Caste System and Religion of Aryans
The second group was of priests, scholars and philosophers and were called Brahmans. These two groups struggled politically for leadership among the Aryans. In this struggle the Brahmans got to be the leaders of the Aryan society. The third group was named as Vaishyas and people of this group were farmers, traders, merchants and craftsmen. The lowest caste were Shudras and were considered as non- Aryans. Members of Shudras were laborers, peasants and servants of other castes. Vaishyas took control of many parts of the region and they made local people their servants.
So with the passage of time the Vaishyas who were the farmers and craftsmen became the landlords and businessmen of the society. There was another caste consisted of local people and were called “Untouchables”. They were not considered as a caste infect. They were outcaste. They were used to perform the least desirable activities like cleaning toilets, dealing with dead bodies etc. They were disallowed to touch high caste and stand at some distance from high castes. This is not enough. Well, they have some other restrictions too.
They were not allowed to enter holy places, schools and were not allowed to even touch the things belong to high castes. In some parts of Southern India, even the sight of untouchables was thought to be polluting so they were forced to sleep during the day and work at night. To remain an upper caste of the society, Aryans resolve some rules. The castes were to identify the occupation of people of that caste and some marriage restrictions were also imposed. Castes were unchangable groups. A person belong to one caste can never change his caste.
One had to lived, married, ate and worked within one’s own caste. A everything has its own advantages and drawbacks. So the caste system of Aryans also benefited them in some aspects. Marriages within the caste ensured continuity of occupation as the sons usually followed the fathers occupation. This reduced unemployment and brought about perfection of several arts and crafts. Furthermore, since the caste system was based on the principle of division of labor, the Aryans were able to establish and maintain a sound economy.
But soon caste system became a social evil. It suppressed an individual’s talent and became an obstacle for his personal development. It gave rise to untouchability and acted against the feeling of common brotherhood. Due to this injustice, many people left it and converted to Islam, Christianity and Buddhism. Religion Aryans seem to have believed in monotheism. They believed that God is one, but he is called by many names. The early Aryans worshipped phenomena of nature in the form of nature gods. They have male or female gods to which they were used to worship.
Indra was the god of strength, foremost in battle, always ready to smite dragons and demons and to destroy cities. He was the God of thunder, the rainmaker. Agni considered as the God of fire and marriages were solemnized in the presence of fire. Fire was the purest of the five elements and was held in high esteem. Surya (Sun), Savitri (a solar deity to whom the famous Gayatri mantra is dedicated). Varuna was the god of water. He was the sustainer of plant and animal life. It was his responsibility to uphold the natural order.
Soma (god of intoxicating juice soma). Yama the god of death and had a prominent place. Vayu (the god of winds). Prithvi was the goddess of Earth Usha, the goddess of Dawn. Although a large number of gods are referred to in the Vedas, yet they were polytheistic and believed that there is one god only but with different names. They believed in one god who is the creator, preserver and destroyer of the whole universe and called him Ishwar. Although, Aryans worshiped different signs of powers but yet they believe in only one god.
So this can be concluded that they believe in monotheism. This concept is still present among Hindus. They worship Sun, Moon and many other powers as well as many gods. ——————————————– [ 1 ]. http://adaniel. tripod. com/historycaste. htm [ 2 ]. Dowling, Mike, “The Caste System of Ancient India at mrdowling. com,” available from http://www. mrdowling. com/612-caste. html; Internet; updated Sunday, July 10, 2005 . ©2009, Mike Dowling. [ 3 ]. http://indiansaga. com/history/aryans_religion. html