Dasa Avatars

Malolan Cadambi cadambi at HOTPOP.COM
Sat Apr 26 07:55:09 CDT 2003

>I understand of course that there is a long-standing practice including
>Buddha as an Avatar and I can appreciate that there may have been pragmatic
>historical reasons for the development of such a tradition. However, and
>with all respect to those who propound and adhere to such a view, I cannot
>personally understand its logic. Nastika philosophies were rejected by as
>heretical from the outset and the logic of continuing to consecrate Buddha
>as an Avatar is (for me) highly dubious. He, after all, rejects the primacy
>of the Vedas and denies their Revelatory status or intent and rejects the
>notion of Atma. Though I can understand that the Madhyamika, under specific
>interpretations, leads to a measure of intellectual convergence with
>Advaita, I fail to see how even such syncretism warrants Buddha's elevation
>to an Avatar.

Not true. Buddha, i.e Siddhartha Gautama (S.G) henceforth, was not included
in the original list. Srimad Bhagavatam mentions that the advent of a Buddha
avatara who was born to Anjana. But SG was born to Maya not Anjana. The
Buddha Avatara of the Bhagavatam came down in order to trick the Asuras into

On the other hand, it is mainly due to the works of Jayadeva of Gita Govinda
fame that most North Indian traditions and Nepali traditions include
Buddha(S.G) as an avatara of Vishnu. Apart from them, in modern times,
Neo-vedantins like Vivekananda and the Gaudiya-s (ISKCON) inlcude S.G as one
of the Avataras. The VHP and the Sangh include any non-christian,
non-islamic icons as avatara-s. Enough said.

>The problem is compounded by the fact that, in my opinion, even a
>perfunctory exegesis of the Puranas reveals that the Sri Balarama tradition
>as an Avatar is also exposed to a degree of logical disquiet. There are
>many specific points for concern but I raise three for illustration:

>Firstly, what is the rationale for having two concurrent Avatars? This does
>not seem logical.

Here is a Sri Vaishnava prespective, which I am sure is endorse by SmArtha-s
and Madhava-s as well:


Balarama and Parashurama are said to be concurrent Avataras. This is
perfectly logical.

>Secondly, to my view of thinking, it obviates some natural dichotomies in
>the Puranas and the Mahabharata in particular- Bhagavan Narayana - Sage
>Narada - Sri Rama- Lakshman  Bhagavan Krishna-Arjuna. That
is to say it
>does not seem consistent.

There were two sages - Nara and Narayana - who descend down as Arjuna and
Krishna. The dwArapAlaka-s (gate-keepers) of Vishnu in Vaikunta descend down
as HiranyAksha and Hiranyakashipu, who are anhilated by Varaha and
Narasimha, and as Ravana and Kumbhakarna who are anhilated by Rama and as
Shishupala and Dantavaktra who are anhilated by Krishna.



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