Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Science versus Miracles: Curing Jaundice by Psychic Power

B. Premanand

The jaundice patient goes to the tantrik or godman for a cure. After an incantation over the medicine, the patient is administered the medicine. He asks the patient to gargle for a few minutes and then spit it out. When he spits out a yellow liquid, which looks like a bile, the tantrik says he has been cured.

Experiment: 143

Effect: Curing jaundice by psychic power.

Props: Mustard Oil.


Method: If you pour some mustard oil in your mouth and gargle for a few minutes and spit it out, it looks like brownish yellow liquid. This is because the oil gets emulsified with the saliva.

Blogger Tricks

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Cārvāka: The Base Text and Its Commentators from the Eighth Century [A History of Materialism From Ajita to Udbhaṭa - Part III]

Ramkrishna Bhattacharya   


Cārvāka: The Base Text and Its Commentators from the Eighth Century

We now come to the formation of the philosophical systems, each having a set of aphorisms or sūtras with commentaries and sub-commentaries. Broadly speaking, the brahmanical position was unsparing in denouncing all the three of its non-Vedic adversaries, while the materialists had to put up a lone battle against all philosophical systems, Vedic and non-Vedic, but mostly against Buddhism, Jainism, Nyāya, and Vedānta. While the writings of the pre-Cārvāka materialist schools are unavailable, some fragments of the new, Cārvāka, school have come down to us. They can be divided into three kinds: (a) aphorisms (sūtras) and pseudo-aphorisms, (b) extracts from commentaries to the aphorisms, and (c) verses attributed to the Cārvākas[i]. The book of aphorisms was most probably compiled by Purandara, who is also credited with writing a short commentary (vṛtti). Besides the aphorisms that can be safely admitted as genuine, some others are of dubious authenticity. The distinction is made on the basis of the fact that some aphorisms are found quoted in several works with more or less the same wording. Those which occur only once may be marked as pseudo-aphorisms. The names of four commentators on the Cārvāka sūtras have so far come to light. They are Bhāvaviveka, Kambalāśvatara (“blanket-mule,” most probably a nickname), Aviddhakarṇa (“whose ear is not pierced,” probably another nickname), and Udbhaṭa-bhaṭṭa or Bhaṭṭodbhaṭa. That the Cārvāka system, very much like other systems, did not remain unaltered but saw its own development is borne out by the interpretation of some of the aphorisms offered by commentators in or around the eighth century[ii].

Udbhaṭa is the last of the commentators known to us. Jayanta and Cakradhara both speak of “old (cirantana) Cārvāka” and recent Cārvākas like Udbhaṭa. Udbhaṭa goes against the literal meaning of the aphorisms; he twists the meaning of words, which are made, almost under duress, to conform to the meanings preferred by him. In many respects he may be called a revisionist among the Cārvākas. However, what unites Purandara, Aviddhakarṇa, and Udbhaṭa is their assertion that, although inference based on perception can provide knowledge, inference based on authority (āpta) and verbal testimony (śabda or āptavākya) are inadmissible. So any statement concerning the existence of heaven and hell, god, an omniscient person, and so on is open to question. According to all of them, inference per se is not an independent instrument of cognition. Aviddhakarṇa and Udbhaṭa between themselves provide a number of arguments, both subtle and to the point, to establish this stand. Thus the extreme empiricism associated with older formulations of materialism is ameliorated by Cārvāka thinkers.

Here are the Cārvāka aphorisms (sūtras).

Materialism

I.1 We shall now explain the principle.
I.2 Earth, water, fire, and air are the principles, nothing else.
I.3 Their combination is called the “body,” “sense,” and “object.”
I.4 Consciousness (arises or is manifested) out of these.
I.5 As the power of intoxication (arises or is manifested from the constituent parts of the wine (such as flour, water, and molasses).
I.6 The self is (nothing but) the body endowed with consciousness.
I.7 From the body itself.
+ I.8 Because of the existence (of consciousness) where there is a body.
I.9 Souls are like water bubbles.

COMP Please provide line spacing here and for the below instances.?>

The doctrine of inherent nature (svabhāva; lit. own being)

II.1 The world is varied due to the variation of origin.
II.2 As the eye in the peacock’s tail.

The doctrine of the primacy of perception

III.1 Perception indeed is the (only) means of right knowledge.
III.2 Since the means of right knowledge is to be non-secondary, it is difficult to ascertain an object by means of inference.

