Cast System: Series-Perception & Fact (Part 4).

By now I’ve talked from my personal point of view and my umbrage at the way the Caste System is spoken about, what the true purport is from a Scriptural perspective and various models followed by other ancient civilizations and societies and have even touched upon the Animal Kingdom and a political perspective. In this installment, I’m going to be talking about certain practical aspects. I’m also going to be talking about how we have a classification in sports, the corporate world, the Pareto Principle and stratification based on money.

Let’s also look at biology, genetics and how the Double Helix plays a role in categorization. It is a pretty well established fact that we inherit certain traits, skills etc from our parents, who in turn inherit from their ancestors. So what happens over time is that certain families or races end up with certain skills, qualities that are inherent in that race, breed, sect or geography. Genetics spans the color of eyes, skin, hair, height, strength and so on.

So it is a combination of hereditary traits coupled by training which establishes a position of leadership or specialization for that particular family or race or community. Thus classification became a natural outcome of this process.

Let’s talk about leaders and followers an in that context look at the general perception that the trait of leadership is inherited. “He’s a born leader”.

Then we have the Pareto Principle or the 80:20 Rule, “The 80-20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, is an aphorism which asserts that 80% of outcomes (or outputs) result from 20% of all causes (or inputs) for any given event.

It is a clearly established and well accepted fact that not EVERYBODY can be a leader, trailblazer or decision maker. So to expect all classes of society to lead or take pragmatic decisions is nothing short of fallacy or a recipe for disaster. Someone has to lead and others follow, else what we’re looking at is sheer anarchy.

The real question is who do we choose to lead us? People who have the background, knowledge and skills or do we put our faith and trust in the hands of someone who isn’t cut out for the job or task at hand? It’s plain stupid to ask an electriciain to deliver a child.

If I were to take examples from sports and games and I will take a game that is close to my heart and a game that is so popular not just in India but also internationally, I’d take American Football and Cricket. In American Football, the guy who calls the shots is the Quarterback (leader, or King). He’s kind of a captain and he calls the plays. The playbook is developed by experts in the field (strategic advisors or Brahmanas). The Quarterback tends to pass the ball to the person who will be able to gain the maximum yards on the field. The game has a side where the team in possession of the ball, needs to drive the ball to the end of the field and score points by getting one of their guys to carry the ball into the endzone of the opposite team and then kick a field goal. The team that does not have the ball is in defence mode and they need to prevent the offencive team from advancing or then even take the ball away from them. The Quarterback is defended by linebackers (army or Kshatriyas)and he has wide receivers who carry the ball into enemy territory.

Similarly in the game of cricket, the captain (leader) will put in a certain batsman or bowler for a higher likelihood to get more runs or wickets.

Now both the Quarterback and the Cricket Captain, do have at their disposal ADVISORS or Strategists and they fall back and take guidance or bounce of ideas and plans with such advisors.

The corporate world works no differently. There is the CEO or the MD, who is answerable to a Board of Directors and the CEO is guided by expert advisors. These advisors are nothing but the Brahmanas, or thinkers.

If you abstract all classes across the Globe what you will most certainly see is that society is divided into certain wide classes, in some way shape or form:

  • Thinkers.
  • Doers.
  • Seekers.
  • Slackers.

Now isn’t exactly what happens in real life? 

Let's talk about the dynamics of money and its role in classification. It is also a well known fact that things like knowledge and money, do give an edge to the people who have it and thus they are in a position to influence those who don’t have it. 
Money means different things to different classes of peopl and thus So Money itself becomes a means of classification.

What also ends up happening when money enters the equation is that, most rules about classification go out the window and out with it goes culture, traditions and upbringing thus unhinging generations of the social order.

Have you heard people saying, they come from old money or new money? What they're saying is that when someone moves up the social ladder solely on the basis of the money in her/her pocket, there is a tendency to loud, aggressive and the fact that money is available is flaunted in a way that makes them stick out like a sore thumb. It takes at least a generation or two for the refined tastes to develop and emerge which makes them more acceptable in circles that they were not privy to earlier. Old money does not accept new money easily and even when they do it is done begrudgingly.

With that I conclude my propositions for Part 4 which deals more with practical aspects of social stratification and will conclude the series in Part 5.

Write in and tell me what you think about this! I can be reached at or you can even leave your comments here. Don't forget that this series is also available via podcast on all major podcast channels like, Apple, Google, Spotify and Breaker. All you need to do is look for "Spirituality and Beyond" on any of these platforms.

Caste System: Series-Perception & Fact (Part 2).

Over the years there has been a systematic assassination of our rich and deep culture, both by our invaders, the foreign traders who eventually paved the way for us to be ruled and by ourselves. I also propose that that India and Indian beliefs have been singled out, when the Caste System is alluded to. This happens for a myriad of reasons, the most important being that it is we Indians, under the influence of a continuous onslaught of invasions over generations, throughout history, were quick to distance ourselves, abandon and even ridicule our own traditions, beliefs, and culture. This isn’t really surprising as each invasion had plenty of cultural ramifications, apart from just the war or armed conflict related ramifications. Thus we adapted to the ways preferred by our invaders.

