From Devdutt Pattanaik’s retelling of the Ramayana:
The education of Rama, Bharata, Shratrughna and Lakshman:
When Dashratha had asked the rishi Vasishtha to teach his four sons the ways of kings, Vasishtha had said, ‘I will try my best to make them brahmin.’
‘But I am a king, my sons are princes, they must be trained to be rulers, not priests,’ Dashratha responded in alarm.
‘You confuse brahmin-jati with brahmin-varna,’ Vasishtha had clarified. ‘He of brahmin-jati is a priest, transmitter of hymns and rituals of the Veda. He of brahmin-varna is one who inspires the Brahma of limited mind to move towards being brahman of limitless mind. Whether priest or warrior, farmer, herder or trader, man or woman, everyone must expand their minds, rise from the mindset of a follower to the mindset of a trader to the mindset of a master to the mindset of a seer.
‘How can a king be a servant or trader or a master of a seer?’ wondered Dashratha.
Vasishtha said, ‘A king is a servant when he mimics other kings without understanding. A king is a trader when he uses rules to get all the things that he desires. A king is a master when he uses rules to impose his thoughts on those around him. A king is a seer when he understands the thought behind the rules and so appreciates the many reasons why a rule is followed and why another rule is not. For the king with a mind of a brahmin, rules are merely functional, they are never right or wrong, and like all actions they have consequences. For him rules are not tools or power to dominate or control. For him rules are merely instruments of society that enable even the weakest to have what is otherwise cornered by the strongest.’
‘May you make my sons brahmin,’ said Dashratha on being enlightened so.
The education of Sita:
Sita’s father never knew the world that was the kitchen. Sita’s mother never knew the world that was the court. But Sita realized she knew both. This is how the mind expands, she thought to herself. This is how Brahma becomes the brahman. She was a brahmin, she realized, seeker of wisdom as well as transmitter of wisdom. And that thought made her smile.