When he was coming to India, Alexander met a rare man, Diogenes. Had Diogenes been born in India he would have been considered a buddha; he was one of the awakened ones. Even Alexander was immensely impressed by him. He lived utterly naked by the side of a river. It was early morning when Alexander went to see him; he was lying naked on the bank of the river taking a sunbath. Seeing the man, feeling his presence, Alexander for the first time felt a kind of inferiority arising in him. He had come across many kings, he had defeated many kings, but here was a real king – a master.
When you come across a master it is impossible not to feel the presence – unless you are absolutely blind, absolutely deaf, utterly dead. Alexander must have been a little sensitive, a little alert, otherwise he would not have come to see this naked fakir. Just the fact that he came to see him, out of the way, shows that he had some deep feeling that all his possessions were not enough to make him contented: “There must be some other way to be contented. Life cannot be only possessions and power; life must have some more secrets to it.”
He had heard many things about Diogenes: “He carries a lighted lamp in the day, in the full light of the day. Naked he is, but he carries only one thing in his hands – a lamp, a lighted lamp. And people ask him, ‘Why do you carry this lamp?’ And he says, ‘I am seeking and searching for a real man; I have not come across one yet. I carry this lamp so that I don’t miss him.’”
A real man? Is he so rare? Alexander must have brooded over it. He must have thought, “I am a real man. Let me go and see this Diogenes.” He had heard many stories about him: “He seems to be the most blissful person in the world. Nobody has ever seen him in anxiety, in anguish, in fear; he is utterly fearless.”
Alexander had heard that once he was caught by a few people – eight people were needed to catch this simple man – but he told them, “Don’t make so much effort, you need not. What do you want? Simply tell me.”
They said, “We want to sell you in the slave market.”
He said, “Then there is no need to strain yourselves so much – I hate to give trouble to anybody. I am coming with you.”
And he went with them, ahead of them. They followed him as if they were his followers. And when they reached the market where men were sold and purchased, everybody was attracted towards this beautiful man. He stood there on a platform and shouted, “Listen, all you slaves who have gathered here: a master is being sold! Is there any slave interested in purchasing a master?”
So many stories were in the air about Diogenes…. Alexander slowly, slowly became so interested that he went to see him. The very interest shows that there was some deep feeling in him about the futility of his own endeavors to conquer the world. And seeing Diogenes he immediately felt himself a nonentity, while Diogenes was an authentic being. Still he tried to laugh it away.
Diogenes said, “Stop laughing! Don’t try to befool yourself! You can see the fact that you are missing life.”
And Alexander said, “Yes, sir, I can feel it. For the first time I have seen a really alive person. What can I do for you? I have enough money, I can do anything. Just you say and it will be done.”