SOCIAL CLASSES---VEDIC TIMES
Not many members of the larger society have the same traits and talents, aptitudes and orientations, experiences and expectations, beliefs and outlooks. There have always been diversities among the people of every region and among members of every group including a small well-knit family.
Equality of all has never been a fact and reality. It is unsound to claim that any specific group is totally different ethnically or racially from another, especially from one in the same region or in its neighbourhood though the two may have different orientations.
Studies in social and cultural anthropology have been vitiated to a marked extent by the injection in their propositions the element of ethnicity based on race. As the proposition of equality of all whether in the ancient times or the present one or in the distant future is ruled out as a myth or mirage, the reality of diversities in every group, small or big, has to be acknowledged.
Domination of the weak by the mighty has been present everywhere since the earliest times. But it is too simplistic to state that the larger society may be studied in terms of dichotomy,---mighty and weak, this group and that, alter and ego, this orientation and that, para and apara, paradharma and svadharma, rich and poor, master and servant, exploiter and exploited, educated and uneducated etc.
But such dichotomies may when taken as a conglomeration aid us to gain a near holistic picture of a social group, though not of a larger society. Ancient Indian scholars preferred to resort to trilateral analysis of social structure and traits rather than be satisfied with dichotomies and dualities---virtue and vice, good and evil, dharma and adharma, mobile and static (cara and acara), men and nobles (manushyas and devas).
Trilateral analysis like sattva, rajas and tamas, orthodox, heterodox and heretic, growth, stagnation and decline too was not adequate, they recognized.
The larger society, the Vedic sages noted, could be studied in terms of two large social sectors, a core society of the agro-pastoral plains and the frontier society of forests and mountains with the core society exhibiting an internal dichotomy---a small ruling class of nobles noted for conspicuous consumption and a large working class of commoners (devas and manushyas, divam and prthvi). Western Indologists and their Indian adherents translated these terms wrongly as heaven and earth inhabited by gods and men respectively.
Asura, Deva, Yaksha: Feudal Lord, Aristocrat, Plutocrat
Three Sectors of Ruling Class
While this dichotomous core society looked after agrarian and pastoral economies, the frontier society (antariksham, wrongly translated as intermediate space) was concerned with industrial economy (mostly of the shifting type).
The industrial society was headed by plutocrats (yakshas) who were assisted by technocrats (nagas). Its mobile workers were called sarpas. The plutocrats employed guards (rakshas) to protect their lives and property. Those guards who violated the laws of the frontier society and were expelled were called rakshasas.
The ruling class of the agrarian society had two major sectors---liberal cultural aristocrats (devas) and cruel and aggressive feudal lords (asuras). The former chose to reside in cities and the latter in forts from where they could control the rural areas around them.
Most of the rulers of the earliest times were feudal lords. In a prolonged conflict with the nobles who were assisted by the commoners they were defeated convincingly and shunted to the social periphery, the region between the two societies, core and frontier. The exiled and isolated warlords (asuras) were assisted by the militants (rakshasas) who had been exiled from the frontier society by the plutocrats (yakshas). From that periphery they harassed the two societies, core and frontier and kept them apart from each other.
Devas, Asuras and Yakshas (Aristocrats,feudal warlords and plutocrats) were three sections of the ruling class of the larger society of the Vedic times. Legends described them as offspring of Kashyapa by his three wives, Aditi, Diti and Danu and called them Adityas, Daityas and Danavas. But Kashyapa treated them all as sections approved by Aditi.
Three Social Worlds (Lokas): Divam, Prthvi, Antariksham
(Patriciate, Commonalty, Frontier Society)
In my earlier treatise, Evolution of Social Polity of Ancient India, I referred to the Triple Entente (Trisamdhi) discussed in the Atharvaveda.
This alliance brought together the three social worlds (lokas), patriciate (divam), commonalty (prthvi) and frontier society (antariksham) against the feudal lords (asuras) and their mercenaries (dasyus) many of whom were rebel militants (rakshasas).
This army had three wings---the personal troops of the nobles, troops raised from among the commonalty and the industrial workers (sarpas) of the frontier society. This combined army was pitted against the incalcitrant warlords (vrtras) who had spurned the offer made by Indra, the head of the nobility, to reabsorb them in its fold, as contained in the blue-red policy. The rainbow (Indra's bow) with a blue interior and red exterior indicated a welcome arch to those brethren who ceased to fight against the ruling nobility.
