Saturday, October 11, 2014

ASCETIC POWER

From my “Philosophical Writing” Archives:

ASCETIC POWER
Philosophical Musing
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, who had conquered all lands and seas and considered himself the “son of a god” and before whom all knelt in veneration and reverence, one day early in the morning, was riding with his army through Greece.

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

Curious, 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 made no attempt to get up. 

He 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 man answered lazily.

The 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, continuing to lie down. 

He casually looked up at Alexander the Great mounted imposingly on his horse and said, “I am Diogenes.”

“Ah, so you are the philosopher Diogenes!” Alexander exclaimed, “I have always wanted to meet you – I have heard so many stories about you. Diogenes, I am impressed. I will grant you anything you wish. 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…”  


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 me. 

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, 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

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

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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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 story 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.

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This Article written by me many times in articles and in my blog - for example at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2010/10/power-and-desire.html
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