Questions for those familiar with Tamil History
Anand V. Hudli
anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 15 10:43:58 CDT 1999
I am trying to find out if there is independent confirmation of
the influence of the upanishads and the mahAbhArata on Buddha
and early Buddhism. Such an influence is evident from comparison
the teachings of the upanishads and the mahAbhArata with Buddha's.
I agree that the absolutism of the upanishads does not appear in
Buddhism but there are other aspects of the upanishads which could
have influenced it. For example, the muNDaka upanishad upholds the
stage of sannyAsa or renunciation, and treats the vidyA of the
karma-kANDa, the ritual section, as aparA or lower vidyA.
vedAntebhyo gR^ihItvArthAn.h yo mahAbhAratAdapi |
viprANAm.h mishhatAmeva kR^itavAn.h koshasaJNchayam.h ||
Gathering concepts from the upanishads and the MahAbhArata,
and in the presence of Vedic pundits, (Buddha or someone writing
for him) composed the collection of (his own) works.
This verse, that I got through private communication, is
said to be from a work known as "mattavilAsaprahasana" of
Mahendra VarmA, a king of the Pallava dynasty, who is
said to have ruled Kanchipura about 1500 years ago.
I have the following questions for those who are familiar
with Southern Indian History and literature.
1) Who was Mahendra Varma ? Did he rule Kanchipuram
about 1500 years ago as claimed?
2) Did he write a work called "mattavilAsaprahasana"?
3) If yes, does the above verse appear in that work?
4) If the above verse appears in the work, does the
verse refer to Budhha, as claimed?
5) What is the context of the verse? What are the
arguments/statements leading up to the verse?
If the answers to these questions are in the affirmative,
we may have here an independent historical confirmation of what
is evident from a comparison of Buddha's teachings vis-a-vis
the teachings of the upanishads and also those of the
MahAbhArata - ie. Buddha got key ideas for His own teachings
from the upanishads and the MahAbhArata. Discussion of what
is true Brahminhood in the mahAbhArta (see for example the
nahushha episode) find their way into the Dhammapada.
It is ludicrous to say that the mahAbhArta itself was composed
under Buddhist influence. How can the epic which narrates many
tales of violence culiminating in the great Kurukshhetra war,
preaches duty above all even if it means causing pain to others,
have anything to do with Buddhist ideals?
Please note that Mahendra VarmA's period (1500 years ago)
would put him before the usually accepted times of both
GauDapAda and Shankara. So the argument that Mahendra Varma
was writing to defend Shankara's school becomes invalid.
More information about the Advaita-l mailing list