The vrtras were liable to be exterminated if they continued fighting against the triple alliance and their mercenaries would not be given asylum by any one in the three organized worlds (lokas). Intellectuals including jurists (Brahmans) were warned against protecting the vrtras from being targeted by the combined troops.
Kashyapa was at home with the trilateral analysis, jana, native population of the agro-pastoral core society, itara-jana, the other people of the industrial frontier society and punya-jana, blessed people, the privileged cadres who had merits to their credit. He did not favour the classification, approved cadres, unapproved cadres and others, orthodox, heterodox and heretic, Adityas, Danavas and Daityas.
Four Approved Classes of the Core Society
Nobles, Sages, Elders, Commoners: Devas, Rshis, Pitrs, Manushyas
The nobles (devas), the sages (rshis) and the elders (pitrs) were not engaged in productive economic activities. The commoners (manushyas) had to meet their needs through voluntary sacrifice (yajna).
There was no state that levied tax (kara) before Manu Vaivasvata introduced this system. When the system of yajna was introduced, the practice of a powerful ruler collecting levy (bali) through coercion from his subjects was disapproved by the three cadres which were represented in the two legislative bodies, sabha and samiti.
He could however collect tributes from his vassals. Prthu was the first king who followed the system of tax (kara).
The feudal lords (asuras) had been recognized as being senior (jyeshta) to the nobles (devas). The plutocrats (yakshas) who had consented to follow the socio-cultural (dharma) and politico-economic (artha) codes (sastras) similar to the ones approved by the nobles, the sages and the elders for the agro-pastoral core society were treated to be a highly respectable (sreshta) cadre.
They were granted the status of devatas, next only to the aristocrats (devas) at a conclave convened by Samkarshana at Kusasthali. But his brother, Krshna who disapproved both the feudal lords (asuras) and the plutocrats (yakshas) did not favour this step. Like Prthu, the ruler of the central region (Madhyadesa) Samkarshana was a champion of the agrarian economy.
Four sectors of the Core Society:
Devas, Asuras including Pitrs, Rshis, Manushyas
Many of the feudal lords (asuras) who were forced to give up violence and coercive methods and retire from politico-economic activities were absorbed in the cadre of elders (pitrs). The core society had initially four sectors, nobles (devas), feudal lords (asuras), sages (rshis) and commoners (manushyas).
With the liquidation of the feudal order after the efforts of the fifth Manu, Raivata and Kashyapa to bring an end to the rivalry between the aristocrats (devas) and the feudal lords (asuras), failed, the core society was recognized as being composed of the four sectors, nobles (devas), sages (rshis), retired elders (pitrs) and commoners (manushyas). The first three who were not engaged in productive economic operations had to be maintained by the commoners through voluntary sacrifice.
Exiled feudal lords control Social Periphery
The nobles (devas) controlled the sabha and the sages (rshis) and elders (pitrs) the samiti, the two houses of legislature of the Vedic times.
But the feudal order was never totally exterminated. It got replenished by authoritarian elements from among the rajanyas and some of the exiled asuras returned to the core society to function as rajanyas. The latter were despots.
The exiled feudal lords entrenched themselves in the social periphery between the two societies, core and frontier, agro-pastoral and industrial, and harassed both of them.
Industrial Society, Itara Jana, The Other People
The plutocrats (yakshas) had their own guards (rakshas) and utilized the services of the technocrats (nagas) and the industrial proletariat (sarpas) who had to be constantly on the move in search of fresh natural resources and for economic operations.
The minstrels (kinnaras) entertained the plutocrats (yakshas) but visited the aristocrats (devas, nobles) and the commoners (manushyas) to entertain them and earn their livelihood. They were free men (nrs, naras) who were on the move enjoying a nomadic life as nrgas.
The suparnas stayed in thatched cottages and wore dress made of leaves. They were learned in many fields including medicinal herbs. They were wrongly presented as birds of good omen even as the kinnaras were later described as eunuchs and nrgas as gypsies.
These cadres were used to gather information and convey instructions to others in the industrial sector and also to those outside it. They served the plutocrats (yakshas).
The Blessed People, Punya-Jana, Gandharva Sector
The cadres, gandharvas, apsarases, vidyadharas, charanas, vipras, chakshus, tapasas, siddhas, guhyakas etc. were intellectuals who had each their own orientations. They differed from the two major economic societies, agro-pastoral core and industrial frontier.
