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[world-vedic] Varna and Jati

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Kailash Srivastava wrote:

Under which varna does "Kayastha" fall?


Here are some excerpts from His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's

English Language translaton of Sri Caitanya Cariamrta. Your question is answered.

Madhya 7.63 The Lord' s Tour of South India

In the varnasrama-dharma, the sudra is the fourth division in the social status.

Paricaryatmakam karma sudrasyapi svabhava-jam (Bg. 18.44). Sudras are meant to

engage in the service of the three higher classes--brahmanas, ksatriyas and

vaisyas. Sri Ramananda Raya belonged to the karana class, which is the

equivalent of the kayastha class in Bengal. This class is regarded all over

India as sudra. It is said that the Bengali kayasthas were originally engaged

as servants of brahmanas who came from North India to Bengal. Later, the

clerical class became the kayasthas in Bengal. Now there are many mixed classes

known as kayastha. Sometimes it is said in Bengal that those who cannot claim

any particular class belong to the kayastha class. Although these kayasthas or

karanas are considered sudras, they are very intelligent and highly educated.

Most of them are professionals such as lawyers or politicians. Thus in Bengal

the kayasthas are sometimes considered ksatriyas. In Orissa, however, the

kayastha class, which includes the karanas, is considered in the sudra

category. Srila Ramananda Raya belonged to this karana class; therefore he was

considered a sudra. He was also the governor of South India under the regime of

Maharaja Prataparudra of Orissa. In other words, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya

informed Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu that Ramananda Raya, although belonging to

the sudra class, was a highly responsible government officer. As far as

spiritual advancement is concerned, materialists, politicians and sudras are

generally disqualified. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya therefore requested that Lord

Caitanya Mahaprabhu not neglect Ramananda Raya, who was highly advanced

spiritually although he was born a sudra and a materialist.

Adi 7.45 Lord Caitanya in Five Features

Lord Caitanya stayed at the house of Candrasekhara, a clerk, although a sannyasi

is not supposed to reside in a sudra's house. Five hundred years ago, especially

in Bengal, it was the system that persons who were born in the families of

brahmanas were accepted as brahmanas, and all those who took birth in other

families--even the higher castes, namely, the ksatriyas and vaisyas--were

considered sudra non-brahmanas. Therefore although Sri Candrasekhara was a

clerk from a kayastha family in upper India, he was considered a sudra.

Similarly, vaisyas, especially those of the suvarna-vanik community, were

accepted as sudras in Bengal, and even the vaidyas, who were generally

physicians, were also considered sudras. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, however, did

not accept this artificial principle, which was introduced in society by

self-interested men, and later the kayasthas, vaidyas and vaniks all began to

accept the sacred thread, despite objections from the so-called brahmanas.

Madhya 19.16 Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Instructs Srila Rupa Gosvami

Sanatana Gosvami was the minister in charge of the government secretariat, and

his assistants--the undersecretaries and clerks--all belonged to the kayastha

community. Formerly the kayasthas belonged to the clerical and secretarial

staff of the government, and later if one served in such a post, he was called

a kayastha. Eventually if a person could not identify himself as a brahmana,

ksatriya, vaisya or sudra, he used to introduce himself as a kayastha to get a

wealthy and honorable position. In Bengal it is said that if one cannot give

the identity of his caste, he calls himself a kayastha. On the whole, the

kayastha community is a mixture of all castes, and it especially includes those

engaged in clerical or secretarial work. Materially such people are always busy

occupying responsible government posts.

Antya 6.23 The Meeting of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami

Raghunatha dasa belonged to a very aristocratic family of the kayastha

community. He had substantial influence with the local people, and therefore

the caudhuri, or minister, was afraid to beat him. Superficially he would

chastise Raghunatha dasa with threatening vibrations, but he did not beat him.

The members of the kayastha community in India are generally very intelligent

and expert in business management. Formerly they were mostly government

officers. They were mentioned even by Yajnavalkya, as quoted by Srila

Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Amrta-pravaha-bhasya:



pidyamana praja rakset

kayasthais ca visestah

>From this verse it appears that the governmental officials of the kayastha

community would sometimes chastise the citizens, and thus it was the duty of

the king to protect the people in general from the atrocities of the kayasthas.

In Bengal the kayastha community is honored almost as much as the brahmana

community, but in the up-country of India the kayasthas are considered sudras

because they generally eat meat and drink wine. In any case, from history the

kayasthas appear very intelligent. Thus the Mohammedan caudhuri was afraid of

Raghunatha dasa because he belonged to the kayastha community.

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