The doctrine of the denial of rebirth and the other-world

IV.1 There is no means of knowledge for determining (the existence of) the other-world.
IV.2 There is no other-world because of the absence of any other-worldly being (i.e., the transmigrating self).
IV.3 Due to the insubstantiality of consciousness (residing in the other-world).

The doctrine of the uselessness of performing religious acts

V.1 Religious act is not to be performed.
V.2 Its (religion’s) instructions are not to be relied upon.

In addition to the aphorisms, verses, typically attributed to the pūraṇic Bṛhaspati, are mostly of the nature of what Patañjali would call “sung while intoxicated,” pramatta-gīta[iii]. Only three of the ten and half verses quoted by Mādhava in the Compendium of All Philosophies may be said properly to reflect the materialist view: 
There is no heaven, no final liberation, nor any soul in another world.Nor do the actions of the four castes, orders, etc., produce any real effect.While life remains let a man live happily; nothing is beyond death.When once the body becomes ashes, how can it ever return again?If he who departs from the body goes to another world,How is it that he comes not back again, restless for love of his kindred?[iv]

Mādhava refers to Bṛhaspati as the author of a number of verses that are found in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa and in Buddhist and Jaina sources[v]. Buddhists and Jainas share some of the views of the Cārvākas. As we have seen, all the three were branded “negativists” by Vedists. Dharmakīrti, conversely, says of Vedism/brahmanism, that “Belief in the authority of the Vedas, and in some creator (of the world), desiring merit from bathing, pride in (high) caste, and practicing self-denial for the eradication of sins—these five are the marks of stupidity of one whose intelligence is damaged.”[vi] All three groups oppose most particularly the performance of annual rituals for departed ancestors (śrāddha) and sacrificial rites (yajña) with a view to fulfilling one’s heart’s desire, both in this world and the next. But the opposition of the two religious communities on the one hand and the Cārvākas on the other arose from different reasons[vii]. The Cārvākas deny something that is axiomatic to the Buddhists and Jainas, the doctrines of karma and rebirth. Since Cārvākas do not consider philosophy to be a means of emancipation from the cycle of rebirth (mokṣa, mukti, or nirvāṇa) but view it as a practical guide to life, they incurred the wrath of all believers in the other-world, brahmanical or otherwise. The Cārvākas do not think in terms of the four aims of life (puruṣārthas), namely, religious merit (dharma), wealth (artha), pleasure (kāma), and freedom (mokṣa); and this too marks them apart from others.

What the opponents of the Cārvāka make them say regarding caste (varṇa) and women deserves attention. They are represented as being opposed to caste discrimination and in favor of the equality of women and men. This representation (censorial in intention) is borne out by the heretical views attributed to Kāli, personification of the Iron Age, in Śrīharṣa’s Life of Naiṣadha: 
Since purity of caste is possible only in the case of purity on each side of both families of the grandparents, what caste is pure by the purity of limitless generations? Fie on those who boast of family dignity! They hold women in check out of jealousy; but do not likewise restrain men, though the blindness of passion is common to both! Spurn all censorious statements about women as not worth a straw. Why dost thou constantly cheat people when thou, too, art as bad as women?[viii]

That this is not an isolated case or a mere figment of Śrīharṣa’s imagination is borne out by similar representations found elsewhere.[ix]

Cārvākas have often been accused of unrestrained hedonism. While such Buddhist, Jaina, and brahmanical opponents of the Lokāyata as Śāntarakṣita, Prabhācandra, and Śaṅkara preferred to controvert materialism solely on logical and epistemological grounds, some others condemned it for being licentious. It is worth noting that similar equation of materialism and hedonism has also been made in relation to Epicurus (341–270 BCE), though he is known to have led an extremely frugal life[x]. As with Epicurus, so with the Cārvākas: there is not an iota of evidence to prove that they used to preach an “eat, drink, and be merry” kind of philosophy, nor is there is a single aphorism that advises people to indulge in sensual gratification. As with Epicurus again, the Cārvākas might nevertheless have declared pleasure to be the aim of life. A popular verse runs as follows: 
While life is yours, live joyously;None can escape Death’s searching eye;When once this frame of ours they burn,How should it e’er again return?[xi]

We know from Epicurus’s own words that by pleasure he meant intellectual enjoyment, not eating and living like a pig—which is what Horace unjustly said of him. Jayanta, no friend of the Cārvākas, says of “Live joyously” that “being naturally established, a prescription in this regard becomes useless.”[xii] The available fragments of the commentaries on the Cārvāka-sūtra clearly reveal their authors’ acumen as logicians, and to think that they could lead the life of debauchees boggles the mind.