They were dynamic and enterprising and were in search of new knowledge through new experiences but were not harmful to others. They were called punya-jana, blessed people. They constituted a social universe (jagat) of mobile population and had no politico-economic controllers.
The technocrats (nagas) and industrial workers (sarpas) too were constantly on the move but were not included, in the category of social universe (jagat) or recognized as punya-jana though later the members of both the economic societies allowed them special privileges and immunities to them similar to the ones that the gandharvas and other cadres had.
The organized social worlds (lokas), the patriciate (divam), commonalty (prthvi) and frontier society (antariksham) functioned under political and economic systems.
But the gandharvas and other cadres who were guided by their teachers (jagatgurus) were free to move in all the three social worlds and mingle with their populations without merging among them. They would not lose their identities but their orientations would exercise a wholesome influence on the organized groups.
Most of these gandharva cadres were gentle as indicated by their comparison with blue lotus while some were assertive (red lotus) and did not tolerate intrusion into their privacy by the commoners. The gandharva cadres had no homes and no settlements. They had not developed the institutions of marriage and family or kept away from them. But they were not hedonistic or promiscuous. Some of them were anti-hedonistic.
The stereotype that gandharvas and apsarases were celestial musicians and danseuses who delighted the gods (devas) has to be given up. Only some of them were connected with fine arts.
Jana, Punya-Jana, Itara-Jana
The commoners (manushyas) who were engaged in agro-pastoral economy were organized as clans (kulas) and communities (jatis) and were referred to as the native population (jana) of the region.
They were constituted into regional administrations (janapadas) which were autonomous rural bodies, distinct from the urban councils (pauras).
Gandharvas and other cadres which were non-economic, were referred to as blessed people (punya-jana) enjoying immunities like not being taken to task by any administration for acts of omission and commission. They were exempt from taxes (kara), levy (bali) and even from performance of sacrificial rites (yajna).
The technocrats (nagas) and the industrial workers (sarpas) who were financed by the plutocrats (yakshas) were called other people (itara-jana). They were natives of the frontier region of forests and mountains and were dreaded by the commonalty of the core society. They did not enjoy the immunities that had been extended to the gandharva cadres.
Bhutas and other cadres of the Social Periphery
The gandharva cadres were heterodox and non-conformist in their approaches and orientations. They were however distinct from the paisacas who were the counter-intelligentsia consigned to the social periphery and the rakshasas who were militants and rebels.
These cadres tried to hide their real identities in the other society (itara-jana) and were pushed into the social periphery which gave asylum to drop-outs and exiles from the commonalty of the plains (bhumi).
These drop-outs, many of whom were ex-servicemen functioned as discrete individuals (bhutas). In the past they were members of the organized commonalty (bhu) but were now no longer part of any social group.
Bhutas and paisacas were not ghosts. They were not members of any social body. The former were engaged in economic activities pertaining to the land (bhumi) though not part of the commonalty. The paisacas were intellectuals who misguided others.
The bhutas tended to function as organized gangs (ganas) laying down their terms for rendering service on the land or as troops indented by the rulers of the commonalty or of the periphery in self-defence.
Their guides, budhas were associated with the cadre of vidyadharas who were enterprising youths and who held that, knowledge is power.
Modern Indian scholars who follow the interpretations given by western Indologists and even the medieval commentators whom they cite have failed to grasp the features of the Vedic social polity. They have translated bhutas and paisacas as ghosts and pitrs as manes or souls of the deceased ancestors.
These cadres were not preternatural beings. They too were living human beings. These scholars presented the nagas and sarpas as serpents. These were technocrats and industrial workers.
The Indologists wrongly presented devas and 'devatas as gods and demigods and asuras as demons They were aristocrats, elite of the frontier society and feudal lords respectively. The wrong stereotypes should be given up if we have to present a rational outline of the Vedic society.
Devas, yakshas and asuras were liberal aristocrats, greedy plutocrats and cruel feudal warlords who were three wings of the ruling elite, dominating the agro-pastoral core society, industrial frontier society and the social periphery, respectively. Asuras had earlier been controlling the core society. It is imperative that the interpretation and stereotype that the three social worlds (lokas), divam, prthvi and antariksham were heaven, earth and intermediate space inhabited by gods, men and preternatural beings is discarded. They were all parts of the human society and had only human beings as their members.
