Ksatriya’s are those people predominated by a warrior like mentality and the desire to conquer the physical world. Through their physical might they give shelter and security to the shudras and in return the shudras obedience is commanded.
Kśatriyas spend all their energy controlling matter. They protect society by laying down their lives and by taking the lives of others. They often have powerful personalities and are proud of their strength.
The administration and policy of Ksatriya’s is simply “might makes right”.
Ksatriyas are not generally religious but because they are responsible for self-preservation and security, their administration generally follows a strict code of discipline.
These warlike people gave great importance to increasing their numbers so that they could fight against their enemies.
The kśatriyas’ aim is to conquer with glory. This sentiment enables the kśatriyas to develop a subtler intellect and awakened their conscience and discriminative judgment. It goes against the kśatriyas’ conscience to kill the unarmed, to kill women, children or old people, to kill those who have surrendered, or to kill a retreating enemy. In a word, the kśatriyas’ sense of valour transcends the animal level, and they learn to understand the value of human beings.
The bravery and heroism of the ksatriya lead members of society to give greater importance to bestowing the inheritance of these qualities to their offspring.
The relationship between husband and wife also became socially recognized with the evolution of the ksatriya society.
Ksatriya mentality may be found more in army, police force, dictatorships and competitive sports for example.
When the waves of the unit mind try to adjust to the rhythm of materialistic waves without attempting to assimilate them, the unit mind gradually becomes materialistic. [[If a person’s mind dwells on matter, that mind will naturally be filled with tamoguńii [static] darkness, and the person will be called a shúdra.]] Those who have a shúdra mentality can collectively be called the shúdra society. Needless to say, such people cannot control anything, because the crudest waves, the waves of matter, control them.
When the human race was in an embryonic stage and humans evolved from animal mentality to human mentality, human beings then, as today, found two paths open to them. The first was to become crude by ideating on matter – the path of shúdra-hood; and the second was to overcome material and psychic obstacles by ideating on subtle things – the path of kśatriya-hood. In those days people’s minds were so full of material thoughts, due to living in a hostile natural environment, that at that early stage everyone necessarily possessed a shúdra mentality.
Due to mutual self-interest people developed social bonds, but they were unable to build a social structure, and society in those days basically meant only a particular individual’s own body, and the wife, to some extent sons and daughters, and close relatives that contributed to the pleasure of that body. As conjugal relations were based on gratification – on the enjoyer and the object of enjoyment – there was no sense of responsibility or humanity. Today there are shúdras with this propensity scattered throughout the world in all societies.
People with a shúdra mentality fall in the same category as all animals that have a strong desire for physical enjoyment. At that time the powerful men, who had a strong desire for physical enjoyment, were polygamous. When such men were defeated, they were either exiled, or killed by stronger men. The little art and literature that existed did not reflect developed sensibilities. It was merely the expression of the greediness of people given to materialistic enjoyment.
The people of that shúdra society felt some parental affection for their children due to their physical contact with them, but once their children grew up and clashes of interest typical of the shúdra mentality would come about, they would not maintain the relationship. So although parents had a temporary affection for their children, the children could have no sense of responsibility towards their parents or close relatives.
People had no sense of duty towards each other and no social order had evolved. People generally felt uneasy if they came too close to each other. In fact, the shúdra society of that time could not claim to be much better than the present-day society of monkeys or dogs.
Frankly stated, shúdras live only for physical enjoyment. They neither bother about ideology nor give any value to rationality. Of the three aspects of time – past, present and future – they think only about the present. They have neither the time nor the inclination to think about the past or the future. Religion, spirituality and a genuine social system have no significance for them. Whatever religion, spirituality or social order we observe in shúdra society results from an unholy alliance between their fearfulness and their self-interest.
Intellectually shúdras are as dull as beasts. Whether it is a natural calamity, or the gloomy night, or the joyful dawn, or a burning desert, they have always viewed and continue to view it either with the eyes of fear or with the eyes of escapism. This type of fear psychology elevates different natural phenomena in their eyes to the status of gods. They learn to worship trees, mountains, forests, seas, etc., as gods out of fear and a greater or lesser degree of self-interest, but not due to the inspiration of the indivisible Supreme Entity. We can thus conclude that the shúdra social order is based on fear alone.
The main sentiment in the shúdra social system is “Let the living live better, and let the dying die quickly. Don’t waste energy trying to save them.” An attitude such as this produces a particular type of selfish social system which, in reality, is neither a society nor a system. Only this much have the shúdras created and can they create.
