Hinduism - What Is Varnashrama Dharma?


What Is Varnashrama Dharma?

In the dharma literature, varnashrama dharma is the ordering of dharma or religious duty based on the hierarchical social ordering of the four major social groups (varnas) and the four successive stages of life (ashramas).

According to this theory, all people would be able to discern their social status and appropriate function based on their social class and stage of life.

The interrelationship between these two sets of categories is often used to denote traditional Hindu society, in theory if not always in fact.

The term survives in modern times, but because the doctrine of the ashramas is now largely ignored, those who uphold varnashrama dharma are primarily defending the hierarchical social divisions commonly known as thecaste system.

What are the four fundamental varnas and what do they do?

The Varna system is a system of social stratification based on caste. 

According to this system, there are four major groups: 

  1. Brahmins (priests, educators, and intellectuals), 
  2. Kshatriyas (warriors, monarchs, and administrators), 
  3. Vaishyas (agriculturalists, merchants, and farmers), 
  4. and Shudras (workers, labourers, artisans).

~Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.