Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Sketches
|Alexander, The Great-1|
Alexander, The Great-1
July 20/21, 356 - June 10/11, 323 BC = 33 yrs
Many people know the name of Alexander, the Great. He was the king of Macedonia - a North-Eastern region of Greece. He had created a very large empire in the ancient history. He was the disciple of Aristotle since 343 BC when he was 13 years old. His fathers name was Philip II. He died in Babylon in 323 BC. He became hero, in the mold of Achilles.
When Alexander was ten years old, a horse trader brought Philip a horse, which he offered to sell for thirteen Talents (a type of currency used in those times). The horse refused to be mounted by anyone, and Philip ordered it to be taken away. Alexander, however, detected the horse's fear of his own shadow and asked for a turn to tame the horse, which he eventually managed. According to Plutarch, Philip, overjoyed at this display of courage and ambition, kissed him tearfully, declaring: "My boy, you must find a kingdom big enough for your ambitions. Macedonia is too small for you", and bought the horse for him. Alexander would name the horse Bucephalus, meaning "ox-head". Bucephalus would be Alexander's companion throughout his journeys as far as India. When Bucephalus died (due to old age for he was already 30), Alexander named a city after him (Bucephala).
Alexander's horse died in this battle. Towards East of Poras, near the Gangaa River (wide about 32 furlong = 4 miles at that time), there was Nand Empire (see Alexander's Invasion and Poras) which was very powerful. Fearing the other powerful Empire, his army mutinied and he had to go back to his own country from the fifth river of Panjaab - River Vyaas. He did not cross the River Vyaas.
On either 10 or 11 June 323 BC, Alexander died in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II, in Babylon at the age of 33.
Some Events of Alexander's Life
Alexander-The Slave of the Slaves
When he was about to return to his country, he remembered that his people had asked him to bring to them an Indian Yogee. They had heard a lot about Indian Yogee and were very desirous of seeing one, meeting him, hearing him speak and receiving his blessings. Alexander was told that the Yogee dwelt in the forest, so in quest of finding a Yogee he went to a forest. Sure enough, he found one sitting underneath a tree, in deep meditation. He waited patiently until the Yogee opened his eyes. They shone with a strange, mystic light. Reverently, Alexander requested the Yogee to accompany him to Greece, saying - "I will give you everything you need or ask for. But, I pray, do come with me. My people would love to meet you." The Yogee quietly answered - "I need nothing, I am happy where I am."
This was the first time that anyone had turned down Alexander's request. He could not control himself. He flew into a rage and unsheathing his sword, he thundered - "Do you know who is speaking to you? I am the great King Alexander. If you will not listen to me. I shall kill you, cut you into pieces." Unperturbed, the Yogee answered - "You cannot kill me. You can only kill my body. And the body is but a garment I have worn. I am not the body. I am that which dwells within the body. I am not the Deh, I am the Dehin - the indwelling one."
The Yogee continued, "You
say you are a king. May I tell you, who you are? You are a slave of my slave."
With another flavor, Prolog of the above incident - when Alxander started for East for his victory tour, he went to his Guru Aristotle and said to him - "I am going to India on victory tour, what should I bring for you?" Aristotle replied - "If you can bring, bring five things for me from there - Gaaya (cow), Geetaa (Bhagvad Geetaa, the Book), Gyaanee (a learned person), and Gangaa water from there."
Guru's Strange Request to Alexander
Once Alexender asked his Guru:
"Sir What's the difference between "like" and "love"?
Alexander Was Indeed Great
Alexander the Great was actually great. He was the emperor and an ordinary thief was accusing him. He said - "Yes, I am a thief." and he admitted it - that is greatness. If he were not great then he would have hanged him or punished him saying - "Oh, you are accusing me? Alexander the Great, the Emperor" But no, he accepted it. That was his greatness. To commit a mistake is one fault, but to accept that "I have committed the mistake," that is greatness."
Alexander's Strange Wishes
(1) My first desire is this that
my physician alone must carry my coffin, because people should realize that no
one can protect us from inevitable death, not even his physician. Life should
never be taken for granted.
The people who gathered there were very surprised to hear his these strange wishes, but no one dared to question him. Alexander favorite general kissed his hand and pressed it to his heart. he said - "O King, we assure you that your all wishes will be fulfilled, but tell us why do you make such strange wishes?"
At this Alexander took a deep breath and said - "I would like the world to know of the three lessons, I have just learnt. I want my physician to carry my coffin because people should realize that no doctor can really cure anybody. They are powerless and cannot save a person from the clutches of the death. So let not people take their life for granted. The second wish of strewing gold, silver and other riches on the way to the graveyard is to tell people that not even a fraction of gold can be taken by me. let people realize that it is a sheer waste of time to chase wealth. And about my third wish, of my hands dangling out of the coffin, I want people to know that I came empty-handed into this world, and I am going empty-handed from this world."
Alexander's last words -- "Bury my body, do not build any monument, keep my hands outside, so that the world knows, the person who won the world had nothing in his hands when dying."
Some Sources on Alexander
http://1stmuse.com/frames/index.html a book on Alexander
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 09/25/13