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Vajra  – the Thunderbolt


© 2002 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmφ 


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

This is a Proverb of the wise Solomon. But the young psychology of the Western world emphasizes that modern civilization so strikes fear into men and women that none feels safe or secure. All live in fear from day to day. The psychologists point to the widely prevailing neurosis as the result.

The psychology of the ancient East regards fearlessness as a virtue. Among the godlike qualities enumerated in the Gita, Fearlessness is the first. It is an expression of the Human Soul.

That virtue is not the type of  freedom from fear which some psycho-analysts and others recommend. That fearlessness leads man to disregard his soul. That untrue recommendation makes for what is called "independence." "We shall do as we please: we do not care what people say; if we err, we shall take the consequences." This is swaggering and not courage. The type of independence exhibited is not fearlessness of Soul but foolhardiness of the sensorium.

The antidote to this kind of fearlessness and independence is Fear – the Spiritual Fear that leads to a search for Knowledge. Such the Wise Solomon taught. Our Indian Philosophy also has referred to it. Around the symbol of Vajra have gathered stories explaining an important aspect of Karma. Vajra is one of the Vibhutis – Excellencies – of Krishna himself: "Of weapons, I am the Vajra, the Thunderbolt." This Vajra, according to Shankara, was fashioned by Indra, whose weapon it is, out of the bones of the Vedic Rishi Dadhichi (past Karma gathered together). It is the Thunderbolt of Zeus, the Greek Indra.

The popular interpretation of the action of Vajra, the Thunderbolt, is punishment. The more philosophical and mystical aspect of the justice of Karma is the restoration of the disturbed Unity of the Cosmos to the pattern of Order necessary for progression in the manifested universe. Men make chaos and the unerring Law sweeps on to remove it. Men and women of sense-mind, "free and independent and fearless," obstinately disregard the Law that works to Righteousness and so are broken by the Divine Vajra. Increasing obstinacy weakens the Will of such persons. Pitting themselves against the Law, they are tossed hither and thither, are bruised and maimed by the Vajra, till at length they learn to fear the Law that pardons only through punishment. Fear leads to search through knowledge; then "independence" is given up, interdependence is recognized, and inspiration comes –  inspiration enshrined in the phrase – "Work with the Law." When the lesson is learnt the necessity for punishment ceases and the protective aspect of Vajra is active. Vajra defends the oppressed while it strikes the tyrant.

In the Kathopanishad (Part 6) it is said that in the Life of the manifested universe is hidden the Vajra. Like a drawn sword, like a weapon held aloft, the Vajra is poised. It is the forward-moving impulse of Nature. Because of it the Fire burns, the Sun shines and Death strikes. Man should know of it before Yama strikes down his body, for thus the Supreme can be realized. The Vedanta Sutras (I. 3. 39) say that the Universe vibrates, abiding in Life – Prana – and therein something terrible arises called a Thunderbolt. Through knowledge of It, immortality is attained.

In mystical Buddhism Vajra plays a significant part. It is the symbol of Buddha's power over Evil. Hence, it became the scepter of the Initiate – the symbol of his possession of Siddhis – wielded during certain ceremonies. The possessors of the Wand are known as Vajrapani. It frees man from his Ahankaric self.

Karma is just and merciful – not blind but all seeing; it punishes those who go against its smoothly flowing stream which invisibly guides conditioned life, but it protects and helps forward all those who help it and swim with its current.

Nations also feel the effects of Karma: at this hour Vajra is punishing India for the folly of her children who have labored wrongly. Unmindful of the doctrine of Attavada, against which the Master Buddha warned, they have committed the dire heresy of separateness. The false self of India, sensuous and psychic, creedal and egotistic, ambitious and divisive, has produced bad Karma. The nefarious influence still prevails. It is Karma not pleasing to Ishwara. The divine Vajra has been striking it for a millennium.

Vajra is striking, striking, striking, and will continue its punitive justice till religious dogmatism and exclusiveness are destroyed and the men and women of India live for the Soul and enable the Land of their birth to serve the World-Soul. For that it has survived the strokes of Vajra in the past. With its help, India will protect and guide the future of Humanity.

From "Thus Have I Heard", pages 182-84. Utgiven av Indian Institute of World Culture, 1959.


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