degradation from the three upper castes, resulting from the non-observance of
the required rituals. Thus vratya-kshatriyas was to become a useful category
in which to place those who were politically powerful, but were obviously
not kshatriyas in the true sense. The ultimate in distance and separation was
of course the untouchable who is referred to in the later period.
                  RATIONALE OF VARNA SYSTEM
  The varna framework therefore, was visualised as a structure for the
  integration of varying sub-systems, rather than merely being a reflection
  of the socio-economic hierarchy. This would account for the seeming
  changelessness of the rules of social functioning, although within each
  sub-system, change was clearly registered. That the varna system was a
  consciously worked out structure by the mid-first millennium BC is
  apparent from the late hymn added onto the Rig Veda, the purushasukta,
  in which the origin of the four varnas from the body of Prajapati is
  described: the symbolism being that of separate limbs performing different
  functions but coordinated in the unit of the body and listed in hierarchical
  order. The tying in of this description to a ritual event was perhaps an
  implicit emphasis on varna relating increasingly to ritual status. Not only
  was the stratification rationalised in the concept of varna, but the function
  of each group was more clearly defined.
Kula or Family
Kula was the foundation of the social structure in Vedic society. The master
of the house was called variously as grihapati or dampati or kulapati. The
gift or sale of a son was not regarded as beyond the power of the father. The
sale of a son is illustrated by the story of Sunahsepa whom king Harischandra
bought from his father Ajigartha for the completion of a certain sacrifice. The
frequent epithet of Agni, viz. athithi, indicates that great affection and respect
was generally shown to a guest. It was elevated to the rank of a religious duty
as it was one of the five great daily sacrifices (pancha mahayajnas).
     In the later Vedic period, there was an increase in the powers of the father
over the family members. It