[Vajrasūchi Upanishad]1

I now proceed to declare the vajrasūchi—the weapon that is the destroyer of ignorance—which condemns the ignorant and praises the man of divine vision.

There are four castes—the brāhmana, the kshatriya, the vaiśya, and the śūdra. Even the smṛtis declare in accordance with the words of the vedas that the brāhmana alone is the most important of them.

Then this remains to be examined. What is meant by the brāhmana? Is it a jīva? Is it a body? Is it a class? Is it jñāna? Is it karma? Or is it a doer of dharma?

To begin with: is jīva the brāhmana? No. Since the jīva is the same in the many past and future bodies (of all persons), and since the jīva is the same in all of the many bodies obtained through the force of karma, therefore jīva is not the brāhmana.

Then is the body the brāhmana? No. Since the body, as it is made up of the five elements, is the same for all people down to chandālas,2 etc., since old age and death, dharma and adharma are found to be common to them all, since there is no absolute distinction that the brāhmanas are white-coloured, the kshatriyas red, the vaiśyas yellow, and the śūdras dark, and since in burning the corpse of his father, etc., the stain of the murder of a brāhmana, etc., will accrue to the son, etc., therefore the body is not the brāhmana.

Then is a class the brāhmana? No. Since many great Ṛshis have sprung from other castes and orders of creation—Ṛshyaśṛṅga was born of deer; Kauśika, of Kuśa grass; Jāmbuka of a jackal; Vālmīki of valmīka (an ant-hill); Vyāsa of a fisherman’s daughter; Gautama, of the posteriors of a hare; Vasishtha of Ūrvaśi;3 and Agastya of a water-pot; thus have we heard. Of these, many Ṛshis outside the caste even have stood first among the teachers of divine Wisdom; therefore a class is not the brāhmana.

Is jñāna the brāhmana? No. Since there were many kshatriyas and others well versed in the cognition of divine Truth, therefore jñāna is not the brāhmana.

Then is karma the brāhmana? No. Since the prārabdha,4 sañchita,5 and āgami6 karmas are the same for all beings, and since all people perform their actions as impelled by karma, therefore karma is not the brāhmana.

Then is a doer of dharma (virtuous actions) the brāhmana? No. Since there are many kshatriyas, etc., who are givers of gold, therefore a doer of virtuous actions is not the brāhmana.

Who indeed then is brāhmana? Whoever he may be, he who has directly realised his Ātmā and who is directly cognizant, like the myrobalan in his palm, of his Ātma that is without a second, that is devoid of class and actions, that is free from the faults of the six stains7 and the six changes,8 that is of the nature of truth, knowledge, bliss, and eternity, that is without any change in itself, that is the substratum of all the kalpas, that exists penetrating all things that pervades everything within and without as ākāś, that is of nature of undivided bliss, that cannot be reasoned about and that is known only by direct cognition. He who by the reason of having obtained his wishes is devoid of the faults of thirst after worldly objects and passions, who is the possessor of the qualifications beginning with śama,9 who is free from emotion, malice, thirst after worldly objects, desire, delusion, etc., whose mind is untouched by pride, egoism, etc., who possesses all these qualities and means—he only is the brāhmana.

Such is the opinion of the vedas, the smṛtis, the itihāsa and the purānas. Otherwise one cannot obtain the status of a brāhmana. One should meditate on his Ātmā as Sachchidānanda, and the non-dual Brahman. Yea, one should meditate on his Ātmā as the Sachchidānanda Brahman. Such is the Upanishad.

1. Lit., the diamond-needle-Upanishad.

2. The lowest class of persons among the Hindūs.

3. One of the celestial nymphs dancing in the court of Indra.

4. The karmic affinities generated by us in our former lives, the fruit of which is being enjoyed in our present life.

5. The karmic affinities generated by us in our former lives and collected together to be enjoyed in our future lives.

6. The affinities generated by us in our present life to be enjoyed hereafter.

7. The six stains—hunger, thirst, grief, confusion, old age, and death.

8. Birth, existence, etc.

9. Sama, dama, uparati, titīkshā, samādhāna, and sraddhā.