The Caste System

Brahmans

Brahmans were the highest class in the caste system. They were thought of as the middle men between gods and men. Consisted of priests and scholars. Brahmans were expected to show exemplary behavior and spent their lives in the pursuit of divine knowledge and the preservation of traditions. Were considered the highest on earth. Were given far less severe punishments than members of lower castes.

Kshatriyas

This class consisted of soldiers, kings, and generals. When they weren't in battle Kshatriyas lived in palaces and lushly decorated homes. They usually had several wives and concubines. They were allowed to eat meat and could drink alcohol. They didn't acknowledge the untouchables and thought lowly of Vaisyas and Sudras.

Vaisyas

This class consisted of merchants and peasants. They were expected to tend to cattle, study the vedas, trade, and lend money. They could participate in certain rituals. They weren't allowed to marry women of the higher class. They were served by Sudras.

Sudras

Sudras were a part of the laborer class. Their job was to serve the other three classes. Sudras weren't allowed to study the vedas or hear the sacred chants. They also couldn't eat with or marry women of the higher classes. Sudras were treated on par with animals. They were considered once born. Were not allowed to act as a witness or sit in judgement of higher castes.

Untouchables

Untouchables were the lowest class in the caste system. Life as an untouchable wasn't good. They had to do all of the dirty work like dealing with sewage, working with animal skin, cleaning up after funerals, and dealing with disease and pollution. Untouchables weren't allowed to talk to Brahmans. The other classes didn't view the untouchables as people, and if an untouchable touched a member of a higher class they had to wash themselves. They also weren't allowed to enter the higher classes houses.
Big image