Friday, May 26, 2017

Power is the Reciprocal of Desire – Ascetic Power

From my “Philosophical Writing” Archives:

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


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.

 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...”

 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…”  


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...?

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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.

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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:  and  and etc

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