/ksha"tree euh/, n.a member of the Hindu royal and warrior class above the Vaisyas and below the Brahmans. Cf. Shudra.[1775-85; < Skt ksatriya]
* * *or KsatriyaIn Hindu India, the second-highest of the four varnas, or social classes, traditionally the military or ruling class.In ancient times before the caste system was completely defined, they were considered first in rank, placed higher than the Brahmans, or priestly class. The legend that they were degraded by an incarnation of Vishnu as a punishment for their tyranny may reflect a historical struggle for supremacy between priests and rulers. In modern times the Kshatriya varna includes members from a variety of castes, united by their status in government or the military or their land ownership.
* * *▪ Hindu castealso spelled Kshattriya , or Ksatriyasecond highest in ritual status of the four varnas, or social classes, of Hindu (Hinduism) India, traditionally the military or ruling class.The earliest Vedic texts listed the Kshatriya (holders of kshatra, or authority) as first in rank, then the Brahmans (priests and teachers of law), next the Vaishya (merchant-traders), and finally the Sudra (artisans and labourers). Movements of individuals and groups from one class to another, both upward and downward, were not uncommon; a rise in status even to the rank of Kshatriya was a recognized reward for outstanding service to the rulers of the day. The legend that the Kshatriya were destroyed by Parasurama (Paraśurāma), the sixth avatar of Vishnu, as a punishment for their tyranny is thought by some scholars to reflect a long struggle for supremacy between priests and rulers. Brahmanic texts such as the Manu-smrti (Manu-smṛti) (a book of Hindu law) and most other dharmashastras (works of jurisprudence) report a Brahman victory, but epic texts often offer a different account, and it is likely that in social reality rulers have usually ranked first. The persistent representation of deities (especially Vishnu, Krishna, and Rama) as rulers underscores the point, as does the elaborate series of ritual roles and privileges pertaining to kings through most of Hindu history. These largely buttress the image of a ruler as preserver of dharma (religious and moral law) and auspicious wealth. In modern times, the Kshatriya varna includes a broad class of caste groups, differing considerably in status and function but united by their claims to rulership, the pursuit of war, or the possession of land.
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