Wednesday, October 26, 2016

885. Only Enjoyment No Ethics….Carvaka Style!!!

The doctrine of Materialistic Philosophy called Lokayata existed since ages. This school of thought finds place in the Nastika (atheist) Darshana (vision). The followers of this doctrine are called Carvakas, Caru (Attractive) Vak (Talk). 
Let us know how this school of thought emerged. 

During the Vedic Era a group of people started to oppose the Vedic way of living. My guess is that they were opposing to the Karmakhanda (Ritualistic section of Veda). This group called themselves “Sharmana Tradition” and out of it sprouted Jaina and Bauddha. They rejected Vedas but believed in Atma (Consciousness) and Karma Siddhanta (Theory of Destiny).

Over the period of time a few among this Sharmana tradition felt that karma doctrine is fallacy and believed in fatalism (Cosmic Determination) that everything that is happening is predetermined. They called themselves Ajivika (Philosophy of Lifeless beings). They rejected Vedas and Karma but accepted that every living being is an Atma and they called it “Jeevi.”

Further these a few from this sect rejected the concept of Atma (Consciousness) and said that this body is made of four elements namely Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Ether (Space) was left out as they believed in only what is perceivable. For them that which is not perceived does not exist. So Heaven, Hell, Consciousness, Virtues and Values which were not visible were not existent. The only goal was to enjoy pleasure and avoid pain. 

“If a man goes north of Ganga and stole or tortured or murdered or plundered or even set fire to a house, he would not accumulate bad karma. If a person goes south of Ganga and gave charity or helped a disabled or healed the sick, he would not accumulate good Karma. You are a combination of Four elements when you die everything is over. Once this present body is burnt to ashes after death there is no question of having a next life. So as long as you live, live happily. Borrow money and live a happy life, for when you are dead, they can’t pursue” says an advocate of materialism.  It is like lighting a cigarette from the flames of a burning house. 

This school of thought was widely acknowledged to have been influential in the development of Indian thought over a considerable period; but it was not wholly accepted. 


Let us analyse, Sanatana Dharma which reflected on Vedas had Karmakhanda (section of Ritual) and Jnanakhanda (section of Knowledge). A few who opposed Karmakanda rejected Jnanakanda too. Jnana is acquired by six Pramanas (Means of Knowledge). They are as follows:

1. Pratyaksha (Perception) this means is the only one which is acknowledged by carvakas. It is direct cognition with the help of five senses. Like for example seeing fire and knowing about it. 

2. Anumana (Inference) is a logical process of knowing things. Which carvakas never accepted like if there is smoke on the mountain we conclude there is fire on the mountain. So according to carvakas if the wife is not at home and has gone to market to buy veggies she does not exist.

3. Upamana (Comparison) is a process of knowing by observing the similarities. If I have a cow at my home and see the same looking animal elsewhere I know it is a cow. 

4. Arthapatti (Postulation) is a process of knowing by presumption. The shop is closed at 1 P.M so the owner has gone for lunch.    

5. Anupalabdhi (Non-Apprehension) is process of knowing by unavailability. The vehicle parked by my friend is no more there so he must have left the place. 
6. Sabda (verbal Testimony) is process of knowing through scriptures. Some person who had touched fire writes it down, touching fire burns. I need to know by those words I need not touch the fire and feel the burn.  

With only pratyaksha as the means to knowledge Carvaka philosophy could not move on forward.

No comments:

Post a Comment