वैश्य - ˈvʌɪsjə

A person characterized by cleverness, creativity, and selfish motivations; a merchant. Vaisya is one of the four Hindu castes. (1)

Representing the second Hindu caste or varna in the ancient system, vaisyas are characterized by their intelligence. In the vaisya type, the energy to create is present, although it is not refined enough for the vaisya to reach out sympathetically to other people. (1) The other castes of sudras (peasants), kshatriyas (warriors), and brahmins (priests) represent the other three levels of spiritual consciousness. (2)

Members of the vaisya caste are driven by the motivation of artha, or gain. They live a life in which they accumulate wealth and possessions to fulfill their selfish ends. They also learn to control their sensual desires. (3)

Traditionally, Vaisyas are designated to serve society through mental means. (3) While it is not realistic to ask a member of the vaisya caste to devote himself to social upliftment, the traditional varna system encourages vaisyas to use their creativity and intelligence to work for themselves egotistically, albeit responsibly and usefully. Thus, vaisyas develop a sense of pride in being human. Vaisya types are naturally drawn to the merchant occupation, in which they aggregate wealth to fulfill their desires (1)

Vaisyas as a class of spiritual aspirations tends to make bargains. For example, the vaisya devotee equates effort with results, seeking spiritual experiences as well as good karma and material abundance in order to “aquire merit.” (2) Vaisya 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)


  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.”