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The story of Alexander the Great and Kalanos is the best example of true power and pseudo power. The Greek Historian Plutarch has recorded that, Alexander during a run into India heard of the saint Kalanos. Kalanos refused to go and meet Alexander. More messengers went with costly gifts which the enlightened seer refused. The messengers threatened that the Greeks will use force to take him to their king. To which he gave the famous reply- “what shall I be worth to you, Alexander, for exhibiting to the Greeks if I am compelled to do what I do not wish to do?”
Force Vs Response
The nonchalant response of Kalanos on the face of outright force is the greatest example of the true meaning of threat. This arose from the power as it is known to the world. Alexander went and met the great man under the tree where he used to sit and pleaded with him to be his teacher. Kalanos accompanied the king to Greece. Greek philosophers revered the man. The knowledge and teachings of Kalanos helped the Greek thinkers of that time to find an answer to their quest, “what is the true meaning of power?”
Freedom is Power Or Power is Freedom?
Greek historians have recorded the influence of Kalanos on their thinking and philosophy. They wrote that the great man taught them eastern honesty and freedom. Modern-day findings also believe that the true meaning of power is freedom.
The power of Kalanos over Alexander the Great was very great (pun intended) that after his death, the king traveled once more to India. The purpose was not to conquer but to meet the master of the now-dead Kalanos.
The name Kalanos appears in the notes and chronicles of the following well-known contemporaries:
ii. Diodorus of Sicily.
vi. Chares of Mytilene.
The Last words of a Powerful Man
Kalanos immolated himself in front of a huge crowd of notable Greeks. He did not utter a single noise of pain or flinch as the flames consumed him. The large crowd was astonished by this feat.
His disciples and other associates knew that he was freeing his soul from a body of flesh worn out with age. Kalanos had taught them that a soul leaves the body in search of another healthy abode like we change clothes when they get soiled. Greeka believed that Kalanos will come back in a more pure and better life foam.
Alexander had not come to witness his teacher’s last moments. Kalanos had given a message to be delivered to the king.
We shall meet in Babylon
When Kalanos left his tired body at the age of 73, Alexander had no plans to visit Babylon. The travel of Alexander to Babylon and the subsequent death at the place lent prophetic nature to the last words of Kalanos. His last message to the king was, “We shall meet in Babylon.”
After the demise of this great teacher, it is believed that Alexander realized what is the true meaning of power. He went to meet Kalanos’ Guru, Dandamis who was living in a forest in India. He lived in Taxila or Takshashila which now lies in present-day Pakistan.
Dialogue Between Alexander and Dandamis
When Alexander reached the place of kalanos’ Guru in the forest, the king had to wait for over an hour before Dandamis spoke to him.
Dandamis: “I don’t have anything which you consider to be of value. I don’t own any gold. What you perceive as pleasure has no meaning to me. You kill people and love gold and pleasure. I despise killings and love God. So, why did you come to meet me? “
Alexander: “Kalanos told me about you. He was my teacher. My purpose in traveling all the way here is to receive knowledge and wisdom from you.”
Greeks who accompanied Alexander the Great to this meeting recorded the conversation that followed. It is known in Greek literature as Alexander-Dandamis colloquy. This dialogue sheds a lot of light into our quest to discover what is the true meaning of power.
Mind vs. Matter- Man Jeetai Jag Jeet
All the great and well-known conquerors and warmongers died as unsatisfactory people. Material possessions lead to greed to achieve more and the loop continues endlessly. A great scripture of enlightenment is the Gurbani, a text very sacred to the Sikh religion. The book quotes its founder, the great Guru Nanak saying, “Man Jeetai Jag Jeet,” which can be roughly translated into English as “conquer the mind to conquer the world.”
Most religious texts try to answer the question of what is the true meaning of power. The texts written in different languages at different points in time come to very similar conclusions. When the mind realizes its true nature, the need for material achievements simply vanishes. This is a true victory over everything. A realized being reaches a state of eternal bliss. He or she is filled with happiness and peace which never diminishes.
Leaders of Industry and Business
In our age of information, it will be interesting to listen to global leaders whom we presume to have real power. Even when we try to understand the philosophy of political heads of states, the essence percolates down to ancient wisdom about conquering the mind.
Thoughts of Elon Musk and Steve Jobs
It is an interesting fact that none of these important lessons on what is the true meaning of power is taught in school. Elon Musk and Steve Jobs are also known as forward-thinking individuals who proved their mettle in different avenues of life. What they had in common were similar behavioral patterns. They have influenced the hoards of enthusiasts who made exemplary progress in their lives and brought much-needed changes to the world that we live in.
A trained mind accepts failure and marches forward towards newer ventures. Repeated failures by making the same mistakes are a pattern. This should we resolved by introspecting deeply and redesigning methods. The moment you face failure and understand it for what it is, you win.
Steve Jobs pondered on how he responded to criticisms. He also meditated on how his adoption affected his relationships. This paved the way for tremendous success in his endeavors.
Elon Musk was born in South Africa. He was bullied in his childhood. He tended to fight back which became a pattern.
Both the great icons of industry faced failures, acknowledged it, and moved forward to far glorious heights after learning from the patterns which held them back.
Methods to Harness the Powers of the Mind
Ancient masters and modern life coaches have taught some very simple techniques to make our minds very powerful.
Replacing with Positive Images
An annoying habit that blocks the mind from reaching its true capacity is negative voices from within. A proven technique to get over this is by recognizing that the mind is listening to an unwanted thought. As soon as you see this happening, immediately replace those thoughts with serene and positive matters.
Example: You have a meeting coming up. The negative voice says other participants will embarrass you. As soon as you recognize this thought pattern, end it and replace it. The new thoughts should be your vivid imagination of coming out triumphant from the meeting.
Creating an Ambiance of Enthrallment for Small Achievements
You have set a goal to be achieved in a certain amount of time. Each goal, however big or tiny, has certain milestones along the way. Whenever you cover a small step towards your goal, create a feeling of celebration inside your mind.
Example: You want to achieve a sales target of a million dollars in ten months. After about a week you brought in an order for $1,000. This is higher than the figures of the previous year by $80. This may not be a huge achievement. But you are moving forward towards achieving your goal. Celebrate the milestone inside your head. Congratulate yourself and bring in vivid dreams of your top bosses congratulating you and the crowd applauding.
Seeking Strength and Inspiration
Find time to sit in solitude every day at the same time. Look deep inside you. Sort out your confusion. Identify your problem and seek answers. Do this every day and make this into a habit. Your vibrations will align with that of nature and bring in more power and willpower to achieve great tasks.
Knowledge is Power
Certificates and degrees are not the equivalents of knowledge. To achieve knowledge we need to go out and seek it. A strong quest to achieve knowledge is what motivated Alexander the Great to meet Dandamis.
Make it a habit to read a good book every month. Find time to be in the company of knowledgeable people.
Example: In a trekking expedition, the person who knows map reading will be the most powerful member of the team. Others may be scholars by their degrees. But the limelight shall rest on the person leading the way.