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Chapter 6: There Is No Meaning

Alexander said, “I will come to you to learn the secret, but not now. I am on the way - half the world, more than half the world I have won, but there is a remaining part. I have to become a world conqueror, then I will come.”

Diogenes said, “Nobody has ever been a world conqueror. Something or other always remains to be done. The dream is never complete and the desire is never fulfilled. If you really understand me, and if you really see that I am happy without bothering about winning the whole world, then you can also be happy without it.”

Logically, intellectually, Alexander understood it. But he said, “I will come later. This is not the right time for me.”

When he was leaving Diogenes, Diogenes said, “Remember, you will die before you have conquered the world; everybody has died and you cannot be an exception.”

And it happened. Alexander never reached back home. Returning from India, he died on the way. He must have remembered Diogenes, that naked fakir, in his last moments.

And then there has been another story; I cannot vouch for it. There is a story that on the same day Diogenes also died. And they met on the way to the other world, passing the river that flows between this world and that. They met on the river. Diogenes started laughing loudly, and he said, “Look, do you remember, you fool? You died, and you died in the middle, and the victory was not complete.”

Just to save his face, Alexander also tried to laugh but he could not. Just to save his face he said, “Yes, this is strange, the meeting of an emperor and a naked beggar in this river. It may not have happened before, it may not happen again.”

Diogenes laughed even more uproariously and he said, “You are right, but you don’t understand who is the emperor and who is the slave. And who is the emperor and who is the beggar - that you don’t know exactly. There you are wrong. Otherwise you are right, it is the meeting of an emperor and a beggar, but I am the emperor and you are the beggar. You were begging for the whole world - you are the biggest beggar ever. And I lived like an emperor, but look what has happened to your empire..”

Now even Alexander was naked - because everything has to be left on this shore - and he was feeling very shy and awkward, embarrassed. But Diogenes was not embarrassed. He said, “Knowing this well, that someday one has to become naked, I threw away those clothes myself. Now look how embarrassed you are feeling before God. I will stand laughing, and you will feel guilty and embarrassed and everything. Everything is wrong around you.”

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