Alexander went through many, many places and he asked people, “I would like to know about someone who has found himself, because I don’t want to take some amateur; I want somebody who has arrived home.” They all indicated one man, saying, “On the way you will find, near a mountain, by the side of a river, an old man. In this area there are many sannyasins, but they are still seekers. Only that old man is no longer a seeker. He has arrived. He has found who he is.”
Alexander sent one of his generals to the sage. And the general asked him, “Alexander the Great wants you to be his guest, and he wants to take you to Greece, his homeland. You will be given all facilities, all comforts, all luxuries – whatever you need.”
The old man laughed, and he said, “It would be better…bring your Alexander the Great himself to me. I don’t talk to the servants. Bring the master himself!” The general was a great general himself, but he had never heard such an authoritative voice. He had fought in many wars, invaded many countries, but he had never encountered such a lion. He could not say anything. He simply went back and told Alexander, “It is better not to bother with that old man. He knows no courtesy; he is absolutely wild. He misbehaved with me and I am afraid he may misbehave with you.”
Alexander said, “Anybody who misbehaves with me cannot live a single moment more. I am coming.” But as he came close to the old man, he started feeling a little trembling in himself, because the old man said, “So you are Alexander the Great. Anybody who calls himself ‘the great’ is not, and cannot be, ‘the great.’ What is your opinion?”
Alexander said, “I have not come to discuss, I have come to invite you.” The old man said, “I am like the wind – I move in freedom. You cannot invite a breeze; it comes on its own. If I feel like coming, I will come to Greece – and not on your invitation. But if I don’t want to, then I will not even go to paradise.”
Alexander was infuriated. He pulled out his sword and he said, “If you don’t come with me, then I will behead you this very moment!” The old man laughed, and the whole valley echoed his laughter. And he said, “This is beautiful. Do it! I always wanted to see my head falling down from the body. Just cut it off. Don’t be concerned about killing a man, because I am not the man you are killing. I am far away from my head. When the head falls down you will see it falling, and I will also see it falling, because I am not my head. This head is going to fall anyway sooner or later, dust unto dust. And I will feel blessed that even Alexander the Great had to work for me, had to follow my order. Cut the head off immediately!” – as if he is ordering him to cut off somebody else’s head!
Even Alexander, who had cut thousands of heads, could not manage to cut this man’s head off. His sword went back into the sheath, and the old man said, “What are you doing?” Alexander said, “Just forgive me. I don’t know the ways of you people. My master had asked me, because he wanted to see a man who has found the truth. Neither he knows nor I know how a man who has found the truth behaves. One thing is certain: you have known something beyond the body and beyond the mind. I will not force you to come with me. I am blessed just to have seen you. I will report to my master about you.”