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Also spelled shudra, the fourth and lowest of the traditional varnas. Sudras are traditionally artisans and labourers. They are not permitted to perform the upanayana initiatory rite, which introduces members of the three upper classes to the study of the Vedas and gives them their status as dvija ("twice-born").
The sudra varna includes a wide spectrum of groups with dominant, landowning
groups at one end of the scale and near-untouchable washers, tanners, shoemakers,
sweepers, and scavengers at the other.
(Brittanica CD. Version 97. Encyclopaedia Brittanica Inc., 1997)
"Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaisyas,
and for the sudras there is labor and service to others."
"Offering obeisances to the higher sections of society [the brahmanas,
ksatriyas and vaisyas], being always very clean, being free from duplicity,
serving one's master, performing sacrifices without uttering mantras, not stealing,
always speaking the truth and giving all protection to the cows and brahmanas--these
are the symptoms of the sudra."