Friday, May 26, 2017

Power is the Reciprocal of Desire – Ascetic Power

From my “Philosophical Writing” Archives:

ASCETIC POWER 
Power is the Reciprocal of Desire
Philosophical Musings
By
VIKRAM KARVE
  
It will be best for me to relate a story  probably apocryphal  which illustrates the concept of ASCETIC POWER 


THE STORY OF EMPEROR ALEXANDER AND PHILOSOPHER DIOGENES

Alexander the Great  the Emperor of the World – had conquered all Lands and Seas. 

He considered himself the “Son of a God”. 

All knelt before him in veneration and reverence. 

One day – early in the morning – Emperor Alexander the Great was riding with his Army through Greece.

Suddenly 
 he saw a man lying naked in the sand – by the side of a river – basking and sunbathing  in the early morning sunlight.

Curious at seeing this bizzare sight of the prostrate naked man 
 Emperor Alexander rode towards the naked man. 

The man who was basking in the sun seemed to be totally indifferent to the distinguished visitor and his entourage.

The naked man remained prostrate 
 and he made no attempt to get up. 

He totally ignored the Emperor Alexander the Great sitting majestically on his horse.

An angry soldier shouted at the naked man: “You there – do you know in whose presence you are...?”

“Who is he...?” the prostrate naked man answered lazily.

The naked man did not stir  and he made no move to get up.

The astonished soldier proclaimed: “Wretched man 
 you are in the presence of His Exalted Highness – Alexander the Great – Emperor of the World.”

“Oh...” the naked sunbather said impassively 
– and he continued to lie down. 

The naked man casually looked up at Alexander the Great – mounted imposingly on his horse – and – the naked man said to Alexander: 

“I am Diogenes...”

“Ah 
 so you are the philosopher Diogenes...!!!” Alexander exclaimed. 

“Yes. I am Diogenes...” the naked man said.

Emperor Alexander said to Diogenes: 

“I have always wanted to meet you – I have heard so many stories about you. My Dear Diogenes  I am impressed by you. I will grant you anything you wish. What do you desire...? Tell me – what do you desire...? Diogenes  ask for anything in the world – and it will be yours...”

Still lying prostrate on the sand 
 Diogenes said to Alexander: 

Please could you move a little to the side – and get out of my sunlight  because you are blocking the sun and spoiling my sunbath. That is all I want from you – just move a little to the side…”  


MORAL OF THE STORY

Power is the reciprocal of desire. 

If I desire something from you  then you have the power – to either grant – or withhold – what I desire from you. 

If I do not desire anything from you  then you have no power over me. 

A desire can be any form. 

It can be tangible  like material wealth  or even intangible  like love, appreciation etc. 

In his time 
 Emperor Alexander the Great was the most powerful man on earth.

But – he had no power over Diogenes  because Diogenes did not desire anything from him.

This story illustrates the fact that: 

You cannot have power over someone who desires nothing from you

That is Ascetic Power  the highest form of Power – when you desire nothing from anyone.

Do you have “Ascetic Power”   at least over some people  in some situations  some of the time...?

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. These are my personal views based on my observations and life experiences and the stories and examples quoted may be apocryphal.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 

This Article written by me 30 years ago in the 1980s and posted online many times including in my blogs - for example at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2010/10/power-and-desire.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/03/power-is-reciprocal-of-desire-story.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/10/ascetic-power.html etc

Art of Living – Implementable Philosophy

After retirement – I have become a non-entity. 

At times – events happen – that make me feel low.

But – there is nothing I can do  except be a mute spectator. 

On such occasions – I remember the words of Epictetus: 

“...Some things are within our control  and some things are not in our control

Once you learn to distinguish between the two – then inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.

Events don’t hurt us  only our attitude towards them does.

Don’t demand or expect that events happen as you would wish them to. 

Accept events as they actually happen. 

That way peace is possible...

So whenever I feel demoralised – in order to raise my morale – I pull out a book from my bookcase  read it – and  I contemplate. 

The book is called: 

“Epictetus – The Art of Living: The Classic Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness...” 

Let me tell you about the book...

THE ART OF LIVING
A Philosophical Approach
EPICTETUS IN A NUTSHELL
The Classic Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness: Epictetus
Book Review
By
VIKRAM KARVE

I have got a wonderful book in my bookcase.

