|In the Rig Veda, the oldest
scripture of India, three basic classes are noted; the Brahmin, the Kshatriya or
Rajanya, and the Vish, which latter means literally the people. Hence there was one basic
class of humanity with two orders to guide it, a spiritual order or the
Brahmins and a political order or the Kshatriya.
These four orders of society were called "varna", which has two
meanings; first it means "color" and second it means a "veil". As color it
does not refer to the color of the skin of people, as some superficially minded scholars have
believed, but to the qualities or energies of human nature. As a veil
it shows the four different ways in which the Divine Self is hidden in
The four energies of human beings are the white, red, yellow and black.
White is the quality of sattva; of purity, clarity, love, faith and detachment. It prevails in those of
spiritual temperament; those seeking true knowledge, who alone deserve the name of Brahmin. Red
is the quality of rajas; of action, will, aggression, energy, its impulse
towards achievement. It prevails in those of martial and political temperament; those seeking honor,
fame, status and power. It is these who are the Kshatriyas. Yellow is
another quality of rajas, its impulse towards accumulation, towards communication, interchange, trade,
business. It prevails in those of commercial temperament, the
Vaishyas. Black is the color of tamas, of darkness, ignorance, inertia and dullness. It prevails in
those of servile disposition, those dependent on the external world for
their motivation. These are the true Shudras.