Bibliography

Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna. Studies on the Cārvāka/Lokāyata. Firenze: Società Editriche Fiorentina, 2009; London: Anthem Press, 2011.
Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna. “The Social Outlook of the Cārvāka/Lokāyata: A Reconstruction.” Indologica Taurinensia 36 (2010): 37–42.
Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna. “The Wolf’s Footprints: Indian Materialism in Perspective.” Interview with Krishna Del Toso. Annali 71 (2011): 183–204.
Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna. “Svabhāvavāda and the Cārvāka/Lokāyata: A Historical Overview.” Journal of Indian Philosophy 40, no. 5 (2012): 593–614.
Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna. “Verses Attributed to Bṛhaspati in the Sarvadarśanasaṃgraha: A Critical Appraisal.” Journal of Indian Philosophy 41 (2013): 615–630.
Chattopadhyaya, Debiprasad. In Defence of Materialism in Ancient India. New Delhi: People’s Publishing House, 1989.
Chattopadhyaya, Debiprasad, and M. K. Gangopadhyaya, eds. Cārvāka/Lokāyata. New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 1990.
Dixit, K. K. “The Ideological Affiliation of Jayarāśi—The Author of Tattvopaplavasiṃha.” In Cārvāka/Lokāyata, edited by D. Chattopadhyaya and M. K. Gangopadhyaya, pp. 520–530. New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 1990.
Franco, Eli: Perception, Knowledge and Disbelief: A Study of Jayarāśi’s Scepticism. Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi 1994; 1st edition, Alt- und Neu-Indische Studien 35, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1987.
Jayarāśibhaṭṭa. Tattvopaplavasiṃha of Jayarāśibhaṭṭa. Tr. Esther Solomon; ed. Shuchita Mehta: Jayarāśi Bhaṭṭa’s Tattvopaplavasiṁha. An Introduction, Sanskrit Text, English Translation and Notes. Parimal Sanskrit Series 111. Delhi: Parimal Publications, 2010.
Saṁghavī, Sukhlāljī; Pārīkh, Rasiklāl C., eds. Tattvopaplavasimha of Shri Jayarasi Bhatta. Edited with an introduction and indices. Gaekwad Oriental Series 87, Baroda: Oriental Institute, 1940; reprinted, Bauddha Bharati Series 20, Varanasi: Bauddha Bharati, 1987.


