Father of the world 1 , the Self-born One, the Chief and Saviour 2 of creatures, produces a semblance of Nirv4«a, whenever he sees them given to error and folly 8 . In reality his being is not subject to complete Nirv&//a ; it is only by a skilful device that he makes a show of it ; and repeatedly he appears in the world of the living, though his real abode is on the summit of the Grzdhraku&t. All this is, in other words, the teaching of N4r4ya«a in Bhagavad-gitA IV, 6 seqq.:
Ago 'pi sann avyay4tm4 bhut&n&m favaro 'pi san,
prskritim sv&m adhish^Adya sambhav&my £tmamdyay4.
yad&-yad& hi dharmasya glanir bhavati, Bh&rata,
abhyutthcUiam adharmasya tad&tm&naw srigkmy aham.
paritr4#4ya s&dhun&w vinlr&ya ka. dushkrzt&m,
dharmasawsth&panirthiya sambhavimi yuge-yuge.
The Buddha is anthropomorphic, of course; what god is not? The Lotus, far from giving prominence to the unavoidable human traits, endeavours as much as possible to represent the Lord and his audience as superhuman beings. In chap, xiv there is a great pause, as in a drama, of no less than fifty intermediate kalpas, during which S&kyamuni and all his hearers keep silence. A second pause of iooo, or according to a various reading, 100,000 years is held in chap. xx. Now it is difficult to conceive that any author, wilfully and ostentatiously, would mention such traits if he wished to impress the reader with the notion that the narrative refers to human beings.
It will not be necessary to multiply examples. There is, to my comprehension, not the slightest doubt that the
Cf. Krishna declaring of himself in Bhagavad-gtta IX, 17: Pitaham ^agato mata dhata*pitamahaA.
Cf. XI, 43. The significant title of Pitamaha is given to Buddha in an inscription found at Dooriya (Bitha); Cunningham, Archaeol. Survey, vol. iii, pi. xviii ; cf. p. 48.
Like Narayana in Bhagavad-gtta XII, 7: Tesham aham samuddharta mr/tyusamsarasagarat.
Chap. xv, st. 21.
- Chap. xv, st. 6, 10.
- One intermediate kalpa is, in the system, equal to 8 yugas. As 4 yugas number 4,320,000 years, it follows that the pause lasted 432 millions of years. Esoterically, kalpa has certainly denoted a short interval of time, but even if we take the 'intermediate kalpa' to mean, in reality, a lapse of time equal to a few hours, the pause would not refer to an historical event.