Chapter 1: No-self Actualization
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.
The judge looked sternly down at the defendant. “Young man, it is alcohol and alcohol alone that is responsible for your present sorry state.”