong side of the emperor.
After conquering many lands on his way, he finally arrived in India. He killed many and conquered many kingdoms. His army killed and looted many. Many kings fell at his feet and begged for life and pardon. Thus, bloated in success and ego, he enjoyed the Indian hospitality.

Aristotle

Aristotle whom Alexander considered as the greatest in knowledge and wisdom of his time

When it was time to return, Alexander suddenly remembered his promise to Aristotle. He need to find a guru of stature from India and take him to his country to present him to his guru. He sent his soldiers around to fetch the best of them all. His soldiers searched around the whole of his newly conquered kingdom. He asked many people. Most of them said that those who are visible in public are usually shallow and the real ones are up in the jungles. They went searching in the forest to find real gurus. People kept guiding them and finally, as per the recommendation from many people, they arrived at one person whom everyone considered a true great master.

They were appalled to see a totally naked man, dark, lying naked on a rock, looking at the mid day sun at the river bank. He was completely occupied in his mission of gazing at the sun that he was not even aware that people are around him and staring at him. For a moment, the soldiers thought that they have been fooled by the villagers. He seemed to be a mad man and not a great master to them. But, the villagers convinced them that he is indeed the most powerful one in the whole region. Thus convinced, the soldiers decided to speak to him, offer him money, riches and a good life and take him back with them to the emperor. They spoke at length. He remained still. They spoke again. They used translators and spoke different languages. No effect. He continued to stare at the sun unaware of all the commotion around him. They decided to get close to him and lift him up. The rock was burning hot and it was difficult to step on it, even with their leather foot wears! They wondered how he would be lying down on such a hot surface! They tried to convince him again. He remain still. Frustrated, they lifted him up, put a cloth on him and took him to the Emperor.

Mohanji quote

When he was brought to the emperor, he was least impressed. Alexander thought they have been fooled and the one in front cannot be a great master, instead only a man. He was disgusting to look at, and totally naked. He ordered him to be taken away, bathed, clothed and brought back to him later. The soldiers instantly set about to handle his orders. They bathed him against his will. Draped a clothed around him and presented him back at the emperor’s court.

The emperor looked at him and tried his best to be polite. “Happy to see you. I have chosen you to accompany me to meet my teacher, the great Aristotle”. The saint did not care. He was looking and feeling the cloth on his body as if it was a snake trying to strangle him. He wanted to remove it, but, could not, since the soldiers held him like a criminal, fearing that he may offend the emperor. As his silence annoyed Alexander further and further, he decided to impress him. Alexander said “Do you know who I am?” The saint looked at him without interest. He continued ” I am Alexander the Great. I am the only world conqueror in the history of mankind. I have conquered your land too. The very place you stand belongs to me”. Hearing this, the saint started to laugh hysterically. He was delirious with laughter which made Alexander extremely furious. He shouted “STOP THAT”, and asked “What is so funny?”. The saint asked “You an emperor? To me, you look like an ignorant child who is filthy rich and totally uncontrollable. I cannot imagine you as any conqueror!”. Alexander as well as his people were stunned and spell bound at this naked man’s audacity and fearlessness. He continued “What have you conquered until now? Where is all the earth that you conquered? Show me! You only managed to unsettle crores of people who were living peacefully because of your greed. You only snatched their peace. You and your people killed many. You destroyed families who were living peacefully. What did you gain? Show me what you got from all this apart from more ego?” He requested Alexander to get him a square wooden plank and a rod. Alexander’s soldiers fetched that for the saint. He asked the rod to be put on the ground and put the plank on it. He asked Alexander to try and balance on the plank and keep the plank off the ground on the rod. Alexander was already feeling terribly insulted. He asked one of his soldiers to do his deed. One of the soldiers tried his best to balance himself on the plank on the rod. When he place one feet on one side of the plank, the other side rose up. When he put his feet on the other side, the other side rose up like a seesaw. With great difficulty, he kept the plank off the ground for a few seconds before one side or the other touched the ground again. 

