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Also spelled vaishya, third highest in ritual status of the four varnas. The vaisyas are commoners, not servile groups. Their role lay in productive labour, in agricultural and pastoral tasks, and in trading. Their way of life demands study, sacrifice, and the giving of alms.
The vaisyas share with the two higher classes, the brahmana and the ksatriya,
the distinction of being dvija, or "twice-born," achieving their spiritual
rebirth when they assume the sacred wool thread at the upanayana ceremony.
(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."
"The means of livelihood of all persons, namely production of grains and
their distribution to the prajas, was generated from the thighs of the Lord's
gigantic form. The mercantile men who take charge of such execution are called
"Being always devoted to the demigods, the spiritual master and the Supreme
Lord, Visnu; endeavoring for advancement in religious principles, economic development
and sense gratification [dharma, artha and kama]; believing in the words of
the spiritual master and scripture; and always endeavoring with expertise in
earning money--these are the symptoms of the vaisya."
"The occupational duties of the vaisya are conceived in four divisions:
farming, commerce, cow protection and moneylending. Out of these, we as a community
are always engaged in cow protection."