|BUDDHA - THE ENLIGHTENED
Buddha, the ninth incarnation of Vishnu, appears at the
start of the present age. He has short curly hair and his feet and palms have marks of the lotus.
Calm and graceful in appearance, he is seated on a lotus flower. The lobes of
his ears are shaped like a pendant and he is shown wearing a yellow robe. The
hands are in a boon giving and protection mode.
|BUDDHA - THE ENLIGHTENED
This incarnation is symbolic of the uneasiness that the Hindu priests felt for
the Buddhists and their teachings, which were becoming very popular with the
masses. The Bhagwat-Purana says that 'as Buddha, Vishnu
deludes the heretics'.As Buddha, Vishnu advised the demons to abandon the Vedas, whereupon they lost
all their powers and enabled the gods to establish their supremacy. The doctrines
supposedly put forward by Buddha are far removed from Buddha's teachings as understood
by his followers.
Ironically, the Buddhists did in some sense turn to Hindu belief.
The mythology and cosmology that became attached to Buddhism, as it became a
popular mass religion were rooted in Hindu belief and the Hindu gods inhabited
some of the lower heavens of the Buddhist cosmos.
Buddhist mythology is replete with legends relating to his birth. According to
a Tibetan belief, Buddha Kashyapa had prophesied that he would be reborn in human
This would happen when the life span of people living on earth became 100
years. His immortal incarnation would be called Buddha Shakyamuni and he would
be a teacher to both the gods and humans.
|BIRTH OF BUDDHA
|SUDDHODHANA AND MAYAVATI
When the time was right, Buddha Kashyapa took the form of
a six-tusked young white elephant and entered the body of Queen Mayadevi, wife
of King Suddodhana of Kapilavastu situated in the foot of the Himalayas, through the right side
of her ribcage.
Mayadevi carried him in her womb for ten months. One day, while
strolling in her garden, she felt that she would soon give birth to her child.
She grasped the branch of a
Sal (Shorea robusta) tree and yawned. Immediately,
amidst an aura of light, the child was born from under her right arm. He walked
seven steps in each direction and the earth shook in homage. The child was named
|MAYADEVI DREAMING OF A
SIX TUSKED ELEPHANT
Another legend suggests that the Buddha was an incarnation
of Airavat, the elephant of Indra. Airavat is considered by many Hindus to be an incarnation of Vishnu
because he emerged during the samudra manthan, as a six-tusked young, white elephant.
According to this story, Queen Mayadevi was strolling in the garden at Kapilavastu.
Feeling tired, she sat under a Sal (Shorea robusta) tree and fell asleep. She
dreamt that a six-tusked white elephant had entered her body. Frightened, she
rushed back to her husband and related what had happened. King Suddodhana consulted
the royal astrologer, who told him that an unusual savior of mankind was to be
born to them.