Societies have always been characterized by a division of classes and often these divisions have been described and justified by descriptive and normative explications. As everything exoteric has esoteric roots, so can exoteric classes also be traced back to certain esoteric roots. In this contemplation shall three familiar exoteric class systems be touched upon after which their esoteric roots shall be sought out in order to come to an esoteric division of humanity.
Of all class theories is the caste system of the Hindu's in India probably the most familiar. The English term 'caste system' is used to refer to the Hindu division of their society into different varṇa's and jātī's.1 In this division can a varṇa be understood as a head- and a jātī as a subcaste.2 In this contemplation we shall only touch upon the varṇas. And of these there are four, namely the Brahmins, the kṣatriyas, the vaiśyas and the śūdras.3 Of these are the first the religious priests, the second the rulers (kings and warriors), the third the farmers, merchants and craftsmen and the fourth the workers and servants. In the Hindu vision is this fourfold distinction based upon divine revelation, for the four varṇas are mentioned in the Puruṣasūkta of the Ṛgveda4 and later elaborately thematized in the Manusmṛti.5 They are further also mentioned as divinely ordered in the popular Śrīmadbhagavadgītā.6, 7
This traditional fourfold distinction by the Rig-Veda Aryans is probably closely related to a threefold distinction by traditional Iranian Aryans who divided their society into priests, rulers and producers.8 In this threefold distinction are the vaiśyas and śūdras taken together into one class of producers. A similar threefold distinction we find also in ancient Greece, Roman Gaul and in medieval Europe.9 The threefold distinction in ancient Greece can be found under the names of 'hieropoioi', 'phulakes' and 'georgoi',10 the Gaul distinction under the names 'druides', 'equites' and 'plēbēs', and the medieval European under the names of 'oratores', 'bellatores' and 'laboratores'. All regard the classes of priests, rulers and workers. These class systems can be gathered under the name of 'Indo-European class systems'.
In modern Europe Karl Marx (1818-1883) came to the description of a twofold class distinction, namely that between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.11 These two classes regard basically the capital owners and the laborers or the rulers and the workers. With religion being stated to be "opium of the people"12 was the religious class absorbed into the class of the rulers,13 a view befitting the modern materialistic and non-spiritualistic orientations.14 This was Marx' descriptive philosophy. Normatively he wanted the bourgeoisie to be overthrown by the proletariat, resulting into one class, and thus into no class distinctions at all.15
The above caste and class distinctions can be tabulated as in figure 1.
|Brahmins (Priests)||Hieropoioi / Druides / Oratores (Priests)||Bourgeoisie (Rulers)|
|Kṣatriyas (Rulers)||Phulakes / Equites / Bellatores (Rulers)|
|Vaiśyas (Craftsmen)||Georgoi / Plēbēs / Laboratores (Workers)||Proletariat (Workers)|
In the Secret Wisdom Teachings of Alice Bailey (1880-1949) exoteric classes as mentioned above are acknowledged descriptively but definitely not normatively. They are basically seen as exoteric distortions of esoteric human divisions.16, 17 Several of these divisions have been contemplated already somewhere else.18 In this contemplation however we shall not follow directly the in de Secret Wisdom Teaching given divisions but shall we contemplate ourselves our own way from the aforementioned exoteric class distinctions to esoteric human divisions. Thus our assumptions are firstly the assumption of the descriptive class distinctions as given and secondly the assumption of these being exoteric distortions of esoteric divisions.
Let us start with the Marxist distinction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, who are the rulers and the workers. This class distinction is clearly characterized by a duality. Now esoterically are exoteric dualities traced back to the prime duality of spirit and matter.19 Spirit in this polarity is the positive pole whereas matter is the negative pole. Being also mentioned as the cosmic father and mother we find this primal duality also exoterically displayed in human sexuality.20 With exoteric classes being thematized in the previous paragraph can here also the class distinction between men and women be mentioned, which is still dominant in most societies. In this class distinction is the man positive and the woman negative, which means that the woman settles to the lead of the man. This relation we recognize in the man-woman class distinction and in their sexual relation,21 but also in the Marxist class distinction of rulers and workers. For the rulers impose their thoughts on the workers who work out the imposed ideas in matter. The thought of human groups being positive and negative in their relations is also present in the Secret Wisdom Teaching,22, 23 and thus it is stated that no system of sociological reform will be successful without consideration of this esoteric polarity of groups within humanity.24 In this it must be noted however that the Secret Wisdom Teaching is dealing with esoteric human divisions and not with exoteric class distinctions based on heredity and capital25 which are also there promoted to be leveled.26 Thus can the Marxist ideal of the one class be embraced exoterically but not esoterically.
