Sunday, 1 January 2012

J Muir's Essay on Carvaka/Lokayata

J. Muir

This paper was first presented in 1861 and published in The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland in volume xix, pp. 299-314. According to Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya, this article  is "the earliest compilation of the major references to the Carvaka/Lokayata view as found in the epics and the Puranas".

Verses.from the Sarva-darsana-sangraha, the Visnu Purana, and the Ramayana, illustrating·the tenets of the Carvakas or Indian Materialists, with some remarks on Freedom of Speculation in Ancient India. .

In his essay on the heretical schools of the Hindus, Mr. Colebrooke has given an account of the tenets of the Carvakas or Materialists (Misc. Essays, i., 402 f£). Professor Wilson, too, in his "Sketch of the Religious Sects of the Hindus" (As. Res., Vol. XVI., pp. 5, 6), alludes to the attacks made by the founder of the atheistical or materialistic school, Vrhaspati, on the Vedas and the Brahmanas, and quotes some verses attributed to that author in which he asserts that 'the whole Hindu system is a contrivance of the priesthood to secure a means of livelihood for themselves. I am not aware whether either the aphorisms of Vrhaspati (Varhaspatya Sutras), to which Mr. Colebrooke refers (Mise. Ess., i., 404) as having been quoted by one of the commentators on the Vedanta, or the Work which contains the verses adduced by Professor Wilson, are still extant or not. As, however, the Sarva Darsana Sangraha 1 of Madhava Acaryya (a work containing a concise account of the different philosophical schools of India, both orthodox and heretical), from which Professor Wilson derived the verses which he cites, contains a good many more of a similar tendency which are both satirical and clever I shall translate the whole and compare them with passages of the same tenor which occur in the Visnu Purana and in the Ramayana.

(1)   The passage from the Sarva Darsana Sangraha is as follows:

All this has been uttered by Vrhaspati as well:


  1. There is no heaven, no final liberation, no soul (which continues to exist) in another world; nor any ceremonies 0 castes or orders which are productive of future reward.
  2. The Agnihotra sacrifice, the three Vedas, the mendicant's triple staff (tridanda), 2 and the practice of smearing oneself with ashes, are only a means of livelihood ordained by the Creator for men who have neither understanding nor energy.
  3. If (it be true that) an animal slaughtered at the Jyotistoma Sacrifice is (in consequence) exalted to heaven, 3 .why does the worshipper not immolate his own father?
  4. If a sraddha (offering .of food to the manes) 4 satiates even defunct creatures, it is quite superfluous to furnish people who are setting out upon a journey with any provisions (as their friends who remain can offer food to them).
  5. Since (as you say,) persons heaven are filled with oblations presented upon earth, why is food not similarly offered (by those below) to people on the roof of the house?
  6. While a man lives, let him live merrily; 5 let him borrow money, and swallow clarified butter; how can a body return to earth after it has been reduced to ashes?
  7. If a man goes to another world when he quits his body, why does affection for his kindred not impel him to come back?
  8. Hence ceremonies for the dead are a mere mean of livelihood devised by the Brahmins, and nothing else.
  9. The three composers of the Vedas were buffoons, rogues, and goblins; everyone has heard of jarbhari, turphail, and other such (nonsensical) exclamations of the Pandits.6
  10. It is well-known that 10 an asvamedha (horse-sacrifice), the embraces of the horse must be received by the Queen; 7 and it is, in like manner, also well-known what other sorts of things are to be grasped by those buffoons 8. In the same way, the eating of flesh is prescribed by those goblins.

(2)   The ideas in the following verses from the Visnu Purana are are ofthe same tendency, and in part identical with those just quoted. The passage is considered by Professor Wilson to represent.the sentiments of Vrhaspati's school, and has already been translated by him in his Visnu Purana (p. 340, f.); but I shall give a version of my own, prefixing to it the original Sanskrit, which has never been printed.


