Three schools of thought

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Wed Nov 20 13:31:17 CST 1996

On Wed, 20 Nov 1996, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:

> It is interesting that while accurately identify "Allopanishad" etc. as
> fakes, you consider the Vajrasuchi "upanishad" to be real.  As the name
> suggests it is Buddhist influenced. Upanishad is also used in the sense of
> "hidden" or non-mundane knowledge.  Just because a work is entitled
> Upanishad doesn't neccessarily mean it is one.

In this connection, we come back to the question of how we know what we
know. How do we know that a text titled upanishad is indeed Sruti? There
are no easy answers to this, especially for the many minor works that bear
the name "upanishad". Of course, "Esorvedam" and "Allahupanishad" are
obviously recently concocted texts, but the situation with respect to the
other minor upanishads is seldom so explicit.

However, if one is prepared to accept the listing given in the muktikA,
note that vajrasUcika is included in this list. Also note that the text of
the vajrasUcika displays no influence of any Buddhist school of thought.
Do not be misled by the name. The vajrasUcika upanishad concludes that
only one who knows the Atman as Brahman is the true brAhmaNa, i.e. only
the brahmavit is a brAhmaNa. This is hardly a Buddhist tenet. The idea
that one is a brahmaNa not by birth, but by conduct or by knowledge is
repeated so often in various texts, e.g. the Mahabharata, that it is not
necessary to search for Buddhist influence in this regard.


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