In the previous sub-paragraph was the exoteric dual Marxist class model traced back to the esoteric positive-negative or spirit-matter duality. Now as has been contemplated abundantly in previous contemplations does the coming together of spirit and matter bring about a third given, namely that of consciousness or the soul.27 The coming together of the duality brings about a triplicity and everything in manifestation, cosmos and human alike, can be seen as triple in nature.28 And in this triplicity then is the mentioned third principle also the principle intermediating between the prime duality. In exoteric class systems we can see such a triplicity reflected in the Indo-European system. In this class system are the priests and the workers the opposites and are the rulers the intermediate factor between these two.
Some confusion may arise when, with the above esoteric sketch in mind, the exoteric Indo-European class system is compared to the Marxist system. For in the Marxist system are not the priests but the rulers posited as the positive pole. Questioning this it should be taken in mind that esoteric relations between duality and triplicity may reflect seperately in exoteric Marxist and Indo-European systems but not necessarily one on one in the relation between these two taken together. The esoteric duality reflects in the Marxist class system, the esoteric triplicity reflects in the Indo-European class system, but the relation between the esoteric duality and esoteric triplicity does not necessarily reflect in the relation between the dual Marxist and triple Indo-European class systems. It should be remembered that if Marx did not totally discard the class of priests he absorbed it into that of the rulers. Further it must also be remembered that as in the Indo-European class system the rulers are positive in relation to the negative workers (similar as in the Marxist system) the priests are positive in relation to the rulers, who are in this relation negative. Eventually it is also a matter of terminology as there would be no confusion when the bourgeoisie was named 'priests' instead of 'rulers', however that would not have translated the Marxist thought on itself properly.
In the previous two class systems we traced a duality and a triplicity back to their esoteric roots. We found the exoteric class duality to be a reflection of the esoteric duality of spirit-matter and found the exoteric class triplicity to be a reflection of spirit-soul-matter. In order to trace back the exoteric class quaternity of Hinduism to its esoteric roots it must be understood that the aforementioned archetypal duality and triplicity are reflected not only in the exoteric class systems but also on other levels that are more esoteric. The soul relates to matter in a similar positive-negative way as does spirit relate to matter. And the triplicity of spirit-soul-matter is also reflected in the triplicity of mind-emotion-matter. What is stated here may become more clear when figure 6 of 'Secret Wisdom Teaching, Triplicities in Man' is consulted.29 For in this figure we see the basic human triplicity of spirit-soul-body (or matter) being reflected in each of the single givens within that basic triplicity. In this figure we see the soul standing positive towards the negative triple body of mental body, emotional body and physical body. And this esoteric relation is to which the exoteric quaternal caste system can be traced back. The esoteric quaternity of soul-mental-emotional-physical is reflected in the exoteric quaternity of brahmins-kṣatriyas-vaiśyas-śūdras or priests-rulers-craftsmen-workers. The śūdras or workers are esoterically those who are still dominantly polarized in their physical body. The vaiśyas or craftsmen are those polarized in their emotional body. The kṣatriyas or rulers are those polarized in their mental body. And the brahmins or priests are esoterically those having gained soul consciousness.
We set out this contemplation to touch upon three familiar exoteric class systems and seek out their esoteric roots. The classes touched upon regard the Hinduistic caste system, the Indo-European class system and the Marxist class system. We saw Marx distincting between the rulers and workers and found this distinction to be rooted in an esoteric archetypal positive-negative duality as found in relations between spirit and matter and soul and body. The Indo-European class system was found characterized by the triplicity of priests, rulers and workers. Esoterically the priests were set as being positive towards the rulers and the workers, the rulers as being positive towards the workers and negative towards the priests and the workers as being negative towards the rulers and priests. This in accordance to the esoteric triplicity of spirit, soul and body (or matter). The Hinduistic caste system then was found to consist of the quaternity of priests, rulers, craftsmen and workers. This quaternity was brought back to the esoteric quaternity of soul, mental body, emotional body and physical body. When all this information is tabulated together we may get an overview as in figure 2.
Figure 2 shows a quaternate human division of soul, mental, emotional and physical polarized humans. In the exoteric Hinduistic caste system do these esoteric human divisions correspond one on one with the priests, rulers, craftsmen and workers. In the Indo-European class system does the class of workers consist of both the physical and emotional polarized. This goes also for the Marxist class system where besides that the rulers consist of both the mental and soul polarized.
This esoteric human division can also very well be extended to 'Secret Wisdom Teaching, Classifications of Humanity' where esoteric human divisions were contemplated more elaborately.30 For the present contemplation however the quaternate division suffices. To close off it must be emphasized that the regarded esoteric divisions are distortedly reflected in the class systems and that a belonging to any of the mentioned classes or castes will never suffice to claim an attained polarization because human evolutionary attainment crosses all class borders set by heredity and capital. Human divisions and not class distinctions should be acknowledged. May this be understood very clearly.