1956 Back to Godhead vol 3 part 05 - Lord Buddha
The emblem of Theism
Transcendental Poet Shree Joydev Acharya worshipped Lord Buddha in his prayer song of the ten incarnations of the Personality of Godhead Keshava (Sree Krishna). He sang like this.
- "nindasi yajna-vidher ahaha sruti-jatam
- sadaya-hrdaya darsita-pasu-ghatam
- kesava dhrta-buddha-sarira jaya jagadisa hare"
Nindashi=Speak ill of it, Yajna=Sacrifice, Bedhe=In the matter of, Aharaha=Constantly, Shruti=Vedic literatures (The science of hearing), Jatam=In pursuance of, Sadaya=Compassioned, Hridaya=Heart, Darshita=Having observed, Pashughatam=Slaughter of animals, Keshava=The destroyer of demon of the name Keshi, Dhrita=Having accepted, Buddha=Empowered incarnation of the name (The knower of everything), Shareera=In the Personality of, Jaya=All glory for, Jagadisha=The Almighty Lord, Hare=Oh Hari the Godhead!
Oh my Lord the Personality of Godhead Keshava! all glory unto you; because you have accepted the Body of Lord Buddha-who spoke ill constantly of the animal sacrifices in pursuance of the rites of the Vedic literatures.
The Vedas are transcendental literatures learnt by the process of aural reception from the right source. The Vedas are therefore called "Srutis" i.e., the science that is learnt by the process of hearing. In that Vedic literatures, sacrifices of animals are sometimes recommended under religious rites.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had some arguments with Maulana Chand Kazi Saheb, the then city magistrate of Nabadwip (W. Bengal). When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked Kazi Saheb why do the Mohamedans sacrifice cows, the Kazi Saheb who was also very learned replied that cow sacrifice is also recommended in the Vedas. On this Lord Chaitanya said cow sacrifice is recommended in the Vedas not for killing it but to give it new span of life. In the Vedas the sacrifice of animals are recommended by perfect rituals and as the result of such sacrificial rites, the animal sacrificed would again be renewed to a new life with perfect health. This sacrifice was done in order to exhibit the powerful Vedic mantras which properly chanted can perform wonders of life. An old bull was therefore selected for such sacrificial purpose and after sacrificing it on the altar of 'yajna' the animal was again resurrected by new span of life. Unless therefore one is able to give a renewed life to the animal, no such animal sacrifice should be attempted. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu thus quoted a verse from some authoritative scriptures in which it is said that in the age of Kali (iron age), sacrifice of horse and cow, adopting the renounced life of a Sannyasi, propitiating forefathers offering meats in the "Sradh' ceremony, and begetting of a son by one's husband's younger brother-these five items must be avoided. The reason explained by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in favour of restricting cow sacrifice in the Kali Yuga was that there was no expert ritualistic Brahman in this age who could help resurrection the life of an animal so sacrificed.
Exactly that is the purpose of animal sacrifice recommended in the Vedas. Another explanation of meat-eating by sacrifice is given in the Bhagwat Purana. It is said there that sexual intercourse with woman, meat-eating or indulgence in intoxication, recommended in the Vedas, are not for encouraging such habits of animal nature. By natural instincts such desires in the animal are already existing. Therefore there was no need of recommending it under the garb of religious rites. The idea is different. Recommendation in the Shastras for such concessions was meant for restricting the animal habit by allowing meat-eating by sacrificial rites, allowing sexual intercourse by legalised marriage etc. in order to bring in regulation of the extravagant sense-gratifying instincts. The regulative principles are so designed in due course the animal propensities may be subdued completely with the progress of reviving the divine nature.
