Question: How would you describe the difference between the Brahmin's approach to spirituality and the Kshatriya's approach to spirituality?

Sri Chinmoy: In India there are four castes: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. Mahatma Gandhi found another class also — the untouchables. He said that untouchables were the favourite children of God.

The Brahmins are supposed to study India's sacred books, such as the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Vedas and the Upanishads, and meditate on the significance of their messages. If Brahmins study and meditate on the sacred books in this way, they will be able to realise God. That is the sunlit road for them.

The Kshatriyas are warriors. They have the heroic spirit to pierce the veil of ignorance. If somebody is in trouble and needs help, they will help that person. They will not say, "It is your problem; you fight." If somebody comes and attacks their country, they will fight to protect it. But they will not use their weapons to go out and attack other countries. They are not going to drop bombs on other countries. In the modern world, if one country attacks another country, a third country may say, "I clearly see that this country needs my help." The one that has been attacked may say, "I do not need your help. I can solve my own problems." But the third country says, "No, I have to go and help." This is the modern way. But the Kshatriyas will only go to help if someone wants their help. The Kshatriyas represent the dynamic spirit; through vital dynamism they conquer lethargy and ignorance. That is the sunlit road for the Kshatriyas to reach the Highest and go to God.

Then come the Vaishyas. They are merchants and businessmen. Although they deal with money power and material wealth, they are not supposed to be Shylocks. They earn money, and with their money they are supposed to build temples and serve the poor. They are supposed to give money to charity and support the development of their country as well as using their material wealth to help their own family members. Their road is not sunlit, but if they use their material wealth properly — to build temples, serve the poor and develop their country — then they also will be able to make spiritual progress.

The fourth class is the Shudras, the servant class. Their occupation is to serve their brothers and sisters by bringing them food or doing physical labour. The earthly, mundane jobs they do.

Some may say the Brahmins are superior to the Kshatriyas, the Kshatriyas are superior to the Vaishyas and the Vaishyas are superior to the Shudras. But that is not true. In a family each member has a different job. If you are studying the Vedas and there is nobody cultivating the ground and bringing you food, then you will die. Each role is needed, and each person serves in his own capacity. If each one does his respective job soulfully and lovingly, then he is walking on the brightest road for himself and making the fastest progress.

No matter which caste an individual has taken birth into, if he combines the activities of all the castes, then his progress will be the fastest. But it may be difficult for someone to combine the duties of all the castes. If someone is seriously studying the Vedas, he cannot go out and work in the fields or start a business or join the army and serve his country. But while he is studying, he can pray to God for his brothers and sisters who are in a position to be dynamic in other capacities. If he has this kind of good will, then he is covering the activities of the other three castes also. If someone does not have the capacity or talent to do the good work of all the others, he can still try to bring their good qualities into himself and help them with his prayers and meditation. In that way he will also expedite his own spiritual journey.