This story is so good that I have re-re-reposted this for the newer readers.  Of course we all read it as a chapter in English, as a poem, and as a story. There is perhaps no better story than this to keep ones EGO under check. It is Ego which is the biggest killer even in creating wealth…so read on. If you have read it, get your kids and your parents to read it!

Alexander, after conquering many kingdoms, was returning home. On the way, he fell ill and it took him to his death bed. With death staring him in his face, Alexander realized how his conquests,his great army, his sharp sword
and all his wealth were of no consequence.

He now longed to reach home to see his mother’s face and bid her his last adieu. But, he had to accept the fact that his sinking health would not permit him to reach his distant homeland.

So, the mighty conqueror lay prostrate and pale, helplessly waiting to breathe his last. He called his generals and said, “I will depart from this world soon, I have three wishes, please carry them out without fail.”

With tears flowing down their cheeks, the generals agreed to abide by their king’s last wishes.
1) “My first desire is that”, said Alexander, “My physicians alone must” carry my coffin.”

2) After a pause, he continued, “Secondly, I desire that when my coffin is being carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard be strewn with gold, silver and precious stones which I have collected in my treasury”.

3) The king felt exhausted after saying this. He took a minute’s rest and continued. “My third and last wish is that both my hands be kept dangling out of my coffin”.

The people who had gathered there wondered at the king’s strange wishes. But no one dared bring the question to their lips.. Alexander’s favorite general kissed his hand and pressed them to his heart.
“O king, we assure you that all your 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.

Lessons to be learnt from last 3 wishes of King Alexander…

I want my physicians to carry my coffin because people should realize that no doctor on this earth can really cure any body. They are powerless and cannot save a person from the clutches of death.

So let not people take life for granted.

The second wish of strewing gold, silver and other riches on the path to the graveyard is to tell People that not even a fraction of gold will come with me. I spent all my life Greed of Power, earning riches but cannot take anything with me.

Let people realize that it is a sheer waste of time to chase wealth.

And about my third wish of having my hands dangling out of the coffin, I wish people to know that I came empty handed into this world and empty handed I go out of this world”.

With these words, the king closed his eyes.

Soon he let death conquer him and breathed his last. . . .


Remember, your Health is in your own hands, look after it. Remember, your Wealth is in your own hands, look after it.

Wealth is only meaningful if you can share and also enjoy while you are still alive, kicking & healthy.

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  1. Sam- He is one. Read his Retire Rich- Invest Rs.40 a day. Also all his blogs shows that he is good in connecting with people through his writing.

  2. Very good blog. Recently I read this as an SMS “Bury with my hand above the grave so that people know I went empty handed”. Now I get the complete context after reading this blog. Health is wealth !

  3. only today i read the cover story in gujarati weekly about the re -rise of underworld clashes in mumbai, and also stories of successes in gathering wealth through corruption(by supreme court chief judge), frauds( by rajas et.) and through entreprenuership(by some kanakiyas of mumbai). and then this story! now i feel guilt free!

  4. thanks all of you! Really feels humble to read such stories, does it not? Like the story on Kabir’s generosity.

    How can u be an Indian, know all about our SUPER, GREAT, FANTASTIC history and not be humble?

    this of course is not an Indian story..but I have told this story to my daughter many times – it will be repeated is an amazing story to tell people that health, wealth…are all important, but leading a good life is far, far, far more important.

  5. Great post Subra. Yes, it is apt to be told and retold to the kin.
    Is this not like Alexandar the Great got the nirvana but alas only at his death bed.

    Ashoka, the Great emperor’s story of changing course of his life was after realizing the outcome of the great Kalinga war and of course the discourse he got from the monks.

  6. Subra
    I think that this story is a myth, maybe started by the the Indian Yogis of his time. I never came across this story among the Greek sources that relate to his life, only the Indian ones.
    Alexander considered himself to be a son of a God, a reborn Achilles.
    He only saw his early death as fulfilling his destiny like Achilles- a short but glorious life. The ancient Greeks had a different concept of life & death than the ancient Indians.

  7. Mr Dr Khan
    you are obsessed with questioning everything ,its a false story everyone knows ,its a story which tells what you should care for and choose your priority
    better learn from the story not get into the roots of story
    relax a bit in your life

  8. Hello Mr. Nitin, I think Dr. Khan is trying to tell us that Yogis have this mentality to look at wealth from a different angle. And others like us (and like Greeks) have a different view at creation of wealth. For sure we need people who desperately want to be kings and also who want to rule the world, otherwise everybody will be on his own and there will be no peace on earth. At the same time we need these rulers to be sensible rulers who think good of people whom they are ruling. And clearly history says we can get such rulers only once in 3-4 generations or is it once in 4-5 generations?

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