Visnu Purana  iii.18.
14: Anyan apyanya-pasanda-prakarair bahubhir dvija/Daiteyan mohayamasa Mayamoha vimohakrt/
15. Svalpenaiva hi kalena mayamohena te surah/Moitas tatyajuh sarvam trayi-margasritam katham/
16:  Kecid hi nindam vedanam devanam apare dvija/Yajna-karma-kalapasya tatha nye ca dvijanmanam/
17: Naitad yuktim-saham vakyam himsa dharmaya nesyate/havimsy anala-dagdhani phalayety arbhokoditam/
18. Yajnair anekair devatvam avapy endrena bhujyate/samyadi yadi cet kastham tadvaram pattra-bhuk pasuh/
19. Nihatasya pasor yajne svarga-prapatir yadisyate/Sva-pita yajamanena kinnu tasmad na hanyate/
20. Triptaye jayate pumso bhuktam anyena cet xatah (tatah?)/dadyac chraddham sraddhaya ‘nnam na vaheyuh pravasinah/ 
21. Janasraddheyam ity etad avagamya tato vacah/Upexya sreyase vakyam iocatam/
22. yuktimad vacanam grahyam maya nyaisa bhavamahasurah/yuktimad vacanam grahyam maya nyaisca bhavadvidhaiah/
23. Mayamohena te daityah prakarair bahubhis tatha/vyutthapita yatha naisam trayim kascid arocayat/
24. Ittham unmargayatesu (tesu?) dityesu te ‘marah/udyogam paramam krtva yuddaya samupasthitah/
25. Tato devasuram yuddham punar evabhavad dvija/ hatasca te ‘sura devaih sanmarga-paripanthinah/
26. Sa dharma-kavacas tesam abhud yah prathamam dvijx/tena raxa bhavatpurvam nesur naste ca tatra te/
After describing how Mayamoha, the great impersonated Delusion, had seduced the Daityas (who here stand for the heretical Indians in general) into embracing Jaina and Buddhist doctrines, the writer proceeds: 'The great Deceiver, practising illusion, next beguiled other Daityas by means of many other sorts of heresy. In a very short time these Asuras (= Daityas) deluded by the Deceiver, abandoned the entire system founded on the ordinances of the triple Veda. Some reviled the Vedas, others the gods, others the ceremonial of sacrifice, and others the Brahmins. This (they exclaimed,) is a doctrine which will not bear discussion; the slaughter (of animals in sacrifice) is not conducive to religious merit. (To say that) oblations of butter consumed in the fire produce any future reward, is the assertion of a child. If Indra, after having attained godhead by numerous sacrifices, feeds upon sami and other woods, then an animal which eats leaves is superior to him. If it be a fact that a beast slain in sacrifice is exalted to heaven, why does the worshipper not slaughter his own father? If a man is truly satiated by food that another person eats, then sraddhas should be offered to people who are travelling abroad, and they, trusting this, should have no need to carry any food along with them. 9 After it has been settled that this doctrine is entitled to credence, let the opinions which I express be pondered and received as conducive to happiness. Infallible utterances do not, great Asuras, fall from the skies; only assertions founded on reasoning are accepted by me and by other (intelligent) persons like yourselves. Thus by numerous methods the Daityas were unsettled by the great Deceiver, so that none of them regarded the triple Veda with favour any longer. When the Daityas had entered this path of error, the deities mustered all their energies and approached to battle. Then followed a combat between the gods and Asuras, and the latter, who had abandoned the right road, were smitten by the former. In previous times they had been defended by the armour of righteousness which they bore, but when that had been destroyed, they too perished.'


(3) The following is the passage of the Ramayana to which I have alluded. It contains the speech of the Brahmin Javali, in which he endeavours, ineffectually, to shake the resolution of Rama, who was unwilling to deviate from the arrangements made by his late father Dasaratha and return from the forests of the south to Ayodhya to take possession of the throne now offered to him by his dutiful younger brother, Bharata. This passage may be found translated in Carey and Marshman's edition of the Ramayana, but I have rendered it anew, both according to the text of Schlegel's and of Gorresio's editions, and have placed my own two versions in parallel columns for facility of comparison. I have placed in italics the passages which coincide most closely with those from the Sarva-darsana­sangraha and Visnu Purana:

Ramayana, Ayodhyakanda,  Section 108, Ed. Schlegel.

