The second varna in Hinduism is Kshatriya. Varnas is the essence of Hindu society. Each varna has been assigned a certain job that they must do. For example the responsibility that is given to the Kshatriyas is to fight and protect the other varnas. The Kshatriya comes just after the Brahmins. They are the police and the administrators. They must have strength and know how to fight. The Kshatriya from a young age must be taught how to administer and how to fight for the society.
We will now discuss all the roles and responsibilities that have been assigned to the Kshatriyas. These responsibilities are:
- The Kshatriyas must protect the people of the society and always be ready to sacrifice their lives. It is the dharma of the Kshatriyas; if they do not follow it they will be doomed eternally.
- Kshatriyas must protect anyone who does not know how to use a weapon. It was a duty that was assigned particularly to the Kshatriyas.
- They must be open to suggestions especially the ones coming from the Brahmins. The Brahmins were the most learned and they had the ability to look at a situation from a spiritual point of view. That is exactly why all the kings were told to consult the Brahmins.
- They should be the first to enter a battle field and the last ones to leave the battle. They should never run away from a battle even if they know that all the odds are against them.
- They must be royal to the word. This was the varna of the king. The king must have a certain number of qualities that make them royal.
- They must know how to make a proper use of power. Power comes with a lot of responsibility and a Kshatriya must know as well as appreciate that.
- They should never refuse a challenge. If a Kshatriya is challenged for a duel he must accept it.
- They must be generous and show chivalry. A quality that actually makes a person brave and get respect.
- This was the varna of the kings. And the king should ensure that a just tax system is followed in the country and they should not accept any charity under any circumstances. Only the Vaishyas or the varna that is involved in business must be taxed.
- The Kshatriyas or the kings must ensure that all the citizens are happy and they are full filling the duties that were assigned to them. If anyone varna of the society is not functioning as per the rules set the whole society may collapse.
- The Kshatriyas must know the artha shastra well.
- The Kshatriyas must know how to deal appropriately with criminals and those who break the law. There should be no mercy shown to those who break the law.
- They must accept the things that are wrong in their kingdom and ensure that all the issues are fixed for the society to develop well.
- The Kshatriyas must be violent and deal with all the wrong things and people in the society, however that does not mean they should be so engrossed in this that they forget to see the difference between the right and the wrong. They should always be spiritually on the right path and have a balanced attitude towards life.
- The Kshatriyas must never raise hands and harm women, cows, children and brahmanas.
All the kings who ruled the kingdoms belonged to this varna. This is why it was regarded as the most important varna. If the king was not strong and powerful enough he would not have been able to rule the country. The society is a huge example of how the king is and how he rules. If the king is good the people of the country will obey his rules and ensure that they follow the rules made by the king. In short it was the most important varna of all. A healthy and sensible king meant a prosperous kingdom. The kings were born as Kshatriya to a king who was already a Kshatriya. It was of prime importance that only the Kshatriya married the Kshatriyas. So that the varna remains unaffected. The Kshatriyas were not even allowed to marry the Brahmins. Although the Brahmins were the superior community they were not allowed to marry the Kshatriyas. Simply because the Kshatriya was supposed to fight battles and the Brahmins could not fight as they were supposed to take care of the religious and spiritual matters.
Lord Rama was considered to be the best Kshatriya. He was the ideal king and the rules that he had set to run his kingdom were considered to be the best. His rule was called the Ram Rajya. Lord Rama was the incarnation of Vishnu. The rules that he had set were so good that they were followed by the rulers for many years.
We will be discussing the two more varnas in the next few articles. Many people have different views about the varnas. Many object to the concept saying that why the duties of a person should be decided as per the varna he or she is born into. It may happen that a Kshatriya wants to the job of a Brahmin, similarly a Brahmin may want to do what the Kshatriya does. However, the Hindu society has made it clear that there are some rules and responsibilities for the various varnas and these must be followed at any cost. Many do not like these hard and fast rules and find it too rigid.
The Hindu scriptures believed in these a lot and followed the concept of the varna to a great extent for many years. However, nowadays many do not believe in this varna system anymore and they feel that it is too much for the society and must not be followed. The Kshatriyas today are doing other jobs and are not only engaging themselves with other professions which were not theirs traditionally.
The main revolt against this system was from the Shudras. Who were considered to be the lowest among the varnas. This is actually not true. The Sudras thought that they were being targeted and they must not follow this system at any cost. With the changes in the society today we do not really see the relevance of the varnas. Only they are discussed at the times of marriages. We cannot say if this is good or bad. We can only say that some things must change with time for a better society and that is what has happened with time. Change is the only thing that remains constant and other things keep changing.