A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 3

by Surendranath Dasgupta | 1940 | 232,512 words | ISBN-13: 9788120804081

Vol. III contains an elaborate account of the principal dualistic and pluralistic systems such as the philosophy of the Pancaratra. Bhaskara, Yamuna, Ramanuja, Nimbarka, Vijnanabhiksu and philosophical speculations of some of the selected Puranas. This is the third of five volumes, that were originally published between 1922 and 1955. In these vol...

Appendix I - The Lokāyata, Nāstika and Cārvāka

The materialistic philosophy known as the Lokāyata, the Cārvāka or the Bārhaspatya is probably a very old school of thought. In the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad a number of heretical views are referred to and among these we find the doctrine which regarded matter or the elements (bhūtāni) as the ultimate principle. The name Lokāyata is also fairly old. It is found in Kautilya’s Artha-śāstra, where it is counted with Śamkhya and Yoga as a logical science (ānvīkṣikī)[1]. Rhys Davids has collected a number of Pāli passages in which the word Lokāyata occurs and these have been utilized in the discussion below[2].

Buddhaghoso speaks of Lokāyata as a vitaṇḍā-vāda-satthaṃ[3]. Vitaṇḍā means tricky disputation and it is defined in the Nyāya-sūtra, i. 2. 3, as that kind of tricky logical discussion (jalpa) which is intended only to criticize the opponent’s thesis without establishing any other counter-thesis (sā pratipakṣa-sthāpanā-hīnā vitaṇḍā), and it is thus to be distinguished from vāda which means a logical discussion undertaken in all fairness for upholding a particular thesis. Vitaṇḍā, however, has no thesis to uphold, but is a kind of jalpa or tricky argument which seeks to impose a defeat on the opponent by wilfully giving a wrong interpretation of his words and arguments (chala), by adopting false and puzzling analogies (jāti), and thus to silence or drive him to self-contradiction and undesirable conclusions (nigraha-sthāna) by creating an atmosphere of confusion. But vitaṇḍā cannot then be a vāda, for vāda is a logical discussion for the ascertainment of truth, and thus the word vitaṇḍā-vāda would be self-contradictory. Jayanta, however, points out that the Buddhists did not make any distinction between a pure logical argument and a tricky disputation and used the same word vāda to denote both these forms of argument[4].

This explains why Lokāyata, though consisting merely of vitaṇḍā, could also be designated as vāda in Buddhist literature. A few examples of this vitaṇḍā are given by Buddhaghoso in the same commentary in explaining the term “loka-khāyikā” (lit. “popular story,” but “popular philosophy” according to P.T.S. Pāli Dictionary) —the crows are white because their bones are white, the geese are red because their blood is red[5].

Such arguments are there designated as being vitaṇḍā-sallāpa-kathā, where sallāpa and kathā together mean conversational talk, sallāpa being derived from sam and lap. According to the definitions of the Nyāya-sūtra, 2. 18, these would not be regarded as instances of vitaṇḍā but of jāti, i.e. inference from false analogies where there is no proper concomitance, and not vitaṇḍā as just explained.

Rhys Davids quotes another passage from the Sadda-nīti of the Aggavaṃsa (early twelfth century) which, in his translation, runs as follows:

Loka means ‘the common world’ (bāla-loka).

Lokāyata means ‘āyatanti, ussāhanti vāyamanti vādassadenāti’; that is, they exert themselves about it, strive about it, through the pleasure they take in discussion.

Or perhaps it means ‘the world does not make any effort (yatati) by it,’ that it does not depend on it, move on by it (na yatati na īhati vā).

For living beings (sattā) do not stir up their hearts (cittaṃ na uppādenti) by reason of that book (taṃ higandhaṃ nissāya)[6].”

Now the Lokāyata is the book of the unbelievers (titthia-satthaṃ yaṃ loke vitaṇḍā-sattham uccati), full of such useless disputations as the following:

“All is impure; all is not impure; the crow is white, the crane is black; and for this reason or for that”

— the book which is known in the world as the vitaṇḍā-sattha, of which the Bodhisattva, the incomparable leader, Vidhura the Pundit, said:

“Follow not the Lokāyata, that works not for the progress in merit[7].”

Thus, from the above and from many other passages from the Pāli texts it is certain that the Lokāyata means a kind of tricky disputation, sophistry or casuistry practised by the non-Buddhists which not only did not lead to any useful results but did not increase true wisdom and led us away from the path of Heaven and of release. The common people were fond of such tricky discourses and there was a systematic science (śāstra or sattha) dealing with this subject, despised by the Buddhists and called the vitaṇḍā-sattha[8]. Lokāyata is counted as a science along with other sciences in Dīghanikāya, hi. i. 3, and also in Aṅguttara, 1. 163, and in the Divyāvadāna it is regarded as a special branch of study which had a bhāṣya and a pravacana (commentaries and annotations on it)[9].

There seems to be a good deal of uncertainty regarding the meaning of the word Lokāyata. It consists of two words, loka and āyata or ayata\ āyata may be derived as ā+yaṃ+kta or from ā+yat (to make effort)+a either in the accusative sense or in the sense of the verb itself, and ayata is formed with the negative particle a and yat (to make effort). On the passage in the Agga-vaṃsa which has already been referred to, it is derived firstly as a+yatanti (makes great effort) and the synonyms given are ussāhanti vāyamanti, and secondly as a+yatanti, i.e. by which people cease to make efforts (tena loko na yatati na īhati vā iokā-yatarn). But Prof. Tucci quotes a passage from Buddhaghoso’s Sārattha-pakāsinī where the word āyata is taken in the sense of āyatana (basis), and lokāyata according to this interpretation means “the basis of the foolish and profane world[10].”

The other meaning of lokāyata would be lokeṣu āyata, i.e. that which is prevalent among the common people, and this meaning has been accepted by Cowell in his translation of Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha and here the derivation would be from a+yam+kta (spreading over)[11].

The Amara-koṣa only mentions the word and says that it is to be in the neuter gender as lokāyatam. It seems that there are two lokāyata words. One as adjective meaning “prevalent in the world or among the common people” and another as a technical word meaning “the science of disputation, sophistry and casuistry” (vitaṇḍā-vāda-satthaṃ); but there seems to be no evidence that the word was used to mean “nature-lore,” as suggested by Rhys Davids and Franke, or “polity or political science” as suggested by other scholars. The Śukra-nīti gives a long enumeration of the science and arts that were studied and in this it counts the nāstika-śāstra as that which is very strong in logical arguments and regards all things as proceeding out of their own nature and considers that there are no Vedas and no god[12].

Medhātithi, in commenting upon Manu, vii. 43, also refers to the tarka-vidyā of the Cārvākas, and all the older references that have been discussed show that there was a technical science of logic and sophistry called the Lokāyata. Fortunately we have still further conclusive evidence that the Lokāyata-śāstra with its commentary existed as early as the time of Kātyāyana, i.e. about 300 B.C. There is a Vārtika rule associated with vii. 3. 45 “varṇaka-tāntave upasaṃkhyānam,” that the word varṇaka becomes varṇakā in the feminine to mean a blanket or a wrapper (prāvaraṇa), and Patañjali (about 150 B.C.), in interpreting this vārtika sutra, says that the object of restricting the formation of the word varṇaka only to the sense of a cotton or woollen wrapper is that in other senses the feminine form would be varṇikā or varttikā (e.g. meaning a commentary) as in the case of the Bhāguri commentary on the Lokāyata—varṇikā bhāguri-lokāyatasya, vartikā bhāguri lokāyatasya[13].

Thus it seems to be quite certain that there was a book called the Lokāyata on which there was at least one commentary earlier than 150 B.C. or even earlier than 300 B.C., the probable date of Kātyāyana, the author of the vārttika-sūtra. Probably this was the old logical work on disputation and sophistry, for no earlier text is known to us in which the Lokāyata is associated with materialistic doctrines as may be found in later literature, where Cārvāka and Lokāyata are identified[14].

Several sūtras are found quoted in the commentaries of Kamalaśīla, Jayanta, Prabhācandra, Guṇaratna, etc. from the seventh to the fourteenth century and these are attributed by some to Cārvāka by others to Lokāyata and by Guṇaratna (fourteenth century) to Bṛhaspati[15].

Kamalaśīla speaks of two different commentaries on these sūtras on two slightly divergent lines which correspond to the division of dhūrta Cārvāka and suśikṣita Cārvāka in the Nyāya-mañjarī. Thus it seems fairly certain that there was at least one commentary on the Lokāyata which was probably anterior to Patañjali and Kātyāyana; and by the seventh century the lokāyata or the Cārvāka-sūtras had at least two commentaries representing two divergent schools of interpretation. In addition to this there was a work in verse attributed to Bṛhaspati, quotations from which have been utilized for the exposition of the Cārvāka system in the Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha. It is difficult, however, to say how and when this older science of sophistical logic or of the art of disputation became associated with materialistic theories and revolutionary doctrines of morality, and came to be hated by Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism alike. Formerly it was hated only by the Buddhists, whereas the Brahmins are said to have learnt this science as one of the various auxiliary branches of study[16].

It is well known that the cultivation of the art of disputation is very old in India. The earliest systematic treatise of this is to be found in the Caraka-saṃhitā (first century A.D.) which is only a revision of an earlier text (Agniveśa-saṃhitā), which suggests the existence of such a discussion in the first or the second century B.C. if not earlier. The treatment of this art of disputation and sophistry in the Nyāya-sūtras is well known. Both in the Āyur-veda and in the Nyāya people made it a point to learn the sophistical modes of disputation to protect themselves from the attacks of their opponents. In the Kathā-vatthu also we find the practical use of this art of disputation. We hear it also spoken of as hetu-vāda and copious reference to it can be found in the Mahābhārata[17].

In the Aśva-medha-parvan of the Mahābhārata we hear of hetu-vādins (sophists or logicians) who were trying to defeat one another in logical disputes[18]. Perhaps the word vākovākya in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad, vii. 1. 2, vii. 2. 1, vii. 7. 1, also meant some art of disputation. Thus it seems almost certain that the practice of the art of disputation is very old. One other point suggested in this connection is that it is possible that the doctrine of the orthodox Hindu philosophy, that the ultimate truth can be ascertained only by an appeal to the scriptural texts, since no finality can be reached by arguments or inferences, because what may be proved by one logician may be controverted by another logician and that disproved by yet another logician, can be traced to the negative influence of the sophists or logicians who succeeded in proving theses which were disproved by others, whose findings were further contradicted by more expert logicians[19].

There were people who tried to refute by arguments the Vedic doctrines of the immortality of souls, the existence of a future world either as rebirth or as the pitṛ-yāna or the deva-yāna, the efficacy of the Vedic sacrifices and the like, and these logicians or sophists (haituka) who reviled the Vedas were called nāstikas. Thus, Manu says that the Brahmin who through a greater confidence in the science of logic (hetu-śāstra) disregards the authority of the Vedas and the smṛti are but nāstikas who should be driven out by good men[20].

