Diogenes said, “Those poor fellows were in need, and as far as I am concerned, wherever I am I will remain myself.” Even the king became afraid, because only those two were in the chariot, and the man was so strong: grabbing the neck of the king, he could have simply finished him.
Diogenes said, “But don’t be worried. I could finish you right now, but I will not. You have helped those four poor men. I will come with you, and I will serve as a slave, because even in slavery my freedom is intact. I am choosing it; nobody is imposing it upon me.”
Do you see the difference? Only a slavery imposed is slavery; a slavery accepted, chosen, is the highest expression of freedom. You are so certain of your being, of your individuality, that you are not worried, even of becoming a slave. The king was happy. He said, “No, I will not make you a slave, but a friend. As far as I understand you must be Diogenes. I have heard about the man, and I feel that there cannot be many Diogeneses. You must be Diogenes.”
Diogenes said, “I am,” and he lived with the king in the palace, naked, as he used to live in his own way. The king told him, “In the palace it looks odd, embarrassing. You should use clothes.”
Diogenes said, “Then it is better you don’t make me a friend; you make me a slave. If friendship cannot allow freedom, what kind of friendship is this? You make me a slave, then whatever you say I will do.” But the king had started loving the man. His sincerity, his authority, his power was magnetic. He freed him. He said, “I cannot make you a slave and I know I cannot make you a friend. In the palace, living naked, where other kings come and stay, it will be always a problem.”
Diogenes said, “This is your decision. I am simply your slave. If you make me free, that’s perfectly okay. I am happy that those four poor people have been helped. And I have found a beautiful way to help poor people: if sometimes somebody is poor I can tell him, ‘Take me to the slave market and sell me.’”
Here with me your individuality is accepted, declared, so you need not be worried that it will be taken away, that it can be crushed by others, that somebody may enslave you, force you to do things.
Don’t be worried – nobody can force you. You always have the choice. Ultimately, you are to decide, and it is good to decide in a way so the people who are with me don’t feel any antagonism between them. They love me – that is a joining thread. There is no organization. Each sannyasin is connected to me individually, but because he is my sannyasin…. Other sannyasins who are joined with me have to be respectful of each other, because each of my sannyasins somehow represents me. Your love for me must be shared with my people too.