A vaishya means a businessman. He is a little higher, has a few more values in life, thinks sometimes about music, sometimes about poetry. The shudra is one who thinks only of the body; he eats, sleeps – finished. Eat, drink and be merry – that is his whole circle of life. If you are doing only that you are a shudra, the lowest human being.
Everybody is born that way. You cannot expect a small child to be interested in music and poetry and philosophy and religion. When a child is born he is a hedonist, a charvaka an Epicurean. He sleeps for eighteen to twenty hours – what more can you expect? Whenever he feels hungry he awakes and cries and weeps – and finds food and nourishment. Then again he falls asleep. He eats, drinks and sleeps. Every child is a shudra.
By and by, when you start growing, new dimensions open in your being. You start becoming interested in things which are not only of the body. A little of the mind, a little of psychology enters into your being. You are no more just a physique. Then you are a vaishya. Then you are moving in the bigger business of life, you are a businessman. Not a very high state but better than the shudra.
Then comes the kshatriya, the warrior. He becomes a little more interested in higher things. He starts searching for truth, for beauty, for love. His interest is higher than the businessman’s. And he is ready to stake his life, he is ready to lose his life for these higher values. He is ready to gamble, he is courageous. Courage enters him. The businessman is not courageous; if everything goes well he may enjoy music, he may enjoy poetry, he may sit in his home – centered, secure – and think about God too. But he will not undergo much danger, he will not take risks.
The warrior, the kshatriya, takes risks. He puts his life at stake. He becomes a gambler. The businessman is never a gambler. He thinks first about the profit and he goes only so far. He takes risks but only so far. It is a limited risk and he always thinks about what the profit will be and what the loss will be. He is always worried about profit and loss. The warrior risks all. He goes deep into life. That is the third stage.
And the brahmin is the highest, the one who goes deeper into the mystery of life, reality, existence. And he is never satisfied unless he comes to know what ultimate truth is. That is what brahmin means – one who comes face to face with the ultimate truth, the absolute truth.
Buddha said that these are not divisions of birth, these are divisions of qualities that one has to evolve. Everybody has to evolve from the shudra and everybody has to go to the brahmin. He destroyed the whole structure.