Status of the Vrātyas with reference to the Atharvaveda
This paper presents the social status of Vrātya with Atharvavedic stand-point. The term ‘Vrātya’ means belonging to a roaming band, vagrant, member of fellowship that stood without the Brāhmanical pale, it is further applied to the son of a uninitiated man, or also to on who has let the appropriate time for the Sacrament of initiation slip. The social status of Vrātya in the Atharvaveda was a special type and high esteem which in the later Vedic literatures and Smṛti Literatures underwent changed. The status of Vrātya acquired a totally different by the time of the Smṛti literatures. Manu states that, if after the last given period, the twice-born (dvijāti) stay on uninitiated, they turn out to be Vrātyas, fallen from Sāvitri. In the Atharvaveda the term Vrātya is used not in the sense of ‘One who has not performed his Upanayana’ but its employed in the sense of the highest Brahmaṇa.The highest Brahmaṇa is conceived and glorious as the Vrātya both as divine Vrātya, recognized with the great God or Mahādeva, the Lord Īśāna or Rudra and his prototype, the earthly Vrātya. Finally, in the evolutionary process, at each stage of Indian History, Vrātya was accorded a different social status; and that status sufficiently mirrored the state of Indian society at that stage.