Mohanji quote

Looking at this, the saint laughed and laughed. Others also laughed. Alexander was getting more and more irritated. He asked the soldier on the plank to get off it and remove it from his space. He looked at the saint in wonder, as to what he wanted to prove with this silly game. The saint said ” You cannot hold anything in balance. You can only disturb. You can own nothing that belongs to earth. You can conquer nothing. You cannot take anything from here, except some transitory wealth. That wealth will not stay with anyone forever. It changes hands. If is foolishness to think, believe and be egoistic about “owning” and “conquering” anything that belongs to earth. As soon as you left the lands that you disturbed, they went back to their old ways, licking their wounds which you had created and they suffered out of their helplessness.  You could not make their lived better. You could only hurt them and here, you are boasting as if you achieved something. The soldier could not balance on a plank on a rod. You are the soldier. You cannot own what you think you conquered. The land belongs to the earth. The earth belongs to none of us. We belong to the earth because we have a body and we occupy its space. Do not be foolish anymore. Go back to your country and leave me alone at peace.” He continued “There is only one thing that is worth conquering in one’s lifetime. It is one’s own mind. Taming the mind is the greatest and highest task that any man can enter into in any life time. You are far away from that awareness too. You do not even know that you possess an untamed mind. You are not aware that your mind is uncontrollable and is steadily pulling you down. Your mind is making you and breaking you. You have a long way to go. You have conquered nothing, if you have not conquered your own mind. You have achieved nothing, if you possess an untamed mind riddled with desires! No earthly possessions can be taken beyond your grave. You are nothing more than an ignorant child. You are no emperor! You are a pauper from within! You can become an emperor only when your mind is conquered. I am the emperor here. You are just a slave of your own mind.”

Alexander was shaken, yet he felt powerless to retaliate. For the first time in his life, even though he has defeated mighty kings and empires, he felt totally defeated. He felt as if the saint ran over him completely. He felt drained. One naked man defeated the conqueror of the world with just his words, without any weapons! This was unbelievable. Alexander would never forget this incident, however hard he may try to. Even though his ego will never accept it, he knew that this was indeed a great master. He had the uncanny power to hit the right spots of vulnerability. One who is not a slave of his own mind is the true emperor! What a truth! And such a man needs nothing from anyone! What a freedom! Alexander was shaken to the core.

Still, his ego did not permit an inner transformation. His ego was hurt. Deeply hurt and felt humiliated. He ordered the saint to be delivered back to his hot rock and decided not to take any more “risks” of this kind which may pull down his status in the eyes of his people.

Mohanji quote

Soon, he concluded his expedition and returned back to his homeland. When he arrived at the city, it was dark. He waited till the next dawn to meet his guru Aristotle and pay respects to him. When he arrived at Aristotle’s door step, he was sitting just inside his door, meditating and basking in the soothing light of the morning sun with his eyes closed. When Alexander came up the stairs and stood in front of his guru in reverence, his presence blocked the sun rays that were falling on him. He opened his eyes. Alexander, brimming with enthusiasm uttered to his Guru, “Master, with your grace and blessings, I have returned back victorious. I am the first world conqueror in the history of mankind. I will go down in the history as the first in the world and you as my Guru will be revered by many generations to come as the master of the first world conqueror.” Alexander expected Aristotle to get up in happiness of seeing his dear disciple and hearing about his grand glory. Aristotle stared at him, obviously a bit annoyed at his interrupted meditation. Alexander did not quite notice his discomfort even though he was surprised at his guru’s indifference at his declaration of success. He continued, “Master, I apologize deeply that I could not fulfill your desire of meeting a high quality saint from India. There was none. Whomever people recommended were terribly un-presentable. Those who were reasonably presentable were only after wealth, name and fame. So, I could not accomplish your desire. Pardon me. Please command me any other task which you deem that I can fulfill for you. I request you… ” Aristotle looked at Alexander with absolute dispassion. He muttered “MOVE AWAY, LET THE SUN LIGHT FALL ON ME”. Aristotle had no other desires for the future. He did have a deep desire to meet a saint from India. But, he never lived in the future and hence never expected anything. His current desire and that was the only desire at that time was to bask in the morning sun. Alexander did not understand this point. He withdrew himself from his doorstep. While walking back to his carriage, he threw his hand up and muttered to himself “HA! These saints. How will one understand them? What do they want? They are all the same. Nothing can make them happy or excited! My guru and the naked saint who sits on a hot rock are the same. Nobody can understand them or know what they actually want! It is unimaginable that they need nothing!!!”

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Thank you to Respected Preetiji for organizing both the Power of purity and 360 degree meditation in Bangalore city. I got to meet Mohanji on both these days and it was wonderful just to BE in his divine presence ♥

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2 comments on “A Story of Alexander the Great

  1. Sai Ram, nice to read about your experience.

  2. Exercise Yoga…will not make any one Yogi. To be Yogi one need to meditate with focussed mann (heart) and mind in quest of the ultimate. Ashtang Yoga by Patanjali is one such path that defines Yoga as ” Mann ki vratiyon ka nirodh hee yoga hey” means to restrict the desires and flickerings of heart and mind is Yoga. So bring to balance the various planks inside the body and since they can’t be balanced fully, tilt it in the Bhakti or service or search of the ultimate, the God, Sri Krishna, the Onkar and be a Yogi and enjoy the supreme understanding and peace that lies in the ultimate happiness (Param anand). Om shanti shanti shanti.

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