The Bhāgavata-purāṇa again says that one should neither follow the Vedic cult, nor be a heretic (pāṣaṇḍī, by which the Buddhists and Jains were meant), nor a logician (haituka) and take the cause of one or the other party in dry logical disputations[21]. Again, in Manu, iv. 30, it is said that one should not even speak with the heretics (pāṣaṇḍino), transgressors of caste disciplines (vikarmasthān), hypocrites (vaiḍāla-vratika), double-dealers and sophists (haituka)[22]. These haitukas, sophists or logicians thus indulged in all kinds of free discussions and controverted the Vedic doctrines. They could not be the Naiyāyikas or the Mīmāmsists who were also sometimes called haituka and tarkī because they employed their logical reasonings in accordance with the Vedic doctrines[23]. Thus we reach another stage in our discussion in which we discover that the haitukas used sophistical reasonings not only in their discussions, but also for repudiating the Vedic, and probably also the Buddhistic doctrines, for which they were hated both by the Vedic people and the Buddhists; and thus the sophistical or logical science of disputation and criticism of Vedic or Buddhistic doctrines grew among the Brahmanic people and was cultivated bv the Brahmins. This is testified by Manu, 11. 11, where Brahmins are said to take this hetu-śāstra, and this also agrees with Aṅguttara, 1. 163, and other Buddhistic texts.

But who were these nāstikas and were they identical with the haitukas ? The word is irregularly formed according to Panini’s rule, iv. 460 (asti-nāsti-diṣṭaṃ matiḥ). Patañjali, in his commentary, explains the word āstika as meaning one who thinks “it exists” and nāstika as one who thinks “it does not exist.” Javāditya, in his Kāśikā commentary on the above sūtra, explains āstika as one who believes in the existence of the other world (para-loka), nāstika as one who does not believe in its existence, and diṣṭika as one who believes only what can be logically demonstrated[24].

But we have the definition of nāstika in Manu’s own words as one who controverts the Vedic doctrines (veda-nindaka[25]). Thus the word nāstika means, firstly, those who do not believe in the existence of the other world or life after death, and, secondly, those who repudiate the Vedic doctrines. These two views, however, seem to be related to each other, for a refusal to believe in the Vedic doctrines is equivalent to the denial of an after-life for the soul and also of the efficacy of the sacrifice. The nāstika view that there is no other life after the present one and that all consciousness ceases with death seems to be fairly well established in the Upaniṣadic period; and this view the Upaniṣads sought to refute. Thus, in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad Naciketa says that there are grave doubts among the people whether one does or does not exist after death, and he was extremely anxious to have a final and conclusive answer from Yama, the lord of death[26].

Further on Yama says that those who are blinded with greed think only of this life and do not believe in the other life and thus continually fall victims to death[27]. Again, in the Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad (11. 4. 12, iv. 5. 13) a view is referred to by Yājñavalkya that consciousness arises from the elements of matter and vanishes along with them and that there is no consciousness after death[28]. Jayanta says in his Nyāya-mañjarī that the Lokāyata system was based on views expressed in passages like the above which represent only the opponent’s (pūrva-pakṣa) view[29]. Jayanta further states in the same passage that no duties are prescribed in the lokāyata ; it is only a work of tricky disputation (vaitaṇḍika-kathai’vā’sau) and not an āgatna[30].

References to the nāstikas are found also in the Buddhist literature. The P.T.S. Pāli Dictionary explains the meaning of the word natthika as one who professes the motto of “natthi,” a sceptic, nihilist, and natthika-diṭṭhi as scepticism or nihilistic view. It may, however, seem desirable here to give brief accounts of some of the heretics referred to in Buddhistic literature who could in some sense or other be regarded as sceptics or nihilists. Let us first take up the case of Pūraṇa Kassapa described in Dīgha Nikāya, II. 16, 17. Buddhaghoso, in commenting on the Dīgha Nikāya, I I. 2, in his Sumaṅgala-vilāsinī, says that, in a family which had ninety-nine servants, Kassapa was the hundredth servant and he having thus completed (pūraṇa) the hundredth number was called by his master pūraṇa (the completer), and Kassapa was his family name. He fled away from the family and on the way thieves robbed him of his cloth and he somehow covered himself with grass and entered a village. But the villagers finding him naked thought him to be a great ascetic and began to treat him with respect. From that time he became an ascetic and five hundred people turned ascetics and followed him.

King Ajātaśatru once went to this Purāṇa Kassapa and asked him what was the visible reward that could be had in this life by becoming a recluse, and Pūraṇa Kassapa replied as follows:

“To him who acts, O king, or causes another to act, to him who mutilates or causes another to mutilate, to him who punishes or causes another to punish, to him who causes grief or torment, to him who trembles or causes others to tremble, to him who kills a living creature, who takes what is not given, who breaks into houses, who commits dacoity, or robbery, or highway robbery, or adultery, or who speaks lies, to him thus acting there is no guilt. If with a discus with an edge sharp as a razor he should make all the living creatures on the earth one heap, one mass of flesh, there would be no guilt thence resulting, no increase of guilt would ensue.

Were he to go along the south bank of the Ganges giving alms and ordering gifts to be given, offering sacrifices or causing them to be offered, there would be no merit thence resulting, no increase of merit. In generosity, in self-mastery, in -control of the senses, in speaking truth, there is neither merit, nor increase of merit. Thus, Lord, did Pūraṇa Kassapa, when asked what was the immediate advantage in the life of a recluse, expound his theory of non-action (akiriyam)[31].”

This theory definitely repudiates the doctrine of karma and holds that there is neither virtue nor vice and thus no action can lead to any fruit[32]. This is what is here called the doctrine of akiriya and it is in a way an answer to the question what may be the visible reward in this life of being a recluse. Since there is neither virtue nor vice, no action can produce any meritorious or evil effect—this is one kind of nātthikavāda. But it is wrong to confuse this akiriya[33] doctrine with the doctrine of inactivity (akāraka-vāda) attributed to Sāṃkhya by Śīlāṅka in his commentary on Sūtra-kṛtāñga-sūtra, I. I. 13. That akāraka doctrine refers to the Sāṃkhya view that the souls do not participate in any kind of good or bad deeds[34].

Let us now turn to another nihilistic teacher, viz. Ajita Keśa-kambalī. His doctrines are briefly described in Dīgha, 11. 22-24, where Ajita says:

“There is no such thing as alms or sacrifice or offering. There is neither fruit nor result of good or evil deeds. There is no such thing as this world or the next (n’atthi ayaṃ loko na paro loko). There is neither father nor mother, nor beings springing into life without them. There are in the world no recluses or Brahmins who have reached the highest point, who walk perfectly and who, having understood and realized, by themselves alone, both this world and the next, make their wisdom known to others.

A human being is built up of the four elements; when he dies the earth in him returns and relapses to the earth, the fluid to the water, the heat to the fire, his wind to the air, and his faculties pass into space. The four bearers, with the bier as the fifth, take the dead body away; till they reach the burning ground men utter eulogies, but there his bones are bleached and his offerings end in ashes. It is a doctrine of fools, this talk of gifts. It is an empty lie, mere idle talk, when men say there is profit therein. Fools and wise alike, on the dissolution of the body, are cut off, annihilated and after death they are not.”[35]

Ajita Keśakambalī was so called because he used to wear a garment made of human hair which was hot in summer and cold in winter and was thus a source of suffering.[35] It is easy to see that Ajita Keśakambalī’s views were very similar to the views of the Cārvākas as known to us from the fragments preserved as quotations and from accounts of them given by other people. Thus, Ajita did not believe in the other world, in virtue or vice, and denied that karmas produced any fruits. He, however, believed in the view that the body was made up of four elements, that there was no soul separate from the body, that with the destruction of the body everything of this life was finished, and that there was no good in the Vedic sacrifices.

Let us now turn to the doctrine of Makkhali Gosāla or Mankhali-putta Gosāla or Makkhali Gosāla who was a contemporary of the Buddha and Mahāvfra. Buddhaghoso says that he was born in a cow-shed (go-sāla). As he grew up he was employed as a servant; while going in the mud to bring oil he was cautioned by his master to take care not to let his feet slip (mākhali) in the mud; but in spite of the caution he slipped and ran away from his master, who, following him in a rage, pulled the ends of his dhoti, which was left in his hands, and Makkhali ran away naked. Thus left naked he afterwards became an ascetic like Pūraṇa Kassapa[36].

According to the Bhagavatī-sūtra, xv. i, however, he was the son of Makkhali who was a mankha (a mendicant who makes his living by showing pictures from house to house) and his mother’s name was Bhaddā. He was born in a cow-shed and himself adopted the profession of a mankha in his youth. At his thirtieth year he met Mahāvlra and after two years he became his disciple and lived with him for six years practising penances. Then they fell out, and Makkhali Gosāla, after practising penances for two years, obtained his Jina-hood while Mahāvlra became a Jina two years after the attainment of Jina-hood by Gosāla.

After this Gosāla continued to be a Jina for sixteen years and Mahāvlra met him at the end of that period in Sāvatthi where there was a quarrel between the two and Gosāla died through fever by the curse of Mahāvlra Hoernle shows in his edition of the text and translation of Uvāsagadasāo, pp. iio-m, that Mahāvlra died in 450-451 B.C. at the age of 56. Makkhali was the founder of the Ājīvaka sect. Ājīvakas are mentioned in the rock-hewn cave (which was given to them) on Barabar hills near Gaya, in the seventh Pillar Edict of Asoka in 236 B.C. and in the rock-hewn caves on Nāgārjuni hill in 227 B.C. in the reign of Asoka’s successor Dāśaratha. They are also mentioned in the Bṛhaj-jātaka (xv. i) of Varāha Mihira in the middle of the sixth century a.d. Silāṅka (ninth century) also refers to them in his commentary on the Sūtra-kṛtāṅga-sūtra (i. i. 3. 12 and I. 3. 3. 11), in which the Ājīvakas are mentioned along with Trai-rāśikas as being followers of Makkhali Gosāla[37].

Halāyudha also mentions the ājīvas as being the same as the Jains in general; but does not distinguish the nirgranthas from the Digambaras or identify the latter with the Ājīvakas as Hoernle says in his article on the Ājīvakas. Hoernle further points out in the same article that in the thirteenth-century inscriptions on the walls of the Perumāl Temple at Poygai near Virinchipuram reference is made to the taxes imposed on the Ājīvakas by the Chola king Rājarāja in the years A.D. 1238, 1239, 1243 and 1259. Thus it is clear that the Ājīvaka school of Makkhali which was started by Makkhali in the fifth century B.C. continued to exist and spread not only in North India but also in South India, and other schools also have developed out of it such as the Trai-rāsikas.

Pāṇini’s grammar has a rule (IV. 1.154), maskara-maskariṇau veṇuparivrājakayoḥ, which signifies that maskara means a bamboo and maskarin a travelling ascetic. Patañjali, however, in commenting on it, says that maskarins were those who advised the nonperformance of actions and held that cessation (śānti) was much better (māskṛta karmāṇi śāntir vah śreyasī ityāha ato maskarīparivrā-jakaḥ).

The word, therefore, does not necessarily mean ekadaṇḍins or those who bore one bamboo staff. The identification of Makkhali with maskarins is therefore doubtful1. It is also very doubtful whether the Ājīvakas can be regarded as the same as Digambara Jains, as Hoernle supposes, for neither Varāha nor Bhottolpala identifies the Ājīvakas with the Jains, and Śīlāṅka treats them as different and not as identical[38].

Halāyudha also does not speak of the Digambaras as Ājīvakas[39]. It is, therefore, very doubtful whether the Ājīvakas could be identified with the Digambara Jains unless by a confusion in later times, probably on account of the fact that both the Digam-baras and the Ājīvakas went about naked[40].

The fundamental tenet of Gośāla appears in more or less the same form in

  • Uvāsagadasāo, I. 97, 115, II. III, 132,
  • Saṃyutta Nikāya, III. 210,
  • Añguttara Nikāya, I. 286
  • and the Dīgha Nikāya, II. 20.

