Brahmin = Priest Caste;
Ksatriya = Rajanya/Ruler/Warrior Caste;
Vaisya = Commoner Caste;
Sudra = Servant/Slave Caste; and
Avarna = Outcaste/Untouchable/Dalit/Candala/Dog-eater.
There are also many subsets in each caste. Dvija = twice-born (twice-born =upper 3 castes or sometimes just Brahmin caste particularly). Some Hindus have a delusion that caste is not promoted by any of their holy books. Is that really so?
· "By his very birth a Brahmin is a deity even for the gods and the only
authority for people in this world, for the Veda is the foundation in this
matter." -- Manusmrti 11:85.
· "People here whose behaviour is pleasant can expect to enter a pleasant
womb, like that of a woman of the Brahmin, the Ksatriya, or the Vaisya
caste. But people of foul behaviour can expect to enter the foul womb,
like that of a dog, a pig, or an outcaste woman." -- Chandogya Upanisad
· "If a man of one birth (Sudra) hurls cruel words at one of the twice-born,
his tongue should be cut out, for he was born from the rear-end. If he
mentions their name or caste maliciously, a red-hot iron nail tenfingerslong
should be thrust into his mouth. If he is so proud as to instruct
priests about their duty, the king should have hot oil poured into his mouth
and ears." -- Manusmrti 8:270-272.
· "If a man of inferior caste tries to sit down on the same seat as a man of
superior caste, he should be branded on the hip and banished, or have
his buttocks cut off." -- Manusmrti 8:281.
· "If in the process of negotiating betrothal there are first ten suitors of the
non-Brahmana varna for a woman (the marriageable girl), all of them lose
their claims of marriage and, only the Brahmin, the learned one, if he
grasps her hand would be her husband and only he. Not even the man of
Ksatriya varna and not even the man of Vaisya varna but only the
Brahmin is the husband of the bride in such cases of claimants of
betrothal, and the sun, as it appears, revealing this fact to the people of
five classes (4 varnas and the fifth avarna) rises up." -- Atharva Veda
· "If someone born in a Ksatriya, Vaisya, or Sudra womb should be unable to
pay his fine, he may absolve himself of the debt by labour; a Brahmin
should pay little by little. The king should have women, children, madmen,
and the old, the poor, and the ill chastised with a whip, a bamboo cane,
a rope, and so forth." -- Manusmrti 9:229-230.
· "The Sudra's duty and supreme good is nothing but obedience to famous
Brahmin householders who know the Veda. If he is unpolluted, obedient
to his superiors, gentle in his speech, without a sense of 'I', and always
dependent on the Brahmins and the other (twice-born castes), he attains
a superior birth (in the next life)." -- Manusmrti 9:334-335.
· "A Brahmin is a great deity whether or not he is learned, just as fire is a
great deity whether or not it is brought to the altar. The purifying fire with
its brilliant energy is not defiled even in cremation grounds, and when
oblations of butter are placed in it at sacrifices it grows even greater. Thus
Brahmins should be revered in every way, even if they engage in all kinds
of undesirable actions, for this is the supreme deity. If the Ksatriyas
become overbearing towards the Brahmins in any way, the Brahmins
themselves should subdue them, for the Ksatriyas were born from the
Brahmins." -- Manusmrti 9:317-320.
· "His (Purusa's) mouth became the Brahmin; his arms were made into the
Ksatriya, his thighs the Vaisya, and from his feet the Sudra was born." -- Rig
· In comparison, Sudras are as low as feet & Outcastes (avarna) are even
below that status of course.