Varna (Hinduism)

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Varṇa (वर्णः) is a Sanskrit word which means type, order, colour or class. The term refers to social classes in Brahminical books like the Manusmriti. These and other Hindu literature classified the society in principle into four varnas:

Communities which belong to one of the four varnas or classes are called savarna. In the present-day context, they include all the forward castes. The Dalits and scheduled tribes who do not belong to any varna, are called avarna.

This quadruple division is a form of social stratification not to be confused with the much more nuanced Jāti or the European term "caste".

The varna system is discussed in Hindu texts, and understood as idealised human callings. The concept is generally traced to the Purusha Sukta verse of the Rig Veda.

The commentary on the Varna system in the Manusmriti is oft-cited. Counter to these textual classifications, many Hindu texts and doctrines question and disagree with the Varna system of social classification.

This page was last edited on 16 June 2018, at 15:35.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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