The rudimental idea of shúdra society, like that of merciless nature, is survival of the fittest. Where there is no love and compassion for the weak, there will be no collective effort to preserve their lives. Children will take no responsibility for their elderly parents. So people will remain divided into innumerable groups and somehow pass their time; for them the joy of collective living – the expansiveness of many minds moving together – is nothing but a disquieting dream.
Shúdras are always sleeping. They can perform work only if someone wakes them up. Once the work is done, they go back to sleep. In order to maintain the cáturvarńika(4) But is it possible to create genuine awareness in shúdras? It is the kśatriyas who make shúdras work, who temporarily inspire them to revolt. Shúdras are mechanical and do only what they are told – they do only the work they are told to do and no more. social system, some work will have to be taken from the shúdras. Consciousness should be developed among shúdras in order to protect them from the inhuman greed of the vaeshyas. (All non-vaeshyas slip into shúdra-hood on the eve of a shúdra revolution.)(5) But is it possible to create genuine awareness in shúdras? It is the kśatriyas who make shúdras work, who temporarily inspire them to revolt. Shúdras are mechanical and do only what they are told – they do only the work they are told to do and no more.
There are both honest and dishonest kśatriyas, but the majority of kśatriyas are dishonest. It is often observed that when shúdras are led by kśatriyas they readily support revolution or counter-revolution, like insects attracted to a fire and burnt by the flames. The kśatriyas usually acquire name, fame, wealth and influence by totally cheating the shúdras. To win the minds of the ignorant shúdras they have cheated, the kśatriyas praise them lavishly for their victories. This praise of their hollow victories makes the shúdras forget their defeat. During the post-revolutionary period, the shúdras, instead of thinking about their own interests, believe that the greatest achievement of their lives has been to be the standard-bearers of the deceitful kśatriyas.
If the human mind ideates intensely on pleasure yet does not become subservient to matter but instead controls the waves of matter with its own waves, matter will serve the human mind. Those who through incessant fight have acquired the mental capacity to control matter as they choose, are called kśatriyas. Struggle is the dharma of kśatriyas. They are imbued with indomitable vital force and are not symbolized by the black colour of darkness. They represent spiritedness. Their colour is blood-red.
Shúdras are afraid of high mountains. They regard a towering mountain as a god and bow their heads before it. They try to dissuade the kśatriyas from climbing the mountain, saying, “God will become angry. Please do not climb it.” But the kśatriyas go ahead anyway. After reaching the summit they declare that they have conquered the mountain. Through their mental waves and their intellect they have turned crude matter into dynamite and have advanced by blowing up the mountain. The nature of kśatriyas is to enslave matter.
The collective name of those who have kśatriya propensities is kśatriya society. Kśatriyas spend all their energy controlling matter. They cannot think of or understand anything beyond matter. They protect society by laying down their lives and by taking the lives of others.
In the embryonic stage of the human race, those who became the slaves of nature due to circumstantial pressure were the shúdras. But those among them who came in contact with the relatively harsh aspects of nature and made even a small amount of effort to survive by fighting against them, were, in the world of those days, the fathers of the kśatriyas.
Later on, those shúdras who made a habit of fighting against nature due to the inspiration of the fathers of the kśatriyas guided – and are still guiding and will continue to guide – the development of kśatriya society. In fact, the seed of human greatness was dormant in the shúdras and germinated in the kśatriyas. Today the superiority that human beings enjoy over all other creatures in the society of living things results from their endeavours to conquer the animate and inanimate worlds; this was first expressed in the minds of the kśatriyas.
The greatness and paoruśa(6) of the kśatriyas struck the shúdras with wonder. The cowardly and intellectually-undeveloped shúdras accepted the superiority of the kśatriyas and paid obeisance to their bravery and spiritedness. The kśatriyas used the shúdras as servants in their fight against the inanimate world and ensured their obedience by courageously taking responsibility for their safety and protection. So the shúdras also played a role in the kśatriyas’ conquest of the inanimate world, and their role was not unimportant. But most of the credit goes to the kśatriyas, because whatever the shúdras did, they did under the wings of the kśatriyas.