1. Javali, most excellent of Brahmins, thus addressed Rama, who was comforting Bharata, and who was thoroughly versed in duty, with the following words which were contrary to duty. 10
2. You, descendant of Raghu, who are intelligent and of superior understanding, ought not to entertain such unprofitable notions, as if you were an ordinary person.
3. How can anyone person be of kin to any other? What has anyone to gain from any other, seeing that every creature is born alone and dies alone? 11
4. Anyone, therefore, who feels attachment to any persons, such as his father and mother, is to be regarded as insane; since no one is anything to any other.
5. Just as in the case of a man who goes into a strange village, sojourns there, and then quits his abode and proceeds on his journey the following day;
6. so are men's fathers, and mothers, and houses, and property but temporary possessions (lit. abodes), on which the good will not allow their affections to fasten.
7. You, most excellent of men, ought not, by abandoning your paternal kingdom, to enter upon a wrong road, painful, uneven, and beset with troubles.
8. Permit yourself to be enthroned in opulent Ayodhya; that city eagerly expects you, with her hair fastened in a single braid (in token of mourning).
9. Enjoying, prince, the exquisite gratifications of royalty, disport yourself there as Indra does in paradise.
10. Dasaratha (his father) is now nothing to you, nor you to him; that king (was) one person and you (are) another; do, therefore, as I advise.
11. A father is nothing more than the seed of a creature; his seminal principle and blood combined with the seminal substance of the mother such is a man's terrestrial generation.
12. That monarch has gone to the place to which he had to go; such is the course of human beings; but you are being needlessly injured.
13. There­fore, I lament12 (the fate of) such men as adhere to justice, and of no others; for the just suffer affliction here, and when they die, they incur annihilation.
14. Men are intent upon oblations to their progenitors and to the gods: but see what a destruction of food! For what can a dead man eat?
15. If an oblation eaten here by one (really) passes into the body of another, then let a sraddha be offered to a man who is travelling abroad; he need not eat upon his journey. 16. These books composed by wise men (containing such precepts as) worship, bestow, offer sacrifice, practise austerities, abandon (the world); are mere charms to draw forth gifts.
17. Understand intelligent (prince,) that no one exists hereafter, regard only that which is an object of perception, and cast behind your back whatever is beyond the reach of your senses. 13
18. Acting upon this principle, which should be the guide of all mankind, allow yourself to be persuaded by Bharata, and accept the kingdom.

Ramayana, Ayodhyakanda, Section 16, Ed. Gorresio.

1.2. Then Javali, most excellent of Brahmins, the king's logician (naiyayika) versed in all learning, and acquainted with duty, being desired by them all, and seeking to comfort Bharata, addressed Rama, who was unwilling to go to the city, with these words in consonance with duty. 3. You, descendant of Raghu, ought not, like an ordinary person, to entertain such unprofitable notions, the contemptible ideas of an ascetic. ... 14 
12. How can anyone person be of kin to any other? What has anyone to do with any other? Seeing that every creature is born alone, and dies alone. 
13. Hence a mother and a father both resemble a lodging; the man who feels any attachment to them is to be regarded as insane. 
14. Just as in the case of a man who goes into any strange village, and sojourns there, and then quits his abode, and proceeds on his journey the following day; 
15. So are men's fathers, and mothers, and houses, and property, but temporary possessions (lit. abodes); away with all idea of loving them. 
16. You ought not, hero, to abandon a level path, free from dust and alarm, and to enter upon a wrong road beset with troubles. 
17. Permit yourself to be enthroned in opulent Ayodhya; that city eagerly expects you, with her hair fastened in a single braid (in token of mourning). 
18. Enjoying, prince, the exquisite gratifications of royalty, disport yourself there as Indra does in paradise. 
19. Dasaratha (his father) is now nothing to you, nor you to him; that king (was) one person, and you (are) another; do, therefore, what I advise. 
20. A father is nothing more than the seed of a creature; his seminal principle, with blood and air, combined with the seminal substance of the mother-such is a man's generation of a son. 
21. That monarch has gone to the place to which he had to go; such is the course of human beings; but you are being needlessly injured. 
22. Wherefore I inquire of such as adhere to justice, and of no others; for the just suffer affliction here, and when they die they incur annihilation. 
23. Oblations are offered to progenitors and to the gods; men are intent upon the ceremony, but see what a destruction of food! What is left for the dead? 
24. If an oblation-eaten here by one (really) passes into the body of another, then let a sraddha be offered to a man who is travelling abroad, and let him carry no provisions for his journey . 
25. These books composed by wise men (containing such precepts as) worship, bestow, offer sacrifice, practise austerities, abandon (the world); are merely meant to multiply gifts. 
26. Understand, intelligent (prince), that no one exists hereafter; regard not that which is beyond the reach of your senses, but only that which is an object of perception. 
27. Acting upon this principle, which should be the guide of all mankind, allow yourself to be persuaded by Bharata, and accept the kingdom. 
28-33. Follow, therefore, wise counsels, and abide in your proper path. Xupa, the illustrious mental son of Brahma...these (whose names are enumerated in verses 
29. ff) and many other excellent monarchs, abandoning their dear sons and wives, 
34. have yielded to the power of time. We know not whither they nor the Gandharvas, Yaxas, and Raxasas, 
35. may have departed; such a scene of illusion is this world. For it is the names of these kings only which arc now heard. 
36. Anyone imagines "them to exist in whatever region he pleases. Thus there is no firm foundation on which this world may abide. 
37. It is this which is the other (or highest) world; enjoy, therefore, happiness; for just men are not qualified for this enjoyment. 
38. Just men, descendants of Kakutstha, are 'very miserable, while the unjust are seen to be happy. 
39. This world, again, is in every way confused and perturbed; do not, therefore, most eminent of men, condemn the fortune which seeks you. 
40. Accept this great kingdom which is free from rivals and enemies. When Rama had heard this discourse, although slow to wrath, he was greatly incensed at being exhorted to atheism.15
As the doctrines, which in these verses are put into the mouth of the Brahmin Javali, agree essentially in their tenor with those ascribed to the Carvakas in the verses I have quoted from the Sarva-darsana-sangraha, it would appear (if the section be genuine) that those Materialists must be as old as the composition of the Ramayana, to whatever era that may be referred. And that a sect bearing that appellation must have existed at the time when the Mahabharata received its present form appears highly probable from the contents of the following passage from the Santiparva, or 12th Book, verses 1,414 ff., in which a story is told about a Raxasa or demon of that name, who was a. contemner of the Brahmins, and who, there can be little doubt, is meant to stand for a hostile sectary.

