Enlightenment happened to Buddha, but then he remained silent because he felt it was too difficult to express what he had experienced. And even if he had managed to say it in some way, who would understand it? So Buddha sat silently for seven days. The story is that this created a great upheaval amongst the gods – an upheaval amongst the gods! Man was not yet aware of this happening. The gods all became sad, because a phenomenon like Buddha happens only once in a while, in eons. If Buddha were to remain silent, then whether he had ever existed or not would be of no consequence to this vast conscious world. For seven days they waited, because Buddha was in a state where even the presence of gods would have been a disturbance. From a distance, they waited for seven days for Buddha to speak. They themselves were eager to know, to hear something about the ultimate truth.
It is very interesting that even Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva were eager to know about the ultimate truth that Buddha had known, because even they are, at best, only the outer faces of it. Buddha had entered into that which is hidden behind those three faces. They wanted to ask him what he had found. After Buddha had remained silent for seven days, they had to disturb him. They went to his feet and asked him to please speak.
Buddha said, “What I have known cannot be spoken. And even if I say it, who will understand it?”
Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva could not even say that at least they would understand, because they were only the outer faces of the ultimate reality. Even they were not the inner shrine, they were only the outer gatekeepers. They became sad and started crying and praying.
Then all three of them thought some more about it. They went back and said to Buddha, “We understand that what you want to say cannot be said, and has never been said. We have always heard that it cannot be said, and we also agree that even if you say it, it will not be understood. And even if someone were to understand it, to practice it would be very difficult. Still, we pray to you to speak, because there are a few people who are standing at the very threshold. They are in the world, but standing at the boundary line, and if you speak…. And it is not a question of what you say – just your very speaking, your very being, will become an impetus and they will take the jump. If you speak to one hundred and even one manages to take the jump, this is great compassion.”
And Buddha agreed to speak.
This story hurt the Hindu mind, but the Hindu mind that was hurt by it had failed to understand it. They were hurt because to make their gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva bow to Buddha was not right. But this story is very valuable and very much in line with Hindu thought because it shows Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as the creator, the sustainer and the destroyer of the world: they are part of the world, just functionaries. On the day the world disappears, they will also disappear. Beyond that, they are of no value. To enter into what is beyond them is called samadhi, awakening, enlightenment.
But it is very, very difficult to reach to that ultimate reality. It is difficult to reach even to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva! So man needs gods of a lower status, so that he can have some relationship with them. So he created other gods, and Indra is here a symbol of these other gods.