[i] For details see R. Bhattacharya, Studies on the Cārvāka/Lokāyata, chap. 6.
[ii] Kamalaśīla, TSP verse 1864, mentions two approaches to the interpretation of an aphorism that contains no verb. One commentator supplied the verb “is born” after the subject, so that it reads “consciousness is born of these (elements),” while another commentator explained the same aphorism as “consciousness is manifested from these (elements).” Since Kamalaśīla uses the plural in case of both, it is not clear whether he means two individual commentators (the plural being honorific) or two groups of commentators (each group having some adherents of its own). As no names are mentioned it is impossible to decide who Kamalaśīla had in mind.
[iii] Kshitish Chandra Chatterji ed., Patañjali’s Mahābhāṣya. Paśpaśāhnika with English translation (Calcutta: A. Mukherjee & Co., 1972), K. V. Abhyankar and Jaydev Mohanlal Shukla ed., Patañjali’s VyakaraHa-Mahabha+ya, Ahnikas (Pune: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1975), 1–3. Patañjali, Mahābhāṣya, chap.1, Calcutta ed. 18, Pune ed. 13.
[iv] Sāyaa-Mādhava, Sarvadarśanasangraha. ed. K. L. Joshi. (Ahmedabad/Delhi: Parimal Publication, 1981), V. Shastri Abhyankar ed. (Pune: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1978) (reprint).
[v] See R. Bhattacharya, “Verses Attributed to Bhaspati in the Sarvadarśanasagraha: A Critical Appraisal,” Journal of Indian Philosophy 41 (2013): 615–630.
[vi] Dharmakīrti, auto-commentary on the Pramāṇa-Vārttika, chap. 1 (Ilahabad: Kitab Mahal, 1943), 617–618.
[vii] Both the rites involved slaying of animals, which was anathema to the doctrine of non-injury (ahisā) of the Buddhists and the Jains. The Cārvākas too were opposed to postmortem rites, for they regarded them as useless (since there can be no life after death) and no benefit can accrue from the performance of yajñas, for there were no gods to grant the sacrificers’ prayers. In spite of all this, the two religious communities clung to the idea of rebirth, after-life (paraloka) and the mysterious effects of karman and adṛṣṭa.
[viii] Śrīhara, Life of Naiadha 17. 40, 42, 58. Naiadhacarita. ed. Sivadatta and V. L. Panshikar. (Mumbai: Nirnay Sagar Press, 1928). K. K. Handiqui trans. (Pune: Deccan College Postgraduate Research Institute, 1956).
[ix] For details see R. Bhattacharya, “The Social Outlook of the Cārvāka/Lokāyata: A Reconstruction,” Indologica Taurinensia 36 (2010): 37–42.
[x] Horace, Epistles 1.4.16 in Epistles (London: William Heinemann, 1926). See also Paul Harvey, Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984), 162.
[xi] Mādhava, Compendium of All Philosophies. Pune ed., p. 2, lines 17–18.
[xii] Jayantabhaṭṭa, Nyāyamañjarī, part 1 (Varanasi: Sampurnanand Sanskrit Visvavidyalaya, 1982), 388, translated in Cārvāka/Lokāyata, ed. D. Chattopadhyaya and M. K. Gangopadhyaya (New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 1990), 157.



Prof Ramkrishna Bhattacharya taught English at Unversity of Calcutta, Kolkota and was an Emeritus Fellow of University Grants Commission. He is now Fellow of Pavlov Institute, Kolkota


This essay is published in four parts: Part I, Part II, Part III, & Part IV

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Science versus Miracles: Shakuntala Devi, the Human Computer.

B. Premanand

Shakuntala Devi (Image courtesy: Wikipedia)
Sakuntala Devi claimed to be a human computer. In a television interview where she demonstrated her feats, a simple mathematical problem was asked by a professor which she brushed aside as very simple and agreed to give the answer at the end. But she did not give the answer. This was because there was no formula to give the answer without actually making the calculations. There are lots of formulas by which one can instantly give the answer to a mathematical problem by looking at the question and without calculation. People believed that Sakuntala Devi had the mental power to calculate everything by mind instantly.

Note: Though Premanand has given a few examples, we do not reproduce them here. We, however, give a link to Wikipedia page on Mental Calculation, where one can read about a number of such arithmetical calculations.

Science versus Miracles: Psychic Surgery

B. Premanand

In the Philippines, psychic surgeons conduct surgery without any instruments and claim to cure patients. One such psychic surgeon came to India in the 1980s and the first surgery was conducted on a minister of Maharashtra State. The surgeon thus acquired much publicity in the news media. When he was confronted by skeptics, he had to leave India. Later, it was known that he fell sick and instead of going to another psychic surgeon, he got admitted into hospital for surgery.  Many psychic surgeons and doctors have appeared in India due to television programmes on Yoga for health and on holistic cures. Satya Sai Baba has also conducted psychic surgery on the son of Dr. Bhagwantam, and others, but they dies of the same disease.

Psychic Surgey (Image Courtesy: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Psychic_surgery)

Experiment: 142

Effect: Psychic Surgery

Props: Blood in a plastic bag or thumb tip, part of an animal intestine, surgical cotton, and a table.

Method: Call a volunteer and ask him to remove his shirt and vest and lie on the table. Ask him to close his eyes and go to sleep. Have some blood hidden in the thumb-tip or plastic bag in your right hand. Press the stomach and put your fingers into the skin folds. Turn them inwards to the last joints of your fingers. The audience will think your fingers have pierced the stocmach and gone right in. When the fingers are bent back, release the blood. With the left hand take a piece of cotton with the animal part inside. Push the cotton onto the folds of the stomach and act as if you are curing the part and taking it out. With fresh cotton clean the stomach of blood and show to the audience that the skin has healed itself psychically, and the person has been cured with the diseased portion removed.



