Definition - What does Kshatriya Varna mean?
Kshatriya varna is the name of a social class as defined by such texts as the "Rig Veda" and other Hindu texts. From Sanskrit, varna means “type,” “class,” “order” or “color.” The Kshatriya varna includes warriors, rulers and administrators, and are considered the protectors of society. They are expected to cultivate qualities of bravery, strength, chivalry and generosity.
The varna system is often interpreted as a caste system, but some say that this is inaccurate as it is more to be thought of as a system that classifies people by their idealised human callings.
Yogapedia explains Kshatriya Varna
Kshatriya is one of four varnas, the other three being:
- Brahmin varna - priests, scholars and teachers
- Vaishaya varna - merchants, cattle herders, agriculturists and artisans
- Sudra varna - laborers and service providers
The Kshatriyas were traditionally considered responsible for protecting both society’s citizens and the smooth running of the society by ensuring citizens follow codes of conduct. Their dharma, or duty, was to be the first into battle and never flee, to never refuse a challenge and to deal with crime. They were afforded some privileges, but expected to demonstrate considerable strength in return.
It is said that the Hindu gods, Rama and Krishna, were born into the Kshatriya varna because they needed military weapons and prowess in order to restore dharma.
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