Chapter 5: Sit in the Center of the Circle
But to keep his face, he said to Diogenes, “It is a great coincidence that an emperor is meeting a beggar by this river which is the boundary line of the world and paradise.” He was saying that, “I am the emperor and you are the beggar.”
Diogenes said, “You are absolutely right. But there is some misunderstanding. The beggar is ahead of me and the emperor is behind you. I was as free when I was on the earth. I had no possessions, no power, no prestige. I simply enjoyed my life in utter freedom without bothering about what people say. You were concerned about conquering the world, so you had to compromise, you had to give thousands of concessions of all kinds, you had to be cunning, diplomatic. You were a beggar there too, and here now you are still a beggar. I was an emperor there also. Nobody ever challenged my emperorhood and I told you - have you forgotten? - that your conquest may not be completed and you may not have time to rest and relax. Now, what have you to say about it?”
Alexander said, “Forgive me, I was too egoistic. Had I listened to you and rested by your side, at least a few years would have been of joy, silence, meditation, peace, love. But I did not listen to you.”
There are thousands of ways of getting into this trip of power, politics, money, knowledge, anything where man starts bragging about himself as special.
The psychology behind this worshipping of tigers and lions symbolizes the worship of power. So man on the one hand worshipped them and on the other hand killed them. I was a guest of the Maharaja of Bhavnagar. He took me around his palace. And I saw all over the palace hundreds of heads of lions hanging on the walls or the full lion stuffed standing in the corridors. I said, “Who has done this?”
He said, “My father was a great hunter. He has killed more lions than anybody else in India.”
I said, “You call it hunting. And if a lion had killed your father, what would you have called it? A disaster. You would not call it hunting. And what is this hunting? From far away sitting on a tree with a machine gun, a poor animal with no arms to defend himself or to fight.killing him and rejoicing in this killing!”
I told the Maharaja, “Your father must have been mad. Are you still continuing this madness? These things come as a heritage. I see in your eyes while you are showing me all this nonsense a great pride, as if your father had done some good to humanity. You should be ashamed of being the son of a man who unnecessarily destroyed such beautiful animals.”
A note about the lions.