In the last-mentioned work Gosāla is reported to say to king Ajātaśatru: “There is no cause for the sufferings of beings; they therefore all suffer without any cause; there is no cause for the purity (viśuddhi) of beings; they all become pure without any cause; there is no efficiency in one’s own deeds or in the deeds of others (n’atthi atta-kāre na’tthi parakāre) or in one’s free efforts (puriṣa-kāre); there is no power, no energy, no human strength or heroic endeavours (parākkama)[41]. All vertebrates (sabbe sattā), all animals with one or more senses (sabbe pāṇā), all lives emanating from eggs or ovaries (sabbe bhūtā), all vegetable lives, are without any power or efficiency. They become transformed in various forms by their inherent destiny, by their manifestation in various life-forms, and by their different natures (niyati-saṅgati-bhava-pariṇati), and it is in accordance with their six kinds of life-states that they suffer pains and enjoy pleasures.”

Again, in the Sūtra-kṛtāṅga sūtra, n. 6. 7, Gosāla is reported to say that there is no sin for ascetics in having intercourse with women[42]. These doctrines of Gosāla interest us only so far as they may be considered similar to the other nāstika teachings. But unlike other nāstikas, Gosāla believed not only in rebirths but also introduced a special doctrine of reanimation[43]. Several other doctrines which are not of philosophical, ethical or eschatological interest but which refer only to Ājīvaka dogmatics are related both in the Dīgha Nikāya, II. 20, and in the Bhagavatī-sūtra, xv, and have been elaborately dealt with by Hoernle in his article on the Ājīvaka and his translation of the Uvāsagadasāo. The two important points that we need take note of here are that the Ājīvakas who were an important sect did not believe in the efficiency of our will or our karma and regarded sex-indulgence as unobjectionable to recluses. Other heretics are also alluded to in the Sūtra-kṛtāṅga sūtra, I. III. 4. 9-14, where they also are alluded to as having similar tendencies[44].

Thus it is said:

“Some unworthy heretics, slaves of women, ignorant men who are averse to the Law of the Jainas, speak thus:

‘As the squeezing of a blister or boil causes relief for some time, so it is with (the enjoyment of) charming women. How could there be any sin in it? As a ram drinks the quiet water, so it is with (the enjoyment of) charming women. How can there be any sin in it?’

So say some unworthy heretics who entertain false doctrines and who long for pleasures as the ewe for her kid. Those who do not think of the future but only enjoy the present will repent of it afterwards when their life or their youth is gone[45].”

Again, some heretics (identified by Śīlāṅka with the Lokāyata) are reported in the Sūtra-kṛtāṅga-sūtra, n. i. 9-10, as instructing others as follows: Upwards from the sole of the feet up to the bottom of the tips of hair and in all transverse directions the soul is up to the skin; so long as there is the body there is the soul and there is no soul apart from this body, so the soul is identical with the body; when the body is dead there is no soul. When the body is burnt rfo soul is seen and all that is seen is but the white bones. When one draws a sword from a scabbard, one can say that the former lies within the latter, but one cannot say similarly of the soul that it exists in the body; there is in reality no way of distinguishing the soul from the body such that one may say that the former exists in the latter. One can draw the pith from a grass stalk, or bones from flesh or butter from curd, oil from sesamum and so forth, but it is not possible to find any such relation between the soul and the body. There is no separate soul which suffers pains and enjoys pleasures and migrates to the other world after the death of the body, for even if the body is cut into pieces no soul can be perceived, just as no soul can be perceived in a jug even when it is broken to pieces, whereas in the case of a sword it is found to be different from the scabbard within which it is put.

The Lokāyatas thus think that there is no fault in killing living beings, since striking a living body with a weapon is like striking the ground. These Lokāyatas, therefore, cannot make any distinction between good and bad deeds as they do not know of any principle on which such a distinction can be made, and there is thus no morality according to them. Some slight distinction is made between the ordinary nihilists and the haughty nihilists (pragalbha nāstika) who say that if the soul was different from the body then it would have some specific kind of colour, taste or the like, but no such separate entity is discoverable, and therefore it cannot be believed that there is a separate soul.

The Sūtra-kṛtāṅga-sūtra, 11. 1.9 (p. 277), speaks of these Pragalbha Nāstikas as renouncing (niṣkramya) the world and instructing other people to accept their doctrines. But Śīlāṅka says that the Lokāyata system has no form of initiation and thus there cannot be any ascetics of that school; it is the ascetics of other schools such as the Buddhists who sometimes in their ascetic stage read the Lokāyata, became converted to lokāyata views, and preached them to others[46].

After the treatment of the views of the lokāyata nāstikas the Sūtra-kṛtāṅga-sūtra treats of the Sāṃkhyas. In this connection Śīlāṅka says that there is but little difference between the lokāyata and the Sāṃkhya, for though the Sāṃkhyas admit souls, these are absolutely incapable of doing any work, and all the work is done by prakṛti which is potentially the same as the gross elements. The body and the so-called mind is therefore nothing but the combination of the gross elements, and the admission of separate puruṣas is only nominal. Since such a soul cannot do anything and is of no use (akiṃcitkara), the Lokāyatas flatly deny them. Śīlāṅka further says that the Sāṃkhyists, like the Lokāyatikas, do not find anything wrong in injuring animal lives, for after all the living entities are but all material products, the so-called soul being absolutely incapable of taking interest or part in all kinds of activities[47]. Neither the nāstikas nor the Sāṃkhyists can, therefore, think of the distinction between good and bad deeds or between Heaven and Hell, and they therefore give themselves up to all kinds of enjoyments.

Speaking of the lokāyata nāstikas, the Sūtra-kṛtāṅga-sūtras say as follows:

“Thus some shameless men becoming monks propagate a law of their own. And others believe it, put their faith in it, adopt it (saying):

‘Well you speak the truth, O Brahmaṇa (or) O Śramaṇa, we shall present you with food, drink, spices and sweetmeats, with a robe, a bowl, or a broom.’

Some have been induced to honour them, some have made (their proselytes) to honour them. Before (entering an order) they were determined to become Śramaṇas, houseless, poor monks, who would have neither sons nor cattle, to eat only what should be given them by others, and to commit no sins. After having entered their Order they do not cease (from sins), they themselves commit sins and they assent to another’s committing sins. Then they are given to pleasures, amusements and sensual lust; they are greedy, fettered, passionate, covetous, the slaves of love and hate[48].”

But we find references to the lokāyata doctrines not only in the Sūtra-kṛtāṅga-sūtra but also in the Bṛhad-āraṇyaka, the Kaṭha as described above and in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad, vm. 7, 8, where Virocana, the representative of the demons who came to Prajāpati for instruction regarding the nature of self, went away satisfied with the view that the self was identical with the body. Prajāpati asked both Indra and Virocana to stand before a cup of water and they saw their reflections, and Prajāpati told them that it was that well dressed and well adorned body that was the self and both Indra and Virocana were satisfied; but Indra was later on dissatisfied and returned for further instructions, whereas Virocana did not again come back. The Chāndogya Upaniṣad relates this as an old story and says that it is for this reason that those, who at the present time believe only in worldly pleasures and who have no faith (in the efficiency of deeds or in the doctrine of the immortality of the soul) and who do not perform sacrifices, are called demons (asura); and it is therefore their custom to adorn the dead body with fine clothes, good ornaments and provide food for it with which they probably thought that the dead would conquer the other world.

This passage of the Chāndogya seems to be of special importance. It shows that there was a race different from the Aryans, designated here as asuras, who dressed their dead bodies with fine clothes, adorned them with ornaments, provided them with food, so that when there was a resurrection of these dead bodies they might with that food, clothes and ornaments prosper in the other world and it is these people who believed that the body was the only self. The later Lokāyatas or Cārvākas also believed that this body was the self, but the difference between them and these dehātmavādins referred to in the Chāndogya is that they admitted “another world” where the bodies rose from the dead and prospered in the fine clothes, ornaments and food that were given to the dead body. This custom is said to be an asura custom. It seems possible, therefore, that probably the lokāyata doctrines had their beginnings in the preceding Sumerian civilization in the then prevailing customs of adorning the dead and the doctrine of bodily survival after death. This later on became so far changed that it was argued that since the self and the body were identical and since the body was burnt after death, there could not be any survival after death and hence there could not be another world after death. Already in the Kaṭha and the Bṛhad-āraṇyaka we had proof of the existence of people who did not believe in the existence of any consciousness after death and thought that everything ended with death; and in the Chāndogya we find that Virocana believed in the doctrine that the body was the ātman and this doctrine is traced here to the custom of adorning the dead body among the asuras.

The tenets and doctrines of these asuras are described in the Gītā, XVI. 7-18, as follows: The asuras cannot distinguish between right and wrong conduct; they do not have any purity, truthfulness and proper behaviour. They do not think that the world is based on any truth and reality; they do not believe in God and consider all beings to have come out from the desires of the sexes and from nothing more than from mutual sex-relations. These foolish people with such views do harm to the world, engage themselves in ferocious deeds and destroy their own selves (as they have no faith in the other world or in the means thereto)[49]. Full of insatiable desire, egoism, vanity and pride, they take the wrong course through ignorance and live an impure life. They think that existence ends finally at death and that there is nothing beyond this world and its enjoyments, and they therefore give themselves up to earthly enjoyments. Bound with innumerable desires, anger, attachment, etc., they busy themselves in collecting materials of earthly enjoyments through wrong means. They always think of their riches, which they earn daily, and which they accumulate, with which they fulfil their desires in the present or wish to fulfil in the future; of the enemies whom they have destroyed, or whom they wish to destroy; of their powers, their success, their joys, their strength, and so forth.

A doctrine similar to that of the Lokāyatikas is preached by Jābāli in Rāmāyaṇa, 11. 108, where he says that it is a pity that there should be some people who prefer virtue in the other world to earthly goods of this world; the performance of the different sacrifices for the satisfaction of the dead is but waste of food, for being dead no one can eat. If food eaten by people here should be of use to other bodies, then it is better to perform śrāddhas for people who make a sojourn to distant countries than to arrange for their meals. Though intelligent men wrote books praising the merit of gifts, sacrifices, initiation and asceticism, in reality there is nothing more than what is directly perceived by the senses.

In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (i, 6. 29-31) certain people are alluded to who did not believe in the efficacy of the performance of sacrifices and spoke against the Vedas and the sacrifices; and in the Mahābhārata, xn. 186, it has been urged by Bharadvāja that life-func-tions can be explained by purely physical and physiological reasons and that the assumption of a soul is quite unnecessary. In the Mahābhārata references are made also to haitukas who did not believe in the other world; they were people with strong old convictions (dṛḍha-pūrve) who could hardly change their views; they were learned in the Vedas (vahuśruta), were well read in older śāstras, made gifts, performed sacrifices, hated falsehood, were great orators in assemblies, and went among the people explaining their views. This passage reveals a curious fact that even in the Vedic circles there were people who performed sacrifices, made gifts and were well read in the Vedas and in older literature, who despised falsehood, were great logicians and speakers and yet did not believe in anything except what exists in this world (nai’tad astī’ti-vādinaḥ).

We know from the Buddhistic sources that the Brahmins were well versed in the lokāyata learning; we know also that in the Upaniṣadic circles the views of those who did not believe in life after death are referred to and reproached, and the Chāndogya refers to people among whom the doctrine that the self and the body were identical was current as a corollary underlying their custom of adorning the dead. In the Rāmāyaṇa we find that Jāvāli taught the doctrine that there was no life after death and that the ritualistic offerings for the satisfaction of the dead were unnecessary.

