Buddha-Mysteries, Brahman-Realization

Question: Why is Buddha counted among the Dāśavatāras since his teachings are averse to Vaiṣṇava philosophy?

Answer: There are two possible explanations. Some scholars propound the idea that there were two Buddhas. One Buddha is the well-known Buddha who was born as Gautama to King Śuddhodana in Nepal. The other is the Buddha included in the Dāśavatāras. He is not Gautama Buddha. At least,the way He is described in śāstra does not match the historical Buddha. Then who is the Buddha mentioned in śāstra? I have no answer.

Alternatively, the historical Buddha is the Buddha part of the Dāśavatāras. His teachings are atheistic to provide discipline for atheistic people. As you can see, so many atheistic people follow Buddha. It is better to follow Buddha than to be a gross atheist. Then, gradually one may come to sanātana dharma. That also happens to some people. Moreover, if God is inclusive of everything, then He must be inclusive of atheism also. So He comes as Buddha.


Question: Is there a difference in the use or meaning of the words avatāra and “incarnation?” Can they be used interchangeably?

Answer: No, they are not the same. The word avatāra means coming down or descent. It implies that one who is taking an avatāra already exists and then comes into the world. He already has a form which then becomes manifest in the world. It also signifies that the body of an avatāra is spiritual and hence eternal. Incarnation, on the other hand, means to take a body of flesh. It means that one did not have a body before but has one now, and that body is material.´


Question: How do Buddhists attain nirvāṇa? Is it not the same as Brahman?

Answer: The Buddhist meditate and try to attain nirvikalpaka-samādhi. That is what they call nirvāṇa. They do not believe in an eternal ātmā or any eternal Truth like Brahman. Therefore, nirvāṇa cannot be compared to Brahman.


Question: Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī concludes in Bhagavat Sandarbha that even liberated persons take pleasure in devotional service to Bhagavān. You commented that this is so because liberation is devoid of transcendental variety and hence does not afford one the possibility of rendering service to the Lord. Please explain further.

Answer: The first mention of “liberated persons” refers to the jīvan-mukta—one who has become liberated while living but has not yet given up the body. The second mention of “liberation” refers to the final liberation where the jīvan-mukta gives up the body and identifies with Brahman (brahma-sāyujya.)

Question: Does this refer to impersonal liberation or Brahman realization?

Answer: Yes, this refers to Brahman realization and it is also called impersonal liberation.

Question: In impersonal liberation, there is no end?

Answer: Yes, there is no end to brahma-sāyujya.

Question: How am I to understand this in the context of the Vedic statements that the jīva is the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, and always has the potential to serve Kṛṣṇa?

Answer: “Eternal servant” means that the jīva has the potential to serve. But the potential does not manifest in brahma-sāyujya. You may have the potential to paint or sing but you never paint or sing. Still, you can be called a painter or singer. You may know how to cook but you never cook. A singer is called singer because he sings. But if he never sings, although has the potential to sing, he is not called a singer.







One thought on “Buddha-Mysteries, Brahman-Realization”

  1. I read your question / answer today and thought to share a perspective that my Guru shared with me once about Buddhism.
    He said that it isn’t or wasn’t originally atheist but certain lineages of Buddhism sort of had to become that to escape the persecution by the Chinese.
    Thought I would share that with you in case it resonates with you.

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