BUDDHISM is considered to be an improved version of ‘Sanatan’ way of life practiced in India since long. Lord Buddha preached the masses to adopt the ‘Middle Path’ and refrain from excessiveness prevalent in the society in the interest of confused masses as to what path to be embraced appropriately.
The significant question is what is the ‘Middle Path’? The answer lies in the fact that at the time of advent of Buddhism, two philosophies were in vogue at that time among the peoples of Aryavarta. These were the “Doctrine of eternity of Jainism” and “Doctrine of termination of Charvaks”.
The Jainism believed that the “soul” is immortal and eternal and it takes rebirth essentially. The soul is caged in our bodies and it is the duty of every Jain follower to liberate the soul from the said cage by means of fasting and through excessive strict body discipline even amounting to torture of their bodies. The way of exercising strict living rules existing among the Jains hermits is the burning example of this practice said above. On the contrary the “Charvaks” believed that the “soul” ends and terminates after the death of a person. They believed that the theory of “rebirth” is farce and absured. Accordingly, they preached that maximum possible pleasure should be attained through the body and even practicing unethical and prohibited manners of life is right and quite correct as there is no possibility of rebirth and punishment for sins committed during the life time. The followers of this doctrine believed in “Atheism” or non-existence of “God”.
Prince Siddhartha (previous name of Lord Buddha), when attained the absolute enlightenment and became Lord Buddha, he termed both the doctrine of eternity of souls by Jainism and the doctrine of termination of souls by Charvaks excessive and far from being true. He spread the lesson that the “soul” is neither eternal nor transitory. He preached that by practicing giving up of trishna or the everlasting desires of human kind one can attain the nirvana or cessation of rebirth. The teaching of Buddhism is thus most appropriate even presently. It is worth mentioning that Lord Buddha was considered a great improver of Sanatan way of life and He is considered a incarnation of God in the context of Geeta epic which clearly says that yada yada hi dharmasya, glanir bhavati bharatah, abhyutthanam adharmasya, tadatmanam srjamy aham, meaning that whenever the dharma faces challenges and pollution, I, the God, take incarnation to save the dharma and make it pure and holy. The sages of Sanatan way of life consider “Lord Buddha” and this fact has been recorded in various Upanishadas. The masses who follow the Hindu way of life and Buddhism should feel solidarity and unity. It is high time in this context to discard the teachings of political figures who divide this ancient society into different groups to serve their political aims.