Gandharvas and Nagas, Artistes and Artisans
Nagas and sarpas too were human beings. They were not serpents. Fishermen, mariners, artisans, engineers, architects, manufacturers, operators of transport vehicles, wood-cutters, carpenters, divers, jewelers, smiths and even physicians who handled medicinal herbs were included in this sector.
Similarly, gandharvas and apsarases were human beings and not celestial beings. Some of them were intellectuals and some others, warriors. A few of them were engaged in fine arts and might have entertained the nobles (devas). Some artistes were working in collaboration with the artisans who belonged to the naga sector.
Gandharvas, Devas, Manushyas, Naras
The chitra groups of gandharvas were interested in fine arts like painting while the asva group which was closer to the commonalty was connected with the army (especially its cavalry) and the polity.
It worked in collaboration with the free men (naras) who were members of the infantry. The chitras who were closer to the nobles (devas) were interested in manufacturing decorated chariots which were used by the generals of the army who were however treated as belonging to the cadre of nagas. The asvas too came in contact with the nobles (svas) but had no personal property.
Those gandharvas who were closer to the nobles were called devagandharvas while the naras who were the lower ranks of the gandharvas were free men and were called manushyagandharvas. Both the classes belonged to the free middle class. Devagandharvas enjoyed less privileges than devas and manushyagandharvas more privileges and immunities than the manushyas.
The owners of elephants and the generals who used them were called nagas. Hastis, the founders and rulers of Hastinapura were nagas, technocrats.
The term, apsaras, covered the comparatively free women who lived beside lakes, rivers and seas and were dependent, on river and maritime economy.
The lower ranks of gandharvas and apsarases were known as naras and naris. They were not bound by the codes of clans (kulas) and communities (jatis) and were hence preferred to man the rural bureaucracy and the rural police. This recognition is crucial for a proper outlining of the Vedic and early post-Vedic social polities.
Urban-Rural Divide: Pura-Rashtra
In the Atharvan hymns Kashyapa, an ideologue-cum-activist (Brahmavadi) treats the nobles (devas) and commoners (manushyas) as the two major strata of the agro-pastoral core society. They were the ruling class and subjects, the leisure class and the working class respectively.
The nobles controlled the city (pura) and the commoners constituted the population of the rural area (rashtram). Later the nobles were treated as paura and the commoners as members of the janapada.
Four janapadas formed a rashtra. To be precise, the rashtra covered the four adjoining janapadas in the four main directions and the four intermediate regions. The typical Atharvan federal state was headed by a Viraj and was paid obeisance by the heads (who were designated as rajas) of the city (pura) and the four janapadas around it.
The city had an autonomous council which had to grant him approval and permit him to rule from there. Its head too was addressed as raja. The viraj was elected by a college of rajanyas.
The election of a viraj who had his seat in the capital of the four regions and the city was often preceded by violent conflicts among these rajanyas who were not necessarily independent sovereign rulers. They were dynamic and aggressive chieftains having the trait of rajas.
Some of these rajanyas were not different from the feudal lords (asuras). The feudal lords were present since the earliest times when anarchism yielded place to despotism with the law of fishes (matsya-nyaya) holding sway.
These feudal lords were defeated convincingly by the forces of the nobles and the commoners and pushed out to the social periphery. They dominated the rural areas (rashtra) from their fortified capitals (durgas). They had to be expelled from there to protect the commoners and their property.
In the pura-rashtra pattern the aristocrats who controlled the city had political as well as economic control.
In the paura-janapada pattern, the bourgeoisie many of whom were admitted to the nobility and controlled the urban economy had a greater voice than the commoners and landlords who dominated the janapadas.
In the durga-rashtra pattern, the feudal lords whether they were approved rajanyas or not and were stationed in the forts dominated the economy to which the commoners of the rural areas were the main contributors.
In the durga-janapada pattern, the recognized king who was stationed in the fort and was no longer a member of the feudal order had greater responsibility than the administrators of the enlarged janapada which included the city and also the areas outside the villages.
Social Leaders: Devas, Devatas and Isvaras
The asuras who were shunted to the social periphery came in contact with its discrete individuals (bhutas) many of whom were ex-servicemen and the militants, rakshasas, who had been expelled from the frontier society by the plutocrats (yakshas).