We may call the day the kśatriyas started to protect the shúdras the beginning of the Kśatriya Age in human society, but that age did not come overnight. Numerous fragmented shúdra societies gradually accepted the authority of the kśatriyas and began to unite under their hegemony. In other words, many shúdra societies would unite into a new social system, and in each case one kśatriya would be the symbol of that new system. This acceptance of a kśatriya as the symbol of shúdra unity, which came about through a process of transformation, represents the first kránti [evolutionary step] in human history.
Different groups formed, each with a kśatriya as the symbolic head. To maintain the purity of the group’s blood and in order to identify people correctly, brave and spirited women had at an earlier stage been recognized as the group-mothers. All the men and women in a group had been named after that matriarch. As both the mother and the father of a child belonged to the same group, the value of their having separate identities from each other was not felt. When a matriarch died and a new matriarch was elected, or when a group broke into sub-groups, it was only necessary to determine the identity of one’s group-mother. In other words, kśatriya society had initially been matriarchal. The group system of the Kśatriya Age was the first stage in the evolution of a social system.
During the Kśatriya Age the different groups continually fought among themselves to establish their supremacy; hence in the kśatriya social order, love for one’s group was more evident than in the Shúdra Age. The spiritedness and self-confidence of the kśatriyas inspired people to unite and build a society out of a crude, self-centred consciousness; the consciousness and sentiment of prestige also played an important part. In other words, although the struggle for existence was the main concern, the struggle for prestige was not unimportant. This sentiment, this sense, of prestige greatly inspired people in the Kśatriya Age in the work of conquering the inanimate world, and continues to inspire people even today.
The shúdras had fought solely to survive, whereas the kśatriyas fought for their own survival, for the survival of others and for their prestige. The shúdras’ main aim had been to arrange food and security by any means, whereas the kśatriyas’ aim was to conquer with glory. This sentiment enabled the kśatriyas to develop a subtler intellect and awakened their conscience and discriminative judgement. It went against the kśatriyas’ conscience to kill the unarmed, to kill women, children or old people, to kill those who had surrendered, or to kill a retreating enemy. In a word, the kśatriyas’ sense of valour transcended the animal level, and they learned to understand the value of human beings.
The Rise of Patriarchy
It was to a large extent this sense of value that elevated conjugal and domestic life to the human level. Conjugal relations came not to be limited to the enjoyer-and-enjoyed level but to include a sense of duty. As conjugal relations developed, a father’s sense of duty towards his children also awakened. This led to a reduction in the mothers’ responsibilities to some extent, and as a consequence women became partially dependent on men for their food and clothes, particularly during pregnancy and immediately after childbirth. As a result, although couples belonged to the same group, they began to form into families headed by men. Because families were headed by men, the groups also became male-dominated and the matriarchs lost the power they had previously enjoyed.
In olden times kśatriya societies began to recognize a man and a woman as husband and wife, although the bonds of such relationships were not strong. As the society became patriarchal, even in the latter half of the Kśatriya Age men kept many wives as they had in the Shúdra Age. The only difference between the polygamies of the two eras was that wives in the Shúdra Age had no social ties to their husbands, whereas the ties between the husbands and wives in the latter half of the Kśatriya Age were socially recognized. Although the social system which was formed in the first half of the Kśatriya Age was to some extent strengthened in the latter half, the stability of both conjugal and group relations in the latter half depended more on the physical abilities and bravery of the group-father, or patriarch, and other males than on genuine humanism or a sense of discipline. The maxim of the Kśatriya Age was “Might makes right.”
Human beings are creatures of sensibility. A sense of responsibility, as well as love and affection, having already awakened in parents for their children, in the latter half of the Kśatriya Age a sense of responsibility also started to awaken in children towards their parents. Duty-conscious children were careful to maintain the traditions and proclaim the heroism of their fathers, and fathers also wanted their children to inherit their heroic qualities, powerful personalities, and traditions. Thus, as the relationship between fathers and their children was strengthened, society was also strengthened.
In order to properly maintain the heroism and traditions of the family, great importance was given to the careful selection of brides and grooms at the time of marriage. As a result, in the Kśatriya Age socially-recognized conjugal relations gradually evolved, replacing unrecognized relationships.
There is no doubt that the culture of the kśatriyas – their music, dance and art – reflected their sensibilities. The art of the kśatriyas depicted their tremendous efforts to conquer the world and not their enjoyment of material pleasure. These warlike people gave great importance to increasing their numbers so that they could fight against their enemies. That is why the courageous but uncultured kśatriyas of ancient times invented linga, or phallus, worship as a symbol for the increase of their numerical strength. This mentality of the kśatriyas can be found in the Mayan civilization of America and the Dravidian civilization of India as well as in particular types of Tantric ritual. No matter how phallus-and-vulva worship be philosophically explained today, it essentially expresses the ancient kśatriya desire to increase their population.