After Yudhighira had entered the city and had bestowed largesses on the Brahmins, etc., the following scene is described to have taken place:

'When the Brahmins were now once again standing silent, Carvaka the Raxasa, in the disguise of a Brahmin, addressed the King. This friend of Duryodhana, concealed under the garb of a mendicant with a rosary, a lock of hair on his crown, and a triple staff, impudent and fearless, surrounded by all the Brahmins exceeding a thousand in number, who were anxious to utter their benedictions-men who practised austerity and self-restraint-this wretch, wishing evil to the magnanimous  Pandavas, without saluting those Brahmins, thus addressed the King: "All these Brahmins, falsely imputing the malediction to me, themselves exclaim, woe to you, wicked king, the slayer of your kindred. What can be the issue of this son of Kuntl? Since you have slaughtered your kinsmen and elders, death is desirable for you, and not life. “Hearing this speech of the wicked Raksasa the Brahmins were pained and indignant, being maligned by his words. But they, as well as King Yudhisthira, all remained silent, being ashamed and cut to the heart. Then Yudhighira said: "Let all your reverences be reconciled to me, who bows down and supplicates you: you ought not to curse me who has recently (?) undergone such great misfortunes." All the Brahmins then exclaimed: "We never uttered the words imputed to us; may your Majesty enjoy prosperity." Then these noble-minded Brahmins, versed in the Vedas and purified by austerities, recognised (the pretended mendicant) by the eye of knowledge, and exclaimed: "This is the Raxasa called Carvaka, friend of Duryodhana; in the garb of a vagrant he seeks to accomplish the purposes of your enemy; we speak not so, righteous King; let all such fears be dissipated; may prosperity attend you and your brothers.” Then all these pure Brahmins, infuriated with anger, uttering menaces, slew, with muttered curses, the wicked Raxasa; who fell down consumed by the might of utterers of Vedic incantations, burnt up by the bolt of Indra, like a tree covered with leaves.'

Krsna then, in the following verses (1,430-1,442), explains to Yudhisthira that formerly in the Krta age this Raxasa, Carvaka, had for many years practised austerities at Badari; and that having in consequence received from Brahma his choice of a boon, he had selected that of being perfectly secure against the hostility of all creatures. This boon was granted under the sole condition that he should abstain from showing any disrespect to Brahmins (dvijiivamiimid anyatra). Having obtained this prerogative of immunity from attack, he began to oppress the gods. The latter appealed to Brahma, who told them that he had decreed that the Rixasa'a death should shortly be brought about through his friendship with Duryodhana, which would lead him to treat the Brahmins contemptuously, when they would consume him, as the King had seen; and that Yudhistra was not to feel any remorse for the slaughter of his kindred, since this carnage had taken place in the exercise of is functions as a Xatriya, and its victims had gone to heaven.

Carvaka is again briefly mentioned in the 'Lament of Duryodhana', 9th, or Salya Parva, 3,619: when that prince had received his death-wound, his thighs having been fractured by the blow of Bhimasena's club: 


'If Carvaka, the, wandering ascetic, skilful in discourse, .learns (that I have been mortally wounded), he will certainly perform an expiation 16 ('for me in the holy (lake) Samanta-pancaka, renowned in the three worlds'.