Prior to the advent of Lord Buddha the animal sacrificial portions of the Vedic literatures were grossly misused and instead of subduing the animal propensities of man they were indulged in an unrestricted extravagance. As stated in the Bhagwat Geeta, the Personality of Godhead appears Himself as incarnation, it was necessary to put things in the right order and Lord Buddha as incarnation of Keshava (Sree Krishna) appeared as the emblem of Theism. In the Bhagwat Puranam, the incarnation of Buddha is stated as follows:
Tatah kalau sampravrtte sammohaya sura-dvisam buddho namnanjana-sutah kikatesu bhavisyati
Tatah=After that, Kalou=In the age of Kali (Iron age), Samprabritte=Just in beginning of, Sanmohaya=In order to bewilder, Suradbhisham=The demons who are envious of the devotees, Buddha=Lord Buddha (Power incarnation of Godhead), Namna=Of the Name, Anjanasuta=As the son of Anjana, Kikatesha=In the province Gaya (Bihar), Bhabishyati=Will appear.
After that just in the beginning of the age of Kali, Lord Buddha the son of Anjana will appear in the province of Gaya in order to bewilder the demons who are always envious of the devotees of the Lord.
Bhagwat Puran was compiled almost 3000 years B.C. Under the circumstances the word 'Bhabishyati' is significant. Revealed scriptures of India are all corollaries of the Vedic literatures. They are production of transcendental mode of thinking as against the scientific mode of thinking. As we have already discussed to some extent the basic defect of scientific mode of thinking, any literature which is not derived from the authentic sources of Vedic literature is considered as ordinary country news with no effect of actual knowledge. Such literatures are full of mistakes, irrelevancy, cheating and imperfectness. They are so because they are compiled by persons who are by contact of materialism imperfect in respect of thinking, calculating, dealing, and sense perception.
The Vedic literatures are revealed literatures and they are received through an authoritative chain of disciplic succession called the Parampara system which is the most important and the perfect system of receiving knowledge in an unadulterated form. Sreemad Bhagwat Purana is therefore revealed scripture and it is quite possible for it to foretell many things like the advent of Lord Buddha even 500 years before His appearance. Not only of Lord Buddha, the appearance date and place of Kalki, the 10th incarnation of Godhead, who is still to appear at the end of this Kaliyuga-is also stated in the Bhagwat Purana. Lord Kalki is stated to make His appearance at the end of Kali Yuga i.e. at the end of about 400,000 (four lacs of years) henceforward in the province of Sambalpur (M.P.) as the son of Shri Vishu Joshi a fortunate Brahmin.
Therefore acceptance of the incarnations of Godhead must be in accordance with the authoritative statements of revealed scriptures and not by mental concoction. At the present moment many mushroom institutions have sprung up by the grace of Kali and they have presented their own manufactured incarnations of Godhead without any reference to the revealed scriptures. Such presentation of cheap incarnations of Godhead by unscrupulous persons have misled the common to know the right things and as a result of this willful adulterations, the people in general, mental speculators, and unauthorised religionists have sprung up on large scale. The general public is thus bewildered as to what to do and what not to do.
Lord Buddha is said to be the incarnation of power of the Supreme Lord. He is something like a representative with power of attorney.
For each and every incarnation of Godhead the descriptions in the scriptures are given about His features and programme of work. As such the description of Lord Buddha's appearance is given as He would be the son of Anjana in the province of Gaya and the description of His programme of work is stated to be bewildering the atheistic public. Lord Buddha is said to be the son of Ajina somewhere or He is Himself the Ajina and there is almost the same philosophy of Ahinsa (non-violence) both in Buddhism and Jainism. Lord Mahabir is the originator of Jainism and His appearance date is almost the same as that of Lord Buddha. So there is almost a great proximity between these two system of faiths.
In the Bhagwat Purana, the activity of Lord Buddha is stated to be bewildering the atheists. The atheists do not believe in the existence of the Supreme Lord and to bewilder such persons the power incarnation of Godhead appeared as the religious reformer. His cult of Ahinsa is the most important panacea for curing the incurable disease of atheism. Those who will not accept the authority of the Supreme Lord, the Lord sent a powerful leader who would gradually lead them to the path of the Supreme Lord.