The patriarch, or gańapati (gańesha), of a kśatriya society was worshipped in those days as a god, and in this worship the head of an elephant, recognized as the greatest animal, would be used as the head of the idol. And in fact this gańapati or gańesha [group leader] figure, after undergoing certain philosophical explanations in those ancient times, evolved into the god Gańesha. Even though society is now vaeshya-dominated, both linga and Gańapati are still commonly worshipped. Many people do not understand or deliberately try to forget that what underlies this form of worship is the primitive social outlook of the kśatriyas.
Today some philosophers may say, Yasmin sarváńi liiyante talliuṋgam, or Liuṋgate gamyate yasmád talliuṋgam – that is, “The entity in which everything merges is called liuṋga,” [or “The entity from which everything originates [[and towards which everything is moving]] is called liuṋga”]. In other words, “worship of the linga means worship of Supreme Consciousness.” This interpretation is unacceptable, and the best proof that this is so is that Supreme Consciousness cannot be contained in any receptacle, whereas the physical linga does serve well as a symbol of numerical growth.
Gańapati was also gradually transformed into a scriptural deity. The authors of the Puranas traced the ancestry of Gańapati and claimed that he was the son of the god Shiva, in whose name the philosophically-interpreted phallus worship was practised. An attempt was also made in scripture to synthesize these two ideas with each other. Thus the sensibilities of the ancient kśatriyas were dyed the colour of the intellect of the vipras and accepted in a new way.
We could not say of kśatriyas that they live only for physical enjoyment. Physical enjoyment and following an ideology are equally important to them; sometimes the one may be a little more important, sometimes the other.
Throughout both the ancient and modern history of the human race we observe that people with a kśatriya nature went to their deaths gladly, or thrust their necks into a noose, or bared their chests to bullets, or, rather than face the humiliation of total defeat, shot themselves in an attempt to escape probable indignities. People with a shúdra mentality do not come in the reckoning, but those with a kśatriya mentality, particularly those with an extremely kśatriya mentality, cannot stay out of the public eye. Willingly or unwillingly, they inevitably come into the limelight.
The heroic victories of the kśatriyas were celebrated in the Vedic and Mahábhárata ages and in ancient Greek and Egyptian times, and continue to be celebrated in both developed and undeveloped societies today. The admirers of different kśatriyas have told their tales, while those who have strongly opposed them on principle have nevertheless had to applaud their gallantry and heroism. Even the people of England praise the bravery of Napoleon Bonaparte. Even the people of France recognize the powerful personality of Hitler. Even the conservatives in Indian politics cannot deny the heroism of Prafulla Chaki, Khudiram, Rashbehari and Subhash.(7)
It is only in the case of those who live for physical enjoyment alone that there will be a clash of self-interests. Only they are unable to establish any superiority over the common crowd.
There are tens of millions of people in the world who live only for physical enjoyment. They are born; they eat; they preserve their lineage; they bring up their children to further their own interests; they look upon everything as objects of gratification; and they turn to others out of greed. Their past is dark and so is their future, and they block out the light of the present with the blackness of their petty selfishness. These are the shúdras. They live and die unnoticed, and unnoticed they carry about the burdens of their lives. Their birth, life and death mean nothing to the collective being of humanity. They cannot create any vibration in the human race through their actions, nor can they arouse sleeping humanity with a thunderous voice. No doubt they live in the world, but they are incapable of leaving any trace in its heart.
But kśatriyas are indeed capable of such actions. Their lives, whether they occupy a long span or a short span of human history, do create a stir in the world. By fathoming that stir, one will know which kśatriya it was that came on earth, and when. That is why kśatriyas are regarded as gods by the shúdras, who live only for physical enjoyment. And that is why the Kśatriya Age, accompanying a social kránti [evolution], was easily established in the ancient world.
Time has three divisions: past, present and future. Kśatriyas only think about the past and the present. They do not worry about the future. Ignoring future consequences and inspired by their ideology, they jump into the licking flames of a fire, leap from the top of a lofty mountain and take off in their rockets to explore planets and satellites. They want to conquer, to be conquerors, and not merely to live.
