For the appearance day of Sri Buddha Avatara

buddha

Among the Dasavatara, Sri Buddha is the ninth avatara. Additionally, Sri Buddha is the twenty-fourth lila-avatara.

In order to condemn the practice of animal sacrifice, Supreme Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Buddha. Srila Jayadeva Gosvami prays to the Lord of the universe in his Dasavatara-stotra:

nindasi yajna-vidher ahaha sruti-jatam
sadaya-hridaya-darsita-pasu-ghatam
kesava dhrita-buddha-sarira jaya jagadisa hare

(Sri Jayadeva’s Dasavatara-stotra, 9th Verse)

“O Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of Buddha! All glories unto You! O Buddha of compassionate heart, You decry the slaughtering of poor animals performed according to the rules of Vedic sacrifice.”

The name of Buddha also appears in the verse that describes the ten avataras in Srimad-Bhagavatam:

matsya kurmo varahasca nrisimha vamanastatha
ramo ramasca ramasca buddha kalki ca te dasah

In the dasavatara verse of Sahitya-darpana (a Bengali reference encyclopedia), we find the names of Buddha and Kalki. The Agni, Vayu and Skanda Puranas also mention the name of Buddha, as does the following verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam:

tatah kalau sampravritte sammohaya sura-dvisham
buddho namnanjana-sutah kikateshu bhavishyati

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.24)

“Then, in the beginning of Kali-yuga the Lord will appear as Lord Buddha, the son of Anjana, in the province of Gaya (Bihar) just for the purpose of infatuating those who are envious of the faithful demigods.”

In Chapters 17-18 of the 3rd Section of Vishnu Purana, Buddha has been designated as ‘Mayamoha’. Once, while bathing in the waters of the Yamuna, Akrura was astonished to see Krishna-Balarama within the river. Coming out, he saw Them seated in a chariot as They had been before appearing in the water. Again he immersed himself in the water, and saw the yellow-clad four-handed Vasudeva Sri Krishna along with His associates, graciously seated on the lap of the thousand-hooded Sri Anantadeva while being worshiped by Brahma and other demigods. At that time, he prayed to the Lord in the following manner:

namo buddhaya suddhaya daitya-danava-mohine
mleccha-praya-kshatra-hantre namas te kalki-rupine

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.40.22)

“O Lord! I offer my obeisances unto Your form of Buddha, who, possessing a faultless nature, deluded the miscreants by composing anti-Vedic scriptures. I also offer obeisances unto Your Kalki form, the annihilator of the wicked kshatriyas who are no better than barbarians.”

The Vedas encode instructions according to the eligibility or qualification of various living beings, especially human beings. But in the course of time, ignorant men took the tamasika orders to be the only instruction of the Vedas and engaged in the extensive killing of animals, sometimes even sacrificing human beings during worship of the demigods. At that time, the Supreme Lord descended in the form of Buddha and outwardly rejected the teachings of the Vedas for the welfare of human beings incapable of comprehending the true teachings of the Vedas. This implies that He disputed and cancelled His own prior teachings, propounded the futility of belief in God and preached to human beings four noble truths, to free them from their violent practices. This act of Buddha provided instantaneous benediction to mankind of that period. As Lord Buddha was the Supreme Lord Himself, many people resolved to follow ahimsa-dharma-the path of non-violence, due to His influence. As a result of non-violence, the hearts of human beings became pious and their qualifications gradually increased, so Lord Siva appeared as Sankaracarya. He re-established the supreme authenticity and decorum of the Vedas, and founded the philosophy of ‘brahmakarana-vada’ (Brahman as ultimate cause). In later ages, the Vaishnava stalwarts built the philosophy of bhakti upon this same foundation stone. From the personal and aggregate point of view, these are the steps of progress.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the Lord Himself, removed the incompleteness of the previously propagated philosophies through His ‘acintya-bhedabheda-tattva’ philosophy (the principle of inconceivable simultaneous distinction and non-distinction).

It is said that Sakyasimha Buddha, the son of Suddhodana and Maya, and Buddha-avatara, the Vaishnavas’ object of adoration, are not one and the same person. Our Most Revered Nityalilapravishta Om Vishnupada 108 Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada has clearly said, “Sakyasimha Buddha was merely a vastly learned person, so we cannot call him the original Buddha or Lord Buddha.”

Acarya Sri Sankara has by mistake referred to Maya’s son, Buddha, as ‘Sugata Buddha’ in the following commentary:

sarvatha api anadaraniya ayam sugata-samayah sreyaskamaih
iti abhiprayah

Amarakosha-grantha (Sanskrit dictionary) states:

sarvajnah sugato buddho dharmarajastathagatah
samastabhadro bhagavan marajillokajijjinah
shadabhijno dasabalo ’dvayavadi vinayakah
munindrah srighanah sasta munih sakyamunistu yah

“All-Knowing, Transcendental, Buddha, King of Righteousness, He Who Has Come, Beneficent, All-Encompassing, Lord, Conqueror of the God of Love-Mara, Victorious of Three Worlds, He Who Controls His Senses, Protector from the Six Enemies, Possessor of the Ten Powers, Speaker of Monism (One Absolute), Teacher, Lord of the Sages, Embodiment of Splendor and Eminent Saint.” In his commentary on the above verse, Srila Ragunatha Cakravarti has written:

“All eighteen names of Buddha from ‘sarvajna’ (omniscient) to ‘sakyamuni’, refer to Vishnu-avatara Buddha. Therefore, ‘Sugata’ clearly refers only to Vishnu-avatara Buddha.

sa sakyasimhah sarvarthasiddhah sauddhodanisca sah
gautamascarkabandhusca mayadevisutasca sah

“Teacher of the Sakyas, lion of the Sakyas, accomplisher of all goals, son of Suddhodana, of Gautama’s line, friend of scholars, son of Mayadevi.” Here, Srila Ragunatha Cakravarti has written:

ete sapta shakyabangshabatirneh buddhamuni bisheshe

“The seven aliases from ‘sakyasimha Buddha’ down to ‘mayadevisuta’ (the son of Mayadevi) refer to monks belonging to the Sakya Dynasty.”

Thus, Sugata Buddha and Sunyavadi (Sakyasimha) Buddha are not the same person. Further evidence is found in Mr. H.T.Colebrooke’s Amarakosha, published at Ramapura in 1807. It is written in Chapter 21, Page 178 of Lalitavistara-grantha that Gautama Buddha performed penances at the same place as the previous Buddha (Vishnu-avatara Buddha). Maybe it is for this reason that in later ages he and Lord Buddha are considered as being one:

esha dharanimunde purvabuddhasanasthah
samartha dhanurgrihitva sunya nairatmavanaih
klesaripum nihatva drishtijalanca bhitva-siva
virajamsokam prapsyate bodhimagryam

Currently this place is known as Buddha Gaya but Srimad-Bhagavatam refers to it as Kikata Pradesa:

tatah kalau sampravritte sammohaya sura-dvisham
buddho namnanjana-sutah kikateshu bhavishyati

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.24)

“Thereafter, in the twenty-first manvantara at the beginning of Kali-yuga, the Lord will appear as Lord Buddha, the son of Anjana, in Kikata Pradesa (the province of Gaya-Bihar), just for the purpose of deluding those who are envious of the faithful demigods.”

[From “Dasavatara – The Ten Manifestations of God” by Swami B.B. Tirtha Maharaj. For more information or to purchase the Dasavatara book, please visit www.sreecgmath.org ]

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