| The ancient culture
of India was based upon a system of social diversification according to spiritual
Four orders of society were recognized based upon the four main goals of human beings and
established society accordingly. These four groups were the Brahmins, the priests or
spiritual class; the Kshatriya, the nobility or ruling class; the Vaishya, the merchants
and farmers; and the Shudras or servants.
These four orders of society were called "varna", which has two
meanings; first it means "color"; and second it means a "veil".
As color it does not refer to the color of the skin of people, but to the qualities or
energies of human nature. As a veil it shows the four different ways in which the Divine
Self is hidden in human beings.
In ancient India, these divisions were not based on birth but based on qualifications.
According to the Bhagavad Gita this Aryan family system broke down in India over three
thousand years ago at the time of Krishna. Hence after three thousand years this system of
determining natural aptitude has degenerated into the caste system which resembles it now
only in form.
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