Vaisya is the third of four Hindu social categories, or varna. Traditionally the Vaisyas were traders and businessmen, or peasant farmers. They were expected to be specialists in their branch or trade, whether jewelry and precious metals, spices, cloth, furnishings, or, indeed, any kind of merchandise. Vaisyas were often vegetarian, and zealous in religious observance, they have a particular devotion to Laksmi, the goddess of wealth. A.G.H.


Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p.1013