Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words

This page describes Exposition of the Carvaka system (Materialist) which is the seventh part of chapter I of the English translation of the Adisvara-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Adisvara (or Rishabha) in jainism is the first Tirthankara (Jina) and one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Part 7: Exposition of the Cārvāka system (Materialist)

Then Sambhinnamati, like the night before the new moon[1], a heap of darkness of exceeding wrong belief, whose mind was like poison, said: “Well said! Well said! Svayambuddha. You desire the Master’s welfare, for intention is inferred from speech like food from vomiting. Only hereditary ministers like you, no others, speak thus for the pleasure of the Master who is always sincere and gracious. What teacher, harsh by nature, taught you, that you spoke thus to the King, like an untimely stroke of lightning? The Master is sensed here by attendants seeking pleasure themselves. Why should they say, ‘Do not enjoy pleasures’? Abandoning pleasures of this world and striving for them in the next world is like licking the elbow, leaving what is to be licked in the hand. Dharma is said to have its fruit in the next world. That is very improbable. There is no next world from the very fact of the non-existence of people for the next world. Consciousness arises from earth, water, fire, and air, like the power of wine itself from sugar, flour, water, etc. Certainly there is no soul apart from the body which will go to another world after it has left the body. Therefore, pleasure of the senses is to be constantly enjoyed without fear. One’s own soul must not be deceived. Destruction of one’s desires is foolishness. Dharma and non-dharma, obstacles to pleasure are not to be feared; since they indeed do not exist at all, like donkey’s horns. What merit has been acquired by one stone that it is worshipped by bathing, ointment, wreaths, clothes, and ornaments? What evil has been acquired by another stone that it is polluted? If people are born and die according to karma, as a result of what karma do bubbles appear and disappear? Therefore, so long as consciousness exists, it acts as it desires. Of consciousness that has perished, there is no further birth. ‘Whoever dies is born again,’ that is mere talk with entirely inconclusive argument. Therefore, our Master should unhesitatingly enjoy himself with young women charming with beauty of form on a couch like śirīṣa petals. He should eat at will nectar-like food and drink. He is an enemy who hinders. Day and night, remain anointed with camphor, aloe, musk, sandal, etc., as if made of fragrance alone. O King, constantly look at whatever abounds in gardens, vehicles, people, picture galleries, etc., for the pleasure of the,eyes. Day and night, O Master, have nectar for your ears with sounds of songs echoing with flutes, lutes, and drums. So long as one lives, let him live happily with pleasures of the senses. He should not trouble himself by religious actions. Where is the fruit of dharma and non-dharma?”

Footnotes and references:


Darśarātri, i.e., amāvasī. I translate this way rather than the ‘night of the new moon’ of the Lexs., because it is the night before the new moon is visible, and in the Hindu calendar is the last night of the dark fortnight, not the first of the bright fortnight.

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