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Studies on the Carvaka/Lokayata


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The first attempt at a scientific study of the Carvaka/Lokayata, the materialist system of philosophy that flourished in ancient India between the eighth and the twelfth century CE.

‘Studies on the Carvaka/Lokayata’ is the first attempt at a scientific study of the Carvaka/Lokayata, the materialist system of philosophy that flourished in ancient India between the eighth and the twelfth century CE. This study seeks to disprove certain notions about the Carvaka/Lokayata, particularly the following: that the Carvaka-s did not approve of any other instrument of cognition except perception; and that they advocated unalloyed sensualism and hedonism. This volume also seeks to establish the fact that there existed a pre-Carvaka school of materialism in India, although there is no way to prove that the Carvaka system grew out of it.

Preface; Acknowledgements; Abbreviations; I. Origin of Materialism in India: Royal or Popular?; II. Jain Sources for the Study of Pre-Carvaka Materialist Ideas in India; III. Ajita Kesakambala: Nihilist or Materialist?; V. Perception and Inference in the Carvaka Philosophy; V. Commentators of the ‘Carvakasutra’; VI. Carvaka Fragments: New Collection; VII. On the Authenticity of an Alleged Carvaka Aphorism; VIII. ‘Paurandarasutra’ Revisited; X. What Did the Carvaka-s Mean by ‘sukham jivet’?; X. Samkhya, Yoga and Lokayata in the ‘Kautiliya Arthasastra’: A Re-View; XI. Yogacara Against the Carvaka: Critical Survey of ‘Tattvasamgraha’, Chapter 22; XII. Jayantabhatta’s Representation of the Carvaka: Critique; XIII. What does Udayana mean by ‘lokavyavaharasiddha iti carvakah’?; XIV. Hemacandra on the Carvaka: Study; XV. Haribhadra’s ‘Saddarsanasamuccaya’, Verses 81-84: Study’ XVI. The Significance of ‘Lokayata’ in Pali; XVII. On ‘Lokayata’ and ‘Lokayatana’ in Buddhist Sanskrit; XVIII. ‘Lokayata’ and ‘Lokayatana’ in Sanskrit Dictionaries; XIX. ‘rnam krtva ghrtam pibet’ –Who Said This?; XX. ‘jivika dhatṛnirmita or jiviketi brhaspatih?’; XXI. ‘mrtanamapi jantunam...’; XXII. Carvaka/Lokayata Philosophy: Perso-Arabic Sources; XXIII. What is meant by ‘Nastika’ in the ‘Nyayasutra’ Commentary?; Bibliography



