Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 01 Nov 2019

     

Is it true that Buddhism and Jainism are also atheistic like philosophy of sage Charvaka?

[This question is part of a Mahā Satsaṅga (grand spiritual discussion) between Swami, Shri Parikshit, Smt. Bindiya and Dr. J. S. R. Prasad.]

Swami replied: This is an utter lie! Buddha is the ninth of the ten famous Incarnations of God Viṣṇu. If God Buddha were an atheist, it would mean that He was denying His own existence! He merely kept silent about the ultimate unimaginable God. He never deined God. Since the ultimate God is unimaginable, He cannot be described in words. Śaṅkara too said that God is best-expressed through silence (Maunavyākhyā prakaṭita Parabrahma…). Buddha’s main emphasis was on the followers following the path properly. So, for sometime, He kept silent about God, who is the goal of the spiritual path. In keeping silent, He also indirectly indicated the essential truth of the unimaginability of God. But unfortunately, His silence was misunderstood by the followers, to be a negation of the existence of God.

After passing the IAS examination (civil services examination), one becomes a district collector. But what will happen if the student always keeps thinking about the goal that he will achieve after passing the examination? Will a good advisor not say to him, “Forget about the post of the district collector for sometime and concentrate on the preparing for the IAS examination”? Does it mean that the advisor is negating the existence of the very post of the district collector? The goal of the spiritual path is attaining the grace of God. But the most important point in this path is that the devotee should never aspire for any worldly fruit from God in return for the service and sacrifice done by the devotee for God. Buddha’s main focus was this most critical point. He advised the followers to avoid all worldly desires.

Let us take Jainism. The first Jina (Tīrthaṅkāra) or the first spiritual preacher (Ādinātha) was the Incarnation of God Viṣṇu, called Ṛiṣabhadeva. Ṛiṣabhadeva is also mentioned in the Bhāgavatam. Being a Human Incarnation of God, how can the first Jina deny His own existence? So, it is absurd to think that Jainism is atheistic. Similar to Buddhism, Jainism also stressed on the path, keeping silent, for sometime, about the goal (God). This silence cannot be misunderstood to be the denial of the existence of the ultimate Goal. We are always trying to divide the religions and worsen the quarrels, which is against God’s aim. The wonder is that while we claim to be working to please God, we are actually making God furious!

| Shri Dattaswami | maunavyaakhyaa prakatita parabrahma Tiirthamkara Aadinatha Rishabhadeva Bhagavatam Vishnu Satsanga