But there is one important verse which has not been explained, and it refers to the origin of the Caste. The Caste System is believed to be at the foundation of Hindu society and religion, and references to it are scattered throughout the sacred works. Its origin is often traced to the Vedas, and the verse in the Rig Veda quoted in support of its prevalence and religious sanction in the ancient past. We are told that the Brahmanas (Priests) were created out of the mouth of the Supreme; the Rajanya (Warriors) from his arms; the Vaisya (Cultivators, traders) from his thighs; and the Sudras (Servants) from his feet.
The idea of the Caste System has been variously interpreted and explained. In the same hymn of the Rig Veda we are told that there are four divisions of creatures; and that all creatures are but one-fourth of the Eternal, the remaining three-fourths being unmanifest. In the Bhagavad Gita, again, we are told that the fourfold caste was created by the Supreme Purusha (Krshna) by the differentiation of Gunas and Karmas, Qualities and Actions.
The idea of the Caste, as commonly understood, is so revolting to man's sense of justice, so humiliating to his self-respect, and so depressing to his spirit of initiative and action, that it is impossible to reconcile it with the conception of a perfect Supreme Purusha; and unless it can be explained on the basis of a differentiation of Gunas and Actions, as in the Bhagavad Gita, or in some other way, it is impossible to accord any religious sanction to it and it is here that our system of interpretation should help.
According to the Rig Veda life is created through four stages, and the fourth alone is manifest, the remaining three being hidden from view; and it has already been explained that these four stages refer to Buddhi, Mind, Purushic and Prakrtic Ether, so far as the viviparous are concerned. Is it possible to establish a connection between the four castes and the four stages of life-manifestation? We are told in the Bhagavad Gita that the fourfold caste is created by means of the differentiation of Gunas and Actions; and we have seen that these too refer to the energies of creation, Buddhi, Mind, and Ether. It should not be difficult, therefore, to harmonize the idea of the caste with that of the energies of creation; and, according to this conception, Brahmana. would belong to Buddhi and Sattva Guna; Rajanya to Mind or Rajas; Vaisya to Purushic Ether; and Sudra to Prakrtic Ether; the last two being associated with Tamas, the meeting place of all the three Gunas. It is easy to explain the idea of Brahmana in this light, for the Priest must have sacred knowledge and the highest wisdom, and that is Buddhi; the very word Rajanya is associated with Rajas; the Cow, worshipped and tended by the Vaisya, represents, as already explained, Purushic Ether; while Prakrtic Ether is characterised by the senses of action, associated with the Sudra caste. We notice, further, that Buddhi, Mind, and Purushic Ether are all situated on the Right or Purushic side of the Golden Egg, while Prakrtic Ether is on the left or Prakrtic side; and this explains why the first three castes are distinguished from the fourth and regarded as superior. But if our conclusions be correct, we should be able to explain them in detail in the light of our method of interpretation.
Brahmana: The word Brahmana literally means, of Brahmana; and, according to our letter analysis, Brahmana, B, r, a, h, ma, na, means, a personification (a) of the energy (r) of Buddhi (na) in relation to Prakrti (b), Purusha (h), and Mind (ma). Thus Brahmana personifies Buddhi energy.
Rajanya: This word means literally, of Rajanya, and may be analyzed into Rajanya, or Raja, n, ya; and the former would mean, He who (ya) is Rajan (Mind), for Rajan means Moon or the Mind; and the latter, He who (ya) is Rajas Guna (Raja), related to Ether (n). Thus we see that Rajanya relates to Mind, and Rajas refers to Mind-energy in association with Ether, for the former is immediately transformed into the latter.
Vaisya: This is a Vrddhi or elongated form of Visya (V, i, s, ya); and, according to our letter-analysis, means, He who (ya) refers to Ether (s, occupying place No. 5 in our diagram), in relation to Mind (i) and Prakrti (v). As the letter S is assigned to the Buddhi region, and refers to No. 5, expressive of Ether, it may be said to represent Purushic Ether. Hence Vaisya refers to Purushic Ether, which is said to be associated with Mind on the one hand and Prakrti (or Prakrtic Ether, for the two are often identified) on the other.
Sudra: According to our analysis, udra (S, u, ud, ra) means a personification (u) of Ether (s) in its upward (ud) motion, characterised by speed (ra), We know that the current of life breaks into two in Ether, which for convenience sake we have called Purushic and Prakrtic; and the former is downward, and the latter upward. Sudra accordingly refers to Prakrtic Ether, for that is the significance of Purushic Ether (s) in its upward motion; further, speed or change of place in motion (r) refers also to Prakrtic Ether.
Thus we see that the original idea of Caste is to be understood in the light of the four stages of life-manifestation, and has little to do with the present day social divisions of men, which, like many other practices of the Hindus, are but a corruption of the ideas of science and philosophy misapplied to daily life. The notion that caste is by birth and so unchangeable, relates also to the four stages of manifestation, which are fixed by the law of life and cannot be altered by man.
The Fifth Caste: From this we should be able to understand the idea of the Fifth Caste, now commonly called the Depressed Class of the Hindus. Great disabilities attach to them in certain parts of India, and they are often regarded as less than human, and worse than animals.