I am not aware how far back the sect of the Carvakas can be traced in Indian literature. Nastikas (nihilists), Pasandis (heretics), and revilers of the Vedas arc mentioned in many parts of Manu's Institutes, ii. 11: iii. 150, 161; iv. 30, 61, 163: V. 89; viii. 22, 309; ix. 225; xi. 65. 66; xii. 33; 95.96. I quote two of these passages as specimens; 


ii. 11: 'Whatever Brahmin, addicting himself to rationalistic writings17 (hetu-sastra), shall despise these two sources (of knowledge, the sruti and the smrti), is to be cast out by good men as a nihilist and reviler of the Veda.' 
xii. 95,. 96: 'All religious systems (smrtis) which stand apart from the Vedas, and all heretical opinions whatever, are unprofitable in the next world, for they are founded on darkness. Whatever books, separate from the Vedas, spring up and disappear, are worthless and false, due to their recentness of date.' 
Such heretics appear to have been numerous at the period when these Institutes were compiled, as the faithful are warned (iv. 61) against living in a village 'overrun with heretics'; a kingdom 'in which Sudras predominate, overrun with nihilists, and destitute of Brahmins', is said (viii. 22) to be doomed to destruction; a king who is a nihilist is threatened with perdition (viii. 309); and it is enjoined (ix. 225) that heretics shall be banished. Nihilism is, however, only pronounced (xi. (6) to be an upapiitaka, or sin of lesser heinousness. Allusion is said to be made in v. 89, 90 and viii. 363 to female anchorets of an heretical religion.

The anti-brahminical opinions referred to here are, however, most probably those of the Buddhists, although some other sects may possibly be included.

It is evident from some of the hymns of the Veda (sec Muller's Hist. of Anc. Sansk. Lit., p. 556 ff.) that theological speculation has been practised in India from a very early period. In fact all of these hymns, even those of them which arc most artless poetical, and anthropomorphic in their character, may in a limited sense be regarded as speculative; since the religious ideas which they express, being founded on no external revelation, must have owed their existence not only to the religious emotions and imagination of their authors, but also to a certain exercise of reflection, which assigned particular attributes and functions to the different deities and proceeded along a certain theory of the relations of the Godhead to the universe. Therefore, as the religions or mythological systems of India developed, it was to be expected that they should exhibit numerous varia­tions springing out of the particular genius of different writers; and more especially that, whenever the speculative element predominated in any author, he should give utterance to ideas on the origin of the world and the nature and action of the deity or deities which were more or less opposed to those commonly received. In the stage here supposed, a fixed and authoritative system of belief or institutions had not yet been constructed, but was only in the process of construction, and therefore considerable liberty of individual thought, expression, and action would be allowed; as is, indeed, also shown by the existence of different schools of Brahmins, not merely attached to one or other of the particular Vedas, but even restricting their allegiance to some particular recension of one of the Vedas. Even after the Brahminical system had been more firmly established and its details more minutely prescribed, it is clear that the same strictness was not extended to speculation, but that if a Brahmin were only an observer of the established ceremonial, and an assertor of the privileges of his own order, he might entertain and even profess almost any philosophical opinion which he pleased (Colebrooke, Misc. Ess., i., 379; Muller, Anc. Sansk. Lit., 79). In this way the tradition of free thought was preserved and speculative principles of every character continued to be maintained and taught without hindrance or scandal. Meanwhile the authority of the Vedas had come to be generally regarded as paramount and divine, but so long as this authority was nominally acknowledged, independent thinkers were permitted to propound a variety of speculative principles at variance with their general tenor, although perhaps not inconsistent with some isolated portions of their contents. It was only when the authority of the sacred books was not merely tacitly set aside or undermined but openly discarded and denied, and the institutions founded on them were abandoned and assailed by the Buddhists, that the orthodox party took the alarm.

Accordingly, traces of a sceptical spirit are not wanting in different parts of Indian literature.

In the Rig Veda viii. 89, 3, 4, reference is made to some free thinkers who had doubted the existence of Indra. (See Original Sanskrit Texts, iii. 151)

In the Nirukta, Yaska refers to an older author named Kautsa, who had spoken of the hymns of the Veda as often being unmeaningful or contradictory (Original Sansk. Texts, ii. 180 ff.)