Kśatriyas also think about the past. They do not like to forget their traditions. The inspiration of the past helps them to determine the speed of their movement into the future. They get inspired by the annals of bravery of their ancestors or group. They seek revenge against the enemies of their forefathers. It is not possible for them to decide on their course of action without first analysing the significant and insignificant events of the past.
Religion and Spirituality
Whatever the real meaning of dharma may be, kśatriyas have a certain magnanimity of mind and a certain dharmácarańa [spiritual way of life] based on that magnanimity. They pray to their imaginary gods for a son, a wife, riches, name and fame, to Rudra for fierceness and to Cańd́a Shakti for ruthlessness, and they also beseech universal Prakrti [the Supreme Operative Principle], saying, “Give me beauty, give me victory, give me fame, and give me the strength to vanquish my enemies.” They want such things from their imaginary gods not only for themselves but also for those under their protection. However, they want to keep to themselves the right to distribute these things.
In fact, what spirituality the kśatriyas have is not free from the influence of matter. Their spirituality is actually limited to the effort to acquire material things or the effort to conquer matter. It is not easy for their intellect to understand the meaning of spirituality, that is, spiritual progress. The high standard which is necessary for the struggle involved in spiritual sádhaná [spiritual practices] is absent to some extent in most kśatriyas because their minds are extremely restless.
The Social Structure
Society means a group of people moving together. For the kśatriyas, who thrive on struggle, there is an undeniable need for unity and a need to form a group. Not only must they form a group, they must also maintain a high standard of discipline within that group. It is through the formation of groups and the maintenance of discipline that society is established. So without the assistance of kśatriyas, a society cannot be created.
To maintain society an administration is necessary, and to maintain the administration a system of government is necessary. No one would submit to the administration of a shúdra. The kśatriyas introduced the first administrative system through brute force. The shúdras and the weak kśatriyas submitted to the brute force of the stronger kśatriyas and accepted the latters’ patriarch as king. Under the administration of this king, a social and governmental structure began to form.
The kśatriya social system emphasized a sense of discipline. The kśatriya administration had little concern for what the common people thought about that discipline or whether they were practically benefited by it.
The selection of the kśatriya leader was based on physical might, strength of arms and mental strength. Naturally after the death of a leader, either one of his sons, or that man from one of the groups under his protection who had the greatest number of similar qualities, was accepted as the next kśatriya leader.
In the course of time the age of the kśátra-pitá or sarddár [kśatriya leader] was replaced by the age of the monarchy. This transformation took place mainly for the sake of maintaining discipline. After the death of a kśatriya leader, there would be a violent struggle for power among his sons and among the youths of the groups under his protection. By the time this struggle was finally over and a new kśatriya leader was selected, everything in the group was topsy-turvy, or the group had become fragmented into many smaller groups. A greater sense of discipline was obviously needed to save the group from such disorder or fragmentation. So to avoid internal conflicts, the custom of appointing the son, particularly the eldest son, of the kśatriya leader as the leader’s successor, was introduced in most of the kśatriya groups. Once this became the system, it may be said that monarchy had become established in kśatriya society.
The kings of those days were generally not kings in the sense that we use the word today. Because a kingdom was acquired through heredity, that is, because the system of selecting the kśatriya king or leader was not based on physical might, strength of arms and mental strength, a king had to some extent to cater to public opinion. How much he had to cater depended upon the degree of unity, the level of discrimination and the standard of intelligence of the local people. For example, in most parts of India, when the king made out a deed on támralipi [copper sheets used like writing paper], he would write the following command to his subjects: “You shall accept this deed of gift.” But in Bengal, in such deeds, the king would write the following request: “Please approve of this deed of gift.” This example shows that the kings of Bengal tried to take into account the will of their subjects; they did not act as dictators. Once the system of monarchy was established among the kśatriyas, the work of building society advanced under its sheltering wing.
A strong social structure could not be formed where a monarchy had evolved relatively late or where a democracy or republic had been established after a short period of monarchy. Due to a lack of strong state control in those countries where repeated coup d́ tats took place or where the reigns of the kings were very short, a firm social system could not be built, nor could a proper sense of discipline be awakened in the people. Of course by “the reigns of the kings” here I mean the administrations of the kśatriya leaders. Their long-term dictatorial administrations amounted for this purpose to the same things as long-lasting monarchies.
