The traditional theory of caste system in India is completely based on ancient literature of India. In the Rigveda it is written that the four castes have been originated from the four different parts of the Supreme Creator; Brahma. The Brahmins from the mouth, Kshatriyas from the arms, Vaishyas from the thigh and Sudras from the feet. The mouth is the main source of speech and learning and therefore the duty of Brahmins is to work as teachers or instructors in the society. The arms are the source of strength and therefore the function of Kshatriyas is to defend the empire. The thighs are the principal repository organs of the body and so the Vaishyas have been assigned the duty of supplying food for others. The Sudras originated from the feet and their duty is to serve others just as the feet serve the others parts of the body.
The traditional theory has been criticized so some extent by some scholars.
- This theory depends on a subtle allegory in which the origin of caste is attributed.
- This theory supports the functional division of society rather than the division of society into caste.
In spite of this, the theory gives a beautiful picture regarding the origin of caste system in India.