Social Classes of the Indus River Valley Civilization


spunky_statue.jpgihatematt.jpeg (As shown above is a sculpture of an Indus River Valley Brahman.)

In the ancient Indus River Valley Civilization, social classes were determined upon the Brahman religion and the caste system. The Brahman priest as shown above is the highest social class in ancient India due to the caste system. They were the most important figures in Indus society because they carried out the religious rituals with the sacred fire. Because the Brahmans were the ones reliable for carrying out these sacred rituals, they were very well respected. These sacred rituals were also believed to have kept the universe going.


Definitions:

Karma - Is the spiritual energy based on the law of cause and effect determined by your actions.
Dharma - Is your guideline and goals within your caste system based on the Rig Veda.
Samsara - Is the constant cycle of birth, death and rebirth in the Brahman religion. Samsara also means, "The pain of life."
Reincarnation - Is the belief of being reborn as another organism or human based on the karma of your last life.
Moksha - Is the release from the system of Samsara. Moksha is also the better understanding that the Brahman God is inside you, and influences you to achieve your top level of the caste system. This can be done by practicing the Brahmin religion and doing other activities such as yoga and meditation.



Why Is This Artifact Significant?
The Indus priest was the highest social class in the Indus River Valley civilization because he was the highest level in the caste system. Therefore a force of respect and authority was placed upon them. One of the many reasons the people of the Indus River Valley had much respect for the Brahman priests was because they were the only ones with the right to carry out the religious ceremonies with the sacred fire. The people of the Indus Valley believed this was what kept the universe going successfully. The picture above is an expression of class systems because they built a statue of the Indus priest as a sign of respect. This gave the people of the Indus Valley a visual piece of evidence that they could use as a future reference to show their admiration toward their upper class.

The Caste System:
The caste system was a major impact on the class structure within Indus River Valley civilization. It consisted of a variety of levels displaying social status. In order to build towards the highest level in the caste system, you were required to complete your Dharma while at the same time obtaining good karma. Like everyone at one point, you began at the lowest level of the caste system and if you achieved your Dharma, and had good karma you would come back in your next life as a higher level of the caste system. You can obtain up to two different types of karma. One type of karma is known as, “good” karma, while vice-versa the other type of karma is known as, “bad’ karma. Good karma is rewarded from completing actions and deeds that are considered to be honorary, while on the other hand bad karma is received from completing actions and deeds that are pertained as being dishonorable. Some actions that are considered to be dishonorable deeds are things like, disrespecting or not following the Hindu/Brahman religion the way you are supposed to.


© Matthew, Towey & Krissy.