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Dandamis was a monk[1][2] a philosopher, and a gymnosophist, whom Alexander encountered in the woods near Taxila, when he invaded the Indian subcontinent in 4th century B.C. The name "Dandamis" may have been a Greek transcription of the Indian name Dandi or Dandi-Swami.[citation needed] He is also referred to as Mandanes.


Dandamis was a philosopher, and a gymnosophist (literally a "naked philosopher"), whom Alexander encountered in the woods near Taxila, when he invaded the subcontinent in 4th century B.C. Dandamis was the name mentioned by the Greeks but his real name was 'DandayanDandi or Dandi-Swami.[3] He is also referred to as Mandanes[4]

Alexander met some gymnosophists, who were of trouble to him. He came to know that their leader was Dandamis, who lived in a jungle, lying naked on leaves, near a water spring.[5] Among the present-day religious groups, the Digambara tradition of Jainism comes closest to the fruit-based diet and nudity of the Dandamis sect, but given the scanty information available about Dandamis, it is impractical to make any conclusions about his religious identity.[6]

He then sent Onescratus to bring Dandamis to him. When Onescratus encountered Dandamis in forest, he gave him the following message:

Alexander, the Great son of Zeus, has ordered him to come to him. He will give you gold and other rewards but if you refuse, he may behead you.

When Dandamis heard that, he did not even raise his head and replied lying in his bed of leaves.

God the Great King, is not a source of violence but provider of water, food, light and life. Your king cannot be a God, who loves violence and who is mortal.[7][8] Even if you take away my head, you cannot take away my soul, which will depart to my God and leave this body like we throw away old garment. We do not love gold nor fear death. So your king has nothing to offer, which I may need. Go and tell you King : Dandamis, therefore, will not come to you. If he needs Dandamis, he must come to me[7]

When Alexander, came to know what Dandamis' reply, he went to forest to meet Dandamis. Alexander sat before him in forest for more than an hour. Then Dandamis asked him, why he has come to him:

I have nothing to offer you. Because we have no thought of pleasure or gold, we love God and despise death, whereas you love pleasure, gold and kill people, you fear death and despise God.[7]

Alexander then said:

I heard your name from Calanus and have come to learn wisdom from you[7]

The conversation that followed between them is recorded by Greeks as Alexander-Dandamis colloquy.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Charity Seraphina Fields (2012). Battle Against Infinity. Lieutenant of Charity. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-1-300-05921-9. Retrieved 25 May 2016.[dead link]
  2. ^ Tristram Stuart (18 October 2012). The Bloodless Revolution: Radical Vegetarians and the Discovery of India. HarperCollins Publishers. pp. 43–. ISBN 978-0-00-740492-6. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  3. ^ Sailendra Nath Sen (1999). Ancient Indian History and Civilization. p. 128.
  4. ^ Arthur George Warner; Edmond Warner (2001). The Sháhnáma of Firdausí. pp. 61–62, 422, 430.
  5. ^ Prabudhha Bharata by Vivekannda Swami, page 30 & 386
  6. ^ Richard Stoneman (2019). The Greek Experience of India: From Alexander to the Indo-Greeks. Princeton University Press. p. 324. ISBN 978-0-691-15403-9.
  7. ^ a b c d The Legends of Alexander the Great By Richard Stoneman. 2012. pp. 43–47.
  8. ^ Maren Niehoff (2001). Philo on Jewish identity and culture. p. 154.
  9. ^ My library My History Books on Google Play Classica et mediaevalia , Volumes 34-35. Société danoise les études anciennes et médiévales. 1983. pp. 78, 81, 87.