Last Updated: September 25, 2017

Definition - What does Kshatriya mean?

Kshatriya, meaning "ruler" or "warrior" in Sanskrit, is the ruling caste in traditional Hindu society. Outlined in the Vedic texts, Kshatriya is the second highest of the four classes (or varna). Members of this varna are believed to be able to attain moksha through good works, otherwise known as Karma yoga.

Yogapedia explains Kshatriya

According to Hindu scriptures, the varna that an individual is a part of is based on their qualities or characteristics. Varna is classified into four types: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. According to the popular belief that exists about varna classification, Brahmins are considered the supreme, in which class priests and preachers reside; Kshatriyas are kings and warriors; Vaishyas are traders and agriculturists; and Shudras are considered laborers who provide service to those who belong to other types of varna.

Historically, Hindus of the Kshatriya caste were often in ruling governmental or military positions within society and were considered elite. Those individuals belonging to the Kshatriya caste were expected to protect others during times of war and to govern, although not all members served in military roles. In modern India, the Kshatriya comprise a wide range of jati groups (communities associated by profession), all united by claims to some sort of rulership, nobility, public service or military pursuit.

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