After the French revolution no French government had the opportunity to govern for a long time. So although the common people in post-revolutionary France came to suffer less exploitation by the king, and less abuse of government power, the big harm done was the lack of a firm, well-knit social structure.
In the United States of America, the world-famous democracy, a social system and social discipline are largely lacking, although there is no dearth of social education, nor the least lack of a spirit of social service or a sense of unity among the general public. If those who are devoid of spirituality are not controlled by the authority of the government or some other group, it will not be possible for them to properly follow discipline.
In some countries in ancient times, a social system meant the caste system. But even the caste, or varńáshrama, system could not be built in a firm way in those parts of those countries where the state or governmental system was weak. As of the onset of Islamic rule, a strong varńáshrama system had never been created in East Bengal [now Bangladesh] or in some other parts of eastern India, due to the weakness of the state administration.
In kśatriya society people do not follow religion or develop a sense of discipline out of what we would call a fear complex, exactly, but a strong desire for self-preservation certainly plays a part. Although unholy alliances based on self-interest exist among groups of kśatriyas, such alliances do not exhibit the base mentality of the shúdras.
Were the kśatriyas intellectually superior or inferior to animals? An animal knows how to meet its physical needs; it enjoys crude pleasures and has a sense of responsibility towards its children and to some extent towards its mate. But if we analyse the way in which kśatriyas are prepared to protect others, sacrifice for an ideology, or give up their most precious possession, their lives, for the sake of honour or for some other reason, it becomes clear that they are far more developed mentally than animals. In fact, it is the life of shúdra society that is only a little more developed than that of animals. Kśatriyas’ lives are more developed, their minds more fully expressed.
A close scrutiny will lead us to the conclusion that the physical clash of animal life resulted in the creation of shúdra life, and the physical clash of the shúdras, together with the struggles of their underdeveloped minds (mental clash), created the minds of the kśatriyas.
The warlike kśatriyas regarded nature as the collective embodiment of different forces. To their limited understanding this idea of a synthesis of forces did not appear to be impossible, but to think more deeply than this was beyond their capacity. An outlook of enjoyment caused their minds, through physical clash, to move sometimes towards crudity in a process of analysis, and sometimes towards subtlety in a process of synthesis. The Brahmaváda [spiritual philosophy based on Brahma] of the Upanishads was the remarkable historical culmination of this synthetic process. The idea that the polytheism of shúdra society might rest upon monotheism first originated as a vague idea in the minds of the kśatriyas, and that is why it is said that the propounders of Brahmaváda were kśatriyas.
(King Janaka of India was said to be the preceptor of Brahmaváda, thus establishing the kśatriya origin of Brahmaváda. But as every student of history knows, no king by the name Janaka ever lived in India. “Janaka” was simply a common title used by many kings. Those admired by the common people for their erudition – such looked-up-to individuals – were also known by this name. Nevertheless, the kśatriya authorship of the Vedas was not an ordinary or insignificant achievement. I have already said that this authorship was the culmination of a remarkable historical process, the like of which is extremely rare. And it took place among the kśatriyas.)
Where ideas are of secondary importance, the factor of gain or greed comes to be primary. The kśatriyas’ hope of probable eventual gain, born out of their greed, later helped the vipras to achieve absolute power. The kśatriyas ultimately had to sell their physical brawn to the absolute authority of the vipras.
In the kśatriya social system the saying “Live and let live” is not as important as the saying “Live with dignity”. It is as if within the social structure the kśatriya mind tries to express the sentiment: “A person of honour, like the petals of a flower, will try to shine above all others or will fall in a storm. It is not the nature of petals to live beneath others.”
One who is afraid of various types of force cannot comprehend the truth that underlies this diversity, but one who struggles gradually learns to recognize the nature of diversity and has the opportunity to reach a state of dynamic equilibrium.(8)
We do not have to waste words to convince people that in the life of a fighting group discipline is extremely important. There cannot be any doubt that in kśatriya society, whether it is a genuine society or not, there must be a well-knit system. Under this system the chariot of exploitation may run over the weak without slowing down, the hunger of millions of people may provide opportunities for one person to live in great luxury, and a relationship of exploiter and exploited may be established among people instead of fraternal relationships, but it is still a system. Regardless of its merits and demerits, it is the nature of kśatriyas to try to perpetuate the system they are living under.
