Buddham Sharanam Gachchami

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 AMNov (Friends, Literature, Media, Musings, Poetry, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

It is 2553rd Buddha Jayanthi today and Ravi Sir asks me to dao a story on Buddha Jayanthi. He thinks i am suitable to write because of the terracota idol of Buddha that i have on my table in the office. I tell Ravi Sir, “I can write an opinion piece but nothing for the newspaper,” which ends the discussion leaving me with thoughts of Buddha.

Buddha was introduced as a historical man in social studies book. But then i never found him interesting enough. It was poem on Buddha by Gopalkrishna Adiga, a renowned Kannada poet, which made me silently start liking Buddha. But it was Jayawanth Sir who for the first time made Buddha one of my major preoccupations. Jayawanth Sir sitting in his shop in the Udupi Car street once said – “Buddha went against the will of his parents yet he is worshipped, when its told and re-told that we need to respect our parents and their words with the example of Shravana Kumar.”

A poem by Aarathi Patrame (Wife of my friend Sibanthi Padmanabh) looks at this ‘great departure’ in a feminist point of view and questions “what did Yashodhara go through then?”

In spite of all these questions, which goes unanswered, Buddha becomes extremely important to me and also close to my heart for his teachings and preachings.

Buddha is usually equated only with Gandhi as a preacher of non-violence. But Buddha is more than a religious figure and his teachings more than non-violence. Late D.R. Nagaraj in one of his essays brings out the similarity between the teachings of Buddha and Karl Marx.  B.R. Ambedkar emracing Buddhism (thus Buddha) was a political act, which strengthens the argument that Buddha’s teachings were also quite political in nature.

Bharatiya Janatha Party led National Democratic Allignment government chosing to Buddha Poornima for nuclear test at Pokhran and having “Buddha smiled” as a code word for a nuclear test which is a symbol of violence, also shows the political standing of the party, which is violent in nature.

***

When i was in my 12th class, once, Pejawar Mutt seer Vishwesha Teertha had invited a few chosen students from our school to Krishna Mutt at Udupi for general interaction. There we all could ask any question to Mr. Teertha and he would answer.

One among us had then asked “Buddha is one among the ten avtaars of Vishnu but still Buddhism is a different religion altogether, how is that?” Getting defensive Mr. Teertha had answered saying “These two Buddha’s are different,” thinking that the answer would solve the problem. But the boy who had asked the question asked Mr. Teertha to narrate the story of the ‘other’ Buddha to which there was no proper answer from Mr. Teertha. That evening while returning from Krishna Mutt we all were making fun of Mr. Teertha for his inability to answer the question regarding Buddha and very lightly one of us made a statement “The other Buddha is yet to be born so the story is not written yet for him to tell us.”

I dont know of any ‘other’ Buddha and i dont even know if ‘another’ Buddha will come again to teach and preach this world. All i know is that there is a need to take shelter in the teachings of Buddha, now, during troubled times.

Buddham Sharanam Gachchami…

09 May 2009

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