What do the Vedas say about caste? For the purpose of this question you can take a broad approach of the definition of caste.

Like if it is called varna in vedas, then I want to know what the vedas say about varna.

I'm trying to compose a list of quotations about varna or caste.


Here are three quotes in the Vedic Samhitas:

ब्रा॒ह्म॒णो॑ऽस्य॒ मुख॑मासीद्बा॒हू रा॑ज॒न्यः॑ कृ॒तः ।

ऊ॒रू तद॑स्य॒ यद्वैश्यः॑ प॒द्भ्यां शू॒द्रो अ॑जायत ॥ १०.०९०.१२

The Brahman was his mouth, of both his arms was the Rajanya made. His thighs became the Vaisya, from his feet the Sudras was produced. ~Rig Veda 10.90.12 translated by R. Griffiths

Yajur Veda 26.2 translated by Devi Chand:

I do hereby address this salutary speech for the benefit of humanity, for the Brahmanas, the Kshatriyas, the Sudras, the Vaishas, the kinfolk and the men of the lowest position in society.

Yajur Veda 18.48 translated by Devi Chand:

O God grant love to our holy priests, set love in our ruling chiefs. Grant love to the Vaishyas and Shudras; give out of Thy unbounded store of love, love unto me!

Let me add that the caste system as seen in certain Smritis is not seen in the Vedic Samhitas.

If then with all the documents before us, we ask the question, does caste as we find it in Manu and at the present day, form part of the most ancient religious teaching of the Vedas? We can answer with a decided No. ~Max Mueller in Chips from a German Work-shop

  • Do you know how Devi Chand translates Rig Veda 10.90.12? – sv. Feb 17 '18 at 17:46
  • I don't know if Devi Chand translated Rig Veda. – Pradip Gangopadhyay Feb 18 '18 at 13:32

Here are some verses from the Taittiriya Samhita of the Krishna Yajur Veda that talk about caste:


The wrong to Çudra [Shudra] or Aryan


In the case of a Rajanya let him repeat the Trcas thrice three other sorts of men are there besides the warrior, the Brahman, Vaishya and Shudra; verily he makes them obedient to him.


They praised with nineteen, the Shudra and the Arya were created.


Grant us brilliance in our Brahmans, Place brilliance in our princes, Brilliance in Vaishyas and Shudras.


Therefore it is drawn for Mitra and Varuna together; therefore with a king as helper they slay a king, with a Vaishya a Vaishya, with a Shudra a Shudra.


From his feet he meted out the Ekavinça Stoma. After it the Anustubh metre was created, the Vairaja Saman, of men the Shudra, of cattle the horse. Therefore the two, the horse and the Shudra, are dependent on others. Therefore the Shudra is not fit for the sacrifice, for he was not created after any gods. Therefore they depend on their feet, for they were created from the feet.

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