The title and details of the book are as follows: 

The Art of Living: The Classic Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness, a new interpretation by Sharon Lebell, published by HarperCollins in 1994, ISBN 0-06-251346-X

This compact book encapsulates in a nutshell the salient teachings of Epictetus, the great Stoic philosopher. 

Whenever I buy a book I write my name, the date and place of purchase on the first page. I bought this book from one of my favorite bookstores  Gangaram’s Bangalore  on 18 August 1999.

Those were the glorious days, in the 1990s, when I used to visit Bangalore very often. 

I ensured I stayed somewhere near MG Road, and spend the evenings strolling in the delightful area around MG Road and Brigade Road. 

A delightful meal of the scrumptious Kerala delicacies like Stew, Appams, Parotta and the Ghee Rice at Imperial on Residency Road, baked delights at Nilgiri, Rosogullas at KC Das and Book Browsing at Gangarams Book Bureau were an absolute must. 

It’s been 18 long years now  I cherish those memories and hope I get a chance to visit Bangalore soon and enjoy strolling, eating and browsing in my favourite places.

Now let’s have a look at a few gems from this witty and wise book which delves on two basic questions pertaining to the Art of Living :

How do I live a happy, meaningful, fulfilling life...?

How can I be a good person...? 

Epictetus advises: 

Approach life as a banquet... 

Think of your life as if were a banquet where you would behave graciously. 

When dishes are passed to you, extend your hand and help yourself to a moderate portion. 

If a dish should pass you by, enjoy what is already on your plate. 

Or if a dish hasn’t been passed to you yet, patiently wait your turn.

There is no need to yearn, envy, and grab. 

You will get your rightful portion when it is your time.


Happiness and Freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: 

Some things are within our control  and some things are not in our control

And once you learn to distinguish between the two (what is in your control and what is not in your control) then inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.


Events don’t hurt us  only our Attitude towards them does.

Don’t demand or expect that events happen as you would wish them to. 

Accept events as they actually happen. 

That way peace is possible.


Create your own Merit.

Never depend on the admiration of others. 

Personal merit cannot be derived from an external source. 

Remember  there is no such thing as vicarious merit.

These are a few gems from the book  every page radiates simple implementable wisdom.

Whereas society regards professional achievement, wealth, power, and fame as desirable and admirable  Epictetus views these as incidental and irrelevant to true happiness.

What matters most is what sort of life you are actually living  a life of virtue – a life celebrating and caretaking the present moment. 

Authentic happiness is always independent of external conditions – your happiness can be found within.

This captivating book has had a profound effect on me and my way of thinking and living and this motivated me to delve into the life and works of Epictetus in more detail. 

And – it was heartening to see the congruence and harmony of the teachings of Epictetus with Eastern philosophical wisdom and precepts.

I am glad I bought this splendid book. 

It cost me only 95 Rupees. 

Go down to your neighborhood bookstore and browse through it. 

I am sure you will love to have a copy in your bookcase. 

I assure you that you will enrich your inner self every time your read this delightful book.

Dear Reader  do get a copy of this book and tell me if you like this breathtakingly simple philosophy of life – which is so easy to implement in daily life. 

Yes – it is simple implementable wisdom.

Dear Reader: I wish you authentic happiness and good health. 

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

Long Distance Marriage – Does Absence Make the Heart Grow Fonder...?

Recently  at a wedding reception – I met long-distance marriage couple who had lived apart for most of their married lives  each pursuing their careers – in different continents. 

They had come together to attend the wedding. 

When asked how they managed their long-distance marriage – they pontificated the oft-repeated famous saying:

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

This reminded me of a fiction short story on the subject I had written more than 11 years ago in the year 2006 – on this theme of marital relationships in a long distance marriage. 

Does absence really makes the heart grow fonder...? 

Read on... 

DOES ABSENCE REALLY MAKE THE HEART GROW FONDER...?
Short Fiction 
 Story of a Long Distance Marital Relationship
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


At exactly 8 PM at night – her cell-phone rings in her hand. 

She is expecting the call – that’s why she’s holding the cell-phone in her hand. 

She looks at the caller-id – accepts the call  moves the mobile phone near her ear and she says into the cellphone: “I love you, darling...!”

“I love you, Sugar...!” says her husband’s voice from half way around the globe. 

On his bed beside him  sprawled with arms and legs outstretched like a fallen statue  a naked woman is still asleep  her breathing untroubled.

