The Ancient Indian Caste System Essay

1208 Words Mar 30th, 2016 5 Pages
The Ancient Indian Caste System Cultural, social, religious, wealth, and political divisions have been and still are a part of all societies. The difference between the human tendency to categorize into classes and the caste system in ancient India was that the categorization was the sole basis of people’s futures. The caste system was determined based on birth and people rarely had relations with others outside their own caste. Also, each caste, or Varna, had a certain duty to contribute to society. The four castes were called Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. There are several theories on how the caste system in India began. Some historians believe the root cause was either religion−based or biological. According to Aharon Daniel, the Rig Veda said:
The primal man - Purush - destroyed himself to create a human society. The different Varnas were created from different parts of his body. The Brahmans were created from his head; the Kshatrias from his hands; the Vaishias from his thighs and the Sudras from his feet. The Varna hierarchy is determined by the descending order of the different organs from which the Varnas were created (Daniel).

Therefore, the Brahmans would be higher in hierarchy due to the head being the highest anatomically. Symbolism is also represented with comparing castes to certain body parts. For example, since the head withholds the brain and the brain is associated with knowledge, that could be a reason why Brahman jobs in society are…

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