ARVINDUS

Contemplationam

Exoteric Classes and Esoteric Divisions of Humanity

EXOTERIC CLASSES AND ESOTERIC DIVISIONS OF HUMANITY

Introduction

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.

Exoteric Classes of Humanity

Hinduism
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 

Indo-European
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'.

Marxism
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

Tabulation
The above caste and class distinctions can be tabulated as in figure 1.

Hinduistic Indo-European Marxist
Brahmins (Priests) Hieropoioi / Druides / Oratores (Priests) Bourgeoisie (Rulers)
Kṣatriyas (Rulers) Phulakes / Equites / Bellatores (Rulers)
Vaiśyas (Craftsmen) Georgoi / Plēbēs / Laboratores (Workers) Proletariat (Workers)
Śūdras (Workers)

Figure 1.

Esoteric Divisions of Humanity

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.

Marxism
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.

Indo-European
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.

Hinduism
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.

Summary and Figuration

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.

Hinduistic Indo-European Marxist Esoteric
Priests Priests Rulers Soul polarized
Rulers Rulers Mental polarized
Craftsmen Workers Workers Emotional polarized
Workers Physical polarized

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.

Notes
  1. Klaus K. Klostermaier, A Survey of Hinduism, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1994, p. 558, 559.
  2. Ibidem, p. 599.
  3. Ibidem, p. 334.
  4. Swami Krishnananda, 'The Purusha-Sukta' in: Daily Invocations, The Divine Live Society, Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, undated, p. 23.
  5. F. Max Müller (editor), G. Bühler (translator), The Sacred Books of the East, Volume XXV, The Laws of Manu, With Extracts from Seven Commentaries, The Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1886.
  6. Srimad Bhagavad Gita, translated by Swami Swarupananda, Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata, 2007, Ch. 4, Sl. 13, or p. 103. "The fourfold caste was created by Me, by the differentiation of Guṇa and Karma. […]."
  7. Ibidem, Ch. 18, Sl. 41, or p. 384. "Of Brāhmaṇas and Kṣatriyas and Vaiśyas, as also of Śūdras, O scorcher of foes, the duties are distributed according to the Guṇas born of their own nature."
  8. Burjor Avari, India: The Ancient Past, A History of the Indian Sub-Continent from c. 7000 BC to AD 1200, Routledge, London / New York, 2007, p. 74.
  9. J. P. Mallory and D. Q. Adams, The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World, Oxford University Press, Oxford / et alibi, 2006, p. 429.
  10. Other class distinctions are used too for ancient Greece however these distinctions shall be left untouched in this contemplation.
  11. Karl Marx / Friedrich Engels, 'Manifest der kommunistischen Partei' in: Frank-Peter Hansen (editor), Philosophie von Platon bis Nietzsche, Directmedia, Berlin, 1998, Ch. I. "Unsere Epoche, die Epoche der Bourgeoisie, zeichnet sich jedoch dadurch aus, daß sie die Klassengegensätze vereinfacht hat. Die ganze Gesellschaft spaltet sich mehr und mehr in zwei große feindliche Lager, in zwei große, einander direkt gegenüberstehende Klassen: Bourgeoisie und Proletariat."
  12. Karl Marx, 'Zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie' in: Frank-Peter Hansen (editor), Philosophie von Platon bis Nietzsche, Directmedia, Berlin, 1998, Einleitung. "Das religiöse Elend ist in einem der Ausdruck des wirklichen Elendes und in einem die Protestation gegen das wirkliche Elend. Die Religion ist der Seufzer der bedrängten Kreatur, das Gemüt einer herzlosen Welt, wie sie der Geist geistloser Zustände ist. Sie ist das Opium des Volks."
  13. Karl Marx, 'Ökonomisch-philosophische Manuskripte aus dem Jahre 1844 ' in: Frank-Peter Hansen (editor), Philosophie von Platon bis Nietzsche, Directmedia, Berlin, 1998, Die entfremdete Arbeit. "Je mehr der Arbeiter sich ausarbeitet, um so mächtiger wird die fremde, gegenständliche Welt, die er sich gegenüber schafft, um so ärmer wird er selbst, seine innre Welt, um so weniger gehört ihm zu eigen. Es ist ebenso in der Religion."
  14. 'A Small Sketch of the History of Western Spiritualistic and Materialistic Orientations', Index: 201103091, Scientific Period.
  15. 'Manifest der kommunistischen Partei', Ch. II. "Wenn das Proletariat im Kampfe gegen die Bourgeoisie sich notwendig zur Klasse vereint, durch eine Revolution sich zur herrschenden Klasse macht und als herrschende Klasse gewaltsam die alten Produktionsverhältnisse aufhebt, so hebt es mit diesen Produktionsverhältnissen die Existenzbedingungen des Klassengegensatzes, die Klassen überhaupt, und damit seine eigene Herrschaft als Klasse auf."
  16. Alice A. Bailey, 'Esoteric Psychology, Volume I, A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Volume I', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Section Two, Ch. III, Introductory Remarks. "In these four alignments we have the esoteric parallels of which the outer caste system is the prostituted symbol."