In the Gītā we find also the holders of such views referred to, and they are there reported as performing sacrifices only in name, as thev did not adhere to the proper ritualistic course[50]. But in the Mahābhārata certain people are referred to who were well read in the Vedas and other older literature and yet did not believe in the other world and in the immortality of the soul. This shows that this heterodox view (that there was no life after death) was gradually spreading amongst certain sections of the Vedic people, and that though some of them were worthless people who utilized the doctrine only to indulge in sense-gratifications and to live in a lower plane of life, there were others who performed the Vedic practices, were well read in Vedic and other literature and yet did not believe in the doctrine of immortality or in a world beyond the present. Thus, even in those early time§, on the one hand there were in the Vedic circle many moral and learned people who believed in these heretical views, whereas there were also immoral and bad people who lived a vicious life and held such heretical views either tacitly or openly[51].

We thus know that the lokāyata views were very old, probably as early as the Vedas, or still earlier, being current among the Sumerian people of pre-Aryan times. We know further that a commentary on the Lokāyata-śāstra by Bhāgurl was very well known in 200 or 300 B.C., but it is exceedingly difficult to say anything regarding the author of the Lokāyata-śāstra. It is attributed to Bṛhaspati or to Cārvāka[52]. But it is difficult to say who this Bṛhas-pati may have been. One Bṛhaspati-sūtra, a work on polity, has been edited with translation by Dr F. W. Thomas and published from Lahore. In this work the lokāyatas have been mentioned in II. 5, 8, 12, 16, 29, and III. 15. Here they are very severely abused as thieves who regard religion as a mere means of advantage and who are destined to go to Hell. It is therefore absolutely certain that the Bṛhaspati who was the author of these sūtras on polity could not have been the author of the lokāyata science. Nor could it have been the legal writer Bṛhaspati.

In Kautilya’s Artha-śāstra a Bṛhaspati is referred to as a writer on polity, but this must be a different one from the Bārhaspatya-sūtra published by Dr Thomas[53]. The Bṛhaspati of Kautilya’s Artha-śāstra is reported there as admitting agriculture, trade and commerce (vārtā), law and statecraft (daṇḍa-nīti), as the only sciences; in the next passage of the same chapter (Vidyā-samuddeśa) daṇḍa-nīti is regarded as the one subject of study by Uśanas.

In the Prabodha-candro-daya Kṛṣṇa Miśra makes Cārvāka hold the view that law and statecraft are the only sciences and that the science of vārtā (i.e. agriculture, commerce, trade, dairy, poultry, etc.) falls within them. According to this report the Cārvākas took only daṇḍa-nīti and vārtā into account, and thus their views agreed with those of Bṛhaspati and Uśanas, and more particularly with those of the latter. But we cannot from this assume that either Bṛhaspati or Uśanas mentioned by Kautilya could be regarded as the author of the original lokāyata. Bṛhaspati, the author of the Lokāyata-śāstra, is thus a mythical figure, and we have practically no information regarding the originator of the lokāyata system. It is probable that the original lokāyata work was written in the form of sūtras which had at least two commentaries, the earliest of which was probably as early as 300 or 400 B.C. There was at least one metrical version of the main contents of this system from which extracts are found quoted in Mādhava’s Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha and in other places.

It is difficult to say whether Cārvāka was the name of a real person or not. The earliest mention of the name is probably to be found in the Mahābhārata, xii. 38 and 39, where Cārvāka is described as a Rākṣasa in the garb of an ascetic Brahmin with three staffs (tridaṇḍī), but nothing is said there about the doctrine that he professed. In most of the early texts the lokāyata doctrines are either mentioned as the lokāyata view or attributed to Bṛhaspati. Thus, in the Padma Purāṇa in the Sṛṣṭ-khaṇḍa, XII. 318-340, some of the lokāyata doctrines are described as being the instructions of Bṛhaspati. Kamalaśīla, of the eighth century, refers to the Cārvākas as being the adherents of the lokāyata doctrine; the Prabodha-candro-daya speaks of Cārvāka as being the great teacher who propagated through a succession of pupils and pupils of pupils the Lokāyata-śāstra written by Vācaspati and handed over to him.

Mādhava, in his Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha, describes him as one who follows the views of Bṛhaspati and the chief of the nihilists (bṛhaspati-matā-nusāriṇā nāstika-śiromaṇinā). Guṇaratna, however, in his commentary on the Ṣaḍ-darśana-samuccaya, speaks of the Cārvākas as being a nihilistic sect who only eat but do not regard the existence of virtue and vice and do not trust anything else but what can be directly perceived. They drank wines and ate meat and were given to unrestricted sex-indulgence. Each year they gathered together on a particular day and had unrestricted intercourse with women. They behaved like common people and for this reason they were called lokāyata and because they held views originally framed by Bṛhaspati they were also called Bārhaspatya. Thus it is difficult to say whether the word Cārvāka was the name of a real personage or a mere allusive term applied to the adherents of the lokāyata view.

Both Haribhadra and Mādhava have counted the Lokāyata or Cārvāka philosophy as a darśana or system of philosophy. It had a new logic, a destructive criticism of most of the cherished views of other systems of Indian philosophy, a materialistic philosophy, and it denied morality, moral responsibility and religion of every kind.

Let us, therefore, first take up the Cārvāka logic. The Cārvākas admitted the validity only of perception. There is nothing else but what can be perceived by the five senses. No inference can be regarded as a valid means of knowledge, for inference is possible only when the universal concomitance of the reason (hetus) with the probandum is known, and such a reason is known to be existing in the object of the minor term (vyāpti-pakṣa-dharmatā-śāli hi lingaṃ gamakam). Such a concomitance is possible when it is known not only to be unconditional but when there is no doubt in the mind that it could be conditional. Such a concomitance must first be known before an inference is possible; but how can it be known? Not by perception, for concomitance is not an objective entity with which the senses can come in contact. Moreover, the concomitance of one entity with another means that the entities are associated with each other in the past, present and future (sarvo-pasaṃhārayatrī vyāptiḥ), and the sense-organs can have no scope with regard to future associations or even with regard to all past time.

If it is urged that the concomitance is between the class-character (sāmānya-gocaram) of the probandum (e.g. fire) and the class-character of the reason (e.g. smoke), then it is not necessary that the concomitance of the reason with the probandum should have actually to be perceived at all times by the sense-organs. But if the concomitance is between the class-character of smoke and fire, why should any individual fire be associated with every case of smoke? If the concomitance cannot be perceived by the sense-organs, it cannot be perceived by the mind either, for the mind cannot associate itself with the external objects except through the sense-organs. The concomitance cannot be known through inference, for all inference presupposes it. Thus, there being no way of perceiving concomitance, inference becomes impossible. Again, a concomitance which can lead to a valid inference must be devoid of all conditions; but the absence of such conditions in the past or in the future cannot be perceived at the time of making the inference. Moreover, a condition (upādhi) is defined as that which, having an unfailing concomitance with the probandum, has not the same concomitance with the reason (sādhanā-vyāpakatve sati sādhya-sama-vyāptiḥ)[54].

Again it is said that an inference is possible only when the reason (e.g. smoke) is perceived to be associated with the object denoted by the minor term (pakṣa, e.g. hill), but in reality there is no association of the smoke with the hill nor can it be a character of it, for it is a quality of fire. There is no universal agreement between smoke and hill so that one can say that wherever there is a hill there is smoke. Nor can it be said that wherever there is smoke there is both the hill and the fire. When the smoke is first seen it is not perceived as the quality of fire associated with a hill ; therefore it is not enough to say that the reason (e.g. smoke) belongs to the minor term (pakṣa, e.g. hill) as its character (pakṣa-dharma), but that the reason belongs to the minor term associated with the probandum. The assertion that in an inference the reason must be known as a quality of the minor term (pakṣa) has therefore to be interpreted as being a quality of a part of the minor term as associated with the probandum.

A valid inference can be made when the two following conditions are satisfied:

  1. An invariable and unconditional concomitance is known between the reason and the probandum such that in every case when the reason is present the probandum must also be present in all places and in all times, without the association of any determining condition.
  2. That a reason having such a concomitance with the probandum must be known to exist in the minor term (pakṣa) in which the probandum is asserted.

Now the Cārvāka contention is that none of these conditions can be fulfilled and that therefore valid inference is impossible. Firstly, concomitance is ascertained through an experience of a very large number of cases (bhūyo-darśana) of agreement between the reason (hetu) and the probandum (sādhya). But according to the difference of circumstances, time and place, things differ in their power or capacity and thus since the nature and qualities of things are not constant it is not possible that any two entities should be found to agree with each other under all circumstances in all times and in all places[55]. Again, an experience of a large number of cases cannot eliminate the possibility of a future failure of agreement. It is not possible to witness all cases of fire and smoke and thus root out all chances of a failure of their agreement, and if that were possible there would be no need of any inference[56].

The Cārvākas do not admit “universals,” and therefore they do not admit that the concomitance is not between smoke and fire but between smoke-ness (dhūmatva) and fire-ness (vahnitva)[57]. Again, it is impossible to assure oneself that there are no conditions (upādhi) which would vitiate the concomitance between the hetu and the sādhya, for though they may not now be perceivable they may still exist imperceivably[58]. Without a knowledge of agreement in absence (i.e. in a case where there is no fire there is no smoke), there cannot be any assurance of concomitance. It is impossible to exhaust in experience all cases of absence of fire as being also the cases of the absence of smoke. Thus since without such a joint method of agreement in presence and absence the universal invariable concomitance cannot be determined, and since it is not possible to assure oneself of the universal agreement in presence or in absence, the concomitance itself cannot be determined[59].

Purandara, however, a follower of Cārvāka (probably of the seventh century), admits the usefulness of inference in determining the nature of all worldly things where perceptual experience is available; but inference cannot be employed for establishing any dogma regarding the transcendental world, or life after death or the laws of Karma which cannot be available to ordinary perceptual experience[60]. The main reason for upholding such a distinction between the validity of inference in our practical life of ordinary experience, and in ascertaining transcending truths beyond experience, lies in this, that an inductive generalization is made by observing a large number of cases of agreement in presence together with agreement in absence, and no cases of agreement in presence can be observed in the transcendent sphere; for even if such spheres existed they could not be perceived by the senses. Thus, since in the supposed supra-sensuous transcendent world no case of a hetu agreeing with the presence of its sādhya can be observed, no inductive generalization or law of concomitance can be made relating to this sphere[61]. In reply to this contention Vādideva says that such a change may be valid against the Mīm-āmsists who depend upon the joint method of agreement and difference for making any inductive generalization, but this cannot apply against the Jaina view of inference which is based on the principle of necessary implication (anyathā-nupapattāv eva tat-svarū-patvena svīkārāt).

Other objections also made against the possibility of a valid inference are as follows:

  1. impressions made by inferential knowledge are dim and not so vivid (aspaṣṭatvāt) as those produced by perception;
  2. inference has to depend on other things for the determination of its object (svārtha-niścaye parā-pekṣatvāt) ;
  3. inference has to depend on perception (pratyakṣa-pūrvakatvāt);
  4. inferential cognitions are not directly produced by the objects (arthād anupajāyamānatvāt) ;
  5. inference is not concrete (avastu-viṣayatvāt);
  6. it is often found contradicted (bādhyamānatvāt) ;
  7. there is no proof which may establish the law that every case of the presence of the hetu should also be a case of the presence of the sādhya (sādhya-sādhanayoḥ pratibandha-sādhaka-pramāṇā-bhāvād vā)[62].