Sakya Muni, the founder of Buddhism, who is generally considered to have flourished in the sixth century Be and, as is well known, rejected the authority of the Vedas and promul­gated a system of doctrine and practice at variance with their contents; most probably derived many of his tenets from other speculators who had preceded him. Burnouf (who is followed by Lassen, Muller, and others) is of the opinion that Sakya merely carried on a work which had previously been commenced by Kapila and Pataiijali, and proceeded upon the atheistical principles furnished to him by the former of these philosophers (Bouddhisme Indien, pp. 211; 520). This may be true and maybe susceptible of proof from a comparison of the principles of these two systems and an examination of their mutual relations. In the meantime, however, it is worthy of remark that the Sankhya Sutras, i. 27-47, adduce and refute certain tenets which are those of the Buddhist schools. The opinions in question are, (1) the momentary duration of external objects, which succeed each other in a perpetual flux (Sutras, 34, 35); (2) that things exist only in perception, and have no objective reality (Sutra, 42), 18 (3) that there is nothing but a void (Sunya). All these doctrines are those of the Buddhist schools (as described in Mr. Colebrooke's Essay on the Heretical Sects). The first doctrine is mentioned in p. 397 of that Essay as Buddhist; while the second is that of the Yogacaras and the third that of the Madhyamikas, who are both Bauddha sects, ibid. p. 391. (See also p. 380, where Mr. Colebrooke alludes to the Buddhists being noticed in the Sankhya.) If, therefore, the Sankhya Sutras are to be regarded as the original form in which that system was propounded by its author, and if they have remained free from interpolation, the Sankhya must be later than Buddhism. It appears, however, to be prima Jacie very improbable that the Sutras of the different philosophical schools (whatever may be the age to which the earliest nucleus of each may be referred) should have remained unaltered from the date of their first Composition; and the mutual references which are to be found in the Brahma and the Sankhya Sutras to each other's doctrines, totally preclude such a supposition. The Sutras must therefore either have received interpolations at some period subsequent to their first compilation, or must be regarded as nothing more than later summaries of doctrines which had been handed down, either orally or in writing, from an earlier period.

Mr. Colcbrooke, with his usual caution, does not determine whether or not the Buddhist doctrines are derived from those of Kapila, but merely notices the 'strong resemblance' which the latter 'manifestly bear to the opinions of the sects of Jaina and Buddha' (Mise. Ess. i., 228). In another place (i. 378), he says no more than that the last-named sects 'exhibit some analogy to the Sankhyas.'

But it is not the systems of Buddha and of Kapila alone which are atheistic in their principles. Three of the other Darsanas, reputed as being more or less orthodox, or subdivisions of them, are known or suspected-not without some appearance of reason-to have once professed the same opinions~ or to profess them still.

In his Dialogues on Hindu Philosophy which have lately appeared, Professor K. M. Banerjea states his opinion (pp. 141, ff) that the Nyaya and Vaisesika systems were originally atheistic although their modern adherents have adopted a theistic creed. 19

The wide prevalence of atheistic sentiments in the middle ages of Indian history (i.e. in the centuries subsequent to the commencement of the Christian era) is, however, yet more distinctly shown by the remarkable fact that tenets of this description had, as the orthodox Kumarila himself confessed in one of the introductory verses of his Viirttika,20 become, in his day, quite general among the adherents of the Purva Mimamsa School, who thus strangely combined the two characteristics regarded by Manu and the Visnu Purana as incompatible; namely, recognition of the authority of the Veda and strict observance of Vedic ceremonies which these works so strongly enjoin, with the nihilism, atheism, or materialism (nastikya) which they so strenuously denounce. If we are to understand from the term Lokayata, applied by Kumarila to the hostile section of the Mip1aiTlsakas, that they had abandoned the belief in a future life as well as in a God (as we, no doubt, should understand, and as I have been assured by Pandit Nehemiah Goreh, an intelligent and well-informed convert from Brahminism to Christianity); then they have only practised their Vedic ceremonies either for the sake of the prosperity and happiness which they conceived they would procure in the present life, or 01) account of the gains and the respectability connected with their performance. In this case it is a singular fact that the votaries of the Vedic rites should have adopted the speculative opinions of those very materialists by whom these ceremonies and their performers have been so keenly ridiculed and denounced

Since the preceding paper was delivered to the Royal Asiatic Society, I have learned, from a letter from Dr.Fitz Edward Hall, that he had made a long but fruitless search in India for the aphorisms on Vrhaspati. 