Picking up where we left off in Part 1 where I’ve said that there is fallacy in the way the Caste System is perceived and understood, what I’m about to reveal to you now is what the true essence is.

As promised, I’m inverting the order in which people usually speak about this and therefore I will start with talking about the Shudras.

Shudras, are the section of society or a class that accepts another’s employment whereas other varnas are occupationally and financially self-sufficient. Shudras, were or perhaps even now, are people who either had a natural talent or skill and developed or practiced a particular skill or trade. They are the artisans and workers, usually working with their hands. It was the Role and Duty of the Shudras to take pride in their work, to be loyal and to follow general moral principles. If we were to look at their qualifications, traditionally, it wasn’t necessarily formal, but in this day and age, formal education has played an important part in assisting them to move out of their Shudra classification and we see them emerge as lawyers, doctors and take up professions that give them the economic means and respectability. But, for mindsets to change it may take generations as it needs to find its way into the gene pool.

What I am about to say will certainly earn me few friends, but think about it! So what I find as a really amusing perspective is that, the vast hordes or armies of Indian Knowledge Workers who literally run tech globally are also Shudras, because if we go by the definition of the Vedas, ANYBODY who works for someone else is a Shudra. 

“for the śūdras there is labor and service to others”.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Text 44

Where does it really say that Shudras are to be ill treated and discriminated against? If we’re practical, there is the haves and have nots and its really an economic issue not really cultural or spiritual.

So doesn't that clearly imply that Shudras aren't merely the heavy lifters, ie. the knowledge workforce is also recognized as a substantial contributor to organizations and the economy? The only real difference is that they are subservient to masters, ie. the business promoters for a fixed wage.
Later in the series you will also see how there is a pecking order even within the Corporate, right from the line and rank workers through to the very top of the Corporate ladder.

Whereas I’ve presented fact about the true meaning of Shudra, we’ve been indoctrinated to believe that discrimination is the dreaded Caste System’s handiwork and the people who abused it have no role to play and therefore the rebellious thought and attitude!

Let’s take a step up the so called social order and look at Vaisyas.

Vaisyas are by definition, Farmers, Merchants and Business folk. Their role is wealth creation, providing employment, sustainable livelihoods and paying taxes from their income to the Ruler or Government. They are the economic engine of society. They are required to be ethical, to be productive and to grow and nurture crops, grains and livestock.

Here I quote from authority that Vaisyas engage in farming, cow protection and business.

Bhagavad Gita-Ch18, text 44.

Kshatriyas are rulers, leaders, warriors, administrators and enforce the laws of the land. They are supposedly the nobility, the protectors of society and permitted a number of privileges, however, it is expected that they display considerable strength of body and character. They are expected to provide protection to the weak and less fortunate, ensure that citizens perform their prescribed duties and also advance spiritually. To levy and collect taxes (from the vaishyas only) and to never accept charity under any circumstances.

So that their legacy continues, there was always an expectation that they maintain a strong bloodline and therefore, they usually married only amongst their peers and equals. So you see that we’re talking about genetics or the DNA. We will be talking more about that in Part 4 of this series.

Despite the fact that they are Leaders, in order to play their role effectively, it was expected that they conduct themselves in an exemplary manner and remain above reproach and controversy. 

To rule isn’t easy and Rulers are expected to be intelligent, but at the same time, to maintain a balance and to ensure that they have adequate guidance on every aspect of their roles, duties and responsibilities, they have recourse to the guidance of the scriptures, the Artha-Shastra and the intelligentsia or who are popularly referred to as Brahmins.

Here I quote that their qualities and attitude are, heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership, to be true to their royal word, to never refuse a challenge of honor, to be noble, chivalrous, generous and to deal uncompromisingly with crime and lawlessness.

Bhagavad Gita Ch 18, text 43

Tell me your thoughts on this…write to

Do you think that our current rulers or so-called Kshatriyas are fulfilling their roles and responsibilities in this day and age? Isn’t it just all about politics? Do they seek counsel from those more knowledgeable than them in matters of state, welfare, religion?

Brahmins, are intellectuals, priests, teachers, seekers of the truth, philosophers and thinkers. So what exactly are the classification criteria for this Class of People?

Brahmins were expected to study and follow the vedas and provide education, spiritual leadership and be the moral compass by setting vision and values of society. Due to their knowledge and aptitude they are expected to provide guidance to all strata of society, including ensuring that the Rulers and Administrators followed their prescribed duties. In other words this was a means to provide a system of checks and balances. And they were expected to provide this service free of charge, or for whatever the recipients could afford to give them by way of “dakshina”.

What qualified them to take on such a pivotal role? What qualities were they expected to have? What kind of attitudes were they expected to exhibit?

Brahmins were expected to be peaceful, have self-control, practice austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, study and disseminate knowledge, wisdom, be pious, have integrity, be clean in body, mind and soul. 