The asuras came in contact with the counter-intelligentsia (paisacas) whom the sages (rshis) and the cadres of vipras, chakshus, tapasas, siddhas, vidyadharas and charanas despised. But some non-orthodox scholars (budhas), aided the feudal lords to get supporters among these cadres of the free intelligentsia who formed the middle class of the new core society.
Later some of these fort-based feudal lords (asuras) turned charismatic, benevolent chieftains and were admired by the commoners, especially of the social periphery, who were referred to as bhutas.
But most of them raided the rural areas and hindered free exchange of goods between the two societies, core and frontier. The asuras were denied access to the state treasury (sura), which was controlled first by the patriciate (devas) and later by the bourgeoisie, that is, by the upper crust of the commonalty.
Some of the charismatic chieftains were called Isas, Isanas or Isvaras. They were on par with the nobles (devas) of the core society and the ruling elite (devatas) of the frontier society.
The cadres like gandharvas and apsarases, vipras and tapasas, chakshus and siddhas, vidyadharas and charanas and guhyakas were free from political control by nobles (devas), feudal lords (asuras) and plutocrats (yakshas). Their orientations were closer to those of the core society comprising the four classes, nobles (devas), sages (rshis), elders (pitrs) and commoners (manushyas) than to those of the social periphery or to those of the frontier society.
They were intellectuals and had their own views and orientations regarding marriage and family and vocations and property. But these were not dysfunctional to the larger society, unlike those of the social periphery that had provided asylum to anti-social elements.
Most of these cadres could accommodate and get accommodated by the sages (rshis). Some among them were politically oriented and some were warriors. They were closer to the ruling class of nobles and assertive chieftains (rajanyas).
Four Social Worlds (lokas) of the Larger Core Society
Devas, Asuras, Gandharvas, Manushyas
As a result the gandharvas and other mobile cadres who constituted a loose-knit social universe (jagat) rather than an organized, settled population (loka) and were not governed by the codes (mostly informal) of the three social worlds (lokas)---patriciate, commonalty and frontier society, divam, prthvi and antariksham---were accepted as a distinct social world (loka) of the larger core society.
The nobles (devas), feudal lords (asuras), free intelligentsia (gandharvas) and commoners (manushyas) were its four new social classes, before the asuras were expelled from the core society.
The scheme of four socio-economic classes (varnas) and four stages of life (asramas) was on the anvil during the last decades of the long Vedic era. It was expected to be applied first to the agro-pastoral commonalty (prthvi) of the core society and then to its patriciate (divam) before it was extended to the industrial frontier society (antariksham) of the forests and mountains.
It would later be extended to the unorganized cadres of the social universes (jagats) and at the end to the non-conformist social periphery. Such a move if it had succeeded would have submerged the identities of the Vedic cadres and classes totally.
Three Social Universes (Jagats): Gandharvas, Kinnaras, Kimpurushas
Besides the gandharva cadres most of whom were intellectually oriented and were closer to the agro-pastoral core society, there were two other cadres which kept away from both agricultural and mining operations.
One of them was known as kinnaras who were under the jurisdiction of the plutocrats (yakshas) but were entitled to come in contact with the agro-pastoral commonalty (manushyas). They would do so only when the latter were not engaged in agricultural operations. These minstrels and entertainers ranked lower than the gandharva cadres who were intellectuals.
The kinnaras too were a mobile population, a social universe (jagat). The nrgas of the core society played a similar role, singing and conveying messages. An overlord (sarvabhauma) who claimed sovereign right over all the lands (bhumi) had determined who were eligible to dig the earth for cultivation and who could dig it for roots and who could dig it for ores, minerals and diamonds. Those who were granted the charter were included in the cadres of agrarian proletariat (manushyas) or of industrial proletariat (sarpas, pannagas, urugas). The social leaders and free men of the forests, kimpurushas and vanaras, were kept out of these two economies and had to survive on fruits and leaves and reside in the open or in caves.
They could be artisans and be even educated and specialists. They were free to roam to earn their livelihood from what nature gave them. They were later contemptuously described as monkeys. This stereotype must be shed. Gandharvas, kimpurushas and kinnaras were three distinct social universes (jagats). They were all human beings.
