Was He an Avatar?
In the Indian Hindu system, He was not prophesised so.
Because His Mission was different.
It was to show mankind that Salvation or Liberation has to be ACHIEVED WITH DUE RIGHT EFFORT.
Even to have food on your table, you will have to work for it.
So too also to attain Enlightenment or Nirvana you will have to make the appropriate effort in the right direction.
The Saint of JAFFNA, Yoga Swami, who lived in the last century, once said;
That he had to make a mountain of effort to attain Nirvana.
This statement is applicable to one and all who so aspire to attain Enlightenment.
Then, what about GRACE.
GRACE of GOD is axiomatic in the process.
It is always there present.
The nineteenth century Saint of India, RAMAKRISHNA makes reference to GRACE and says;
The GRACE of GOD is always there and dawns on man in due course.
Therefore SELF-EFFORT and GRACE go together.
They are the two wings on which, one soars to NIRVANA.
The remarkable thing about GRACE is that even if you do not acknowledge it, you will still receive it.
Then what about Salvation by Grace.
Yes, to so receive this GRACE you will have to so POSITION YOUSELF.
This is your EFFORT.
Buddha spoke of this enigmatically.
I will not digress and dilate on this at present.
Then BUDDHA AVATAR was specifically meant to convey the significance of Liberation by strenuous SELF-EFFORT.
This great truth, He LIVED and SHOWED mankind.
Therefore there is no mention of GOD or GRACE.
Even when Ananda, his disciple asked him, “Is there a God” Buddha in his wisdom maintained a silence.
Hence there is no reference or prophesy on Buddha Avatar in the Hindu context.
Because if it was mentioned, it would defeat the purpose of His MISSION.
Then once again people would worship the various gods and thereby revert back and sink into the same fallacy as they had before.
Hence to check them from this fallacy, no mention is made of the word God.
In fact Lord BUDDHA was the first reformer of the HINDU RELIGION, or to say of the religion from its pagan worship and pagan ritualistic practices.
Hence Buddha’s teachings were looked upon with disdain by the Brahmin priests of India.
Nevertheless Buddhism became the religion of India for a thousand years altogether.
Nevertheless, today the people are gradually and grudgingly beginning to acknowledge Buddha as an AVATAR.
But the Buddhists do not, the world over.
This is to be so consistent with the teachings of Buddha.
Nevertheless all said and done, the main thrust and purpose of Buddha Avatar is three-fold.
- SELF EFFORT.
- The performance of daily action is the only ritual, which would ennoble and sanctify the performer.
- Focussed attention on NIBBANA is the WAY and there is no need to propitiate and supplicate the various gods and demi-gods for whatever purpose. It is totally irrelevant.
Soon after Buddha’s teaching, and also after the advent of Emperor Ashoka, Buddhism took its roots in India and flourished as the religion of the people.
Buddhist monasteries were opened in India.
The nett result was, BRAHMIN PAGANISM was on the wane and declined.
This REFORMATION lasted for a thousand years.
Thereafter, after the advent of Shankara, india reverted back to its old pagan worship and ritualistic practices.
This is the current living religion of India today.
Even though Shankara wrote voluminous commentaries on the Hindu scriptures, nevertheless, he re-introduced pagan worship and its accompanying pagan rituals back into the mainstream of life.
It was the religion of convenience catering to the lower-mind structure and impulse of people.
For, people like to worship or hero-worship anything, be it living, or even stone images.
Thus Lord Buddha’s sublime teachings declined in India, but took its roots the world over.
To compound matters further Buddha’s teachings were deliberately distorted and wrongly projected as ATHEISTIC.
The sublime content of NIBBANA, was the basis for mutual antagonism between the Hindus and the Buddhists.
Buddhist NIBBANA was Hindu NIRVANA.
NIBBANA is a PALI word, and NIRVANA is the corresponding SANSKRIT word.
Both refer to the same STATE which gets experienced.
But these scholars who had no experience of Nirvana or Nibbana created this difference between the two systems.
Once the content of Nirvana is understood, there would be harmony between the two systems.
In fact, Shankara’s Guru’s guru GAUDAPADA wrote a magnificent treatise on MANDUKYA UPANISHAD called the ‘MANDUKYA UPANISHAD KARIKA’.
One of its four sections called the ‘ALATHASHANTI PRAKARANA’ corroborates the teachings of Buddha, and confirms the diagnosis of Buddha, that it is all in the mind.
It is a MIND-GAME.
If the mind is, then the universe is.
If the mind is not, then the universe is not.
It is all in the mind.
Resolve and douse the mind, and it’s all over.
What is over?
The problem of human existence is over.
Thereafter Nirvana or Nibbana transpires.
So really speaking, it is GAUDAPADA who should be referred to as ‘PRASCHANNA BUDDHA’ – the hidden Buddha, and not Shankara.
As Shankara projected religion with its practices by opening up temples etc. with temple worship.
Thus he reverted India back into BRAHMIN PAGANISM.
In the ‘Yoga Vashista’, which is a popular text in India, we find a very pertinent reference to the mind;
In which the sage VASHISTA tells Lord RAMA, “MANA EVA MANUS YANAM BHANDA MOKSHAYOR KARANAM”. It means;
MIND alone is the cause of human bondage and liberation too.
When the mind attains to the state of NO-MIND or of not being the mind, then Nirvana transpires.
The WAY to do so from A to Z, was what the Buddha taught.
He spoke of this from one point of view.
While Lord Krishna gave a very complete METAPHYSICAL teaching from another point of view.
But, both lead you to the same end result.
Lord Krishna gave a very comprehensive teaching containing the whole spectrum of the ancient YOGIC MYSTICAL WISDOM-KNOWLEDGE in the Bhagavad Gita.
But the human race is yet to fully decipher and capture the spirit of Krishna’s teaching in its various Sanskrit commentaries written during the last thousand years.
Furthermore Lord Buddha synthesised the ancient mystic wisdom of ancient India, and gave it a NEW FORMAT.
He de-mystified it, and gave a simple direct teaching, bereft of Metaphysics.
This was His primary mission.
Along with this He totally ignored VEDIC rituals, as non-relevant towards Salvation.
Also, He disregarded pagan worship of all gods and demi-gods.
As, such worship side-tracked one from the main intent and thrust of life leading to the state of Moksha or Enlightenment.
Thus He was a REFORMER.
That was the purpose of His Avatarhood.
Just as Jesus came to reform and revitalise the prevalent religion at that time and inject it with new blood and give it a new spirit, so also Buddha gave a new format, and revitalised the WAY to Salvation, which got camouflaged by vedic paganism, which was catering to the lower human impulse of man.