None of these can be regarded as a reason why inference should be regarded as invalid from the Jaina point of view. For in reply to the first objection it may be pointed out that vividness has never been accepted as a definition of pramāṇa, and therefore its absence cannot take away the validity of an inference; illusory perceptions of two moons are vivid, but are not on that account regarded as valid. Again, an inference does not always depend on perception, and even if it did, it utilized its materials only for its own use and nothing more. Perception also is produced from certain materials, but is not on that account regarded as invalid. The inference is also produced from objects and is as concrete as perception since like it it involves universals and particulars. Again, false inferences are indeed contradicted, but that is no charge against right inferences. The invariable relationship between a hetu and a sādhya can be established through mental reasoning (tarka)[63].

Jayanta points out in this connection that a law of universal agreement of the sādhya with the hetu has to be admitted. For an inference cannot be due to any mere instinctive flash of intelligence (pratibhā). If a knowledge of invariable and unconditional agreement was not regarded as indispensable for an inference, and if it was due to a mere instinctive flash, then the people of the Cocoanut island who do not know how to make fire would have been able to infer fire from smoke. Some say that the invariable association of the hetu with the sādhya is perceived by mental perception (mānasa-pratyakṣa). They hold that in perceiving the association of smoke with fire and the absence of the former when the latter is absent, the mind understands the invariable association of smoke with fire. It is not necessary in order to come to such a generalization that one should perceive the agreement of smoke and fire in all the infinite number of cases in which they exist together, for the agreement observed in the mind is not between smoke and fire but between smoke-ness and fire-ness (jvalanatvā-di-sāmānya-puraḥsaratayā vyāpti-grahaṇāt).

The objection against this view would be the denial of class-concepts as held by the Cārvākas, Buddhists, and others. There are others, again, who say that even if universals are admitted, it is impossible that there should be universals of all cases of absence of fire as associated with the absence of smoke, and under the circumstances unless all positive and negative instances could be perceived the inductive generalization would be impossible. They, therefore, hold that there is some kind of mystic intuition like that of a yogin (yogi-pratyakṣa-kalpaṃ) by which the invariable relation (pratibandha) is realized. Others hold that an experience of a large number of positive instances unaccompanied by any experience of any case of failure produces the notion of concomitance. But the Nyāya insists on the necessity of an experience of a large number of instances of agreement in presence and absence for arriving at any inductive generalization of concomitance[64].

The Cārvākas, of course, say to this that in determining the unconditional invariable agreement of every case of a hetu with its sādhya the absence of visible conditions may be realized by perception; but the possibility of the existence of invisible conditions cannot be eliminated even by the widest experience of agreement in presence, and thus there would always be the fear that the invariable concomitance of the hetu with the sādhya may be conditional, and thus all inference has the value of more or less probability but not of certainty, and it is only through perceptual corroboration that the inferences come to be regarded as valid[65]. The reply of Nyāya to this is that the assertion that inference is not valid is itself an inference based on the similarity of inferential processes with other invalid mental processes. But this does not properly refute the Cārvāka position that inductive generalizations are only probable, and that therefore (as Purandara says) they acquire some amount of validity by being corroborated by experience and that they have no force in spheres where they cannot be corroborated by perceptual experience.

Since the Cārvākas do not attribute any more validity to inference than probability, other forms of pramāṇas, such as the testimony of trusty persons or the scriptures, analogy or implication, also were not regarded as valid. According to Udayana’s statement, the Cārvākas denied the existence of anything that was not perceived, and Udayana points out that if this doctrine is consistently applied and people begin to disbelieve all that they do not perceive at any particular time, then all our practical life will be seriously disturbed and upset[66]. The school of dhūrta Cārvākas, in their Sūtra work, not only denied the validity of inference but criticized the Nyāya categories as enunciated in the Nyāya-sūtra, i. i. i, and tried to establish the view that no such enumeration of categories was possible[67]. It is no doubt true that the Cārvākas admitted perception as the only valid pramāṇa, but since illusions occurred in perception also, ultimately all pramāṇas were regarded as indeterminable by them.

The Cārvākas had to contend on the one hand with those who admitted a permanent soul, such as the Jains, the Naiyāyikas, the Sāṃkhya-yoga and the Mīmāṃsā, and on the other hand with the idealistic Buddhists who believed in a permanent series of conscious states; for the Cārvākas denied all kinds of existence after death. Thus they say that since there is no permanent entity that abides after death, there is no existence after death. As the body, understanding and sense-functions, are continually changing, there cannot be any existence after death, and hence no separate soul can be admitted. According to some, Cārvākas consciousness is produced (utpadyate) from the four elements, and according to others it is manifested (abhivyajyate) from them like fermenting intoxication (surā) or acids. It is on account of diverse kinds of arrangements and rearrangements of the atoms of air, water, fire and earth that consciousness is either produced or manifested and the bodies and senses are formed or produced. There is nothing else but these atomic arrangements, and there is also no further separate category[68].

The school of Suśikṣita Cārvākas holds that, so long as the body remains, there is an entity which remains as the constant perceiver and enjoyer of all experiences. But no such thing exists after the destruction of the body. If there was anything like a permanent self that migrated from one body to another, then it would have remembered the incidents of the past life just as a man remembers the experiences of his childhood or youth[69]. Arguing against the Buddhist view that the series of conscious states in any life cannot be due to the last conscious state before death in a previous life, or that no state of consciousness in any life can be the cause of the series of conscious states in another future life, the Cārvākas say that no consciousness that belongs to a different body and a different series can be regarded as the cause of a different series of conscious states belonging to a different body. Like cognitions belonging to a different series, no cognition can be caused by the ultimate state of consciousness of a past body[70].

Again, since the last mental state of a saint cannot produce other mental states in a separate birth, it is wrong to suppose that the last mental state of a dying man should be able to produce any series of mental states in a new birth. For this reason the Cārvāka teacher Kambalāśvatara says that consciousness is produced from the body through the operation of the vital functions of prāṇa, apāna and other bio-motor faculties. It is also wrong to suppose that there is any dormant consciousness in the early stages of the foetal life, for consciousness means the cognition of objects, and there cannot be any consciousness in the foetal state when no sense-organs are properly developed; so also there is no consciousness in a state of swoon, and it is wrong to suppose that even in these stages consciousness exists as a potential power, for power presupposes something in which it exists and there is no other support for consciousness excepting the body, and, therefore, when the body is destroyed, all consciousness ceases with it. It cannot also be admitted that at death consciousness is transferred to another intermediary body, for no such body is ever perceived and cannot therefore be accepted. There cannot also be the same series of consciousness in two different bodies; thus the mental states of an elephant cannot be in the body of a horse.

The Buddhist reply to this objection of the Cārvākas is that if by discarding after-life the Cārvākas wish to repudiate the existence of any permanent entity that is born and reborn, then that is no objection to the Buddhists, for they also do not admit any such permanent soul. The Buddhist view is that there is a beginningless and endless series of states of conscious states which, taken as a period of seventy, eighty or a hundred years, is called the present, past or future life. It is wrong on the part of the Cārvākas to deny the character of this series as beginningless and endless; for if it is so admitted, then a state of consciousness at birth has to be regarded as the first and that would mean that it had no cause and it would thus be eternal, for since it existed without any cause there is no reason why it should ever cease to exist. It could not also have been produced by some eternal consciousness or god, for no such eternal entities are admitted; it cannot be admitted as being eternal by itself; it cannot be produced by eternal atoms of earth, water, etc., for it may be shown that no eternal entities can produce anything. Thus, the last alternative is that it must have been produced by the previous states of consciousness. Even if the atoms are regarded as momentary it would be difficult to prove that consciousness was produced by them.

The principle which determines causation is, firstly, that something is the cause which, being present, that which was worthy of being seen but was not seen before becomes seen[71]. Secondly, when two instances are such that though all the other conditions are present in them both, yet with the introduction of one element there happens a new phenomenon in the one which does not happen in the other, then that element is the cause of that phenomenon[72]. The two instances, which differ from each other only in this that there is the effect in the one and not in the other, agree with each other in all other respects excepting that that in w'hich there is the effect has also a new element which is not present in the other, and it is only in such a case that that element may be regarded as the cause of that effect. Otherwise, if the cause is defined as that which being absent the effect is also absent, then there is the alternative possibility of the presence of another element which was also absent, and it might be that it was on account of the absence of this element that the effect was absent.

Thus, the two instances where an effect occurs and where it does not occur must be such that they are absolutely the same in every respect, except the fact that there is one element in the case where there is the effect which was absent in the other instance. The causal relation between body and mind cannot be established by such a rigorous application of the joint method of agreement and difference. It is not possible to employ the method of agreement to determine the nature of relation between one’s own body and mind, for it is not possible to observe the body in the early foetal stage before the rise of mind, for without mind there cannot be any observation. In other bodies also the mind cannot be directly observed and so it is not possible to say that the body is prior to mind.

The method of difference also cannot be employed, for no one can perceive whether with the cessation of the body his mind also ceases or not; and since the minds of other people cannot be directly perceived, such a negative observation cannot be made with reference to other people, and no assertion can therefore be made as to whether with the cessation of other people’s bodies their minds also ceased or not. No inference can be drawn from the immobility of the body at death that it must be due to the destruction of mind, for it may still exist and yet remain inoperative in moving the body. Moreover, the fact that a particular body is not moved by it, is due to the fact that the desires and false notions which were operative with reference to that body were then absent.

Again, there are other reasons why the body cannot be regarded as the cause of mind: for if the body as a whole was the cause of mind, then slight deformities of the body would have changed the character of the mind, or minds associated with big bodies like those of elephants would be greater than those of men. If with the change of one there is no change in the other, the two cannot be said to be related as cause and effect. Nor can it be said that the body with the complete set of senses is the cause of mind, for in that case with the loss of any sense the nature and character of the mind would also be changed. But we know that this is not so, and when by paralysis all the motor organs are rendered inoperative, the mind may still continue to work with unabated vigour[73]. Again, though the body may remain the same, yet the mental temperament, character or tone might considerably change, or sudden emotions might easily unhinge the mind though the body might remain the same.

Even if instances are found which prove that the conditions of the body affect the conditions of the mind, yet that is no reason why the mind or soul should cease to exist with the destruction of the body. If on account of co-existence (saha-sthiti-niyama) of body and mind they may be said to be connected with each other in bonds of causation, then since body is as much co-existent with mind as mind with body, the mind may as well be said to be the cause of body. Co-existence does not prove causation, for coexistence of two things may be due to a third cause. Heated copper melts, so through heat the foetal elements may be supposed to produce on the one hand the body and on the other hand to manifest mind or consciousness. So the co-existence of body and mind does not necessarily mean that the former is the material cause of the latter.

It is said that though the later mental states are perceived to be produced by the previous ones, yet the first manifested consciousness has a beginning and it is produced by the body, and thus the theory of the Buddhists that the series of conscious states is without beginning is false. But if the mental states are in the first instance produced by the body, then these could not in later cases be produced in other ways through the visual or other sense organs. If it is urged that the body is the cause of the first origin of knowledge, but not of the later mental states, then the later mental states ought to be able to raise themselves without being in any way dependent on the body. If it is held that a mental state can produce a series of other mental states only with the help of the body, then each of them would produce an infinite series of such mental states, but such an infinite number of infinite series is never experienced.