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Published 15 December 2011
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Cultural, Historical and Textual Studies of Religions
The volumes featured in the AnthemCultural, Historical and Textual Studies of Religionsseries are the expression of an international community of scholars committed to the reshaping of the field of textual and historical studies of religions. Titles in this series examine practice, ritual, and other textual religious products, crossing different area studies and time frames. Featuring a vast range of interpretive perspectives, this innovative series aims to enhance the way we look at religious traditions.
Series Editor
Federico Squarcini, University of Firenze, Italy
Editorial Board
Piero Capelli, University of Venezia, Italy Vincent Eltschinger, ICIHA, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria Christoph Emmrich, University of Toronto, Canada James Fitzgerald, Brown University, USA Jonardon Ganeri, University of Sussex, UK Barbara A. Holdrege, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA Sheldon Pollock, Columbia University, USA Karin Preisendanz, University of Vienna, Austria Alessandro Saggioro, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy Cristina Scherrer-Schaub, University of Lausanne and EPHE, France Romila Thapar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India Ananya Vajpeyi, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA Marco Ventura, University of Siena, Italy Vincenzo Vergiani, University of Cambridge, UK
Ramkrishna Bhattacharya
Anthem Press An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company www.anthempress.com
This edition first published in UK and USA 2011 by ANTHEM PRESS 75-76 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HA, UK or PO Box 9779, London SW19 7ZG, UK and 244 Madison Ave. #116, New York, NY 10016, USA
Copyright © Ramkrishna Bhattacharya 2011
The author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work. Graphics and layout © Marianna Ferrara
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ISBN-13: 978 0 85728 433 4 (Hbk) ISBN-10: 0 85728 433 9 (Hbk)
This title is also available as an eBook.
Professor Mrinal Kanti Gangopadhyaya a never-failing friend
Studies on the Cārvāka/Lokāyata
Origin of Materialism in India: Royal or Popular?
Jain Sources for the Study of Pre-Cārvāka Materialist Ideas in India
Ajita Kesakambala: Nihilist or Materialist?
Perception and Inference in the Cārvāka Philosophy
Commentators of theCārvākasūtra
Cārvāka Fragments: A New Collection
VII.the Authenticity of an Alleged Cārvāka Aphorism On
IX. What Did the Cārvāka-s Mean bysukhaṃ jīvet?
Studies on the Cārvāka/Lokāyata
Sāṃkhya, Yoga and Lokāyata in theKauṭilīyaArthaśāstra: A Re-View
Yogācāra against the Cārvāka: A Critical Survey ofTattvasaṅgraha, Chapter 22
Jayantabhaṭṭa’s Representation of the Cārvāka: A Critique
What does Udayana Mean by lokavyavahārasiddha iti cārvākāḥ?
Hemacandra on the Cārvāka: A Survey
Haribhadra’sṢaḍdarśanasamuccaya, Verses 81-84: A Study
The Significance ofLokāyatain Pali
XVII. OnLokāyataandLokāyatana in Buddhist Sanskrit
XVIII.LokāyataandLokāyatana in Sanskrit Dictionaries XIX.ṛṇaṃ kṛtvā ghṛtaṃ pibet:Who Said This?
jīvikā dhātṛnirmitāorjīviketi bṛhaspatiḥ?
mṛtānāmapi jantūnām...
XXII.Philosophy: Cārvāka/Lokāyata  Perso-Arabic Sources XXIII.What isMeant bynāstikain theNyāyasūtra Commentary?
I started writing on the Cārvāka, the most uncompromis-ing materialist school of philosophy in ancient India, from 1995 and have continued to work on its different aspects. My researches on this subject are now being offered in a revised and enlarged form, thanks to the interest shown by Dr Federico Squarcini, Florence University. Each chapter is meant to be read separately, hence some repetitions have been retained. In some cases, references have been made to other chapters. This makes every chap-ter self-complete and, at the same time, helps readers follow my line of argument. Admittedly, there is paucity of material relating to the Cārvāka. Still, as in the case of the Presocratic philosophers of Greece, it is possible to reconstruct the basic tenets of this system on the basis of whatever little is found in the works of its opponents and the extracts quoted by them. Notwith-standing distortions, the Cārvāka/Lokāyata has emerged as the lone contender against the pro-Vedic Brahminical schools on the one hand, and the non-Vedic Buddhist and Jain schools on the other. Besides the orthodoxy prevailing around the Vedas, belief in after-life and after-world has been the bone of contention. This will be evident from the way I have arranged the Cārvāka fragments in Chapter 6.
Studies on the Cārvāka/Lokāyata
My endeavour has been to disprove certain notions about the Cārvāka/Lokāyata —two of which are generally admitted as being beyond doubt. They are as follows: (a) the Cārvāka-s did not approve of any other instrument of cognition except perception, and (b) they advocated unal-loyed sensualism and hedonism. I have tried to show that both the charges are groundless calumnies. As to the first charge, there is enough evidence to show that the Cārvāka-s, in spite of their difference of opinion in other areas, did admit inference in so far as it was grounded on perception. As to the second charge, my contention is that no authentic Cārvāka aphorisms have been cited by the opponents of the Cārvāka to support their view, Moreover, the same charge was brought also against Epicurus, despite the fact that he disapproved of sensual gratification as the end of life. The common belief that all materialists are nothing but sensual-ists is a misconception. It has also been my endeavour to establish the fact that there existed a pre-Cārvāka school of materialism in India, although there is no way to prove that the Cārvāka system grew out of it. On the other hand, if the evidence provid-ed by theManimekalai (and indirectly supported by the Mahābhārata) is admitted, the two schools seem to have con-tinued to exist side by side. The chief difference between the two is that the earlier materialists took the number of elements to be five (earth, air, fire, water and space) while the Cārvāka-s admitted only the first four. It is now for the readers to judge how far I have succeeded in my attempts.