Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Philo

Poras And Alexander

In India there was one great king, Poras; he fought against Alexander the Great. And you will be surprised at how western books have been unfair to this man Poras. Alexander the Great becomes a pygmy in front of Poras. When they reached India, Alexander played a trick –he was a politician….

Alexander sent his wife to meet Poras, on a particular day. There is a day in India, the day of the sisters, when the sister just binds a thread on your wrist. You may be her real brother, you may not be her real brother, but the moment she binds the thread on your wrist you become a brother to her. And it is a double oath: the brother says, ”I will protect you,” and the sister says, ”I will pray for your protection.”

On that particular day, Alexander sent his wife to Poras. He was staying outside Poras kingdom. There is a river that was the boundary of Poras kingdom; he was staying outside, and he sent his wife. And when it was declared in Poras’ court, ”The wife of Alexander the Great wants to meet you,” he came out to greet her, because in India that was a tradition. Even if the enemy comes to your home, he is a guest, and the guest is a god.

He took her into his court, gave her a throne to sit on, and asked, ”You could have called me. There was no need for you to come that long way.”

She said, ”I have come to make you my brother. I have no brother, and today is the sisters’ day, I heard; I could not resist.” And this was just a political game. And Poras could understand what Alexander and his wife understood about sisters’ day, and why Alexander waited up to this day to send his wife… but he said, ”This is perfectly right. If you don’t have any brother, I am your brother.” She had brought the thread; she tied it and Poras touched her feet. The brother has to touch the feet of the sister; whether she is younger or older does not matter.

A tremendous respect for womanhood has been there, side by side with a tremendous bitterness against women. Perhaps the bitterness was created by the monks and the priests, and the respect was created by the religious people. Immediately Alexander’s wife asked, ”Now you are my brother, and I hope that you will save me, but the only way to save me is not to kill Alexander. Would you like your sister to remain a widow all her life?”

Poras said, ”There is no question about it. You need not speak about it – it is settled. Alexander will not be touched at all. Now we are related.”

And This happened…. The next day Alexander attacked. And a moment came in the fight when Poras killed Alexander’s horse; Alexander fell from the horse and Poras was on his elephant – because in India, the elephant was the real fighter’s animal, not the horse. The elephant was just going to put his feet on Alexander – and Alexander would have been finished. And just by habit Poras pulled out his spear and was going to kill Alexander, when he saw the thread on his wrist. He put his spear back, told the mahout, the man who guides the elephant, ”Move away… and inform Alexander that I will not kill him.”

That was the moment when Alexander would have been killed, and all his desire of conquering the world would have been finished; the whole of history would have been different. But Poras was a religious man, made of a different mettle: ready to be defeated but not ready to be demoralized. And he was defeated – he missed his chance.

And Poras was brought before Alexander in his court, a temporary court, with chains on his hands and his legs. But the way he walked… even Alexander said to him, ”You are still walking like an emperor, even with chains on your feet and chains on your hands.”

Poras said, ”This is my way of walking. It has nothing to do with my being an emperor or a prisoner; this is my way of walking. This is how I am.”

Alexander asked him, ”How would you like to be treated?”

Poras said, ”What a question! An emperor should be treated like an emperor What a stupid question.”

Alexander says in his notes, ”I have never come across a man like Poras. He was in chains, imprisoned – I could have killed him immediately, then and there – but the way he walked, the way he talked….” Alexander was really impressed. He said, ”Take away his chains; he will remain an emperor anywhere. Give his kingdom back to him. But,” he said to Poras, ”before we leave I would like to ask you one question. When the chance was there when you could have killed me, why did you pull your spear back? – just one more second and I’d have been finished – or your elephant could have crushed me, but you prevented it. Why?”

Poras said, ”Don’t ask that. You know it; you are a politician, I am not. This thread – do you recognize it? You had sent this thread with your wife; now she is my sister, and I cannot kill my own brother-in-law. It is not possible for me to make her a widow. I chose to be defeated rather than to kill you. But there is no need for you to feel obliged towards me; this is just how a really centered man should behave.”

Excerpted From Ignorance To Innocence CH: 15

When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.

Roy E. Disney

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