Buddha - a nAstika?

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Apr 6 12:08:25 CDT 1998

On Fri, 3 Apr 1998, Chandran, Nanda (NBC) wrote:

> About Buddha being nAstika, one would then wonder why he's worshipped by
> Hindus as an avatar of Lord Vishnu!

According to the Bhagavata Purana, the Asuras after being beaten in yet
another round of their perennial conflict with the Devas, had an idea.
Observing that they kept losing because the Devas were armed with Dharma
they decided to give up Adharma and become "holier than thou" as it were.
Sure enough they began to prevail.  In distress, Indra etc. appealed to
Vishnu Bhagawan to save them which he did by becoming the Buddha and
confusing them with heretical thoughts.  Unfortunately, as a byproduct
some humans accidently got affected to.

Not much of a compliment is it?

> In the Brahma Sutras Badarayana
> terms the Samkhya school as nAstika. But now it's considered Astika!

Because nowadays Samkhya doesn't exist as a seperate darshan having being
amalgamated with Yoga.  Samkhya-Yoga adds Ishwar as a tattva to the
original 25 of Samkhya bringing it back into the pale.  Also Samkhya-Yoga
has more or less been assimilated into Vedanta.

> Wonder where the distinction begins and ends and what purpose it serves!

Things change.  In Gujarat Jains are completely integrated into the Hindu
community and apart from a few scholars, both they and their neighbors
would be astonished to learn they are nastikas!  On the other hand a lot
of todays so-called Advaitins deserve the term.

> Does Gaudapada dismiss the Madhyamikas merely because they're nAstika
> and ignore their theories? The Gaudapadiya karika is more addressed
> towards them than the Vedantins.

It was their theories that made them nastika!

> For the traditional Hindu way is not
> mere dismissal of the opponent on disagreement, but to meet the rival on
> his own grounds and assimilate.

Not necessarily.  If Buddhism had really been assimilated (the way Jainism
was) it would still exist in India today.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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