Vajrayana a Buddhist school of thought which developed out of the fusion of Buddhist Mantrayana with the concept of Mahasukhavada. It was widely popular in medieval Bengal. According to Vajrayana, after nirvana or death there is void, knowledge and bliss. Nirvana means supreme knowledge of void. This knowledge is known as nairatma or soullessness. The soul dissolves into nairatma. Eternal bliss appears in this state of the soul. The blissful state of the soul and its total concentrated devotion is known as bodhichittva. In the state of bodhichittva when all senses are completely controlled by devotional practices or yoga the mind becomes as strong as vajra or thunder. In this state the devotee attains bodhijvana. Vajrayana is the way of attaining nirvana with the help of vajra or thunder.
In learning Vajrayana a guru is essential. One of the gurus of Vajrayana, Jetari, was also the guru of atish dipankar srijnan. He wrote many books on this subject. According to historical records, Shantidev, a Buddhist scholar of the 7th century, also wrote many books about Vajrayana. The Bengali tantric Acharya shanta rakkhit wrote three philosophical books on Vajrayana.
According to Vajrayana, the temporal body is made of five trunks. The strongest of the trunks in a devotee's body determines his caste. This caste also reveals the inner power of the devotee. The castes are Domvi, Nati, Rajaki, Chandali and Brahmani. These five castes symbolize the five powers or knowledge.
Vajrayana philosophy is now little followed in Bangladesh. All the social and cultural organisations of Bangladeshi Buddhists and Bhiksu societies are followers of theravada. [Suman Kanti Barua]