POWER and DESIRE
An Apocryphal Story
Here is an apocryphal story I had read long back about Alexander the Great and his encounter with the Greek 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 and sat imposingly astride his horse towering over the emaciated prostrate man.
The Emperor Alexander was shocked to observe that the naked man seemed to be totally indifferent to the distinguished visitor and appeared nonchalantly oblivious of the bountiful entourage and captivating presence and charisma of the great Emperor.
The stranger remained prostrate and made no attempt to get up and pay obeisance to the Emperor.
In fact the prostrate naked man continued lying down and totally ignored 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, without the stir, making 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 eccentric 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…? Tell me Diogenes, what do you want, ask for anything in the world and it will be yours…”
Still lying prostrate on the sand, Diogenes looked Emperor Alexander in the eye and said to him, “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…”
Power is the reciprocal of desire - isn’t it…?
You cannot have power over someone who desires nothing from you…!
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
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About VIKRAM KARVE
A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures(2008) and he is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune
with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. India
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