A brief investigation about the views and role of Raghunandana and Ānandabhaṭṭa on the existence of Kṣatriyas and Vaiśyas in the Kali Yuga

Warning note:This post is not intended to argue against varṇāśrama,but is meant as a preliminary inquiry into the how people viewed themselves in an idealized hierarchical setup.

Anandabhatta presented the Ballālacarita to the influential Kayastha landlord of Nabadwip (navadvīpādhipati) Buddhimanta Khan in 1510 CE. In the 23rd chapter of the second part of the Ballālacarita he is clearly aware of various lines with well recognized kṣatriya and vaiṣya status that are clearly lines of the recent Kaliyuga and not some pre-Mahapadma-Nanda or pre-Paraśurāma era.(some notable kṣatriya lines of unambiguously this era that he names seems to be: Mauryas,Chauhans,Paramaras,Chalukyas,Silharas,etc). He lists the kṣatriya lines as Sūryavaṃśin,Candravamśin,descendants of Kadru and Vinātā and from Prithu. He also names a Candravamśi line of vaiśyas and gives a partial contemporary list of famous vaiśya communities before scathingly mentioning the suvarṇa-vāniks,who were reduced to śudra status by Ballālasena in the course of their conflict with him.
Raghunandana is born in 1510 CE with his literary activity centred in Nabadwip(and presumably patronized by the same influential Kayastha landlords’ line) and lived uptil 1580(using Kane’s dating at the time). Given the changing political scenario at that time(Bengal coming under Mughal rule) it is more likely he recieved local Kayastha landlord patronage(which was influential and powerful enough to integrate even Rajputs from outside Bengal into it:The case of Purandar Basu Khan integrating the Rajput chieftains Surasimha and Rudrasimha into the Kayastha samaj of Western Bengal(Dakshin Rarh)) rather than needing to Muslim patronage. He(Raghunandana) likely did not have access to the same resources as Anandabhatta and thus stated,extrapolating from what he saw around him in his specific region of Bengal that there were no varṇas except brāhmaṇas and śudras (and he extrapolates this situation backward to being in vogue since the time of Mahāpadma Nanda the son of Mahānandin). I do not have enough data to speculate on why he did not have more data about jātis of other regions and their statuses or the social setups of other prāntas. I am reproducing his quotation from Kane’s work below(from the Śuddhitattva).

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