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 ‘The tendency of his discourse,’ he said, ‘was this, that the best philosophy was that which liberated the mind from pleasure and grief; that grief differed from labour, in that the former was inimical, the latter friendly to men; for that men exercised their bodies with labour in order to strengthen the mental powers, by which means they would be able to put an end to dissensions, and give good counsel to all, to the public and to individuals; that he certainly should at present advise Taxiles to receive Alexander as a friend; for if he entertained a person better than himself, he might be improved; but if a worse person, he might dispose him to good.’ After this Mandanis inquired, whether such doctrines were taught among the Greeks. Onesicritus answered, that Pythagoras taught a similar doctrine, and enjoined his disciples to abstain from whatever has life; that Socrates and Diogenes, whose discourses he had heard, held the same opinions. Mandanis replied, ‘that in other respects he thought them wise, but that in one thing they were mistaken, namely, in preferring custom to nature, for otherwise they would not be ashamed of going naked, like himself, and of subsisting on frugal fare; for the best house was that which required least repairs.’ He says also that they employ themselves much on natural subjects, as prognostics, rain, drought, and diseases. When they repair to the city, they disperse themselves in the market-places; if they meet any one carrying figs or bunches of grapes, they take what is offered gratuitously; if it is oil, it is poured over them, and they are anointed with it. Every wealthy house, even to the women's apartment, is open to them; when they enter it, they engage in conversation, and partake of the repast. Disease of the body they regard as most disgraceful, and he who apprehends it, after preparing a pyre, destroys himself by fire; he (previously) anoints himself, and sitting down upon it orders it to be lighted, remaining motionless while he is burning.
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