We seem to be going around in circles.Presently the question in circulation seems to be twofold :
- Whether Buddha was an avatar of Vishnu or not
- If so, does he figure in the top 10, or in the larger group of 22?
Let me try to summarize everybody's arguments:
Vrish 's : objection to Gautama Buddha is that in his search for enlightenment, he abandoned his family / kingdom midway without providing for their future. This act of renunciation / abandonment is not sanctified by scriptures, hence this counts against him. Verdict : Cannot be considered an avatar
Janaki : allows Buddha to be an avatar but in the larger group of 22, not in the Dasha Avatar subsect
Shivang : Not all the avatars of Vishnu need to have had identical philosophies. Each avatar was distinct / different from each other. Similarly, despite all the arguments marshalled against Gautama, he can be considered an avatar. Verdict : Can be considered an avatar , that too in the top ten.
Varaali : Now,first of all, I would like to ask who's word do we take as the final authority? For me, I would like to consider Srimad Bhagavatham / Veda Vyasa as the guiding source. And here, there are answers to the questions raised in this thread.
As I said earlier, SB mentions 22 avatars of Vishnu. Let us forget the subsect of Dasha Avatars for a minute and concentrate on the bigger list of 22. In that list, there are avatars as diverse as Kurma (who did nothing put to support the mountain) , King Prithu, Sage Kapila , Mohini and the four Sanat Kumaras.
It is in this list that Buddha is included. Our problem in reconciling with Buddha seems to be the fact that the tenets that he preached seem to go against the pillars on which Hinduism stood . My answer to that is this was what he was supposed to do anyway. His birth and his preachings had been predicted at the dawn of Kali Yuga itself.
Srimad Bhagavtham, Veda Vyasa and Suta Goswami had no problems with accepting the fact that in His next incarnation as Buddha, Vishnu is not going to talk about the Vedas, yagnas, rituals, etc but will preach on more basic, fundamental social ethics.
It is also said in SB itself that such an unique / different avatar will be required because of the turbulent times the world will be passing through. Scientific knowledge would have advanced so much that men would be shooting invisible rockets / missiles into outer space which will hold a threat of not only destroying life on Earth, but lives(if at all) on other spheres as well.
So I am not going to reject Gautama Buddha's claim to avatar hood just because he did not give importance to what is considered sacrosanct in Hinduism. If SB, Vyasa and Suta have allowed him to be an avatr who am I to question it ?
But that doesn't mean I am going to start celebrating Buddha Jayanti with gusto (except maybe to wish Shivang on his birthday ) . That is because over a period of years, Buddha's followers have changed the colour of his teachings so much that it today stands as a separate religion which makes it difficult for us Hindus to accept them as a part of our faith, let alone accept their founder as an embodiment of our God.
Personally though I must admit that while teaching my children, I have found it more comfortable to include Balarama in, and leave out Buddha. But it is a different story that I don't give much importance to the Top Ten. I like the larger, more inclusive list of 22.
Edited by varaali - 25 July 2012 at 11:11pm