Mythical Showdown: Who's The Real Ninth Avatar Of Lord Vishnu - Buddha Or Pandurang?

Mythical Showdown: Who's The Real Ninth Avatar Of Lord Vishnu - Buddha Or Pandurang?

We get experts to provide insights into the debate around the ninth avatar of Lord Vishnu

Sapna SarfareUpdated: Monday, April 15, 2024, 04:13 PM IST
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With Vishnu being part of the holy trinity in Hinduism, his importance as a god is essential as the preserver and protector. And that is why his Dashavatars, or ten incarnations, are seen as vital in maintaining goodness and Dharma in the universe. While his first eight avatars are non-debatable, the ninth avatar has seen some murmurs. Buddha is seen as the ninth avatar of Vishnu, though some state that Vitthal/ Pandurang is the ninth avatar. The discussion is essential to be heard.

The debate

Pt Mukesh Bharadwaj, Political Astrologer and Numerologist explains in this regard. "While Vitthal had no doubt lived a remarkable life it is without a doubt that Buddha was the ninth avatar of Vishnu. Vitthal, on the other hand, can rightly be proclaimed a Mahapurush. In the scriptures, certain significant signs signify the coming of an avatar. Nature bestows them upon Mahapurush who receive them to interpret their coming. Ram and Krishna were prophesied about a long time before their mortal birth; the Rishi and Muni knew of their deeds before they knew of their countenance.”

It has been the case for every avatar of Vishnu. And that is why Pt Bharadwaj does not doubt that the ninth avatar is Buddha.

Buddha

Buddha |

Kavita Kané, mytho-fiction author and former journalist, calls it a pointless debate. "Those who believe Buddha is the ninth avatar will do so. Likewise, those who consider Vitthal as an avatar of Vishnu will stick to their belief. These are perspectives which have gained cognisance however contrary to each other. Neither can be proved or disproved.”

Why the discussion

But why has the debate cropped up? Why is this avatar important? Kané reveals, “The ninth avatar is important because it is the last though the latest. The tenth avatar is yet to arrive because of which the ninth avatar gains importance for various reasons. And hence the debate — who is the ninth avatar?”

Pt Bharadwaj describes Buddha as a symbol of peace, benevolence, non-violence, wisdom, equality and purity. “The concept of simplicity with a promise of peace has attracted humankind over time and Buddha is the personification of the desire to be good and true to the path of God. In present times and context, where thriving technology encroaches on human kind itself, where success comes hand-in-hand with solitude, Buddha shows a path a path where one can free oneself from grievances, find one’s true self and join oneself with the thread of divinity.”

Pandurang

Pandurang |

Former journalist and media columnist Aditya Chatterjee refers to himself as a life-long student of history and is coming out with a book called The Evolution of our Gods. He reveals, “The debate has possibly cropped up because of abject ignorance and apathy about our country’s shared heritage among the general public in Maharashtra and elsewhere in India. Both the Avatars are important. Let us start with Buddha. Maharashtra, we should all remember, is blessed with a great Buddhist tradition that is evident in the two millennium-old rock-cut caves (some younger too) and names such as Milind. The neo-Buddhists, followers of the great B R Ambedkar and comparatively recent followers of Lord Buddha, probably think that their God was 'misappropriated' by 'devious' Brahminical Hindus. Their objection is possibly well-founded. I think it is high time that we should all begin respecting this culture of sharing and exchange, and stop bickering/fighting.”  He throws light on Pandurang/Vitthal being ‘a prominent deity in Maharashtra for about 1,000 years’. “Venerated and worshipped by revered poet-saints such as Dnyaneshwar, Namdev, Eknath, and Tukaram, Lord Vitthal is a much-loved deity. Thus, both Avatars are important.”

The stance

Chatterjee is not fond of the term Hinduism, which he states might have been created around 1816-17. "Our country’s traditions are much older. I do not see any harm in this debate as religious/philosophical debates have been integral to our tradition. However, this comes in as a caveat: As long as both sides read up on ‘scientifically-recorded’ history and are equally respectful to the other religious order and community, they are welcome to discuss and debate. Who knows if this debate will lead to a lasting impact in fostering a greater understanding of religion, tradition, and culture and create a better India for tomorrow?”

Pt Bharadwaj calls Sanatan Dharma a faith of free thoughts, beliefs and teachings. "In it, Buddha represents an important path, yet it is one amongst the many trails which have been trampled upon by more violent and prevalent schools of thought. As humankind suffocates in its own fancy, it seeks the way of the truth through any imaginable means possible – this, in turn, brings the path of Buddha to the fore.”

In the end, Ashwini Guruji of Dhyan Ashram calls our shastras and philosophy to be way ahead of our times and talks about an 'inclusive and universal approach'. "Shri Hari manifested as a sea-dweller, an animal, a woman, a dwarf and also a man, all with a purpose, highlighting the divinity in all life forms. Today, the corruption which has seeped into our minds is causing us to break the universality of our culture by dividing ourselves into regions and religions competing to lay claims on it.”

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