Kshatriya

क्षत्रिय - ˈkʃat.ɹi.ə

A person who surrenders his ego consciousness to God; a warrior or nobleman. Kshatriya is one of the four Hindu castes. (1)

Representing the third Hindu caste or varna in the ancient system, kshatriyas are motivated by dharma, or right action. In life, kshatriyas exercise self-discipline in order to work for God and other beings. (2) The kshatriya understands by inner feeling instead of outer precept, and he regards happiness and self-fulfillment as states of mind. Instead of accumulating mere things, the kshatriya works to expand his own awareness and identity in order to serve others. (3) The other castes of sudras (peasants), vaisyas (merchants), and brahmins (priests) represent progressively higher levels of spiritual consciousness. (1)

Kshatriyas are willing to devote themselves to God. As a strong-willed devotee, the kshatriya does not think in terms of rewards but rather surrenders everything including his life and ego to the divine in his struggle for self-conquest.

Traditionally, kshatriyas are designated to serve society through their administrative, executive, and protective qualities. The natural duties of kshatriyas are to valor, vigor, resourcefulness, fortitude, skill, courage, munificence, and inspirational leadership. (4) Nevertheless, kshatriyas have not yet realized that serving people outwardly is not as fulfilling to them or himself as serving their inner happiness. (3)

Members of the caste are associated with the roles of rulers and warriors. (5) Although some aristocrats may be less than noble in nature, and some warriors may act with cruelty, true members of the caste serve to uplift others. Accordingly, kshatriyas may also take the form of monks or householders who stand up for what they believe and lead others toward victory. (4) The constitution of kshatriyas is marked by the predominance of rajas and sattva gunas; rajas is the principle of activity or energy, while sattva is the principle of enlightenment. (5)

Kshatriya may also refer to the social caste in India based on heredity; however, the ancient Hindu varna system was actually based on man’s natural inclinations and purposes despite his social class at birth. (5)

References

  1. a b Awaken to Superconsciousness, by Swami Kriyananda. Chapter 16, “The Higher Stages.”
  2. The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, explained by Paramhansa Yogananda. Glossary.
  3. a b Out of the Labyrinth, by Swami Kriyananda. Chapter 8, “Truth in Relativity,” Part II, “Directional Relativity.”
  4. a b The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, by Paramhansa Yogananda. Chapter 31, “You Shall Attain Me.”
  5. a b c Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda. Chapter 41, “An Idyl in South India.”