According to our system of thought, there are four stages of life-manifestation; and the viviparous, personified as Man, have Buddhi for their source of life and are made manifest in Prakrtic Ether; and these four stages are represented by the four castes. Considered in this light, it is not possible to conceive of a fifth stage or caste; but if there be any (for the oviparous, trees, and germs have their birth in the elements after Prakrtic Ether), it cannot relate to Man or the viviparous; hence the present day disabilities of the fifth caste, who obviously belonged to the non-Aryan races in olden times, and were unable to comprehend this scheme of thought. The theories of Hindu philosophy have been applied to the daily life of the people; and while this has made for the preservation of Hinduism as a form of religion, it has also brought about conditions which can only be regarded as tragic.
Before, however, we can finally accept this explanation of the Caste, it is necessary that it should agree with the Sanskrt expressions used in the Rig Veda for mouth, arms, thighs, and feet, from which respectively the four castes are said to have had their birth. The question of the Caste System is so important that it is necessary to establish the correctness of the original idea in some detail.
The Brahmana is from the Mouth: Mouth: Mukha. The Sanskrt word for Mouth in the text is Mukha, which means, Head, top; chief, best; commencement, source, cause. Thus, it would be correct to reinterpret Mukha as, Head, top; and that, as has been explained, is the seat of Buddhi in man. The other meanings of Mukha are also connected with Buddhi, which is the chief and best, and the first manifest source of life.
The Rajanya is from his Arms: Arms: Bahu. The Sanskrt word for Arms in the text is Bahu, and Bahu is its singular form. This may be analyzed into B, a, h, u, meaning, a personification (u) of Mind, (h) associated with Prakrti (b. Water) and Buddhi (a) This agrees with our idea that Rajanya refers to Rajas Guna, connected with the Mind; and the latter is a Prakrtic energy, closely associated with Buddhi.
It may be of interest to note in this connection that the word commonly used for this caste is Kshatriya, which may be analyzed into Ksa, t, r, i, ya, and would mean, He who (ya) is lightning (ka), the energy of the Mind (i) associated with Prakrtic Ether (r, speed or change of place in motion) and manifest life (t). We have already observed that lightning is the energy of the Mind and so the idea of Kshatriya is the same as that of Rajanya.
The Vaisya is from his Thighs: Thighs: Uru. The Sanskrt word for Thighs in the text is Uru, and its singular is Uru, which may be analyzed into t, r, u, and means, a personification (u) of the energy (r) of Purushic Ether (u or u), and this agrees with our idea, as already explained.
The Sudra is from his Feet: Foot: Pad. The Sanskrt word for Foot in the text is Pad, which may be analyzed into Pa, d, meaning, Giving (d) the number five, related to action or Air, i, e. Prakrtic Ether (pa). We have observed that the Udra, is related to Prakrtic Ether, and this is borne out by the meaning of Pad, as now explained.
In this connection it might be of interest to note that, according to our interpretation, Vaisya and Sudra refer to the two aspects of Ether, Purushic and Prakrtic; and Ether is characterised by motion, having for its instruments thighs and feet in man.
More Points in the Hymns: We have tried to explain a number of ideas in connection with the hymns of the Rig Veda; but if they are examined in their original context and in the light of our interpretation, they would bring out some extraordinarily interesting points which cannot be properly expressed in translation. For instance, Desire (Kama) is called the germ of the spirit, whereas in the original it is called Manoreta, meaning, germ of the Mind; and from this we get the connection of Mind with Kama or desire.
Again it is said in the translation: By him the regions of mid-air were measured. The word for mid-air in the text is, antariksa, and for region, rajas. The former may be analysed into, antari, ksa and would mean, Lightning (ka) of the Heart (antari) and the latter into ra, ja, s and would mean, He who (s) is the energy (ra) of birth, related to the Heart (ja, No. 8) The meaning of the verse, as now altered, would be, By him was measured the energy of creation abiding in the Lightning of the Heart. From this we see (1) that Rajas is conceived as the energy of creation, and this idea is repeated in the later sacred works; and Rajas, as a Guna, we know is associated with the Mind; and (2) that this energy is related to the Lightning of the Heart; hence Rajas or the energy of the Mind is akin to that of the Heart (antariksa), and this has already been explained.
Further, we are told that this antariksa rises from the navel of the Supreme Purusha and the word for navel in the text is, Nabhi, which also means, centre, central point. As now interpreted, the verse, Forth from his navel came mid-air, would mean. From the centre of life came the Lightning of the Heart; and the significance of the latter is obvious.
We have seen that the energy of the Heart as well as of the Mind is electric; and modern science tells us that with each beat of the Heart an electric current is produced. As the energy of the Heart in general and its beating in particular is connected with breathing, we might regard the latter too as electric; hence the connection of Prana or breath with the Mind-energy; and we are told that the vital airs are born of the Mind, endowed with the Mind and again the up-breathing is identified with the full Moon, and the inbreathing is identified with the full Moon, and the in-breathing with the new Moon, both of which are associated with the Mind.