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The caste system, as existing in modern India, is a degraded form of varnasrama. The Wikipedia article is full of western speculation, but the proper definition is given in Bhagavad-gita:

(God says)

Four [profesional] colorings were created by me, differentiated by qualities and activities. ...

The qualities (guna) mentioned in this verse are not just random general qualities of a person but specifically the goodness/passion/nescience (sattva/rajas/tamas).

It is described in more detail in Brhat-Parasara-Hora-Sastra:

  1. A person affected primarily by sattva guna is apt to be a good brahmana (teacher, scientist, priest...)
  2. A person affected primarily by rajo guna is apt to be a good kshatriya (leader, officer, governor...)
  3. A person affected primarily by tamo guna is apt to be a good shudra (worker, artisan, performer...)
  4. A person without a dominating influence from the mix of three gunas is apt to be a good vaishya (merchant, landowner, industrialist...)

Please note that the entire material world consists exclusively of these 3 qualities, there is no question of anyone not being affected by them or being affected by something else. It is only a question of proportions.


So, the original system was a natural system of work division that made everyone happy. The degraded caste system arose as people started to claim positions without being actually qualified. They substituted heredityheredity in place of qualitiesqualities. The first example of transgression is given in Srimad-Bhagavatam where a brahmana boy Shringi curses good king Parikshit, although brahmana and ksatriya duties are to protect each other.

The caste system, as existing in modern India, is a degraded form of varnasrama. The Wikipedia article is full of western speculation, but the proper definition is given in Bhagavad-gita:

(God says)

Four [profesional] colorings were created by me, differentiated by qualities and activities. ...

The qualities (guna) mentioned in this verse are not just random general qualities of a person but specifically the goodness/passion/nescience (sattva/rajas/tamas).

It is described in more detail in Brhat-Parasara-Hora-Sastra:

  1. A person affected primarily by sattva guna is apt to be a good brahmana (teacher, scientist, priest...)
  2. A person affected primarily by rajo guna is apt to be a good kshatriya (leader, officer, governor...)
  3. A person affected primarily by tamo guna is apt to be a good shudra (worker, artisan, performer...)
  4. A person without a dominating influence from the mix of three gunas is apt to be a good vaishya (merchant, landowner, industrialist...)

Please note that the entire material world consists exclusively of these 3 qualities, there is no question of anyone not being affected by them or being affected by something else. It is only a question of proportions.


So, the original system was a natural system of work division that made everyone happy. The degraded caste system arose as people started to claim positions without being actually qualified. They substituted heredity in place of qualities. The first example of transgression is given in Srimad-Bhagavatam where a brahmana boy Shringi curses good king Parikshit, although brahmana and ksatriya duties are to protect each other.

The caste system, as existing in modern India, is a degraded form of varnasrama. The Wikipedia article is full of western speculation, but the proper definition is given in Bhagavad-gita:

(God says)

Four [profesional] colorings were created by me, differentiated by qualities and activities. ...

The qualities (guna) mentioned in this verse are not just random general qualities of a person but specifically the goodness/passion/nescience (sattva/rajas/tamas).

It is described in more detail in Brhat-Parasara-Hora-Sastra:

  1. A person affected primarily by sattva guna is apt to be a good brahmana (teacher, scientist, priest...)
  2. A person affected primarily by rajo guna is apt to be a good kshatriya (leader, officer, governor...)
  3. A person affected primarily by tamo guna is apt to be a good shudra (worker, artisan, performer...)
  4. A person without a dominating influence from the mix of three gunas is apt to be a good vaishya (merchant, landowner, industrialist...)

Please note that the entire material world consists exclusively of these 3 qualities, there is no question of anyone not being affected by them or being affected by something else. It is only a question of proportions.


So, the original system was a natural system of work division that made everyone happy. The degraded caste system arose as people started to claim positions without being actually qualified. They substituted heredity in place of qualities. The first example of transgression is given in Srimad-Bhagavatam where a brahmana boy Shringi curses good king Parikshit, although brahmana and ksatriya duties are to protect each other.

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source | link

The caste system, as existing in modern India, is a degraded form of varnasrama. The Wikipedia article is full of western speculation, but the proper definition is given in Bhagavad-gita:

(God says)

Four [profesional] colorings were created by me, differentiated by qualities and activities. ...

The qualities (guna) mentioned in this verse are not just random general qualities of a person but specifically the goodness/passion/nescience (sattva/rajas/tamas).

It is described in more detail in Brhat-Parasara-Hora-Sastra:

  1. A person affected primarily by sattva guna is apt to be a good brahmana (teacher, scientist, priest...)
  2. A person affected primarily by rajo guna is apt to be a good kshatriya (leader, officer, governor...)
  3. A person affected primarily by tamo guna is apt to be a good shudra (worker, artisan, performer...)
  4. A person without a dominating influence from the mix of three gunas is apt to be a good vaishya (merchant, landowner, industrialist...)

Please note that the entire material world consists exclusively of these 3 qualities, there is no question of anyone not being affected by them or being affected by something else. It is only a question of proportions.


So, the original system was a natural system of work division that made everyone happy. The degraded caste system arose as people started to claim positions without being actually qualified. They substituted heredity in place of qualities. The first example of transgression is given in Srimad-Bhagavatam where a brahmana boy Shringi curses good king Parikshit, although brahmana and ksatriya duties are to protect each other.