Class System in the Indus Valley
Brahmin Priest

‚Äč The Brahmin priests were at the very top of the caste system in the Indus Valley. The caste system in India was their class system. The Brahmin class became the most powerful class after the Aryan group came to India. The Brahmin study the vedas and are thought to keep the universe running. The Brahmins were greatly respected because of this. The Brahmins were in charge of performing the religious rituals with the sacred fire. Deciding to put the religious leader at the top of the caste system shows how religion influenced the organization of the caste system. The Brahmins are also the closest ones to leaving the cycle of Samsara. Samsara is the process in which a person dies and is reborn (reincarnated) many times over. You must fulfill your dharma (what you are supposed to do in each caste) to leave the cycle. This picture shows a Brahmin priest praying to a god.

warrior belonging to kshatriya class

The next highest caste is the Kshatriyas. This class consisted of the military and rulers. Kshatriyas were from royal families and were expected to protect everyone. They also gained a lot of respect. Part of a kshatriyas dharma is to fight and kill enemies. We see this in the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 11 when Arjuna, who is part of the kshatriyas class, is expected to fight in a battle between his brothers and cousins but he doesn't want to fight because he does not want to kill any of his friends or family. He is then confronted by the god Krishna who tells him that it is his job to fight and kill people because that is your dharma. If Arjuna did not follow his dharma, he could be reincarnated to a lower class. My picture shows one of the kshatriyas.

merchant from vaishya class
people from shudras class begging for food

The vaishya class is made up of merchants, cattle herders, and artisans. These people were the most involved in the economy because they were the ones trading goods. They are also credited with expanding Indian beliefs with their travels.
The shudras were the lowest class. This class was made up of farmers, craftsman, and laborers. These people had all the bad jobs and were the only class that can't say that they were born twice. The shudras people were very poor and were often seen begging for food like in the picture.

The caste system was mainly affected by their religion. The most powerful people were the Brahmins who were the religious leaders as well. The caste system also had to deal with the cycle of samsara and completing your dharma in each caste to be able to move up in the caste system and in social status. You start at the lowest level, which is the shudras, and if you keep fulfilling your dharma you go up the social ladder and in time hopefully become a Brahmin. Doing good things (good kharma) and doing bad things (bad karma) also affect your next reincarnation.