NOTES

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  1. Published in the Bibliotheca Indica, nos. 63 and 142.
  2. See Professor Wilson's Sketch of the Religious Sects of the Hindus, above referred to; and for the words tridatJ4a.and tridatJ4in, consult Boehtlingk and Roth's Lexicon, with the passages there cited from Manu, ix. 296, and xii. 10, II, and other writers.
  3. This refers to the notion expressed by Manu, V.42: 'The twice-born man who, knowing the meaning and principles of the Veda, slays cattle on the occasions mentioned, conveys both himself and those cattle to the summit of beatitude. ' (Sir W.Jones). In the second act of the drama called Prabodhncandrodaya (which has been translated into English by Dr. Taylor and into German by Professor Goldstucker), Mayamoha (or Delusion) and a Carvaka are introduced among the dramatis personae and give utterance to the tenets of the Indian materialists, The second and the third of the verses quoted in the text from the Sarva-darsana-sangraha are adduced there also. Verse 4 of the text is varied as follows: 'If a sraddha satiates even defunct creatures, then oil must nourish the flame of an extinguished lamp.' The following stanzas are of a similar purport with verse I of the text: 'The idea that the soul exists with an essence distinct from that of the body, and that it enjoys rewards after it has gone to another world, is (as vain as) the expectation of luscious fruit from trees growing in the sky.' 'If heaven is obtained by worshippers after the performer, the ceremonial, and the materials of the sacrifice have all passed away, then abundant fruit will be produced from trees which have been consumed in the conflagration of a forest.' In another verse, the gratifications of the voluptuary are contrasted with the mortifications of the ascetic in a sense favourable to the former.
  1. See Manu. chap. iii., verses 122 to the end.
  1. Dum vivimus, vivamus, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die', Cor. XV.32
  1. Compare Original Sanskrit Texts, ii. 183, and iii. 45. The words jarbhari, turphari, occur in Rg Veda, x. 106.6, See Boehtlingk and Hoth's Lexicon, under these words, and Nirukta, xiii. 5.
  1. I give the literal meaning of this line in Latin: 'Fama notum est equi membrum genitale a regina capiendum esse’ See Wilson's translation of the Rg Veda., vol. ii., Introd., p. xiii; Ramayana, i. 13,36 (Schlegel's edit.); i., 13.34 (Gorresio's edit.); Mahabh., xiv., 2645; Vajasaneyi Samhita, xxiii, 20 ff. and commentary; Satapatha Brahmana, pp. 990 ff; Katyayana’s Sutras, p. 973.
  1. I do not perceive the exact allusion here, unless it be to the Brahmins' grasping character. Possibly there may be a reference in the next line to the practice of the Saktas. Goblins are represented by the Hindus as being fond of flesh.
  1. The satirical purport of this half-verse has not been correctly understood by Professor Wilson, who renders it thus: 'It must be unnecessary for one who resides at a distance to bring food for presentation in person.’
  1. Schlegel reads here dharmapetam, and Gorresio dharmopetam. The former is the best reading.
  1. The same reflection, with a different moral annexed, occurs in the very striking verses of Manu, viii., 17 and iv., 23Y ff; which I have attempted to put into verse as follows

1. Our virtue is the only friend that follows us in death While other tics and friendships end with our departing breath.
2.  Nor father, mother, wife, nor son, beside us then can stay, Nor kinsfolk-virtue is the one companion of our way.
3. Alone each creature sees the light, alone the world he leaves, Alone of actions wrong or right, the recompense receives.
4.  Like log or clod, beneath the sod, their lifeless kinsman laid, His friends depart, with aching heart, but virtue guards the dead.
5.   Be then a hoard of virtue stored, to help in day of doom,
          By virtue led, we cross the dread, immeasurable gloom.

This passage is imitated and expanded in the 13th or Anusasana Parva of the Mahabharata, verses 5,805 – 5,815. The words in Manu, iv., 244, tamas tarati dustaram, 'he crosses the gloom difficult to cross, ' are probably derived from the Atharva Veda. ix., 5, 1. Tirtva tamamsi bahudha mahanti ajo nakam akramatam trtiyam: 'Having crossed the: dark abysses in many directions immense let the unborn (or, the moving) one ascend the third heaven.'

