4 classes of Hinduism

4 Classes of Hinduism
4 Classes of Hinduism

It is a long and never ending debate that there were cast system in India. Yes, there is a debate because we never tried understanding the main objective behind the same. Let us look at the 4 classes of Hinduism. Also known as Hindu Varna Vyavastha.

Disclaimer

Before we start, I would like to give a disclaimer that, this post is not written to hurt anyone’s sentiments. This is being written with my view and whatever I have studied. I welcome all your comments, negative or positive. That will make us improve. We in any form do not support discrimination based on caste.

4 classes of Hinduism

Hinduism is a way of life. You too do not differ, everyone does not have the same capability. People are different in nature, strength, and ability to work. If in the older social arrangements you believe that there was a caste system. Please analyze modern society and tell me why there are rigorous exams or selection processes for different profiles of jobs. If everyone can be a soldier, a teacher, or a software engineer, why are they not simply allowed?

You definitely got the point I am trying to raise here. In original social arrangements, people were categorized based on their intellect, strength, mental capabilities, and physical strength. Based on each attribute they carried, they were classified. 4 classes of Hinduism were Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. They were assigned with different work and responsibilities.

The Brahmin Class

People of intellect and knowledge were called Brahmins. Among the 4 classes of Hinduism, Brahmins were good at reading scriptures. They were knowledgeable and thus they could guide the other classes.

Brahmins were assigned the work to help the kings and rulers to rule in accordance with the law. They supported the kingdom and stood with the kings and kinsmen to thrive. At the same time, they used to teach the people and spread knowledge in the society.

They were called the Head or Brain of the society. We know from Ramayana and Mahabharata that the kings and their successors learnt the skills in Gurukul (teacher’s establishment). The Gurus or teachers were all Brahmin class.

The Kshatriya Class

Kshatriyas were the protectors of society. They were the protective hands of society. If there was any attack or fight from enemies, Kshatriyas were the people to face it in the battlefield.

They acted as the shield of the society. They had a great responsibility to protect the society from enemies.

We need to understand here that the protection was for everyone and not just their class. With the head as Brahmins and hands as Kshatriyas, the society was able to learn and be protective. However, we needed other parts of social body.

The Vaishya Class

The society needed the food and economical growth. Without the economy or food, no society can survive. Vaishyas were the class to trade and bring economical sufficiency to the society.

There were many other kingdoms or societies which lacked some commodities while other societies had that commodity in abundance. Hence, trade was needed between both societies. That responsibility was given to the Vaishyas or the trader class.

Vaishyas were called the stomach of the society as they were responsible to feed the society. They fed all the 4 classes of the society.

The Shudra Class

Shudras were the leg and foot of the society. A society with head, hands, and stomach could not stand without a leg. So Shudras were the strongest pillar. They stood with all the burden of the society.

Shudras were given the responsibility to keep society clean and do other work which needed labor. If a society is not clean, it will get diseases and epidemics. Itis very much needed by the society to be healthy to thrive.

They are the legs of society and legs can carry society anywhere. If they were looked at with hatred, they would have doomed society by now. They have that immense power.

Conclusion on 4 classes of Hinduism

As we described the society as a body, we can look at the different classes as different parts of a social body. All the part are required and are equally important. With the important responsibilities they had, they made the society thrive.

There will be questions in your mind as why this became a debate and why Shudras were treated badly in Middle ages? Why they were suppressed? What change in the society happened that caused the unrest. We will keep discussing in our posts.

External References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varna_(Hinduism)

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