Friday, 12 August 2016

Developments in Materialism up to the Eighth Century CE [A History of Materialism From Ajita to Udbhaṭa - Part II]

Ramkrishna Bhattacharya   


Besides the Upaniṣads, the origins of materialism in India can be traced to tales found in both Buddhist and Jaina works. One such tale, the conversation between King Pāyāsi (Paesi) and a Buddhist or a Jaina monk, has been cited as an instance of materialism[i]. The story, found both in Buddhist and Jain sources[ii], testifies to the prevalence of a nonconformist attitude that denied the idea of the immortal soul surviving after the death of the body in which it previously resided. Pāyāsi is a nonbeliever in the existence of the other-world, rebirth, and reward and recrimination of one’s deeds after death. “Neither is there any other-world, nor are there beings reborn otherwise than from parents, nor is there fruit of deeds, well done or ill done,”this sentence uttered by Pāyāsi is quoted and quoted again throughout the Buddhist canonical texts. Pāyāsi states his conclusion on the basis of his own observations and experiments. The Buddhist or Jaina monk who is in discussion with Pāyāsi offers a series of similes, and we are told that by means of analogy he succeeds in converting King Pāyāsi to a faithful believer in afterlife, rebirth, and karmic consequences of one’s deeds. Here we have not only the conflict between a nonbeliever and a believer (not in the existence of god or gods, but only in the existence of the other-world) but also the first specimens of the inductive method of inference, with actual observation and experiment on the one side, and employment of analogy on the other. This contraposition of sense perception and analogy is one of the most notable features in the early history of Indian logic.

Six names—“the first philosophers” in George Thomson’s words—often come up in Buddhist and Jaina works. The Discourse on the Fruits of Being a Monk in the Dīgha Nikāya reveals that only Ajita Kesakambala has a real claim to be a proto-materialist, the other five being basically immaterialists. Ajita explained his philosophy to King Ajātaśatru as follows: 
“O king, there is no (consequence to) alms giving, sacrifice, or oblation. A good or bad action produces no result. This world does not exist, nor does the other world. There is no mother, no father. There is no rebirth of beings after death.”

Ajita cannot be described as a full-fledged materialist, for the exposition is too brief to be considered an adequate exposition of any actual doctrine. Pāyāsi’s declaration forms the staple of Ajita’s doctrine of annihilation (ucchedavāda), the first known hint of the materialist doctrine in India.

The early history of materialism can also be traced in the two epics, the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahābhārata (redacted between the fourth century BCE and the fourth CE). The Jābāli episode in the Rāmāyaṇa (Ayodhyākāṇḍa, canto 100 in the critical edition, canto 108 in the vulgate) offers an example of nonconformism in relation to the other-world. There are several references to the cosmogony of the Sāṃkhya system of philosophy in the Book of Peace (Śāntiparvan) of the Mahābhārata, particularly in 12.180.11–18. A question is raised. The atmospheric wind, the prāṇa wind (the chief of the five winds inhering in all living humans), and the soul are admitted to be three distinct entities; so when at death the prāṇa wind is assimilated and lost in the atmospheric wind, the soul—the third thing—ought to be nevertheless perceptible as such. Yet it is not; why so? Nīlakaṇṭha, a late commentator on the Mahābhārata, presumes that the objection has been raised by Bharadvāja by placing himself on the Lokāyata doctrine (lokāyatamate sthitvā ākṣipati). Belvalkar, though, objects to this identification: “[T]he question of Bharadvāja is pitched on a much higher key than that of a mere Cārvāka …”[iii] ; and indeed the confusion between early Sāṃkhya and Cārvāka is understandable but unwarranted, for they represent two different facets of materialism, separated by several centuries. Several dialogues in the Mahābhārata are in one way or the other connected with Sāṃkhya rather than Cārvāka; on the other hand, there are accounts of disputes between idealists and materialists (e.g., 12.211.22–30) that refer to a non-Sāṃkhya materialism, allied probably to one of the pre-Cārvāka schools.

