When Alexander met an Indian Yogi to learn immortality

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Alexander had heard there are yogis in India, who are immortal. So one reason he was pushing towards India was he wanted to find a yogi, and learn how to become immortal.


Duration: 13 min


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8 min read

When Alexander met an Indian Yogi to learn immortality

The following is an unedited transcript of Sadhguru's video. For better readability, breaks and highlights have been added by the editors.

In our history textbooks, school textbooks, they said, “Alexander The Great.” They only got the first name, the middle name, they missed out the last name. His name was Alexander The Great Idiot, but because it was too long somebody left out the last name.

Well, the moment you make such a man, a great man in this world, then in many ways, you’ve destroyed the future of humanity. Because from the age of sixteen – I think he died around thirty-two or thirty-three – all he did was kill, kill, and kill without purpose. Going to new places and killing, going to new places and killing, saying, “I have conquered this, I have conquered that.”

And he had gathered a band of young people from his native place, who traveled with him to fight with him. Periodically, he executed one of them, just accusing them of something. You know, always somebody would be betraying a tyrant like that, and the tyrant is always fearful that somebody may plot against him. So something they will discover, and say, “He did it,” and public execution of him will happen. He was very close to you, he travelled with you, everything, but you just kill him so that everybody else is in line. Periodically he killed one of those people who are very close to him, just to set an example. This is the kind of man he is. He is death all the time, but he doesn’t want to die. He wants everybody to die, but he doesn’t want to die.

So, one reason he was pushing towards India was, because between ancient India and Greece there has been lots of transaction in terms of mathematics, geometry, Yoga. There is a linga in Delphi, which is considered as the “Navel of the earth,” because it was consecrated as manipura chakra. The manipuraka is so powerfully established there, now it’s been removed from its original place and it is sitting in the museum, but still, bit cracked, but it’s still… little badly skewed I would say, but still so powerful, after, I don’t know, maybe 5000 – 5200 years or so. So this transaction was continuous for many years, historically. So, obviously, they heard of yogis and mystics of India.

So, he had heard there are yogis who are immortal. So one reason he was pushing towards India was he wanted to find a yogi and learn how to become immortal. So then when he came close, when he crossed, I think, Hindu Kush mountains – he crossed, right? He crossed the mountains. He came on this side, and then, first thing is he sent out scouts to find what is happening out there, and in case there is a yogi or a mystic, bring him. So, they were looking out, and then they saw a yogi sitting under a tree with just a loincloth, bare-bodied, blissed-out. They went and looked at him, and they said, “Hey! You come with us. Our sikandar wants you.”

If you do not know this, even today, in Afghanistan, many people take this name Iskander, or Sikandar. The original word for this is, the root word for this came from Skanda. Skanda is Shiva’s son, what we call as Muruga in Tamil Nadu. Because Skanda was such a great warrior, so this word traveled. Anybody who is a great warrior became Skanda, Iskandar, Skandar, Iskandar, Sikandar – transformation happened to the word.

So, they said, “Yogi, come.” The yogi laughed and said, I’m not going anywhere. I’m right here.” Then they pulled out their swords. These are violent men. They don’t think twice about taking off heads. It’s not even something that, you know, of any consequence to them. They can take away hundreds of heads in a day, without any qualms about it. So, very violent men. They pulled out their swords and said, “Either you come or we’ll take off your head.” The yogi said, “See, I’m sitting here like this, because everything that I have to do has been done. You want to take my head, you take it, but you will not get my wisdom or my intelligence. If you take my head, you can take it if you want.”

Then they looked at each other. They saw – see, they had never seen a man who not terrorized by the swords that they pull out, because they’re not pulling out, you know, in empty threat. They can take off heads; they’re very good at it. They had never seen a man who’s not terrorized. He’s saying, “Okay, take my head.” “Oh, this guy must be really immortal.” If somebody says, “Okay, take my head,” he must be immortal. Then they tried to coax him, “Please come.” He said, “No. If he wants, let him come. He wants to know about immortality, let him come.” Then, they said, “Oh, he knows about it, so let’s not damage him in any way.” And they went back, and they told Alexander that we found the man, but he’s not willing to come. So, he is not a home teacher, you have to go to him, he’s a school.

So, he himself came. So, Alexander sat on his horse, and with great authority he spoke, “It seems you know about immortality. I want to know about it.” The yogi looked up at him and said, “First get off that stupid horse.” You sit on an animal which is less intelligent than you, and suddenly you become like this [with a big swagger]. You see, I don’t know, the moment people sit on a horse, somehow they think they’re something. If you manage to ride an animal which is far more intelligent than you, then – something. Hmm? You ride a dumb four-legged animal. Poor thing doesn’t like to carry you, but what to do?

So, Alexander got down and asked, “I want to become immortal because…” He is not the same guy that he was five, ten years ago. Body doesn’t take this kind of beating after some time. It is slowly taking its toll. So he said, “I want to know about immortality, can you guide me?” So the yogi looked at him and he knew, no amount of talking to him is not going to go anywhere. He said, “Yes. If you want immortality, this is the way.” And he gave him landmarks, a difficult journey through the jungles. “All these landmarks you follow, there you will find a small cave. Within that cave there is a crystal clear pool of water. You drink a handful of water, you will become immortal.”

So he started out with his soldiers. Then as he followed, after three days all these landmarks were coming true as it had been described. Then he looked at this five, six soldiers who were with him. “If these guys also drink.” Hmm? If they become immortal, then how to deal with them? Because all your life, you dealt with everything with [by] putting the fear of death into people. Now if these five, six soldiers drink that water, and they also become immortal, this is going to be a disaster – no control. Five immortal people on the planet – not good. Just I’m immortal – this is good. So he said, “You stay here.” He left them for the last leg of the journey, and he went by himself.

Then he found that cave. Within the cave, he saw a pool of crystal clear water. He rushed in, and he was about to drink. There was a crow sitting at the other edge of the pool, and the crow said, “Wait!” He looked at the crow – fortunately water slips out of your hands, you know – and the crow said, “See, I drank this water, I don’t know how many million years ago, and now I cannot die. I’m just sitting here endlessly.” Just imagine, if you become immortal you cannot even commit suicide. Hello? I want you to just imagine, this is the worst thing that can happen to you that you cannot die one day. No relief! “I’m sitting here for millions of years; there is nothing I can do. I have seen through generations of my clan. I’m not interested in anything right now, but I cannot die. Do you want my fate?”

He just sat there looking at the pool of water and the crow. For once he did one intelligent thing, that’s the reason why we really removed his third name. He walked away without drinking that, and how fortunate are we that he is not anymore here. But he looks like he’s taking rebirth in many places. Many similar people keep coming up here and there, but at least he is not here.

We must learn, understand, and live, knowing that in many ways the best thing about you is, you will die one day. Hello? Just see what a pest you would be if you did not die. Hello? Well, you must live a full life. Whatever is the fullest potential, you must live that, but you must die when it’s time, isn’t it? Hmm? So, if you say death is negative, then what is positive? Immortality? That is the most idiotic thing you can do. Even an idiot like Alexander had the intelligence not to drink that water. So, it is very important to understand, Yoga is not about eternal life, Yoga is about sensible life.

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