But kśatriya society has a sensibility which is not like that of merciless nature. What stands out most is hero worship. The weak submit to the leadership of the strong, and the strong protect the weak in exchange for their submission. That is why, in the kśatriya social system, it is considered a virtue to save those who are distressed and seek protection; and this type of dutifulness is recognized as an important mental outlook in the life of society. For this reason alone and not for any other reason, parents will be looked after and protected when they become incapable of looking after themselves due to senility or physical infirmity.
In kśatriya society people are divided as a matter of course into innumerable groups which fight incessantly among themselves, but an unquenchable thirst for victory makes life somewhat like a game of chess, and the call to do battle and to display a powerful personality also gives meaning to life. Thus it is not the tendency of kśatriyas to carry the burden of all life’s disappointments. Kśatriyas enjoy the delights of collective living more than shúdras, because the collective sentiment that inspires fighting people to stick together in weal and woe makes even pain, since it is collective, sweet.
The Rise of the Vipras
Kśatriyas are always awake, but it can hardly be said that their eyes are always wide open to the light. Those who are already awake may not need to be awakened, but if they do not know which way to look, then they need to be shown which way to look.
Kśatriyas want to dash forward with an all-conquering attitude, but without distinguishing between darkness and light. In darkness, failing to ascertain the strength of their opponents, they challenge them to fight, and as a result they often leave the world prematurely, mauled and mangled. The history of the kśatriyas is painted with blood, but not illumined with intelligence. They display powerful personalities, spiritedness and courage, but no far-sightedness or wisdom, nor the support of subtle intellect. Therefore, after the Kśatriya Age had lasted for some time, intellectuals began to control the kśatriyas with their keen intellect.
Those with intellect encouraged the kśatriyas to look in directions where they had not looked before, and repeatedly explained to them things they had never understood. After this state of affairs had continued for some time, the kśatriyas began to submit to the intellectuals and, recognizing their superiority, began to use their forceful personalities to carry out the intellectuals’ instructions. The intellectuals gradually wrested the right to lead society from the kśatriyas and maintained their supremacy in society with the help of kśatriya power.
The vipras compiled the Puranas and wrote the glorious history of the kśatriyas. Right in that history they made it clear that it was the dharma of the powerful kśatriyas to worship the vipras. Those powerful kśatriyas could not see through this strategy. In simple faith they submitted to the intelligent, shrewd and deceitful vipras.
An examination of history reveals that the cáturvarńika(9) social system existed throughout the world and that it has continued and is still continuing according to a special type of parikránti [peripheric evolution] of the samája cakra [social cycle]. The most amusing part about it is that when the Kśatriya Age evolved out of the unsystematic Shúdra Age, the shúdras considered the Kśatriya Age a great blessing. The shúdras could not envisage the kśatriyas as exploiters or possible exploiters. Similarly, when the kśatriyas sold all their strength to the intellectual vipras, the kśatriyas did not realize that it had been sold and that they were gradually being bound in chains like slaves. Still later, when the vipras sold themselves to the money of the vaeshyas – when Sarasvatii [the goddess of knowledge] became the slave of Lakśmii [the goddess of wealth] – the vipras at first did not realize that their value was going to be measured in financial terms.
When we read in history the accounts of the great kings, it appears as though all these events belonged to the Kśatriya Age. But was that really the situation? A somewhat deeper analysis shows that nearly all the kings were at the beck and call of their vipra ministers. In almost every country we observe the hard fact that even the most powerful and mighty kings were mere puppets in the hands of their vipra ministers. In fact, it is not totally incorrect to say that the history of the monarchy was the history of the “minister-archy”. Vipra ministers protected the common people from the whims of the undisciplined kśatriya monarchy and from the militaristic discipline of the kśatriyas, and introduced into society a discipline that was supported to some extent by the common people. A disciplined kingdom therefore really meant the subordination of the power of the monarch to the vipras.
The contribution of Aniruddha Bhatta to the social system evolved by Ballal [Sen] cannot be denied; the wisdom of Purandar Khan was the guiding influence behind the peace and order in the kingdom ruled by Hussain Shah; and Chandragupta was merely a puppet in the hands of Chanakya.
Once the kśatriyas submitted to the vipras, the vipras, with their sharp intellect, tried to construct a well-knit social system. Though they recognized the king as the supreme head of government, so far as the social system was concerned, they declared the king to be the servant of the vipras. They did not grant him the right to interfere in religious matters, because it was through the religious structure that they found an opportunity to establish themselves. So the kśatriya kings became the “defenders of religion” and the “servants of the vipras” in the social system created by the vipras.