  17. Alice A. Bailey, 'Esoteric Psychology, Volume II, A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Volume II', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Ch. III, 1. "We are therefore dealing with human divisions and not class distinctions."
  18. 'Secret Wisdom Teaching, Classifications of Humanity', Index: 201404081.
  19. Alice A. Bailey, 'A Treatise on White Magic’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Introductory Remarks. “This duality which is seen when objectivity is present and which disappears when the form aspect vanishes is covered by many terms, of which for the sake of clarity, the most usual might be here listed:
    Spirit Matter
    Life Form
    Father Mother
    Positive Negative
    Darkness Light"
  20. 'Sex: Human Reproduction, Mystic Enlightenment and Cosmic Creation', Index: 201003081.
  21. Michel Foucault, The Use of Pleasure, Volume 2 of The History of Sexuality, translated by Robert Hurley, Vintage Books, New York, 1990, p. 46. "But it should be remarked that in the practice of sexual pleasures two roles and two poles can be clearly distinguished, just as they can be distinguished in the reproductive function; these consisted of two positional values: that of the subject and that of the object, that of the agent and that of the "patient"–as Aristotle says, "the female, as female, is passive, and the male, as male, is active.""
  22. See note 18.
  23. Alice A. Bailey, 'The Externalisation of the Hierarchy', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Section One, Seed Groups in the New Age. "The masses are negative to the plane of desire and of feeling, and the civilisation of any age is largely the exteriorisation of that particular level of consciousness. The intelligentsia are positive and their positive mental orientation produces the culture of their time, or their race or their community."
  24. Alice A. Bailey, 'A Treatise on Cosmic Fire', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Section Two, Division E, VI, 2. "The distinctions between the two groups are very great, and one of the mysteries lying behind the main divisions of humanity—rulers and the ruled, capitalists and labourers, the governed and those who govern—is found right here.  No system of sociological reform will be successfully worked out without a due consideration of this important fact."
  25. See note 17.
  26. Ibidem. "Because of this levelling which is everywhere going on, the spiritual aristocracy can now emerge,—an aristocracy based on a realisation of divine origin and goal, which knows no  class distinction, no barriers in religion, and no separating differences."
  27. 'Secret Wisdom Teaching, Triplicities in Man', Index: 201308292.
  28. Ibidem.
  29. Ibidem.
  30. See note 18.
Bibliography
  • 'A Small Sketch of the History of Western Spiritualistic and Materialistic Orientations', Index: 201103091.
  • 'Secret Wisdom Teaching, Classifications of Humanity', Index: 201404081.
  • 'Secret Wisdom Teaching, Triplicities in Man', Index: 201308292.
  • 'Sex: Human Reproduction, Mystic Enlightenment and Cosmic Creation', Index: 201003081.
  • Burjor Avari, India: The Ancient Past, A History of the Indian Sub-Continent from c. 7000 BC to AD 1200, Routledge, London / New York, 2007.
  • Alice A. Bailey, 'A Treatise on Cosmic Fire', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Alice A. Bailey, 'A Treatise on White Magic', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Alice A. Bailey, 'Esoteric Psychology, Volume I, A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Volume I', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
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  • Alice A. Bailey, 'The Externalisation of the Hierarchy', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Michel Foucault, The Use of Pleasure, Volume 2 of The History of Sexuality, translated by Robert Hurley, Vintage Books, New York, 1990.
  • Klaus K. Klostermaier, A Survey of Hinduism, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1994.
  • Swami Krishnananda, 'The Purusha-Sukta' in: Daily Invocations, The Divine Live Society, Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, undated.
  • J. P. Mallory and D. Q. Adams, The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World, Oxford University Press, Oxford / et alibi, 2006.
  • Karl Marx, 'Ökonomisch-philosophische Manuskripte aus dem Jahre 1844 ' in: Frank-Peter Hansen (editor), Philosophie von Platon bis Nietzsche, Directmedia, Berlin, 1998.
  • Karl Marx, 'Zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie' in: Frank-Peter Hansen (editor), Philosophie von Platon bis Nietzsche, Directmedia, Berlin, 1998
  • Karl Marx / Friedrich Engels,'Manifest der kommunistischen Partei' in: Frank-Peter Hansen (editor), Philosophie von Platon bis Nietzsche, Directmedia, Berlin, 1998.
  • F. Max Müller (editor), G. Bühler (translator), The Sacred Books of the East, Volume XXV, The Laws of Manu, With Extracts from Seven Commentaries, The Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1886.
  • Srimad Bhagavad Gita, translated by Swami Swarupananda, Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata, 2007.