Esoteric and Exoteric Doctrine and the Buddhas

Extracted from book: Muhammad in Buddhist Scriptures
A. H. Vidyarthi and U. Ali

"I have preached the truth without making any distinction between exoteric and esoteric doctrine: for in respect of truths, Ananda, the Tathagata has no such thing as the closed fist of a teacher, who keeps something back." (S. B. E. Vol. XI. P. 36.)

If Jesus was the Buddha Maitreya the characteristic mentioned above should hold good in his case, but it does not:-

"And the disciples came and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it not given............Therefore I speak to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand." (Matt. 13: 10-13.)

"Plainly our Lord desired that the bulk of his hearers should not understand the mysteries of his kingdomn." (Four Gospels by W. W. How D. D.)

Jesus was put before the high priest as an accused. He questioned Jesus about his doctrine : -

"Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing." (John 28 : 20)

Let us see what Jesus taught in secret:-

"And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto these, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but unto them that are without all these things are done in parables; that seeing they may see, and not perceive, and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they may be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them." (Mark 4 :10-12)

Jesus commanded his disciples not to make his secret doctrine public:-

"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." (Matt. 7:6)

In public Jesus always spoke in parables:-

"And with many such parables spake he the word unto them. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things unto his discipIes." (Mark 4 : 33-34)

Thus from the above it is clear that Jesus deliberately made a distinction between the exoteric and esoteric doctrine. In respect of truth he intentionally had a closed fist of a teacher for the majority of his audience. He consciously withheld his real teaching from the bulk of his hearers, whether worthy or unworthy.

The student of the Bible well knows that the ancient Christians had a number of secret Gospels, Acts and Epistles. Fragments of some of these are still found.

"An apocryphal book was-originally-too sacred and secret to be in every ones hand." (Apocryphal New Testament by M. R. James P. XIV.)

The existence of scriptures, other than Canonical ones, is clearly hinted in Luke:-

"For as much as many have taken in hand a declaration of those things which are most surely believed amongst us..............." (Luke 1:1)

"'Many'. This does not refer to the Gospels of St. Matthew and Saint Mark......" (W. W. How D. D. The Four Gospels.)

It is therefore apparent from the above that Jesus cannot be the Buddha Maitreya. Shankaracharya not being an inspired teacher we leave him out of question.

On the other hand, Mohammed in obedience to the command of God, published his doctrine completely, without making any distinction between exoteric and esoteric:-

"O apostle, publish (the whole of) that which hath been sent down unto thee from thy Lord: for if thou do not, thou dost not (in effect) publish any part Thereof." (The Koran V. P. 109.)

The Koran was recited in public in the days of the prophet. It is recited in the same way even now. The prophet had strictly forbidden Muslims from hiding his doctrine: -

1. "Abu Hurera relates that the apostle of God said: Whosoever is asked anything concerning knowledge and if he does not tell, he shalt be bridled with the bridle of fire (on the day of resurrection.)" (Ta. Vol. IV. P. 248, quotes A and T.)
2. "Abu Hurera relates :-The apostle of God said, 'None is such that he learnt knowledge and hid it, but shall come on the day of resurrection bridled with the bridle of hell-fire" (1. Vol. 1. P. 117.)
3. "Anas relates: I heard the apostle of God saying. 'If a man is questioned about knowledge and if he hides it he will be bridled with the bridle of fire.'" (Ibid P. 118.)
4. "Abu Hurera relates :-The apostle of God said, 'If a man is questioned about knowledge that he knows, and if he hides it, he shall be bridled with the bridle of fire.'" (Ibid.)

It is clear, therefore, that Mohammed is the Buddha Maitreya and not Jesus.


"Then the Blessed one addressed the brethren, and said, 'Whosoever, brethren, have been Arahat-Buddhas through the long ages of the past, there were servitors just as devoted to those Blessed ones as Ananda has been to me. And whosoever, brethren, shall be the Arahat-Buddhas of the future, there shall be servitors as devoted to those Blessed ones as Ananda has been to me.'" (S. B. E. Vol. XI. R 97.)

"And Ananda remained always near the Blessed Master of truth, Until the Tathagata made his final entry into Nirvana." (The Gospel of Buddha by Carus P. 69.)

Ananda was really devoted to the Buddha Gautama. His true devotion distinguishes him from other disciples. Once when a maddened elephant approached the Buddha Gautama "the Bhikshus all deserted him, Ananda only remained by his side." (S. B. E. Vol. 19, P. 247.)

