The Philosophers.


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This is of something I read out a book and thought I would share it with you, because it's very interesting (to me anyway). This was during Alexander the great's quest to India.

"Alexander encountered many people on his journey which excited his interest. He was a great soldier, but he still retained the inquisitive nature that Aristotle had encouraged when he taught the young prince.

Plutrch writes of a meeting with ten Brahmin, wise men who were said to have wise and witty answers to any question they were asked. Alexander decided to test them and told them that he would put to death the first man to give a wrong answer and he ordered the eldest to act as judge. The dialogue went like this;

Q: Which are the most numerous.... the living or the dead?
A: The living, for the dead no longer exist.
Q: Is it the earth or the sea which produces the largest animals?
A: Earth, for the sea is only part of it.
Q: Which is the craftiest of all animals?
A: That which man is not yet acquainted with.
Q: Why did you urge Sabas, the ruler here, to revolt?
A: I wished him to live with honour or die as a coward deserves.
Q: Which do you think oldest, the day or the night?
A: Day, by one day.
Alexander was puzzled by the answer.
The Brahmin smiled and said: "Abstruse questions get Abstruse answers."
Q: What is the best way for a man to make himself loved?
A: If possessed of great power do not make yourself feared.
Q: How can a man become a God?
A: By doing what is impossible for a man to do.
Q: Which is stronger; life or death?
A: Life because it bears so many evils.
Q: How long is it good for a man to live?
A: As long as he does not prefer death to life.

Some claim that after that he gave them all presents and sent them away without harming them. Whilst others say Alexander asked the last Brahmin to judge who had the most foolish answer and that he then had them put to death."
Heh, my reading on Alexander the Great comes especially from Robin Lane Fox. He effectively denigrates this story to propaganda, and represents the Greek and Hindu philosophers - in the absence of any shared language - as clumsily trying to address complex philosophical ideas with hand movements/signs. The Greeks then interpret the sign language according to their own ideas - which, astonishingly, agree with a lot of Greek thinking of the time. :)

It's still an interesting set of answers, though, and possibly says a lot more about certain Greek ideas of Plutarch's period.
Well, I often suspected the Greeks got influence off the Indians the ideas of the Greek Gods sort of skip the Persian idea of one God set out by Zoroaster and is closer ideology to Hinduism. The Greeks after all were Indo-Europeans and cultures always try and preserve themselves as much as they can so maybe the Greeks being of Indo descent went back after a few thousand years to discover that they shared a lot of ideas and thoughts. Maybe this is why Alexander had much respect?

Same can be said for the United Kingdom and Greece today. If an English or other Europeans person was to visit Greece, he would see the influence and understand and respect it.

I think it was the same as for the Greeks when they went to India.

And the same sort of fascination the Americans have with the United Kingdom. It's like meeting your long lost illegitimate brother.

Yes, but that's in terms of theology - if I remember right, they were trying to test complex philosophical ideas and comparatively test them.

Still...if language were regarded as a barrier for understanding, then perhaps hand gestures would be a sublime way to communicate similar ideas without being ensnared by complex and divisive details. :)
Very true, but maybe they could of had a translator? I mean Greeks were all over the place. Alexander the Great was shocked to discover just about everywhere he went on his quest Greeks supporting him lol..They were supporting him because he was liberating them and there habitations from the other societies they settled in, Greeks were treated bad. Greeks had already made it in the east before Alexander and often he used to go through where Greeks had settled. Sure there had to be India Greeks in them days... I mean even till this day you can get Jewish Indians.