It cannot also be said that the body generates consciousness only at the first stage and that in all later stages the body remains only as an accessory cause, for that which once behaves as a generating cause cannot behave as an accessory cause. Thus, even if the physical elements be admitted to be impermanent, they cannot be regarded as the cause. If the mental states be regarded as having a beginning, it may be asked whether by mental states the sense-knowledge or the mental ideas are meant. It cannot be the former, for during sleep, swoon or inattentive conditions there is no sense-knowledge, even though the sense-organs are present, and it has therefore to be admitted that attention is the necessary pre-condition of knowledge, and the sense-organs or the sense-faculties cannot be regarded as the sole cause of sense-knowledge.

The mind cannot also be regarded as the sole cause, for unless the sense-data or the sense-objects are perceived by the senses, the mind cannot work on them. If the mind could by itself know objects, then there would have been no blind or deaf people. Admitting for argument’s sake that mind produces the cognitions, it may be asked whether this cognition is savikalpa or nirvikalpa ; but there cannot be any savikalpa unless the association of names and objects (saṅketa) is previously learnt. It cannot be also nirvikalpa knowledge, for nirvikalpa represents the objects as they are in their unique character, which cannot be grasped by the mind alone without the help of the sense-organs. If it is held that even the sense-data are produced by the mind, then that would be the admission of extreme idealism and the giving up of the Cārvāka position. Thus, the conscious states are to be regarded as beginningless and without any origin. Their specific characters are determined by experiences of past lives, and it is as a reminiscence of these experiences that the instincts of sucking or fear show themselves even with the newly-born baby[74]. It has therefore to be admitted that the conscious states are produced neither by the body nor by the mind, but that they are beginningless and are generated by the previous states, and these by other previous states, and so on.

The parental consciousness cannot be regarded as being the cause of the consciousness of the offspring, for the latter are not similar in nature, and there are many beings which are not of parental origin. It has, therefore, to be admitted that the conscious states of this life must be produced by the states of another life previous to it. Thus, the existence of a past life is proved. And since the mental states of this life are determined by the mental states of other lives, the mental states of this life also are bound to determine other mental states, and this establishes the existence of future lives; provided, however, that these mental states are associated with the emotions of attachment, anger, antipathy, etc. For the mental states can produce other mental states only when they are affected by the emotions of attachment, anger, etc., and these are inherited by the new-born baby from the mental states of his previous life which determined the series of experiences of his present life. Though the past experiences are transferred to the present life, yet owing to a severe shock due to the intervention of the foetal period these experiences do not at once show themselves in infancy, but reveal themselves gradually with age.

One does not always remember what one experienced before; thus, in dreams and deliriums, though the elements of the past experience are present, yet they are reconstructed in a distorted form and do not present themselves in the form of memory. So the past experiences cannot ordinarily be remembered by the infant, though there are some gifted beings who can remember their past lives. It is wrong to suppose that the mind is supported by the body or inheres in' it, for the mind is formless. Again, if the mind inhered in the body and was of the same stuff as the body, then the mental states should be as perceptible by the visual organ as the body itself. The mental states can be perceived only by the mind in which they occur, but the body can be perceived both by that mind as well as by others; therefore, these two are of entirely different character and are hence entirely different. The body is continually changing, and it is the unitary series of conscious states that produces the impression of the identity of the body. For though the individual consciousnesses are being destroyed every moment, yet the series remains one in its continuity in the past lives, the present life and the future. When the series is different, as in that of a cow and a horse or between two different persons, the states of the one series cannot affect those in the other.

One conscious state is thus admitted to be determining another conscious state, and that another, and so on, within the series. Thus it has to be admitted that consciousness exists, even in the unconscious state; for had it not been so, then there would be a lapse of consciousness at that time and this would mean the breaking up of the series. States of consciousness are independent of the sense-organs and the sense-objects, as they are determined by the previous states; in dreams, when the sense-organs are not operating and when there is no sense-object contact, the conscious states continue to be produced; and in the case of the knowledge of past or future events, or the knowledge of chimerical things like the hare’s horn, the independence of conscious states is clearly demonstrated. Thus it is proved that consciousness is neither produced by the body nor is in any way determined or conditioned by it, and it is determined only by its past states and itself determines the future states. Thus also the existence of the past and the future lives is proved.

The arguments of the Jains and of the Naiyāyikas against the Cārvākas are somewhat of a different nature from those of the idealistic Buddhists just described, as the former admitted permanent souls which the latter denied. Thus Yidyānandi, in his Tattvārtha-śloka-vārtika, says that the chief reason why the soul cannot be regarded as a product of matter is the fact of undisputed, unintermittent and universal self-consciousness unlimited by time or space. Such perceptions as “this is blue” or “I am white” depend upon external objects or the sense-organs, and cannot therefore be regarded as typical cases of self-consciousness. But such perceptions as “I am happy” which directly refer to the selfperception of the ego do not depend on the operation of any external instruments such as the sense-organs or the like. If this selfconsciousness were not admitted to be established by itself, no other doctrine, not even the Cārvāka doctrine which seeks to demolish all attested convictions, could be asserted, for all assertions are made by virtue of this self-consciousness.

If any consciousness required another consciousness to have itself attested, then that would involve a vicious infinite and the first consciousness would have to be admitted as unconscious. Thus, since the self manifests itself in self-consciousness (sva-samvedana), and since the body is perceived through the operation of the senses like all other physical things, the former is entirely different from the latter and cannot be produced by the latter, and because it is eternal it cannot also be manifested by the latter. Again, since consciousness exists even without the senses, and since it may not exist even when there is the body and the senses (as in a dead body), the consciousness cannot be regarded as depending on the body. Thus, the self is directly known as different from the body by the testimony of self-consciousness. The other arguments of Vidyānandi are directed against the idealistic Buddhists who do not believe in a permanent self but believe in the beginningless series of conscious states, and this discussion had better be omitted here[75].

Jayanta argues in the Nyāya-mañjarī that the body is continually changing from infancy to old age, and therefore the experiences of one body cannot belong to the new body that has been formed through growth or decay, and therefore the identity of the ego and recognition which form the essential constitutive elements of knowledge cannot belong to the body[76]. It is true no doubt that good diet and medicine which are helpful to the body are also helpful to the proper functioning of the intellect. It is also true that curds and vegetable products and damp places soon begin to germinate into insects. But this is no proof that matter is the cause of consciousness. The selves are all-pervading, and when there is appropriate modifications of physical elements they manifest themselves through them according to the conditions of their own karmas. Again, consciousness cannot also be admitted to belong to the senses, for apart from the diverse sense-cognitions there is the apperception of the ego or the self which co-ordinates these diverse sense-cognitions. Thus I feel that whatever I perceive by the eyes I touch by the hand, which shows distinctly that apart from the sense-cognitions there is the individual perceiver or the ego who co-ordinates these sensations, and without such a co-ordinator the unity of the different sensations could not be attained.

The Suśikṣita Cārvākas, however, hold that there is one perceiver so long as the body exists, but that this perceiver (pramātṛ-tattva) does not transmigrate, but is destroyed with the destruction of the body; the soul is thus not immortal, and there is no after-world after the destruction of this body[77]. To this Jayanta’s reply is that if a self is admitted to exist during the lifetime of this body, then since this self is different from the body, and since it is partless and nonphysical by nature, there cannot be anything which can destroy it. No one has ever perceived the self to be burnt or torn to pieces by birds or animals as a dead body can be. Thus, since it has never been found to be destroyed, and since it is not possible to infer any cause which can destroy it, it is to be regarded as immortal. Since the self is eternal, and since it has a present and past association with a body, it is not difficult to prove that it will have also a future association with a body. Thus, self does not reside either in any part of the body or throughout the body, but is all-pervading and behaves as the possessor of that body with which it becomes associated through the bonds of karma.

Para-loka or after-life is defined by Jayanta as rebirth or the association of the soul with other bodies after death. The proofs that are adduced in favour of such rebirths are, firstly, from the instinctive behaviour of infants in sucking the mother’s breast or from their unaccountable joys and miseries which are supposed to be due to the memory of their past experiences in another birth; and, secondly, from the inequalities of powers, intelligence, temper, character and habits, inequalities in the reaping of fruits from the same kind of efforts. These can be explained only on the supposition of the effects of karma performed in other births[78].

Śaṅkara, in interpreting the Brahma-sūtra, III. 3. 53, 54, tries to refute the lokayatika doctrine of soullessness. The main points in the lokayatika argument here described are that since consciousness exists only when there is a body, and does not exist when there is no body, this consciousness must be a product of the body. Life-movements, consciousness, memory and other intellectual functions also belong to the body, since they are experienced only in the body and not outside of it[79]. To this Śaṅkara’s reply is that life-movements, memory, etc., do not sometimes exist even when the body exists (at death), therefore they cannot be the products of the body. The qualities of the body, such as colour, form, etc., can be perceived by everyone, but there are some who cannot perceive consciousness, memory, etc. Again, though these are perceived so long as the living body exists, yet there is no proof that it does not exist when this body is destroyed.

Further, if consciousness is a product of the body, it could not grasp the body; no fire can burn itself and no dancer can mount his own shoulders. Consciousness is always one and unchangeable and is therefore to be regarded as the immortal self. Though ordinarily the self is found to manifest itself in association with a body, that only shows that the body is its instrument, but it does not prove that the self is the product of the body, as is contended by the Cārvākas. The Cārvākas criticized the entire social, moral and religious programme of orthodox Hindus.

Thus Śrīharṣa, in representing their views in his Naiṣadhacarita, says as follows:

“The scriptural view that the performance of sacrifices produces wonderful results is directly contradicted by experience, and is as false as the Purāṇic story of the floating of stones. It is only those who are devoid of wisdom and capacity for work who earn a livelihood by the Vedic sacrifices, or the carrying of three sticks (tridaṇḍa), or the besmearing of the forehead with ashes. There is no certainty of the purity of castes, for, considering the irrepressible sex-emotions of men and women, it is impossible to say that any particular lineage has been kept pure throughout its history in the many families on its maternal and paternal sides.

Men are not particular in keeping themselves pure, and the reason why they are so keen to keep the women in the harem is nothing but jealousy; it is unjustifiable to think that unbridled sex-indulgence brings any sin or that sins bring suffering and virtues happiness in another birth; for who knows what will happen in the other birth when in this life we often see that sinful men prosper and virtuous people suffer?”

The Vedic and the smṛti texts are continually coming into conflict with one another, and are reconciled only by the trickery of the commentators; if that is so, why not accept a view in which one may act as one pleases? It is held that the sense of ego is associated with the body, but when this body is burnt, what remains there of virtue or vice, and even if there is anything that will be experienced by another ego and in another body and as such that cannot hurt me. It is ridiculous to suppose that any one should remember anything after death, or that after death the fruits of karma will be reaped, or that by feeding Brahmins after death the so-called departed soul will have any satisfaction.

The image-worship, or the worship of stones with flowers, or of bathing in the Ganges as a religious practice is absolutely ridiculous. The practice of performing śrāddha ceremonies for the satisfaction of the departed is useless, for if the offering of food could satisfy the dead then the hunger of travellers could also be removed by their relations offering them food at home. In reality with death and destruction of the body everything ends, for nothing returns when the body is reduced to ashes. Since there is no soul, no rebirth, no god and no after-life, and since all the scriptures are but the instructions of priests interested in cheating the people, and the Purāṇas are but false mythical accounts and fanciful stories, the one ideal of our conduct is nothing but sense-pleasures.

