History Of Social Stratification

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II.2. Social Stratification The Indian concept of social stratification is peculiar. It is based on what is called Vanna (Varna). Before and during the Buddha?s time, the people were classified according to Vanna. In the Vedic period, the stratification was based on the religious faith. The Rg-veda, the earliest source of the Br?hmnical theory, described the origin of human beings: ?the Br?hman was his (purusha?s) mouth; the R?jahya was made arms; the being (called) Vaisya, he was his thighs; the Sudra sprang from his feet?.[footnoteRef:2] [2: Purusa Sukta, Rgveda, X, p. 618.] Some modern scholars have interpreted this hymn as the original foundation of the four Vannas. The idea of such social stratification grew more rigid and became deeply…show more content…
The social grades described in the P?li Texts are not the original sources proclaimed by the Buddha in his teaching, but it was a social phenomenon that existed before the Buddha?s…show more content…
All of them have based their interpretations on traditional customs, and cultural and historical factors. This way of studying informs us about the social stratification in the Buddha?s time in many ways. Encyclopedia of Social Science translates the word ?Vanna? as ?caste? and defines its meaning as: An endogenous and hereditary subdivision of ethnic unit, occupying a position of superior or inferior rank, or social esteem, in comparison with other such subdivisions. Caste is a special form of social class, which in tendency is present in every society to an extent. They have emerged into social consciousness to the point that custom and law attempt their rigid and permanent separation from one another.[footnoteRef:5] [5: Edwind and R.A. Seligman(ed.), Encyclopedia of Social Science, Vol. III (New York: Mac Millan Company, 1963), p.
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