Saddharma-ptwfc/arika intends to represent £&kya as the supreme being, as the god of gods, almighty and all-wise. But what have we to understand by the words 'god' and 'god of gods?' that is the question. To find the answer let us recall to memory the theosophic notions prevailing in ancient India at certain periods.
In general it may be said that the Upanishads recognise two supreme beings, which in a mystical way are somehow identified; one is the great illuminator of the macrocosm, and is sometimes called the Sun, at other times Ether; the other, the enlightener of the microcosm, is Mind or Reasonl. As soon as the Sun ceased to be considered an animate being or to be represented as such, he might continue, for worships sake, honoris causi, to be called the highest god; the really remaining deity was Reason, poetically termed the inward light. This idea is expressed by NilakantAa. in his commentary on Bhagavad-glt& V, 14, in the following terms: Prabhuj £id&tm& sflrya iv4smad&din4m prakajakaA, the Lord (is) the intelligent Self that like a sun is the illuminator of ourselves and others 2 . Now the same author, in his notes on Bhagavad-git4 VI, 30, distinctly states that our inward consciousness, or as he puts it, the pratyag&tman, the individual Self, otherwise called £*iva, is N£r&ya#a, i.e. the supreme being. At IX, 28 he paraphrases N&r4ya#a by sarvesh&m pratyag&tman, the individual consciousness of all (sentient beings); at. XII, 14 he identifies N&rAya»a with nirgu«am brahma. Just as here and there N&r&yafta is represented as clad in all the glory and majesty of a sovereign, as the illuminator, the vivifier of the world, in one word as the sun, so we find *S«Mcyamuni invested with all the grandeur and all the resources of a ruler of nature. Philosophically, both N&riyana, and his counterpart 5&kyamuni are purushottama, param&tman, the highest brahman, Mind. 5&kyamuni
See e. g. fAdndogya-upanishad III, 18 and 19 ; cf. Bhagavad-gtta XV, 12.
Cf. Bhagavad-gfti XIII, 33: yathl prak&sayaty ekaA kn'tsnam lokam imam
ravifr, kshetram kshetrf tatha kn'tsnam prak&sayati, Bharata. The kshetra here is the body, the kshetrin is Mind, Reason, Htm an. Cf. £ankara on UTAandogya-upanishad, L c