[Advaita-l] Shankara's ptaise of the Buddha

Srikanta Narayanaswami srikanta.narayanaswami at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 22 02:17:16 CDT 2011

The Saint Bard of Andhra Desa Annamacharya also extolled the Buddha in his
famous kirtana "Indariki abhayambulu icchu cheyi".  Saint Annamacharya
praises the abhaya hasta of Lord Venkateshwara and says that it the same
abhaya hasta that saved vedas from the sea; that tore apart hiranyakasipu;
that begged from King Bali; that severed kshatriya kings (as parashurama);
that killed Ravana, that drove the chariot of Arjuna; that bestowed the abhaya
to the gods during tripurAsura samhAra by assuming the form of mendicant 
with the name of "arihan". Again the same abhaya hasta rides the 
horse on tirumala moutains by assuming the name of venkatanAtha.
So, this "arihan" is the incarnation of viShNu-mAyA
that took the form of a monk to destroy the tripurAsurAs.  The weapons of 
arihan is ahimsa and vaidika karma kANDa nirasana.  The words of arihan
to the inhabitants were very pleasing and hence chAru-vAk (chAru = pleasing;
vAk = words).  And hence the siddhAnta preached by arihan was chAruvAka siddhAnta.
It is this arihan as buddha is extolled in dasAvatAra stotra.
This "kirtana"of Annamacharya extols Buddha because Buddhism had spread to Andhra during the Nihilist(sunyavadi)Nagarjuna's time.He hailed from "Nagarjunikonda".He was a prominent founder of the "Pratityasamutpada"concept in Buddhism.Even the bard Jayadeva extolled Buddha in his "Dashavatara"kirtana because he hailed from the village "Kindubilva"in Orissa.Geographically Orissa and Andhra lie in the same belt.
It is not surprising that both these states came under the influence of Buddhism.There are many in these states who believe that Krishna and Buddha are different avatars of the same God,Vishnu.There is a book also which has been recently brought with the title"Buddhist Vishnu".But this is without a basis,because Sri Krishna is a vedic God,but,Buddha is non-vedic.More over,the word,"Arihan"is a corruption of the word,"Arihanth".The Jains chant,"Namo Arihantanam,Namo Siddhanam,Namo,Buddhanam,Namo Ayariyanam"etc"It is clear that the word
"Arihanth"refers to Mahavira and later to Buddha.Later,due to the mixing of these two with Hindu theology.,
the word Buddha and Arihanth have found their inroads to Hinduism.The Orissa state even today are "Shaktha"worshippers,and also Bengal who perform the Kali worship.There is what is called "Bakala devi"worship where the devotee performs standing on one leg.It is more in the south that the scholars tend to differentiate Buddha  and Vishnu.I am convinced that this Buddha infiltration into Hinduism have occurred,due to the non-dicernment of the two Philosophy and Theology.But,as far as the Idol worship is concerned Buddhism has much to vow for Hinduism.

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