Hello and welcome to episode 106 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today I want to talk about Buddha and his attitude towards God. You’ll learn how it can benefit us tremendously.
Today’s question comes from Lisa and she asks “why did Buddha not preach about God like Christ, Krishna and Mohammed did?”
That’s a fantastic question. I think to really cover this in depth we’d need the whole day but I will try and give you as much insight as I can in this episode.
Vivekananda said that the mother would recognise her child in whatever dress he comes and if she does not then she is not the mother of that child. So only a true devotee can know Christ, Krishna or Mohammed. In spirituality it’s not what they speak that’s very important but what they are is very important.
Anyone can speak about God. I can speak about him all I want but in the grand scheme of things my life will only be known to a few people. In spirituality people sometimes mistakenly place more importance in the speeches and writing than they do in the actual teacher. The lives they live and their characters are much more important.
Vivekananda says that it’s very important to understand the context in which these men or women of God appear. Krishna appeared at a time when rituals were very high and people were not giving importance to Brahman and the knowledge of the consciousness. This resulted in the Bhagavad Gita. The greatest piece of text that has ever existed.
When Buddha came the priests had almost poisoned people minds and they had forgotten everything about morality and having a great character. People were just blindly following what they priests were saying and worshiping a God in heaven that they couldn’t really have any sort of meaningful connection with. Metaphysical discussions had reached such a peak in Hinduism that people had completely separated themselves from morality. They had totally forgotten about forming the gold image. In any religion this is the most important thing you need to do.
He is God
Buddha came with the attitude that he would not preach God. Buddha never preached God but he never denied God either. That’s the important thing. He came at a time where it was necessary to destroy the ill effects of thinking God is only outside, that he is far away in a heaven, unreachable to anyone. This is why some people refer to Buddha as being agnostic but if you really study the life of Buddha you will see that he is God! If you are man you need God but if you are God you do not need him.
The 5 scholars
I want to share a wonderful story that Buddha told. Five scholars came to Buddha. They were arguing about scripts and which method was better than the other. They knew Buddha was an enlightened master and they wanted his advice on which method was best. Buddha asked each one of them if they had seen God. All of them said no. He asked if their fathers had seen God. They said know. He asked if their Grandfathers had seen God. Again the answer was no. He asked if their teacher has seen God. They once more said no. Then he told them to listen to a story.
There was a young man in a village who was weeping loudly saying he could not live without a girl he was crying for. He was creating such a scene that all the villagers gathered around him to see what was happening. They wanted to help him. If he could not live without her they would help him find her, they just needed to know who she was. He said he didn’t know her name. They asked where she lived so they could go to her village and look for her. He said he didn’t know where she lived. Then they said OK tell us what she looks like, that would help them find her. He wailed again and said he didn’t know what she looked like!
Buddha said that if you are yearning for such a person yet you don’t know who they are, what they look or where they live then what do you call that person? The scholars said you would call them a mad person. You’d call them a fool. Buddha pointed out that the same thing was happening when they argued over scriptures. They didn’t know who God is, they didn’t know where lived or what he looked like. The scholars eyes were opened immediately and they knew instantly that they were making a mistake.
He asked them if their fathers had ever thought about God being angry, evil or immoral. They said no. He said if you achieve a state where you have transcended evil, anger and being immoral then there is a much better chance of seeing God. They agreed with him. This was Buddha’s teaching.
If you look closely you’ll see that all great ones teach the same thing, they just do it in a way that is needed at that point in time. They all ask us to withdraw our gunas. To rise above our emotions and realise that they are only an illusion. Remember Buddha did not preach God but he did not deny him either. We must always remember that.
I hope I answered your question. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.