Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Buddha: What He Represents & His Legacy to Humanity

Coming from a traditional Hindu family, Buddha Purnima is not something that I grew up understanding or celebrating. My father used to tell me the story of the young prince who saw suffering all around him and abandoned a princely life to understand the cause of such suffering. As a kid, I thought the prince must have been a little bit of a nutcase to leave behind such comforts and luxury to find out the cause of suffering.

I couldn't understand why he had to put his body through such rigorous pain and hardships to find out why suffering exists. Couldn't he have just enjoyed the blessings that God had given him in life? The very fact that he did not even acknowledge the existence of God itself told me he really is a nut case. These were my thoughts at a time when spirituality was not yet a complete path in my priority list. I am sure you are wise enough to understand.

I thought, as Malayalis do when unnecessary curiosity comes their way, "Appam thinna porey, kuzhi ennano?" (Poor translation - isn't it enough that you are eating delicious unniappams - do you have to count and find out where they came from and how they were made and spoil the enjoyment part of it??)

Today, I understand better. When young and handsome Siddhartha the prince evolved into the Buddha, the world began to change and reflect on the important lesson that he had taught us. From a textbook story, the Buddha began to mean something more profound to me. Buddha Purnima is a tribute to the great monk who attained enlightenment as indicated by the full moon.

I am not a Buddhist but as a sai devotee, I do embrace many of the principles of Buddhism. For example, in Buddhism, it is clearly stated that we begin our life from previously created karma but by changing the way life seems to be, we can change our present karma with mindfulness and by contributing positively to the welfare of the society. 
Like Shankaracharya who taught us "Tat Twam Asi" and that we are merely a speck of the Absolute Divine, the Buddha taught us that we live life under a false "I" feeling which if we abandon, we will experience absolute bliss. 
 
It is the same "I" that Jesus Christ also let go of by the cross and today, the world worships him on the symbol of the I that is crossed out, that is no longer false but is the path to a higher realm of consciousness.

Buddha's greatest gift, among many, is that he taught us to discover the self within using a spirit of dedicated inquiry and mindfulness. He chose the toughest path but he gave us the simplest teachings as his parting gifts.

Today, of all days, I bow before the greatness of Buddha, with the realization that it will take ordinary mortals like me several births to reach even that stream of consciousness that he easily grasped in his lifetime.

4 comments:

R. Ramesh said...

wonderful post ya:) i always keep repeating Buddha's words: Let go n be happy

Ash said...

You have a lovely blog here. I enjoyed reading this.

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

RRameshji, thank you! Your posts reflect it beautifully, rest of us just say, you actually manage to do and show us!

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

Thanks Ash, wud luv to have your thoughts and feedback often.

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