The Buddha never claimed to be a god or something of that sort. He always maintained that he was a man, but a man awake. And that is what bodhi means, the root word for Buddha.
The Buddha was a man awake, that's all.
I've tasted awake (see my essay under "Who Am I?"). Then, in 1969, about a year after my partial awakening (for lack of a better phrase), I did set out on a path that I hoped would lead me back to my light experience but that, after almost four decades, proved for me to be the wrong path.
Thus, forty years older and a lot wiser, in 2007 I re-discovered Buddhism (I had dabbled in it in 1968-69) and came now to realize that, indeed, this was my path after all.
I have not looked back since. Each day, each meditation session, I now know, I make progress for what I know to be the wonderful stillness inside us all.
The Buddha did not preach, he did not exhort, he did not demand faith or allegiance. What he did was point the way, asking you to come and see for yourself. I now have, and if there was one thing I'd like to say to whoever reads this it's this: please come and see for yourself, too.