The Tamil epic Maṇimēkalai 27.77–85 contains an important and often overlooked exposition of the philosophical scene in India at a point of time between the fourth and the seventh century. Six systems are said to conduct themselves according to reason, namely, Lokāyata, Buddhism, Sāṃkhya, Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, and Mīmāṃsā. The poem provides evidence of the existence of at least two pre-Cārvāka materialist doctrines in South India, Lokāyata and bhūtavāda (“the doctrine of elements,” a term which is a precise rendering of “materialism”). The bhūtavādin declares that in spite of several points of similarity, there are some differences between the two doctrines[iv]. As there is no mention of four elements instead of five, it is logical to assume that bhūtavāda was a five-element doctrine. The Maṇimēkalai brings out the basic difference between older forms of materialism and new, Cārvāka, materialism. They are as follows:

(a) Instead of five elements (including ākāśa or vyoma, space) as their principle (tattva), the Cārvākas speak of four, excluding space, presumably because the fifth is not amenable to sense-perception.
(b) The bhūtavādins believe in two kinds of matter: lifeless and living. Life originates from living matter, the body from the lifeless. The Cārvāka do not believe in such duality; to them all beings/entities are made of the same four basic elements.
(c) Some pre-Cārvāka materialists are accidentalists (yadṛcchāvādins): they do not believe in causality. On the other hand, the Cārvākas appear to have endorsed causality; they adopt a doctrine of svabhāva-as-causality rather than it’s opposite, namely, svabhāva-as-accident.
(d) The Cārvākas admit the validity of inference insofar as it is confined to the material and perceptible world, not extended to invisible and unverifiable areas such as the imperishable soul, god, omniscient persons (which are admitted by the Buddhists and Jainas as well), the outcome of performing sacrifices called apūrva (as claimed by the Mīmāṃsakas), and so on. Some of the old materialists, on the other hand, reject inference as such as an instrument of cognition and knowledge, and cling to perception alone.

Materialism in India has been known by other names too. One name that has stuck is the aforementioned, lokāyata (Sanskrit, Pali; logāyata in Prakrit). The word does not occur in the Vedas and its ancillary literature, or anywhere in the Pali tipiṭaka. From the Science of Polity by Kauṭilya (c.fourth century BCE) down to the present day it does occur in diverse texts, both philosophical and non-philosophical. In some of these sources lokāyata does not mean a system of philosophy. In Kauṭilya’s work lokāyata is associated with sāṃkhya and yoga; but it is not known whether by sāṃkhya Kauṭilya means the atheistic epic Sāṃkhya, as found in the Book of Peace of the Mahābhārata, nor is it known what he means by yoga: perhaps Nyāya, Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika, or the system of philosophy attributed to Patañjali, or something else[v]. The context suggests that lokāyata stands for any reason-based philosophy. Pali and Sanskrit Buddhist texts sustain only one meaning: disputatio, the science of disputation (vitaṇḍa(-vāda)-sattaṃ) as recorded by all commentators of the canonical and para-canonical texts as well as by the ancient lexicographers.

In the Discourse on the Fruits of Being a Monk and the jātaka tales, it is the doctrine of Ajita Kesakambala which is called “the doctrine of annihilation,” and not lokāyata[vi]. There is another term in Prakrit to suggest the earliest form of materialism: “the doctrine of (it does) not exist” (natthikavāda or nahiyavāda)[vii]. In Sanskrit works we have the word nāstika, which is explained in two different ways: first as a doctrine preaching the nonexistence of the other-world, and later, as the doctrine that denies or defiles the Veda[viii]. Although nāstika is taken to be a term for Cārvāka alone by Buddhist and Jaina authors and lexicographers, to the Vedists such a designation as “nonbeliever” would refer to Buddhists and Jainas as well, for all three were non-Vedic or anti-Vedic in outlook.

In the Maitrī Upaniṣad and the Purāṇas, we find an ancient story that Bṛhaspati, the preceptor of the gods, intending to deceive the demons, created a materialist system of philosophy. Due to this ancient purāṇic narrative, Bārhaspatya, “associated with Bṛhaspati,” comes about as a fourth name given to materialism. In some eighth-century works, all four names, that is, Bārhaspatya, Cārvāka, Lokāyata, and nāstika, have been used interchangeably[ix]. In Hemacandra’s Sanskrit dictionary (twelfth century), the four names are treated as synonymous. Besides these four names, Śīlāṅka, the Jaina commentator, uses another term, “the doctrine of the identity of the soul and the body” (tajjīva-taccharīra-vāda). This is one of the earliest records of “the doctrine of the (identity of) the body and the spirit.” Two other names are often found in later works: dehātma-vāda, the doctrine that says that the body and the spirit are the same, and bhūta-caitanyavāda, the doctrine that makes the elements and consciousness appearing as one[x]. We also learn of several schools of materialists, some believing in the existence of five elements, some in four, from the Sūtra-Kṛtāṅga-sūtra, a Jain canonical text. All of them are said to believe in the extinction of the soul or the spirit after the death of the body[xi].