The loyal servants (dasas) of the nobles (devas), the mercenaries (dasyus) of the feudal lords (asuras) and the retinue (kinnaras) of the plutocrats (yakshas) were not to be engaged by their masters in productive economic activities, especially in agriculture and mining operations which were reserved for manushyas and sarpas respectively.
The mobile groups of the forests and mountains who were denied access to these two economies were permitted to live on leaves and fruits of the trees even as the retired elders (pitaras) who had set up their abodes in the forests as vanaprastas did. Some free men (naras) who were not members of any clan (kula) or community (jati) were constrained to shift to the forests after carrying out their duties as members of the rural bureaucracy and police.
The rural administration had permitted them to earn their livelihood by plying a vocation that was not reserved for the commoners by their organized clans and communities.
The migrants to the forests and mountains mingled with the native population of the other society (itara-jana) like the kinnaras and became a social universe (jagat) without the right to dig the land for agriculture or mining or to construct houses. Later writers referred to them as vanaras and wrongly presented them as monkeys or as primitives.
Their dynamic leaders, kimpurushas, who had accomplished their socio-economic tasks successfully were often confused with the siddhas who had secured mastery in their respective fields like medicine or invention of instruments needed for different purposes.
The dynamic leaders, purushas, of the commonalty stayed in the core society while those of the frontier society opted to roam in areas as siddhas. The purushas were on the threshold of aristocracy but the kimpurushas like the kinnaras formed a separate social universe (jagat) making available to all their expertise in different fields including polity.
The commonalty (vis) of the Vedic agro-pastoral core society was composed mainly of manual labourers (manushyas) who were settled groups and were organized as clans (kulas) and native communities (jatis) plying their traditional vocations. Their orientations were crystallized as kuladharmas and jatidharmas. These social laws protected them when there was no state.
Assignment of Commoners and Gandharva cadres to the New Classes: Vaisyas, Shudras, Brahmans. Kshatriyas
As some among the commoners became rich and got property the two classes, haves and have-nots, Vaisyas and Shudras, were formed. The Shudras were mainly labourers and small farmers, kshudrakas. The Vaisyas owned the lands and the cattle. Some of them were traders. They could get educated while the Shudras remained poor and illiterate.
The lower ranks of the Vaisyas were known as Vaidehakas. They were not members of any socio-economic body. They were on par with kshudrakas who ranked above the common workers, Shudras.
The upper crust of the commonalty (vis) fused with the cadres of nobles (devas) especially with the Vasus and the class of Visvedevas, which was essentially bourgeoisie, emerged. Later nobles (devas) were promotees from the ranks of Visvedevas.
The gandharva cadres were not connected with economic activities. They opted to be either intellectuals-cum-jurists (Brahmans) or warriors (kshatriyas,) or administrators-cum-rulers (rajanyas).
Some gandharvas were engaged in fine arts while the vidyadharas were interested in pursuit of knowledge and vipras in spread of knowledge and culture. Vidyadharas were against hedonism. Charanas, chakshus and tapasvis (meditators) constituted informal institutes which were later absorbed in the formal institution of spies, as scouts, observers and interpreters of social trends and assisted the state.
The class of Brahmans that was formed from the gandharva cadres was not connected with ecclesiastical affairs like prayers and performance of rites. Some of them were teachers but most of them were experts in the socio-political constitution, Brahma, and were jurists. Some gandharvas became administrators alleviating the pains of the people as kshatas or delighting (ranjana) them as rajans.
The first assignment of the members of the free middle class of gandharvas to the newly formed classes of Brahmans and Kshatriyas took place during the later Vedic period. The candidates were selected by qualified sages on the basis of their natural aptitudes and also the roles performed by their immediate ancestors both of the paternal lineage and the maternal.
The Four Classes: Devas, Rajanyas, Brahmans, Vis
Before the scheme of four classes (varnas), Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Shudras was introduced, nobles (Devas), administrators (Rajanyas), jurists (Brahmans) and commonalty (Vis) were the four classes.The nobles influenced the other three.
The Rajanyas controlled the army and claimed to be superior to the jurists, Brahmans. The Vis looked after the economic activities of the core society and had two strata, Vaisyas and Shudras. When the nobles were asked to select the class that they wanted to join, they chose to be administrators or jurists, Rajanyas or Brahmans.
The Upanishads were composed when the nobles (Devas) and the free middle class (Gandharvas) had chosen to be either rulers or jurists.