Being purified by his intelligence and controlling the mind with determination, giving up the objects of sense gratification, being freed from attachment and hatred, one who lives in a secluded place, who eats little, who controls his body, mind and power of speech, who is always in trance and who is detached, free from false ego, false strength, false pride, lust, anger, and acceptance of material things, free from false proprietorship, and peaceful.

Bhagavad Gita Ch 18: texts 42, 51-53).

Therefore we see that the Brahmanas were NOT just priests, they were so many other things. Why!!!! In fact they even taught the Art of Warfare and Combat!!! 

In the Mahabharata we read that KRIPA (KRIPACHARYA), Son of the sage Saradvan, was taught Dhanurveda, the martial arts by his father, and he became one of the Kurus’ martial teachers. He survived the Kurukṣetra war and counseled the Pāṇḍavas when they ruled the world. Later, they appointed him preceptor of their grandson, Parīkṣit.

We all need the means to survive and make at least a basic living. Being austere and spending their time in deep reflection and serving society, they had little time to engage in commerce or trade, or for that matter find any other means to earn an income. Therefore, they needed to be taken care of.

Traditionally they lived very frugally and therefore they had the most basic needs. They accepted whatever charity or Dakshina recipients of their advice and counsel could give and they lived off the charity of others.  They never accepted paid employment. Accepting any formal or predetermined payment, would mean selling their knowledge and this in itself would dilute their fundamental beliefs, role and position of authority.

It is better to engage in one’s own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another’s occupation and perform it perfectly.

Every endeavor is covered by some fault, just as fire is covered by smoke. Therefore one should not give up the work born of his nature.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, text 47 & 48

And then we have what are knows as outcastes, or Dalits. The fact is that, at the time of the scriptures, there were only four castes. All these were like parts of a human body, working together for the common good and all equally important. Over time the caste system came to be abused, and a fifth class of people – the Dalits – were identified. So what are Dalits in reality? “Dalit” is actually Sanskrit for a person or pesons who work against societal interests and are outside the social structure, but somehow it came to be used to describe a Class that is downtrodden, exploited, those who have the least privileges. This is purely a concoction based on the convenience of people who wanted to ostracize a certain set of people. There is no mention of Dalit in our Scriptures. In fact Krishna says that, a learned man will look upon everyone as equal.

Decision-making Process.

So how were these occupations decided? There was already in place an aptitude based evaluation criteria or process, whereby the Guru or Teacher observed and evaluated several aspects of the child and then made recommendations based on such evaluation. These recommendations were then used by the parents and the student in deciding what the child would eventually end up doing.

“According to the rules and regulations mentioned, one who is twice-born, namely a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya or vaiśya, should reside in the gurukula under the care of the spiritual master. There he should study and learn all the Vedic literatures along with their supplements and the Upaniṣads, according to his ability and power to study. Then following the master’s order, the disciple should leave and accept one of the other āśramas, namely the gṛhastha-āśrama, vānaprastha-āśrama or sannyāsa-āśrama, as he desires”.

Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 7, Chapter 12, Texts 13 & 14.

A Systematic Assasination

Over the years there has been a systematic assassination of our rich and deep culture, both by our invaders, the foreign traders who eventually paved the way for us to be ruled and by ourselves. I also propose that that India and Indian beliefs have been singled out, when the Caste System is alluded to. This happens for a myriad of reasons, the most important being that it is we Indians, under the influence of a continuous onslaught of invasions over generations, throughout history, were quick to distance ourselves, abandon and even ridicule our own traditions, beliefs, and culture. This isn’t really surprising as each invasion had plenty of cultural ramifications, apart from just the war or armed conflict related ramifications. Thus we adapted to the ways preferred by our invaders.

Balancing the Scales

It would be very unfair on my part to not complete the picture on how things got this way. The backlash hasn’t originated just out of ignorance, instigation or then vested interests. It is also a fact that it is also because how certain castes ended up treating or dealing with the other classes.

Take for example the Aaryans. They arrived in India and formed 3 groups of people, namely warriors, priests and farmers. As the warriors and priests fought for leadership roles, it was the priests who emerged victorious and eventually farmers, craftsmen, warriors and locals were led by Brahamans or priests. We’ve seen this through history as well. Much smaller armies have emerged victorious by exhibiting great courage, resilience and coming up with strategies to counter adversity or for that matter, emerging victorious. Similarly the priests used their knowledge, intellect and influence to emerge as the leaders in the time of the Aryans.

Classifications and Segregation are a fact of life and that’s not just peculiar to India and therefore it is indeed most unfortunate that we seem ignorant that almost all cultures, civilizations and even political systems have some form of caste system or the other. Here I propose yet again, that we use Class instead of Cast.

In the next instalment, I will speak about how ancient and modern societies, cultures and civilizations classified, segregated and even discriminated based on various criterion. So stay tuned and read all about it here but don't forget, you can also go to my podcast channels on all major platforms, Apple, Google, Spotify and Breaker.
Write in and tell me what you think about this! I can be reached at or you can even leave your comments here.
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