Bibliography

Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna. Studies on the Cārvāka/Lokāyata. Firenze: Società Editriche Fiorentina, 2009; London: Anthem Press, 2011.
Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna. “The Social Outlook of the Cārvāka/Lokāyata: A Reconstruction.” Indologica Taurinensia 36 (2010): 37–42.
Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna. “The Wolf’s Footprints: Indian Materialism in Perspective.” Interview with Krishna Del Toso. Annali 71 (2011): 183–204.
Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna. “Svabhāvavāda and the Cārvāka/Lokāyata: A Historical Overview.” Journal of Indian Philosophy 40, no. 5 (2012): 593–614.
Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna. “Verses Attributed to Bṛhaspati in the Sarvadarśanasaṃgraha: A Critical Appraisal.” Journal of Indian Philosophy 41 (2013): 615–630.
Chattopadhyaya, Debiprasad. In Defence of Materialism in Ancient India. New Delhi: People’s Publishing House, 1989.
Chattopadhyaya, Debiprasad, and M. K. Gangopadhyaya, eds. Cārvāka/Lokāyata. New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 1990.
Dixit, K. K. “The Ideological Affiliation of Jayarāśi—The Author of Tattvopaplavasiṃha.” In Cārvāka/Lokāyata, edited by D. Chattopadhyaya and M. K. Gangopadhyaya, pp. 520–530. New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 1990.
Franco, Eli: Perception, Knowledge and Disbelief: A Study of Jayarāśi’s Scepticism. Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi 1994; 1st edition, Alt- und Neu-Indische Studien 35, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1987.
Jayarāśibhaṭṭa. Tattvopaplavasiṃha of Jayarāśibhaṭṭa. Tr. Esther Solomon; ed. Shuchita Mehta: Jayarāśi Bhaṭṭa’s Tattvopaplavasiṁha. An Introduction, Sanskrit Text, English Translation and Notes. Parimal Sanskrit Series 111. Delhi: Parimal Publications, 2010.
Saṁghavī, Sukhlāljī; Pārīkh, Rasiklāl C., eds. Tattvopaplavasimha of Shri Jayarasi Bhatta. Edited with an introduction and indices. Gaekwad Oriental Series 87, Baroda: Oriental Institute, 1940; reprinted, Bauddha Bharati Series 20, Varanasi: Bauddha Bharati, 1987.



