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29 September, 2007


When Alexander the Great visited India after conquering all the other countries in the world that were known to him, he wanted to see the strange Indians of whom he had been hearing so much. He was just led to a monk on the bank of the Indus river. The monk lay there on the sands, bare-footed, naked, wearing no clothes and not knowing where from his tomorrow's food was to come, just lying there and basking in the Sun. Alexander the Great, with his crown shining, dazzling with the brilliant diamonds and gems that he had got from Persia, stood beside him in all his glory. Beside him was the monk with no clothes on. What a contrast! The riches of the whole world represented by the body of Alexander on one side, and all the outward poverty represented by the saint on the other side!. But you have simply to look at their faces to be convinced of the poverty or riches of their true souls.

Here is the saint whose soul was rich; here is the saint who had realized the richness and glory of his Atman. Beside him stood Alexander the Great who wanted to hide his inner poverty. Look at the beaming countenance of the saint, the happy, joyful at the beaming countenance of the saint, the happy, joyful face of the saint. Alexander the Great was struck by his appearance. He fell in love with him, and just asked the saint to come with him to Greece. The saint laughed, and his answer was: "The world is in Me. The world cannot contain Me. The Universe is in Me. I cannot be confined in the universe. Greece and Rome are in Me. The sums and stars rise and set in Me."

Alexander the Great, not being used to this kind of language, was surprised. He said, "I will give you riches. I will just flood you with worldly pleasures. All sorts of things that people desire, all sorts of things which captivate and charm people will be in wild profusion at your service. Please accompany me to Greece."

The saint laughed, laughed at his reply and said, "There is not a diamond, there is not a sun or star which shines, but to Me is due its lustre. To me is due the glory of all the heavenly bodies. To me is due all the attractive nature, all the charms of the things desired. It would be beneath my dignity, it would be degrading on my part, first, to lend the glory and charm to these objects, and then go about seeking them, to go begging at the door of worldly riches, to go begging at the door of flesh and animal desires to receive pleasure, happiness. It is below my dignity. I can never stoop to that level. No I can never go begging at theirs."

This astonished Alexander the Great. He just drew his sword and was going to strike off the head of that saint. And again the saint laughed a hearty laugh and said, "O Alexander! never in your life did you speak such a falsehood, such an abominable lie. Kill Me, kill Me, Kill Me! Where is the sword that can kill Me? Where is the weapon that can wound Me? Where is the sorrow that can tamper with my happiness? Everlasting, the same yesterday, today and for ever, pure and holy of holes, the Master of the Universe, that I am, that I am. Even in your hands I am the power that makes them move. O Alexander! If this body dies, there I remain the power that makes your hands move. I am the power that makes your muscles move." The sword fell down from the hands of Alexander.

Here, we see that there is only one way of making people realize the spirit of renunciation. From the worldly point of view we become ready to renounce everything only when we become rich from the other point of view.

Source: In Woods of God-Realization by "Swami Rama Tirtha"

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