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Duty of a Shudra is not giving alms to Brahmins, as they are prohibited from having wealth.

Mahabharata Santi Parva chapter 59:

A Sudra should never amass wealth, lest, by his wealth, he makes the members of the three superior classes obedient to him. By this he would incur sin. A Sudra cannot have any wealth that is his own.

Manusmriti 8.417.

A Brahmana may confidently seize the goods of (his) Sudra (slave); for, as that (slave) can have no property, his master may take his possessions.

Manu Smriti 10.129

No collection of wealth must be made by a Sudra, even though he be able (to do it); for a Sudra who has acquired wealth, gives pain to Brahmanas.

So, Serving the other three castes by money cannot be done by Shudra, as he is not allowed to have wealth.

Mahabharata 13.136.20-22

The Brahmana who takes his food in the company of Sudras is purged from all impurity by duly observing the ceremonies of purification. (Actually Brahmins are not even allowed to eat food of other Brahmins)

Mahabharata 13.141.

Another duty of the Brahmana consists in avoiding the food prepared by the Sudra.

So, offering food to other three castes is not the duty of Shudra, as it is also prohibited.

Then, what is the duty of Shudra? In what way he can serve others?

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  • What if the the word shudra (slaves) means captured foreigners of war. The word DASA also means servent.What about the people taking asylum in other country and servings for others? What if the Scripture is mentioning them only? Jun 22, 2017 at 17:07
  • @SwiftPushkar May be.
    – user9554
    Jun 22, 2017 at 17:09
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    Their duty is not providing money, their duty is physically serving Brahmanas and other Dvijas, like doing cleaning work and the like. Jun 22, 2017 at 17:26
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    Today when brahmins are being bashed for not doing ter shadkarmas, Kshatriyas who are supposed to defend Sanatana are nowhere to defend it and shudras who aren’t supposed to accumulate wealth are the biggest accumulators of land and wealth...yet scapegoating is selectively done only on Brahmins...!!! Feb 19, 2021 at 0:48

1 Answer 1

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Their primary duty is not providing money, rather their duty is physically serving Brahmanas and other Dvijas. Here is what chapter 1 of the Manu Smriti says:

One occupation only the lord prescribed to the Sudra, to serve meekly even these (other) three castes.

And here is what Medhatithi says in his commentary on the Manu Smriti:

‘The Lord’, Prajāpati, ordained ‘one function, for the Śūdra’; [in the form]—‘Thou shalt perform the ‘service of the said castes,’—i.e., of the Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya and Vaiśya;—‘Ungrudging’—i.e., without complaining; no resentment should be felt even in the mind. ‘Service’ stands for attending; i.e., doing of acts conducive to their convenience; such as massage of the body, and the obeying of wishes. What is mentioned here is only such function of the Śūdra as leads to visible results (in the shape of livelihood); and in as much as the phrase ‘one only’ is not injunctive, it does not preclude the giving of gifts (and such other acts, leading to invisible results); specially as we shall find later on the actual injunction of these acts (for the Śūdra also). And it will be on that occasion that we shall set forth the classification of sacrifices and other acts (as to which of these should be done by which castes, and so forth). (91).

And here is what Vayu says in this chapter of the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata:

The Brahmana, O best of kings, has sprung from the mouth of Brahman. The Kshatriya has sprung from his two arms, and the Vaisya from his two thighs. For waiting upon these three orders, O ruler of men, a fourth order, viz., the Sudra, sprung into life, being created from the feet (of Brahman). Originally created thus, the Brahmana takes birth on earth as the lord of all creatures, his duty being the keep of the Vedas and the other scriptures. Then, for ruling the earth and wielding the rod of chastisement and protecting all creatures, the second order, viz., the Kshatriya was created. The Vaisya was created for supporting the two other orders and himself by cultivation and trade, and finally, it was ordained by Brahman that the Sudra should serve the three orders as a menial.

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    What of fishermen, potter, smith, carpenter, tailor etc? They are not gaining sustenance by serving anybody. Their profession seems closer to "cultivation and trade". Are they vaishya professions?
    – Aks
    Jun 23, 2017 at 4:41
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    @Aks No, they are "craftsmen" professions. Vaishyas deal with agriculture, business, cow herding, and banking.
    – Ikshvaku
    Jan 12, 2019 at 20:35
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    Sir massaging feet etc - isnt it unjust?? And even wealth is restricted? But other Smritis say Sudras can sell and be independent and do as they want! Puri Shankaracharya says majority income was given to the Sudras Dec 12, 2020 at 16:15
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    Being given wealth or earning money is different from accumulating wealth.. Feb 19, 2021 at 0:51

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