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The Caste System - Hinduism by Mind Map: The Caste System - Hinduism
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The Caste System - Hinduism


General rules

Occupations believed to be divinely ordained and determined in previous lives

Passed down through the generations

Marriage within the same caste is required

Each caste has a certain type of diet that must be adhered to

Impossible to change occupations within castes without reincarnation

Different castes

Brahmins, The people interested in knowledge, Ancient Times - the priests, teachers, counselors, philosophers, and scholars of the society, Modern Times - the political leaders, business administrators, doctors, and nurses of the society

Kshatrias, The people interested in power, Ancient Times - the kings, queens, dukes, princesses, and warriors of the society, Modern Times - the business executives, military personnel, and the powerful people of the society

Vaishias, The people interested in material things, Ancient Times - the artisans, craftsmen, farmers, traders, and merchants of the society, Modern Times - the businessmen, stock brokers, bankers, and skilled workers of the society

Sudras, The people who are not really motivated by much at all, Ancient Times - the low-skilled workers and peasants of the society, Modern Times - the construction workers, harvesters, janitors, and low-skilled workers of the society

The Untouchables


Started with people who did not have any purpose in Hindu life, meaning they had no Dharma to follow (the foreigners and non-Hindus)

People who did unclean jobs also were not allowed to be "touched" (for fear of contamination) and were therefore deemed "untouchable"


How untouchables were discriminated against in ancient times, Did not posses any rights in society, Prohibited from going into the temples, Could not use public resources, such as wells, Not allowed to have any form of contact with the four Varnas

How untouchables (Dalits) are discriminated against today, Basically the same restrictions as in ancient times, yet almost worse, Have horrible, unclean, and dangerous jobs, Not welcome in the company of people in higher castes

Occupations and Habits

Jobs that involved the ending of a life, such as slaughtering animals, fishing, etc.

Jobs that involved the killing, disposing, or hurting of cattle, which are considered to be sacred by the Hindus

Jobs that involved dealing with unclean items, especially human waste

Meat eating people, which would imply that they had no respect for the belief in reincarnation

Non-Hindus in the Caste System


Main Jewish communities, Baghdadis, Strictly kept the religious laws, Bene Israels, Cochinis

Jews were split into different communities because of the influence of the Indian caste system as well as the Jewish Halacha laws

Many of the same restrictions applied, such as marriage within the community


Two classes, Sharif Jat, Ajlaf Jat

Muslims did not let themselves be treated as untouchables

Attempted to convert Hindus to Islam


Split into two main classes

Indians who converted to Christianity usually stayed part of the same caste as they had always been a part of


Opposed to the caste system

Still had certain groups of people that tend to restrict marriage and job occupations


Had separate communities that restricted marriage


Had a two level system

Usually Indians who converted to Buddhism remained within their same caste

Beginnings and Origins of the Caste System

Different Theories

Religious Theory, Purush destroyed himself, creating a human society with the four different varnas, Brahmans came from his head, Kshatrias came from his hands, Vaishias came from his thighs, Sudras came from his feet, The order of the castes are demonstrated by Purush's body, the higher casts being at the top of his body, and the lower casts being his thighs and feet., Does not explain the untouchables or the Jats within the varnas, but only the origin of the four main varnas

Biological Theory, Three qualities are possesed in different amounts among all things that exist, Sattva - good characteristics, such as wisdom and honesty, Rajas - passionate characteristics, such as pride, Tamas - negative characteristics, such as laziness, Food affects the qualities as well, Four Varnas:, Brahmans have Sattva characteristics, Kshatrias have Rajas characteristics, Vaishias have Rajas characteristics, Sudras have Tamas characteristics

Aryan Rule

Started with the arrival of the fair-skinned Aryans from the north part of Asia and Europe

Aryans completely took over and organized themselves into three groups, Rajayana (name was later changed to Kshatria) - the warriors, Brahmans - priests (eventually became the leaders of the society, and the highest level of the caste), Vaisia - farmers and craftsmen (later became the landlords and businessmen)

Skin color played a role in determining the castes - the lighter the skin, the higher the caste

Hindu Rule

Adopted the Caste System from the Aryans

Changed it slightly (the order, etc.)

Added the untouchables

Goal of the caste system

For one to fulfill their Dahrma (their purpose, or spiritual and moral duty) by following the rules of their caste

To have a good Karma, because one's Karma determines how their next life will be, Karma is the average of all the good and bad actions that a person has done in his or her life

Caste System in Modern India

The legality of the caste system

Illegal today (made illegal by the Indian government in 1949)

Politically, all Hindus have equal rights in India

Positive discrimination is practiced in different forms by the various state governments

The social situation of the caste system

The caste system is deeply ingrained in all Hindu's minds

People in separate castes treat each other differently than they treat people in their own castes

Higher castes, Usually rich, because they work in more profitable job areas, Must work to obtain the good jobs, nevertheless

Lower castes, Roughly 56% of the population, Usually poor, because they get the undesirable jobs, Now are able, with an extreme amount of effort, to get a good education and work profitable jobs (a rare occurrence)

Women in the Caste System


To fulfill their Dharma, Run the household, Serve her husband, Bear children

The same in all different castes


Typically not allowed to be spiritual leaders or teachers, such as priests

Were not permitted to have the same place in the workforce as men

Have more equal roles in today's society, but still are somewhat inferior