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Varnas – A Caste System

From the Vedas we learn a great deal about the social caste system implemented by the Aryans. A social caste is a rank, or level within a society that tells other members of the society how important each individual is. The Aryans called the ranks in their society varnas.



The highest varna were the priests, called Brahmans. The Brahmans were the only varna that were allowed to both read and also teach from the Vedas.

The next most important varna were the Kshatriyas. The Kshatriyas were made up of the warriors and rulers of villages. These people were allowed to study the Vedas, but they were not allowed to teach them to other people.

After the Kshatriyas, the Vaisyas were the third varna in importance. The Vaisyas were made up of artisans, merchants and farmers. These people could not study, nor teach from the Vedas.

The lowest varna were the Sudras. The Sudras were the servants of the other three varnas, and were responsible for doing the jobs that no one else wanted.

These varnas were rigid. An individual was born into a varna, socialized only with other members of their varna, married in their varna, and died a member of their varna. They could not move up or down within that rigid system. Thus, the varna you were born into would determine your lifestyle and what types of jobs would be open to you.