Killing of animals before the advent of Lord Buddha was the most prominent features of all the then society under the shadow of Vedic sacrifices. When Vedas are not accepted through the authoritative disciplic chain of succession, the casual readers of the Vedas are misled by the flowery language of this system of knowledge. In the Bhagwat Geeta a comment has been made on such foolish Vedic scholars. The foolish scholars of the Vedic literatures who do not care to receive the transcendental message through the traditional and realised sources of disciplic succession is sure to be bewildered and such bewildered souls have been described as (In Devanagari:) avipascitah or the foolish scholars. To such foolish scholars of Vedas, the ritualistic ceremonies are considered to be all in all without any deep penetration in the depth of the knowledge. (In Devanagari:) (vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyam) that is the version of Bhagwat Geeta. The whole system of the Vedas is to lead one gradually to the path of the Supreme Lord. The whole theme of the Vedic literature is made to know the Supreme Lord, the individual soul, the cosmic situation and the relations between all these items. When the relation is known the relative function begins and as a result of such functions the ultimate goal of life or going back to Godhead takes place in the easiest manner. Unfortunately unauthorised scholars of the Vedas became captivated by the purificatory ceremonies only and the natural progress is checked thereby to achieve the ultimate goal.
To such bewildered persons of atheistic propensity, Lord Buddha is the emblem of theism. He therefore first of all wanted to check the habit of animal killing. The animal killers are the dangerous elements on the path of going back to Godhead. There are two types of animal killers. The soul is also sometimes called the animal or the living being. Therefore both the slaughterer of animals as well as those who have lost their identity of the soul, both are animal killer.
Maharaj Parikshit said that only the animal killer alone cannot relish the transcendental message of the Supreme Lord. Therefore if people are to be educated to the path of Godhead they must be taught first and foremost to stop the process of animal killing bothwise as above mentioned. It is practically nonsensical who says that animal killing has nothing to do with spiritual realisation. By this dangerous theory many so-called Sannyasins(?) have sprung up by the grace of Kaliyuga who preach animal killing under the garb of the Vedas. This subject matter is already discussed above in the way of arguments between Lord Chaitanya and the Maulana Chand Kazi Shaheb. The purpose of animal sacrifice as stated in the Vedas is different from the unrestricted animal killing in the slaughterhouse. Because the Ashuras or the so-called scholars of Vedic literatures would put forward the evidence of animal killing in the Vedas, Lord Buddha superficially denied the authority of the Vedas. This rejection of the Vedas by Lord Buddha was adopted by Him in order to save people from the vice of animal killing as well as to save the poor animal from the slaughtering process by its big brothers who clamour for universal brotherhood, peace, justice, and equity. There is [no] justice when there is animal killing in the slaughterhouse. Lord Buddha wanted to stop it completely and therefore His cult of Ahinsa was propagated not only in India but also outside the country.
Technically Lord Buddha's philosophy is called atheistic philosophy because there is no acceptance of the Supreme Lord and because the system of philosophy denied the authority of the Vedas. But that is an act of camouflage by the Lord. He is the incarnation of Godhead. As such He is the propounder of the Vedic knowledge originally. He therefore cannot reject the Vedic philosophy. But He rejected it outwardly because the Suradbishu or the demons who are always envious of the devotees of Godhead would try to put forward the evidence of cow killing or animal killing from the pages of the Vedas as it is being done by the modernised Sannyasins(?)-Lord Buddha had to reject the authority of the Vedas altogether. This is simply technical and had it not been so He would not have been accepted as the incarnation of Godhead. Neither He would have been worshipped in the transcendental song of Poet Jayadeva. He preached the preliminary principles of the Vedas in a manner suitable for the time being and so also did Acharya Sankaracharya to establish the authority of the Vedas. Therefore Lord Buddha and Acharya Sankara both of them paved the path of Theism and the Vaishnava Acharyas specifically Lord Sree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu led the people on the path rightly towards a realisation of Back to Godhead.
We are glad that people are taking interest in the non-violent movement of Lord Buddha. But will they take the matter very seriously and close the animal slaughterhouse altogether? If not there is no meaning in such caricature [TEXT MISSING]. That is the verdict of all revealed scriptures.