This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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The twice-born and the shudra

Of the four primary castes, the first three are called ‘twice-born’ (dvija). By this term they are distinguished from the final caste, the shudra. Frithjof Schuon has described the distinction by saying that the dvija “might be defined as a spirit endowed with a body, and the shudra…as a body endowed with a human consciousness.”[1]

For this type, which is more remote from the Vaishya than the Vaishya from the Kshatriya, which is why it is set apart, the bodily dimension is what is real. Eating and breathing constitute happiness, and in a way that differs drastically from the Vaishya in that the latter pursues a perfection in the fruits of his labor and is rightly called an ‘artisan,’ while the Shudra perceives the value of material goods only insofar as they satisfy an immediate need. He does not judge himself by his fruits but judges things by how they make him feel and how well they satisfy a physical or psychological need.

Obviously this characterization might be applied to members of any of the castes, as there are hedonists everywhere among members of the clergy and nobility, but the latter tend toward poetry, achievement, and all of the other values which to them are undeniably more worthy even if they are diverted from them by pleasure. For the Shudra, the emphasis on the bodily dimension and the immediate enjoyment of physical things is not a fixation—it is reality, and other values are an illusion. The Kshatriya who pursues comfort and enjoyment exclusively is one who is below himself, but the Shudra who does this is simply retracing his nature.

The Shudra generally displays a lack of interest in whatever transcends bodily life, and for this reason lacks constructive tendencies and aptitudes. Such a one is by nature depending on the direction of another, without which he could not but live hand-to-mouth. As a result, we can say that the Shudra is qualified for manual labor of the simplest order and his caste typically goes to form a kind of servant caste.

Lacking an intellectual qualification, members of the fourth caste are not required to learn the Vedas.

[1] Frithjof Schuon, Language of the Self, p. 117.

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