Once the common people had become part of the social system created by the vipras, if it became apparent that a king wanted to free himself from the vipras’ domination, the vipras would use their intellectual power to summon up the support of the masses and, after humbling the proud king, would install a new king on the throne. Thereby the vipras secured their own rule.
There are more dishonest vipras than dishonest kśatriyas. So most of the intellectual capabilities of the vipras are employed in appropriating a share of the hard-earned wealth of others. Kśatriyas use the shúdras as tools, and vipras use their subtlety to neutralize or to activate the vital energy of the kśatriyas, according to their own wishes. Hence when the Vipra Age began at the end of the Kśatriya Age, and the kśatriyas lay their weapons with complete trust at the feet of the vipras, they did not realize that they had sold themselves to cheats. The illusion of escaping the misfortunes of this life, and going to heaven in the next, clouded their simple minds. All the special qualities, the merits and demerits, congruities and incongruities of the kśatriyas’ mentality were at the fingertips of the vipras, so the vipras achieved their objectives by exploiting the weaknesses of the kśatriyas, giving condescending encouragement to their simplicity.
Employing the kśatriyas’ own resources of vital energy to suck dry their vitality, the vipras found the opportunity to gratify their own desires. The vipras’ power of mind and power of speech are much subtler than the physical brawn of the kśatriyas, so the vipras did not have any particular difficulty in turning the kśatriyakśatriyas occupation into a form of slavery through pressure of circumstances. Those who establish themselves in society through a display of physical strength will certainly be proud of their strength. The vipras used their intelligence to exploit this weakness-born-of-strength of the . By praising the strength of the kśatriyas, the vipras destroyed what little intellect they had and gained control of their strength. Just as a small mahout can control an unruly elephant, the vipras controlled the kśatriyas through an understanding of their inner weakness: the pride they had in their strength. The crown on the head of the kśatriyas considered itself fortunate to be used as a footstool under the feet of the vipras.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 1967, ElEdit 7, Human Society Part 2, The KsatriyaAge
(1) I.e., the saḿkocátmaka bháva, or systolic bearing, of every action. The word saḿkocátmaka can be translated “systolic”, “contractive” or “retardative”; throughout this section “systolic” and “contractive” have been used. The word vikáshátmaka can be translated “diastolic”, “expansive”, “expressive” or “manifestative”; throughout this section the latter three terms (or their noun forms) have been used. The word saḿkocavikáshátmaka (“having the nature of both systole and diastole”) has always been rendered as “systaltic” or “pulsative”. –Trans.
(2) I.e., had less depth of feeling. The word saḿvedana that will recur throughout these pages (adj. saḿvedanashiila) may mean “sensation”, “sensibility”, “sensitivity”, “feeling”, “sympathetic response”. Normally “sensibility” will be used here. –Trans.
(3) Bhávadhárá may sometimes be translated “thought-waves”. sometimes “ideology”. –Trans.
(4) Catuh means “four” and varńa literally means “colour”. (When the adjectival forms of these two are combined they become cáturvarńika.) In the root sense which the author intends, a varńa is a social class – the word varńa referring to the predominant psychic colour, corresponding to certain psychic characteristics (which are neither hereditary nor fixed within any individual), of each of the four social classes in the social cycle. (The psychic colour of shúdras is black; of kśatriyas, red; of vipras, white; and of vaeshyas, yellow.) In orthodox tradition, varńa has been used to mean one of the four main hereditary castes: Shúdras, kśatriyas, Vipras (Brahmans) and Vaeshyas. See also p. 36. –Trans.
(5) See the last chapter, “Shúdra Revolution and Sadvipra Society”. –Trans.
(6) The Bengali word paoruśa is derived from puruśa (“male”) and has traditionally been translated “manliness”. It implies a powerful personality, vigour, will power and courage. Throughout this book it has been translated “powerful personality” or “personal force”. –Trans.
(7) That is, Khudiram Bose, Rashbehari Bandopadhyay and Subhash Chandra Bose. They were all great revolutionary leaders. –Trans.
(8) As mentioned above (p. 26), “The warlike kśatriyas regarded nature as the collective embodiment of different forces.” See also “The Vipra Age”, sections on Religious Characteristics and Vipra Mentality. –Trans.
(9) See footnote p. 12. –Trans.