In ancient India they developed a social system in which people were divided into separate close communities. These communities are known in English as caste. The origin of the caste system is in Hinduism, but it affected the whole Indian society. The caste system in the religious form is basically a simple division of society in which there are four castes arranged in a hierarchy and below them the outcast. But socially the caste system was more complicated, with much more castes and sub-castes and other divisions. .
The religious word for caste is 'Varna'. According to the Hindu religion, the society was divided into four broad classes called varnas. A person had the same varna that his or her parents had. And he or she had it from birth to death - there was no way to change it. Hindus did not question the varna system. It was simply considered a part of the way the universe works.
Each varna has certain duties and rights. Each of the Varna members had to work in a certain occupation, which only those Varna members are allowed. Each Varna has a certain type of diet. The highest Varna is of the Brahman. Members of this class are priests and the educated people of the society. The Varna after them in hierarchy is Kshatriya. The members of this class are the rulers and aristocrats of the society. After them is the Vaisya. Members of this class are the landlords and businessmen of the society. After them in hierarchy is the Sudra. Members of this class are the peasants and the working class of the society who work in non-polluting jobs. The caste hierarchy ends here. Below these castes are the outcasts who are untouchable to the four castes. .
The Four Varnas.
The Brahmin varna comprises the priests and teachers in society. A person in this varna, often considered the highest, deserves respect from everyone else. Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness-these are the natural qualities by which the Brahmins work.