Sins and virtues have no meaning, they are only the words with which people are scared to behave in a particular manner advantageous to the priests. In the field of metaphysics the Cārvākas are materialists and believe in nothing beyond the purely sensible elements of the atoms of earth, water, air and fire and their combinations; in the field of logic they believe in nothing but what can be directly perceived; they deny karma, fruits of karma, rebirth or souls. The only thing that the Cārvākas cared for was the momentary sense-pleasures, unrestrained enjoyment of sensual joys. They did not believe in sacrificing present joys to obtain happiness in the future, they did not aim at increasing the total happiness and wellbeing of the whole life as we find in the ethical scheme of Caraka; with them a pigeon to-day was better than a peacock to-morrow, better to have a sure copper coin to-day than a doubtful gold coin in the future[80].

Thus, immediate sense-pleasures were all that they wanted and any display of prudence, restraint, or other considerations which might lead to the sacrifice of present pleasures was regarded by them as foolish and unwise. It does not seem that there was any element of pessimism in their doctrine. Their whole ethical position followed from their general metaphysical and logical doctrine that sense-objects or sense-pleasures were all that existed, that there was no supra-sensible or transcendent reality, and thus there was no gradation or qualitative difference between the pleasures and no reason why any restraint should be put upon our normal tendency to indulge in sense-pleasures.

Footnotes and references:


Kautilya, Artha-śāstra, I. I.


Dialogues of the Buddha, vol. I, p. 166. In recent times two Italian scholars, Dr Piszzagalli and Prof. Tucci, have written two works called Nāstika, Cārvāka Lokāyatika and Linee di una storia del Materialismo Indiano respectively in which theyattempttodiscover themeaningof the terms nāstika, cārvāka and lokāyata and also the doctrines of the sects. Most of the Pāli passages which they consider are those already collected by Rhys Davids.


Abhidhāna-ppadīpikā, v. 112, repeats Buddhaghoso’s words

vitaṇḍā-satthaṃ viññeyaṃ yaṃ taṃ lokāyatani.


ity udāhṛtam idaṃ kathā-trayaṃ yat paraspara-vivikta-lakṣaṇam
sthūlam apy anavalokya kathyate vāda eka iti śākya-śiṣyakaiḥ.
, p. 596.


Sumaṅgala-vilāsiñī, 1. 90, 91.


This translation is inexact. There is no reference to any book in the Pāli passage; in the previous sentence there was a word vādassādana which was translated as “through the pleasure they take in discussion,” whereas the literal translation would be “by the taste (assāda) of the disputation,” and here it means “pursuing that smell” people do not turn their minds to virtuous deeds.


See Dialogues of the Buddha, i. 168. The translation is inexact. The phrase “All is impure; all is not impure” seems to be absent in the Pāli text. The last passage quoted from Vidhura-paṇḍita-jātaka (Fausboll, vi, p. 286) which is one of the most ancient of th ejātakas runs as follows:

na seve lokāyatikaṃ na’ etam paññāya vaddhanaṃ.

The unknown commentator describes the lokāyatika as

lokayātikan ti anattha-nissitam sagga-maggānāṃ adāyakaṃ aniyyānikam vitaṇḍa-sallāpam lokāyatika-vādaṃ na seveyya.”

The Lokāyata leads to mischievous things and cannot lead to the path of Heaven or that of release and is only a tricky disputation which does not increase true wisdom.


Rhys Davids seems to make a mistake in supposing that the word Vidaddha in Vidaddhavādi is only the same word as vitaṇḍā wrongly spelt (Dialogues of the Buddha, 1. 167) in the Aṭthasālinī, pp. 3, 90, 92, 241. The word vidaddha is not vitaṇḍā but vidagdha which is entirely different from vitaṇḍā.


lokāyataṃ bhāṣya-pravacanam,
p. 630; 


cliandasi vā vyākaraṇe vā lokāyate vā praniāṇa-mīmāṃsāyāṃ vā na cai-ṣām ūhā-pohaḥ pra-jñāyate.
p. 633.

It is true, however, that lokāyata is not always used in the sense of a technical logical science, but sometimes in its etymological sense (i.e. what is prevalent among the people, lokeṣu āyato lokā-yataḥ) as in Divyāvadāna, p. 619, where we find the phrase “lokāyata-yajña-mantreṣu niṣṇātaḥ.


Linee di una storia del Materialismo Indiano, p. 17. Sārattha-pakāsinī (Bangkok), 11. 96.


Rhys Davids describes lokāyata as a branch of Brahmanic learning, probably Nature-lore, wise sayings, riddles, rhymes and theories, handed down by tradition, as to the cosmogony, the elements, the stars, the weather, scraps of astronomy, of elementary physics, even of anatomy, and knowledge of the nature of precious stones, and of birds and beasts and plants (Dialogues of the Buddha, 1. 171). Franke translates it as “logische beweisende Naturerklarung,” Digha, 19.


yuktir valīyasī yatra sarvaṃ svābhavikaṃ mataṃ-kasyā’pi ne’śvaraḥ kartā na vedo nāstikaṃ hi tat.
, IV. 3. 55.


Patañjali’s Mahā-bhāṣya on Pāṇini, vii. 3. 45, and Kaiyata’s commentary on it.


tan-nāmāni cārvāka-lokāyate-ty-ādīni. Gunaratna’s commentary on Ṣaḍ-darśana-samuccaya, p. 300. Lokāyata according to Gunaratna means those who behave like the common undiscerning people

lokā nirvicāfāḥ sāmānyā lokās tadvād ācaranti sma iti lokāyata lokāyatikā ity api.


Ibid. p. 307, Tattva-saṃgraha, p. 520.


Aṅguttara, 1. 163.


Mahābhārata,III . 13034, V. 1983; XIII. 789, etc.


Ibid. XIV. 85. 27.


Compare Brahma-sūtra

tarkā-pratiṣṭhānād apy anyathā-numānam iti ced evam api avimokṣa-prasaṅgaḥ.

II. 1. 11.

Śaṅkara also says:

yasmān nirāgamāḥ puruṣo-prekṣā-mātra-nibandhanāḥ tarkāḥ a pratiṣṭhitā bhavanti utprekṣāyāḥ nirankuśatvāt kair apy utprekṣitāḥ santaḥ tato’nyair ābhāsyante iti na pratiṣṭhitatvaṃ tarkānaṃ śakyam aśrayitum.

Vācaspati, commenting on the commentary of Śaṅkara, quotes from Vākya-padīya:

yatnenā’ numito’ py arthaḥ kuśalair anumātrbhiḥ abhiyuktatarair anyair anyathai’vo’papādyate.



yo’vamanyeta te mūle hetu-śāstrā-śrayād dvijaḥ |
sa sādhubhir vahiṣ-kāryo nāstiko veda-nindakaḥ.
ii. 11.


veda-vāda-rato na syān na pāṣand īna haitukaḥ |
śuṣka-vāda-virāde na kañ cit pakṣaṃ samāśrayet.
XI. 18. 30.


Medhātithi here describes the haitukas as nāstikas, or those who do not believe in the future world (para-loka) or in the sacrificial creed.

Thus he says,

haitukā nāstikā nāsti paraloko, nāsti dattam, nāsti hutam ity evaṃ sthita-prajñāḥ.


Manu, XII. III.


paralokaḥ asti’ti yasya matir asti sa āstikaḥ, tadviparīto nāstikah;
pramāṇā-nupātinī yasya matiḥ sa diṣṭikaḥ.
on Panini, IV. 4. 60.

Javāditya lived in the first half of the seventh century.


Manu, 11. 11. Medhātithi in explaining nāstikā’-krāntam (Manu, vm. 22) identifies nāstikas with lokāyatas who do not believe in the other world.

Thus he says,

yathā nāstikaiḥ para-lokā-pavādibhir lokāyatikā-dyair ākrāntam.

But in Manu, iv. 163, nāstikya is explained by him as meaning the view that the Vedic doctrines are false:

veda-pramāṇakānām arthānāṃ mithyātvā-dhyavasāyasya nāstikya-śabdena pratipādanam.


ye’yam prete vicikitsā manuṣye astī’ty eke nayam astī’ti cai’ke,
etad-vidyām anuśiṣṭas tvaya’haṃ varāṇāṃ eṣa varas tṛtīyah.
1. 20.


na sāmparāyaḥ pratibhāti bālaṃ pramādy-antaṃ vitta-mohena mūḍham ;
ayaṃ loko nāsti para iti mānī punah punar vaśam āpadyate me.
n. 6.


vijñāna-ghana eva etebhyaḥ bhūtebhyo samutthāya tāny evā’nuvinaśyati,
pretya samjñā’sti ity are bravīmi.
n. 4. 12.


tad evaṃ pūrva-pakṣa-vacana-mūlatvāt lokāyata-śāstram api na svatantram.
p. 271, V.S. Series, 1895.


nahi lokāyate kiñ cit kartavyam upadiśyate vaitaṇḍika-kathai’va’san na punaḥ kaś cid āgamaḥ.
p. 270.


Dialogues of the Buddha, 1. 69-70.


Buddhaghoso, in commenting on it says,

sabbathāpi pāpapunnānam kiriyam eva paṭikkhipati.
I. 160.


This has been interpreted by Dr Barua as representing the doctrine of Pūrana Kassapa, which is evidently a blunder. Prebuddhistic Indian Philosophy, Calcutta, 1921, p. 279.


bale ca paṇḍite kāyassa bhedā ucchijjanti vinassanti, na honti param maraṇā ti.
II. 23.
     Dialogues of the Buddha,
pp. 73-74.


Sumaṅgala-vilāsinī, I. 144.


Sumaṅgala-vilāsinī, I. 143, 144.


The Trai-rāśikas are those who think that the self by good deeds becomes pure and free from karma and thus attains mokṣa, but seeing the success of its favourite doctrines it becomes joyous and seeing them neglected it becomes angry, and then being born again attains purity and freedom from karma by the performance of good deeds and is again born through joy and antipathy as before. Their canonical work is one containing twenty-one sūtras.

In commenting on I. 3. 3. II Śīlāṅka mentions also the Digambaras along with the Ājīvakas, but it does not seem that he identifies them in the way Hoemlē states in his scholarly article on the Ājīvakas in the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics.

The exact phrase of Śīlāṅka is

ājīvakā-dīnāṃ para-tīrthikānāṃ digamvarāṇāṃ ca asad-ācaranair upaneyā.    _


Hoernlé, in his article on the Ājīvakas in the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, says:

“From this fact that Gosāla is called Makkhaliputta or Mankhali (Maskarin), i.e. the man of the bamboo staff, it is clear that originally he belonged to the class of eka-daṇḍins (or daṇḍin) ascetics; and, though he afterwards joined Mahāvīra and adopted his system, he held some distinguishing tenets of his own, and also retained his old distinguishing mark, the bamboo staff.”

This is all very doubtful, for firstly mankha and maskarin cannot be identified; secondly, mankha means a beggar who carried pictures in his hands—

mankhaś citra-phalaka-vyagra-karo bhikṣuka-viśeṣaḥ

(Abhayadeva Sūri’s comment on the Bhagavatī-sūtra, p. 662. Nirnaya Sagara ed.).