It’s a long distance marriage 
 and  the married bachelors have been following the same drill for quite some time now – two calls every day – at exactly the same time 

At precisely 8 AM in the morning  she calls him up  just before leaving for work. 

And – at 8 PM at night  she receives his call from half-way across the globe  just before he leaves for work. 

And  both of them start their conversation automatically with the same words of endearment: 

She says: “I love you, Darling...!!!

He says: I love you, Sugar...!!!” 

He is her “Darling”...!!! 

And – she is his Sugar”...!!

Right now – it is 8 PM for the wife – but it is 8 AM for the husband half-way across the globe. 

He has just woken up after a hectic night of passionate lovemaking with the woman lying in bed beside him – and – the moment he is awake – the first thing he has done is to call up his long-distance wife.

“How was your day...?” the husband asks his wife .

“Hectic. Lot’s of work. Deadlines to meet...!!!” the wife answers. 

She steals a glance at the handsome young man sitting beside her in the darkened lounge bar.

“It’s terrible here too...” the husband says, “It’s killing – the work. Too much travelling. Sales meets, seminars, conferences. One hotel to another. Living out of a suitcase. I’m feeling exhausted...”

It’s true. 

The husband is indeed feeling exhausted  a relaxing, satiating kind of exhaustion. 

He gets up and opens the window. 

He allows the early morning air to cool his body. 

Then he turns around and looks at the marvelous body of the woman on his bed. 

She looks lovelier than ever before. 

As he remembers the ferocity of her lovemaking – he feels waves of desire rise within him. 

Not for a long time has the mere sight of a woman aroused the lion in him to such an extent. 

He smiles to himself. 

He feels proud and elated  it was a grand performance. 

With this woman it was spontaneous lovemaking at its best  not like the planned and contrived “quality” lovemaking with his wife  full of performance anxiety  each performing for the other’s gratification  pretence – charade – putting on an act – both faking pleasure  thinking that the other would not know. 

Suddenly – he hears his wife’s voice. 

“Yes, darling. Poor you. I can understand...” the wife says 
– and she sips her potent cocktail. 

It’s her third drink of the evening. 

She wonders what it is – the mysterious but deadly intoxicating cocktails her companion is plying her with  and she is feeling gloriously high.

“I am just waiting for this hectic spell of work to be over 
– so we can meet...” the husband says. 

He sits on the edge of the bed and looks at the sleeping woman. 

Mesmerized. 

Marveling. 

It is difficult to believe that in a few hours from now they – he and the woman –they would be addressing each other formally again.

“Oh, yes. It’s been 3 months 
– and I am dying to meet you. When are we meeting...?” the wife asks.

“I am planning a fantastic vacation. I’ll let you know soon. We’ll go to some exotic place. Just the two of us. 
Quality Time...!” the husband says to his faraway wife  and at the same time  he looks lasciviously at the gorgeously sexy woman lying so close to him.

“That’s great...!!! We must spend some 
Quality Time together...” the wife says to her distant husband – while she snuggles close against her strikingly handsome colleague. 

He presses his knee against hers. 

She presses hers against his. 

He moves his hand around her over her soft skin and pulls her gently. 

She feels an inchoate desire. 

He gently strokes her hair  and she turns towards him  her mouth partly open  as he leans over her. 

Fuelled by the alcohol in her veins  she can sense the want churning inside her  like fire. 

She looks into her companions eyes. 

She feels the intensity of his caresses. 

And  she can sense her resistance melting.

“I love you, 
Sugar...!!!” the husband says.

“I love you, 
“Darling...!!!” the wife says.

Their lovey-dovey conversation completed 
 both the long distance spouses disconnect their cell-phones – and they focus on their present objects of affection.

And  with renewed zeal – they carry on the passionate amorous activity – presently in hand. 

After all  a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

At the beginning of this story 
 I had quoted a famous saying:

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Yes 
 it seems to be true. 

Absence does seem to make the heart grow fonder – for someone else

Or – to put it succinctly  in a long distance marriage: 

Absence makes the heart wander  and grow fonder  for someone else 

Dear Reader: Do you agree...?

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a fictional spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This is an Updated and Revised Version of My Story I LOVE YOU written by me Vikram Karve more than 11 years ago in the year 2006 and posted by me online a number of times on my various creative writing blogs including at urls