Vaishya is a Sanskrit word that
translates as “settler” and derives from a word that means “to
live.” As the caste, or
varna, system developed, the Vaishya
evolved from uneducated farmers and tradesman to skilled laborers,
landowners, business owners and educated professionals who became an
economic force in Indian society. Although considered members of one
of the lower classes, the Vaishya traditionally have been wealthy.
The traditional castes include:
- Brahmin –
the priestly and teacher caste. Salvation (moksha) is
achieved through Jnana yoga (learning and knowledge).
- Kshatriya –
the ruler and public service caste.
Moksha is achieved
through Karma yoga (good works).
- Vaishya –
the business and merchant caste.
Moksha is attained through
Bhakti yoga (devotion to the Divine).
- Sudra/Dalit –
the semi-skilled and unskilled workers.
Moksha is attained
through Bhakti yoga.
Hinduism offers a path to moving up the
caste system via reincarnation. Someone who fulfills his/her duty
(dharma) in one life may improve his/her social position in the