Gosāla’s father was a mankha and his name was Mankhali from which Gosāla was called Makkhaliputta. Both Jacobi (Jaina Sūtras, II. 267 footnote) and Hoernlé (Ajīvaka, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 266) are here wrong, for the passage referred to is Śīlāṅka’s commentary on Sūtra-kṛtāṅga-sūtra, III. 3. II (ājīvakā-dīnām para-tīrthikānāṃ digamvarāṇāṃ ca), and the “ca” in the passage which is to be translated as “and” and not as “or” distinguishes the Ājīvakas from the Digamvaras.


nagnā ṭo dig-vāsāḥ kṣapaṇaḥ śramaṇaś ca jīvako jainaḥ, ājivo mala-dhārī nirgranthaḥ kathyate ṣaḍbhiḥ.
     II. 190.


Divyāvadāna, p. 427, refers to an episode where a Buddha image was dishonoured by a nirgrantha and in consequence of that 8000 Ājīvakas were killed in the city of Puṇḍravardhana. Dr Barua also refers to this passage in his small work, The Ājīvakas.


As Buddhaghoso says, these are all merely specifications of puriṣa-kāra

(sarvaiva puriṣa-kāra-viv’ecanam eva).
II. 20.


There is another passage in the Sūtra-kṛtāṅga-sūtra, III. 4. 9

(evamege u asattha paṇṇavanti anāriyā; itthivāsam gayā bālā jinasāsana-parāmmuhā),

where it is said that some wrongdoers and others who belong to the Jaina circle have turned their faces from the laws imposed upon them by Jina and are slaves of women. Hoernlē says (Ājīvaka, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 261) that this passage refers to the followers of Gosāla. But there is no evidence that it is so, if at least we believe in Śīlāṅka’s commentary.

Śīlāṅka explains “ege” or “eke” as

bauddha-viśeṣā nīla-paṭādayaḥ nātha-vādika-maṇḍala-praviṣṭā vā śaiva-viśesāḥ

and pasattha as

sad-anuṣṭhānāt pārśve tiṣṭhanti iti parśvasthāḥ sva-yūthyā vā pārśvasthā-vasanna-kuśa-lā-dayaḥ strī-pariṣaha-parājitāḥ.

Thus, according to him, it refers to some Buddhists wearing blue garments, the nātha-vādins, the Śaivas, or some Jains with bad characters, or bad people in general.


Gosāla thought that it was possible that one person’s soul could reanimate other dead bodies. Thus, when he was challenged by Mahāvīra, who forbade his disciples to hold any intercourse with him, he is reported to have said that the Makkhaliputta Gosāla who was the disciple of Mahāvīra was long dead and born in the abode of the gods while he was in reality Udāyī-kuṇḍiyāyaṇīya, who in the seventh and the last change of body through reanimation had entered Gosāla’s body.

According to Gosāla, a soul must finish eighty-four thousand mahā-kalpas during which it must be born seven times in the abode of the gods and seven times as men, undergoing seven reanimations, exhausting all kinds of karmas. See Bhagavati-sūtra, xv. 673, Nirnaya Sagaraed. See also Hoernlē’s two Appendices to his translation of Uvāsagadasāo and the article on Ājīvika, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 262.

A mahā-kalpa is equal to 300,000 saras and one sara is the time required to exhaust the sands of the seven Ganges (each Ganges being 500 yojanas or 2250 miles in length, 2¼ miles in breadth, and 50 dhanus or 100 yards in depth), at the rate of putting 100 years for the removal of one grain of sand. See ibid.; also Rockhill’s Appendix I to his Life of the Buddha.


According to Śīlāṅka they were a sect of Buddhists wearing blue garments, Śaivas, the Nāthas, and some degraded Jains also.


See Jacobi’s translation of Sūtra-kṛtāṅga-sūtra. Jaina Sutras, n. 270.


yady api lokāyatikānāṃ nāsti dīkṣādikaṃ tathā’pi apareṇa śākyā-dinā pravrajyā-vidhānena pravrajyā paścāt lokāyatikam adhīyānasya tathāvidha-pariṇateḥ tad evā’bhirucitam.
     Śīlāṅka’s commentary on the Sūtra-kṛtāṅga-sūtra, p. 280 a (Nirnaya Sagaraed).

In pp. 280-281 Śīlāṅka points out that the Bhāgavatas and other ascetics at the time of their renouncement of the world take the vow of all kinds of selfrestraint, but as soon as they become converted to the lokāyata views they begin to live an unrestrained life. They then wear blue garments (nīla-paṭa).


Ibid. pp. 281, 283.


See Jacobi, Jaina Sūtras, II. 341—342.


Śrīdhara says that these refer to the Lokāyatikas. Gītā, XVI. 9.


yojante nāma-jajñais te dambhenā’vidhi-pūrvakam.
, xvi. 17.


The Maitrāyaṇa Upaniṣad, vii. 8, 9, says that there are many others who by adopting useless arguments, illustrations, false analogies and illusory demonstrations wish to oppose the Vedic ways of conduct; they do not believe in the self and are like thieves who would never go to Heaven and with whom no one should associate. One sometimes forgets that the doctrine of these people is nothing new but is only a different kind of Vedic science (veda-vidyā’ntaran tu tat). Bṛhaspati became Śukra and taught the Asuras this doctrine so that they might be inclined to despise the Vedic duties and consider bad to be good and good to be bad.


The Maitrāyaṇīya attributes these doctrines to Bṛhaspati and Śukra; the Praboḍha-candro-daya of Kṛṣṇa Miśra says that these were first formulated by Bṛhaspati and then handed over to Cārvāka who spread them among people through his pupils.

See also Mr. D. Śāstrī’s Cārvāka-ṣaṣṭi, pp. 11-13, where he refers to a number of authorities who attribute this to Bṛhaspati.


Kauṭilya’s Artha-śāstra, pp. 6, 29, 63, 177, 192, Mysore ed. 1924.


Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha, I.


deśa-kāla-daśā-bheda-vicitrā-tmasu vastuṣu
avinā-bhāva-niyamo na śakyo vastum āha ca.
p. 119.


na pratyakṣī-kṛtā yāvaḍ ḍhūmā-gni-vyaktayo’khilāḥ
tāvat syād api dhūmo’ sau yo’ nagner iti śaṅkyate
ye tu pratyakṣato viśvaṃ paśyanti hi bhavādṛśaḥ
kiṃ divya-cakṣuṣām eṣām anumāna-prayojanam


sāmānya-dvārako’ py asti nā’vinābhāva-niścayaḥ
vāstavaṃ hi na sāmānyaṃ nāma kiñcana vidyate.


Compare Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādya, p. 693:

vyāghāto yaḍi śaṅkā’sti na cec chaṅkā tatastarām
vyāghātā-vaḍhir āśaṅkā tarkaḥ śaṅkā-vadhiḥ kutaḥ.


niyamaś cā’numānā-ñgaṃ gṛhitaḥ pratipadyate
grahaṇaṃ cā’sya nā’nyatra nāstitā-niścayaṃ vinā
darśanā-darśanābhyaṃ hi niyama-grahaṇaṃ yadi
tad apy asad anagnau hi dhūmasye’ṣṭam adarśanam
anagniś ca kiyān sarvaṃ jagaj-jvalana-varjitam
tatra dhūmasya nāstitvaṃ nai’va paśyanty ayoginaḥ.
p. 120.


He is mentioned in Kamalaśīla’s Pañjikā, p. 431,

Purandaras tv ālia loka-prasiddham anumānaṃ cārvākair apī’ṣyate eva,
yat tu kaiś cit laukikaṃ mārgam atikramya anumānarn ucyate tan niṣidhyate.

Vādideva Sūri also quotes a sūtra of Purandara in his commentary Syādvāda-ratnākāra on his Pramāṇa-naya-tattva-lokā-latikāra, II. 131:

pramāṇasya gauṇatvād anumānād artha-niscaya-durlabhāt.


avyabhicārā-vagamo hi laukika-hetūnām
atmmeyā’vagame nimittaṃ sa nāsti tantra-siddheṣu
iti na tebhyaḥ parokṣā-rthā'vagamo nyāyyo’ta idam
uktam anumānād artha-niścayo durlabhaḥ.


Vādideva Sūri’s Syādvāda-rattiākāra, pp. 131, 132. Nirṇaya Sagara Press, 1914.




Nyāya-mañjarī, p. 122.


athā-mimānaṃ na pramāṇaṃ yogyo-pādhīnāṃ yogyā-nupalabdhiyā’bhāva-niścaye’ py’ ayogyo-pādhi-śaṅkayā vyabhicāra-saṃśayāt śataśaḥ sahacaritayor api vyabhicāro-palabdheś ca loke dhūmā-di-darśanā-ntaraṃ vahnya’di-vyavahāraś ca sambḥāvana-mātrāt saṃvādena ca prāmāṇyā-bhimānād.
     Tattva-cintāmaṇi Annumiti.

For a similar view see Russel, “On the notion of Cause” in his Mysticism and Logic.


Udayana’s Nyāya-kusumāñjali, in. 5, 6.


cārvāka-dhūrtas tu athā’tas tattvaṃ vyākhyāsyāma iti pratijñāya pramāṇa-prameya-saṃkhyā-lakṣaṇa-niyamā-sakya-karaṇīyatvam eva tattvaṃ vyākhyā-tavān; pramāṇa-saṃkhyā-niyam-āśakya-karaṇīyatva-siddhaye ca pramiti-bhedān pratyakṣā-di-pramāṇān upajanyān īdṛśān upādarśayat.
p. 64.


tat-samudāye viṣaye-ndriya-saṃjñā.
quoted in Kamalaśīla’s Pañjikā, p. 520.


Nyāya-mañjarī, p. 467.


yadi jñānam na tad vivakṣitā-tīta-deha-varti-caram ajñāna-janyam.
jñānatvāt yathā’nya-santāna-varti-jñānam.

     Kamalaśīla’s Pañjikā, p. 521.


yeṣāṃ upalombhe sati upalabdhi-lakṣaṇa-prāptaṃ pūrvam anupalabdhaṃ sad upalabhyate ity evam āśrayaṇīyam.
     Kamalaśīla, Pañjikā, p. 525.


satṣu tad-anyeṣu samartheṣu ta-dhetuṣu yasyai’kasyā’bhāve na bhavatī’ty evam āśrayaṇīyam anyathā hi kevalaṃ tad-abhāve na bhavatī’ty upadarśane sandigdham atra tasya sāmarthyaṃ syāt anyasyā’pi tat-samarthasyā’bhāvāt.
     Kamalaśīla, Puñjikā, p. 526.


prasuptikā-di-rogā-dinā kārye-ndriyā-dīnām upaghāte’pi mano-dhīr avi-kṛtaikā-vikalāṃ sva-sattām anubhavati.
     Kamalaśīla, Pañjikā, p. 527.


Tattvārtha-śloka-vārtika, pp. 26-52.



Nyāya-mañjarī, pp. 439-441.


Ibid. pp. 467, 468.


Nyāya-mañjarī, pp. 470-473.


yad dhi yasmin sati bhavaty asati ca na bhavati tat tad-dharmatvena ad-hyavasīyate yathā’gni-dharmāv auṣṇya-prakāśau ; prāṇa-ceṣṭā-caitaṇya-smṛtyā-dayaś cā’tma-dharmatvenā’bhimatā ātma-vā-dināṃ te’ py antar eva deha upala-bhyamānā bahiś cā’nupalabhyamanā asiddhe deha-vyat irikte dharmiṇi deha-dharmā eva bhavitum arhanti; tasmād avyatireko dehād ātmāna iti.
on Brahma-sūtra, in. 3. 53.


varam adya kapotaḥ śvo mayūrāt
varam saṃśayikān niṣkād asaṃśayikaḥ
kārṣāpaṇa iti lokāyatikāh.
I. 2. 29, 30.

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