[i] Erich Frawallner (History of Indian Philosophy, vol. 2 [Delhi: MLBD, 1971], 216) has even claimed Pāyāsi to be “the first materialist.” It is a glaring example of mistaking fiction for fact. There is no proof of the existence of a king called Paesi, who had conducted some experiments to find out the nature of the soul. Moreover, the narrative highlights only one aspect of materialist thought, namely, denial of the existence of any immortal soul, and hence of the doctrine of karman and its consequent, namely, rebirth. Therefore, it will not be justified to treat the Paesi legend as a true exposition of the materialist doctrine as a whole.
[ii] The names and hence the characters in the narratives in the Buddhist canonical work (“The Discourse of King Pāyasi” (Pāyasi(rajañña)-suttanta) in The Long Discourses [Dīgha Nikāya]) and the two Jain secular works (Dialogue of King Prasenajit (Rāyapasenaijja) and Haribhadra’s Story of Samarāditya (Samarāiccakahā)) vary widely, the original story must have been the same. It was presumably manufactured to discredit those who did not believe in the immortality of the soul. This task is accomplished by a Buddhist monk in the Buddhist Pāyasi discourse, and by a Jain monk in the two Jain versions of the story. The dialogue between the king and a Buddhist or Jain monk is a well-known and oft-used narrative device encountered in many later works, such as Āryaśūra’s The Garland of Birth Stories (Jātakamālā), Somadeva’s long poem dealing with various religious and philosophical issues from the Jain point of view (Yaśastilakacampū), and the Jain scholar Hemacandra’s Lives of Sixty-Three Eminent Persons (Triaṣṭi-Śalākā-Purua-Carita). The same device is found even earlier in Saghadāsagai’s (sixth/seventh century CE) The Wanderings of Vasudeva (Vasudevahiṃḍī). For details see R. Bhattacharya, “Pre-Cārvāka Materialism in Vasudevahidī,” Jain Journal 43:3 (2009) 102–109.
[iii] Dahlmann, Joseph, Die Sāṃkhya Philosophie Berlin: Felix L. Demes, 1902, S 193, The Mahābhārata, Critical Edition, Śāntiparvan, ed. S. K. Belvalkar (Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1951) 2157 col. 2. Presumably Belvalkar, like many others before and after him, employs the name Cārvāka figuratively (synecdoche, an individual for the class) to suggest any materialist.
[iv] Maimēkalai, trans. Prema Nandakumar (Thanjavur: Tamil University, 1989), 27.265–77.
[v] For details see Bhattacharya, Studies on the Cārvāka/Lokāyata, chap. 10.
[vi] A Pali canonical source, however, mentions seven kinds of ucchedavāda (“Brahmajālasutta,” 1.3.84–91. Dīghanikāya (Patna: Pali Publication Board, 1958), 30–32. But nothing definite is known about the kinds other than that of Ajita’s. All these doctrines mentioned in the “Brahmajālasutta” are part of the sixty-two heresies (diṭṭhiyo). Neither the text nor its commentators are of any assistance in knowing about such doctrines as eternalism, whose adherents held that the self and the universe are eternal. This doctrine too is of four kinds. There are references to sixteen kinds of the doctrine that held that the spirit is conscious after death and eight kinds of its opposite doctrine, which held that the spirit is unconscious after death. We are further told that there were eight kinds of yet another doctrine that held that the spirit is neither conscious nor unconscious after death.
[vii] Saghadāsagai Vācaka, Vasudevahiṃḍī Prathama Khaṇḍam, ed. Caturavijaya and Punyavijaya (1930–1931), (Gandhinagar: Gujarat Sahitya Akademi, 1989), 169, 275, and A. P. Jamkhedkar, Vasudevahiṃḍī: A Cultural Study (Delhi: Agam Kala Prakashan, 1984), 184.
[viii] Cf. Manu-smti 2.11: “The nāstika is a defiler of the Veda” (nāstiko vedanindaka). Manu-smti with Nine Commentaries, ed. J. H. Dave (Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1975), vol. 2.
[ix] See Jinendrabuddhi, Viśālāmalavatī Pramāṇasamuccayaṭīkā, ed. Ernst Steinkellner et al. (Beijing: China Tibetology Publishing House and Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, 2005), 24: atha vā cārvāka pratyetaducyate…. Haribhadra, adarśanasamuccaya with Guaratna’s and Somatilakasūri’s commentaries and an anonymous Avacūri (Calcutta: Bharatiya Jnanapitha, 1969), chap.6. The chapter is devoted to the exposition of Lokāyata (lokāyatā vadanty evam, etc. verse 80a), but in verse 85d we read: cārvākāḥ pratipedire. See also Kamalaśīla who, in his commentary, Pañjikā (Śāntarakita, Tattvasagraha with Pañjikā by Kamalaśīla [Varanasi: Bauddha Bharati, 1968, 1981]) on Tattvasagraha, chapter 22, entitled “Lokāyataparīkṣā,” uses the names Cārvāka and Lokāyata interchangeably. See TSP, II: 639,649,657,663,665, also II: 520 (bārhaspatyādaya), 939 (lokāyata), and 945 (lokāyatam).
[x] For example see Śakarācārya, on Brahmasūtra 1.1.1 (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1988); Vyomaśiva, Vyomavatī, vol. 1 (Varanasi: Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vishvavidyalaya, 1983–1984), 155.
[xi] See Ācāragasūtram and Sūtraktāṅgasūtram with Niryukti of Ācārya Bhadravāhu Svāmī and the Commentary of Śīlāṅkācārya, ed. Ācārya Sarvanandājī Mahārāja, re-ed. with Appendix by Muni Jambuvijayaji (Delhi: MLBD Indological Trust, 1978), 10–19.




Prof Ramkrishna Bhattacharya taught English at Unversity of Calcutta, Kolkota and was an Emeritus Fellow of University Grants Commission. He is now Fellow of Pavlov Institute, Kolkota


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