Diogenes said, “You have seen me. Now don’t waste time, because life is short and the world is big – you may die before you conquer it. And have you ever considered…if you succeed in conquering this world, what are you going to do next? – because there is no other world than this. You will look simply foolish. And can I ask you, why are you taking so much trouble conquering the world? You call me strange – who is just having a beautiful sunbath – and you don’t think yourself strange, stupidly strange, that you are on your way to conquer the world, for what? What will you do when you have conquered the world?”
Alexander said, “I have never thought about it, to be frank with you. Perhaps I will relax and rest when I have conquered the world.”
Diogenes turned to the dog and said, “Do you hear? This man is mad. He is seeing me already resting, relaxing – without conquering a thing! And he will relax when he has conquered the whole world.”
Alexander felt ashamed. There was truth, so clear, so crystal clear – if you want to rest and relax, you can rest and relax now. Why postpone it for tomorrow? You are postponing it for an indefinite time. And meanwhile you will have to conquer the whole world, as if conquering the whole world is a necessary step in being relaxed and finding a restful life.
Alexander said, “I can understand…I am looking foolish before you. Can I do anything for you? I have really fallen in love with you. I have seen great kings, great generals, but I have never seen such a courageous man as you, who has not even moved, who has not even said ‘Good morning.’ Who has not bothered about me – on the contrary, who goes on talking to his dog! I can do anything, because the whole world is in my hands. You just say, and I will do it for you.”
Diogenes said, “Really? Then just do one thing: stand a little away from me, because you are blocking the sun. I am taking a sunbath, and you don’t understand even simple manners.”
Alexander remembered him continually. All through his journey up to India and back, that man haunted him: that he did not ask for anything. He could have given him the whole world just for the asking, but he asked only that Alexander move a little away because he was preventing the sun from reaching his body.
And as he was leaving, Diogenes had said, “Just remember two things, as a gift from Diogenes: one, that nobody has ever conquered the world. Something always remains unconquered – because the world is multi-dimensional; you cannot conquer it in all its dimensions in such a small life. Hence everybody who has gone to conquer the world has died frustrated.
“Secondly, you will never come back home, because this is how ambition goes on leading you farther and farther: it goes on telling you, ‘Just a few miles more. A few miles more and you will be attaining the very ambition of your heart.’ And people go on chasing hallucinations, and life goes on slipping through their hands. Just remember these two things as gifts from a poor man, a nobody.”
Alexander thanked him – although in the cool morning he was perspiring. That man was such…each thing he said would make you perspire even in the cold breeze on a cold morning, because he would exactly hit the wounds that you are hiding.