Chapter 1: Better than a Hundred Years
Diogenes was going to the river one day with his begging bowl. He was thirsty, it was hot, and he wanted to drink water. And then on the way, just when he was on the bank, a dog passed him by, running, panting, jumped into the river, had a good bath, drank to his heart’s content. The idea arose in Diogenes’ mind: “This dog is freer than me - he does not have to carry a begging bowl. And if he can manage, why can’t I manage without a begging bowl? This is my only possession, and I have to keep an eye on it because it can be stolen. Even in the night once or twice I have to feel whether it is still there or gone.”
He threw the begging bowl into the river, bowed down to the dog, thanked him for the great message that he had brought for him from God.
This man, who had nothing, created jealousy in Alexander’s mind. How miserable he must have been! He confessed to Diogenes that, “If ever again God is giving me birth, I will ask him, ‘This time, please don’t make me Alexander - make me Diogenes.’”
Diogenes laughed uproariously, and he called the dog - because they had become friends by now, they had started living together - he called the dog and he said, “Look, listen, what nonsense he is talking about! next life he wants to be Diogenes! Why next life? Why postpone? Who knows about the next life? Even the next day is uncertain, the next moment is not certain - what to say about the next life! If you really want to be a Diogenes, you can be right this moment, herenow. Throw your clothes into the river! Forget all about conquering the world! That is sheer stupidity and you know it.”
“And you have confessed that you are miserable, and you have confessed that Diogenes is in a far better, more blissful state. So why not be a Diogenes right now? Lie down on the bank of the river where I am taking my sunbath! This bank is big enough for both of us.”
Alexander could not accept the invitation, of course. He said, “Thank you for your invitation. Right now I cannot do it, but next life..”
Diogenes asked him, “Where are you going? And what will you do even if you have conquered the world?”
Alexander said, “Then I will rest.”
Diogenes said, “This seems to be absolutely absurd - because I am resting right now!”
If Alexander is not happy, if Adolf Hitler is not happy, if Rockefellers and Carnegies are not happy, the people who have all the money of the world, if they are not happy, the people who have all the power in the world, if they are not happy..