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Vajrasoochikaa Upanishad-2

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Vajrasoochikaa Upanishad-2

Vajra-Soochikaa Upanishat is one of the 108 Upanishad mentioned in the list of Upanishad given in Muktikaa Upanishat and it expounds certain tenets of other scriptures in a lucid manner. It belongs to Saam Ved. There is no reason to think that it is not a Hindu scripture because some people consider that it was authored by Ashwaghosh, a Braahman Buddhist scholar.

Similar ideas, that Braahman are by Karm and not by birth, are found in the following sources too --

--Rig Ved 9.112.3,
--Atharv Ved (Pippalaad Sanhitaa) 8.9.8.-10,
--Chhandogya Upanishad - 4.4. 1-5,
--Mahaabhaarat 3.180.20;  3.180.27,  12.269.34,
--Shukra Neeti- chapter I.
--Bhaagavat Puraan mentions the names of Vyaas, Shakti, Paraashar and says, " Hence it is Tapas that makes one a Braahman and not his birth".

Apart from a majority of our Saptarshi and Gotra Pravartak, the following deities, sages and saints could be cited as the examples of non-Braahman.

Shree Raam,
Shree Krishn,
Aitareya Maheedaas,
Rishikaa Lopaamudraa,
Maharshi Matang,
Rishikaa Sulabhaa Maitreyee,
Narasee Mehtaa,
Brahmavaadee Kakshivat,
Sage Kapinjal,
Vats (of Rig Ved, 6.1, 8.8. and Panchavinsh Braahman 14.16) etc., etc.

Vajra-Soochikaa Upanishad is a reminder of the basic truth contained in the ancient scriptures to all those who take pride in their birth, but have none of the exalted qualities that qualify them to be true Braahman. It negates the notion that one belonging to a particular social or religious background, has certain privileges and rights over others.

It exhorts the younger generation that their prime objective should be in perfecting themselves morally and spiritually in order to realize Brahm. The Upanishad extends hope to those who are willing to make supreme sacrifices in order to realize their inner selves, regardless of their background and their past.  One of the most significant features of the Vajra-Soochikaa Upanishad is
that it attempts to clarify the concept of caste system which has been grossly misinterpreted in the Indian context.

About Vajra-Soochikaa Upanishad
(1) The origin and purpose of this Upanishad is not clear. The ideas are clearly Buddhist in nature. Buddhist started their campaign by ridiculing all Vaidik Karm and Karm Kaand. They never accepted the Caste system which was the social structure needed to preserve Ved and Hindu way of life.
(2) Assume that it is a minor Hindu Upanishad, it does not mean that we should immediately abandon another 1000 Hindu scriptures and get tuned to the ideas in this Upanishad of 'no caste by birth' etc. The purpose of the thoughts in this Upanishad may be to highlight the need for having proper behavior and life style for those born as Braahman.
(3) We do not use any one scriptural work in isolation. We need the support of tradition and Aachaarya to have a proper direction in life, but no Aachaarya or tradition seems to support the views in this Vajra-Soochikaa Upanishad.
(4) Those Braahman who have already given up all duties associated with their caste are free to follow this Upanishad as it gives them some mental satisfaction that they are following the scriptures . They can keep on thinking and questioning and find more reasons to reject traditional Hindu religion. No one can prevent them from dwelling in their mental world.
(5) No adverse comments on Maandookya Upanishad as it is meant for those who are ready for Sanyaas or those who are already Sanyaasee. Maandookya Upanishad is well accepted by tradition and all Aachaarya.

Vajrasoochikaa Upanishad does tell us that Braahman are not necessarily by birth. Purush Sookt makes us understand the attributes of the four Varn through the ways these Varn arose from the different areas of the Purush. Lord Krishn also tells us about the Gun-Karm Vibhaag. It could mean that initially all people were Braahman and that while some of their descendents remained Braahman many of their descendents became Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shoodra by virtue of their attitudes and tendencies, though their lineage originally started with Braahman parentage.

There is an adage which reads "birds of the same feather flocks together". Thus the different Varn groups formed and eventually camaraderie or brotherhood developed within the same Varn. Though not in a undignified or derogatory sense, it can be said that all were Braahman and who are not called Braahman are in fact fallen Braahman as their ancestors were originally Braahman.

Lord Buddha called the Buddhist monks as Braahman. The Buddhists have their Vajra-Soochi Upanishad and the message of that is similar to what the Vajra-soochikaa Upanishad (belonging to the list of the 108 Upanishad) says. While the Vaidik Vajra-Soochikaa Upanishad was revealed before Ved Vyaas classified the Ved in the Dwaapar Yug, the Buddhist Vajra-soochi was composed in the Kali Yug after the birth of Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha believed that birth in a particular Varn was not by accident but by one's Karm. He dissuaded one untouchable girl from marrying his associate Aanand, saying that she became untouchable due a particular action of hers in her last birth.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 11/15/12