Sudra

सूड्र - ˈsu drə

A person at the lowest stage of consciousness; a peasant. Sudra is one of the four Hindu castes. (1)

Representing the lowest Hindu caste or varna in the ancient system, sudras are characterized by their low order of refinement. For members of the caste, awareness is so dull that expansive or creative thoughts are almost nonexistent. Operating only on automatic responses, the sudra is always the effect of life and never the cause.(1) The other castes of vaisyas (merchants), kshatriyas (warriors), and brahmins (priests) represent progressively higher levels of spiritual consciousness. (2)

Members of the sudra caste are driven by the motivation of kama, or desire. They live a mostly sensual life in which they crave sense pleasures. They are also marked by the predominance of the guna of tamas in their constitutions; tamas is the principle of mass, obstruction, or ignorance.(3)

Traditionally, sudras are designated to serve society through bodily means. (3) Since they may not realistically be asked to exercise creativity, the traditional varna system asks that sudras exert themselves physically and develop their bodily consciousness. Sudra types are encouraged to work with their hands, avoid sloth, and serve more creative people. Naturally, sudras fall into the farming occupation. Since farmers are the ones in any social system most likely to work with their bodies, sudras are typically defined as farmers or peasants. (1)

Sudras as a class of spiritual aspirations commonly procrastinate and make excuses. For example, the sudra devotee may decide to meditate at other times or under future scenarios. (2) Sudra 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 (3)

References

  1. a b c Out of the Labyrinth, by Swami Kriyananda. Chapter 8, “Truth in Relativity,” Part II, “Directional Relativity.”
  2. a b Awaken to Superconsciousness, by Swami Kriyananda. Chapter 16, “The Higher Stages.”
  3. a b c Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda. Chapter 41, “An Idyl in South India.”