The Vaisya, or trading caste of Manu, has no longer any separate existence; but its place is occupied by several well-marked classes.
The land being appropriated by the conquerors, husbandry, as the most respectable industrial occupation, became the legitimate calling of the Aryan settler, the Vaisya; whilst handicrafts, gradually multiplying with advancing civilization and menial service, were assigned to the subject race.
Thus," the prejudice against eating cooked food that has been touched by a man of an inferior caste is so strong that, although the Shastras do not prohibit the eating of food cooked by a Kshatriya or Vaisya, yet the Brahmans, in most parts of the country, would not eat such food.
Though the ranks of the priesthood were for ever firmly closed against intruders, a man of lay birth, a Kshatriya or Vaisya, whose mind revolted against the orthodox creed, and whose heart was stirred by mingled zeal and ambition, might find through these irregular orders an entrance to the career of a religious teacher and reformer.
The word arya- is not found as a national name in the Rig Veda, but appears in the Vajasaneyi-sainhita, where it is explained by Mahidhara as Vaisya-, a cultivator or a man of the third among the original four classes of the population.