If Jesus was the Buddha Maitreya he should have a servitor like Ananda. We search for such a servitor of Jesus in the Gospels:-

We consider Judas Iscariot was this servitor of Jesus, for "Judas was with our saviour in public and private,"(Eadie P. 392) "and had the bag and bare what was put therein."(John 12 6) Judas Iscariot, however, was wanting in devotion towards his master:-

"Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will ye give me, I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for 30 pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him." (Matt.26: 14-16)

And Judas betrayed Jesus.(Matt. 28: 50.) Therefore Judas capnot be the true servitor of Jesus. Perhaps Peter was this servitor of Jesus. Jesus, in his life time, entertained a good opinion of Peter:-

"And Jesus answered and said unto hum Blessed art thou Simon Barjona........I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever thou shalt loose in earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. 16 :17-19)

Peter himself expressed that his devotion towards Jesus was sincere:-

(a) "I will lay down my life for thy sake." (John 13: 37)
(b) "Peter answered and said unto him, Though sll men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Peter said unto him. Though I should die with thee, yet Will 1 not deny thee LIKEWISE ALSO SAID ALL THE DISCIPLES." (Matt. -28. 3.3-35.)
(c)Peter said to Jesus : - "Lord I am ready to go with thee, both in prison and to death."(Luke22:33)
(d) "But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. LIKEWISE ALSO SAID THEY ALL." (Markl4:31)

A time for the true test of devotion soon arrives, and the disciples of Jesus fail one and all. Jesus is captured by the enemy and the disciples desert him:- "ALL THE DISCIPLES FORSOOK HIM AND FLED."(Matt. 26 56)

Peter, the rock of Jesus, proves an utter failure. He deserts Jesus, trembles even at the questioning of a damsel, the gates of hell prevail against him in the very lifetime of Jesus and he denies Jesus repeatedly and most emphatically:-

"Now Peter sat without in the place: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou wast also with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. After a while came unto him they that stood by and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech hetrayeth thee. Then he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man............." (Matt. 26 69-74)

It is therefore apparent that in the life-time of Jesus none of his disciples showed the constant devotion of Ananda towards their master. Hence Jesus cannot be the Buddha Maitreya.

Mohammed had a servitor named Anas who never left the service of the prophet in his lifetime. Anas was presented to the prophet by his parents:-

"Anas relates: The apostle of God came to our mother said to him, '0 apostle of God, here is your little servant.'" (M. Vol. IL P. 719.)

"'I served him from the time I was 8 years old,' said his servant Anas, 'and he never scolded me for any thing. though things were spoiled by me.'"(Irving p. 232)

The prophet loved Anas and called him his son,(T. Vol. II. P. 247) and his "little beloved."(M. Vol. VI. P. 2330) Anas was devoted to the prophet like Ananda. The prophet himself, like the Buddha Gautama, bore testimony to this effect by calling Anas, "Onais."(T. Vol. I. P. 449)

The word Onais means the devoted young one. The word Anas itself is from the root Ons which means devotion. Anas was really the incarnation of true devotion. He stuck to the prophet in station and out station, in peace and in war, in safety as well as in danger, upto the end of the life of the prophet. We point out only two events of the life of Anas showing his undaunted devotion to the prophet:-

(1) Anas when only about 11 years old, was near the person of the prophet at the battle of Ohod (Ta. Vol. IV. P. 290. M. & T. quoted) where the prophet "was very near loosing his life, being struck down by a shower of stones, and wounded in the face by two arrows," (Sale's Koran P. 60. Foot Note) and he depicts the scene of the spot vividly.
(2) Anas was near the person of the prophet at the battle of Honain, and gives a graphic account of it. In the Muslim army there were mostly recent converts and ido1aters (Rahmat-lil-alimina Vol. I. P. 162), unprotected by coats of mail and "unarmed," (M. Vol. V. P. 1898.) and they got panic-stricken at the fury of sudden and unexpected onslaught of the enemy, and fled in disorder. "They were assailed by a shower of darts, stones and arrows, which left two or three of Mahomet's soldiers dead at his feet, and wounded several others."(Irving P. 182) "The enemy then surrounded the apostle of God"(M. Vol. V. PP. 1899-2000.) who was left "alone" (Ta. Vol. V. P. 61 B. M. T. quoted) "with some few of his family."(Sale's Koran P. 183 Foot Note.) The enemy, the tribe of Hawazin were archers and they shot volleys of arrows (as thick as) the swarm of locusts."(M. Vol. V. P. 1898) The Muslim army "had to face such archers none of whose arrows missed."(Ibid P. 1891) The presence of Anas, a lad of about 16 years, near the person of the prophet, is a sure proof of his admirable devotion towards Mohammed and undoubtedly stands a decent parallel to Ananda's devotion towards the Buddha Gautaina when the maddened elephant approached him.

Therefore it is clear that Mohammed is the Buddha Maitreya and not Jesus; Shankaracharya not being an inspired teacher we leave him out of consideration.


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