  1. Compare Mahabhiirata, Udyoga Parva, verse 4205.
  2. These are the principles ofthe Carvakas. 'Perception is the only proof' says the Mayamoha, in the Prabodha-candrodaya, Act. ii.
  3. Verses 4-11 in Gorresio's edition, urging that Rama had sufficiently fulfilled his duty to his father and exhorting him to take possession of the kingdom, have nothing parallel to them in Schlegel's recension.
  4. The section of the Ramayana, and those which follow it, as given in the three different editions of the Ramayana, well illustrate the peculiarities of their different texts. In Schlegel's edition, section 108 concludes with the 18th verse, which is immediately succeeded by the reply of Rama to Javali's suggestions, in the 29 anustubh verses, which stand at the commencement of section 109. To these are added nine more verses in a longer metre, the Upajati, which Schlegel regards as spurious. As regards some of the verses his opinion is no doubt just; for Rama is represented in the first of these additional stanzas as a second time commencing  his answer to Javali,and the tone in which he then repudiates the sentiments of the latter is much harsher than in the earlier (anustubh) verses of the section. In the 36th and following verses of the addition, Javali is introduced as apologizing for, and half recanting, the opinions he had expressed: 'The Brahmin then addressed to Rama these true, wholesome, and believing (astika) words: "I do not utter the doctrines of the nihilists (nastika): I am not a nihilist; nor does nought exist. Having regard to opportuneness of time, I have again become a believer (astika) and on an opportune occasion, I may again become a nihilist".' In one of these Upajati verses, the Buddhists are expressly mentioned. Gorresio's edition, however, contains much more extensive interpolations than Schlegel's. As we have seen, stanzas 4-11 and 28-39 of section 116 of the former are all in excess of the verses contained in the corresponding section of the latter. But section 116 of Gorresio's edition does not stop even there. It contains, in verses 40 ff., a short repudiation by Rama of Javali's doctrines. Another discourse of Bharata's follows in section 117, and it is not' until section 11 8 that Rama is represented as beginning (a second time) the answer to Javali, which corresponds to that in section l09 of Schlegel's edition.

Carey and Marshman's text generally coincides (as regards the sections under consideration) with Gorresio's, although in some readings it agrees with Schlegel's when that and Gorresio's differ.

I will not enter here on the question, of which I have not studied both sides, as to the comparative antiquity of Schlegel's and Gorresio's texts; but I will adduce from the speech of Vasistha in the 110th section of Schlegel's edition, as compared with the corresponding section of Gorresio's, what I conceive to be one decided argument in favour of the greater antiquity of the former text. We there read (in Schlegel's edition). 'There was then nothing but water, in which the earth was formed. From thence was produced Brahma, the self-existent, together with the deities. He then, becoming a boar, raised up the earth and created the whole world with his sons, who were perfected in spirit. Brahma was produced from the ether,' etc. It is therefore Brahma, who here becomes a boar, and in that form raises up the earth-an incarnation and an act which are elsewhere, as in the Visnu Purana (pp. 27-32 of Wilson's translation), and in the Bhagavata Purana., 3,7 and iii., 13, 18 ff. ascribed to Visnu. To harmonize the account in the Ramayana with that in the Puranas (which is, to all appearance, of later origin), the author of the recension edited by Gorresio changes the words Brahma svayambhur daivatais saha, 'Brahma, the self-existent, with the gods', into Brahai svayamhhur Visnur avyah 'Brahma, the self-existent imperishable Visnu'; and in a subsequent line substitutes the words Sacaracaram avyayam for saha putraih krtatmahhih, i.e. 'he created the whole imperishable world, movable and immovable, ' instead of’ he created the whole world with his sons', etc. This last alteration was rendered necessary by the fact that sons ·are ascribed by mythological tradition to Brahma, but none to Visnu. When, therefore, the name of Visnu was introduced, it became necessary to strike our all reference to sons. These alterations are not found in Carey and Marshman’s edition, which here agrees with Schlegel’s.
  1. The word which I have translated as expiation is apacita (apaciti?). The word apaciti occurs in the 7th or Drona Parva, 7, 811.
  2. Although reasoning is looked upon by Manu (ii. 11) and other orthodox writings (e.g., Mahabharata, iii. 13,463, suska tarka) with great jealousy as likely to be employed against the Vedas, its aid is also invoked as necessary for their defence and exposition (Manu, xii. 105); and professors of different systems of logic or speculation (haituka and tarkin) arc referred to (xii. Ill) as essential component members of a Brahminical conclave of ten (dasavara parisad)
  3. See Professor Banerjea's Dialogues on Hindu Philosophy, where Sankara’s refutation of this doctrine, the Vijnana-vada, is quoted from his commentary on the Brahma Sutras, ii., 2, 28.
  4. See also 'Original Sanskrit Texts', Part iii., p. 216.
  5. He there says, 'For Mimams has generally been turned into a school of materialism (or atheism, lokayatikrta), but I have made this attempt to bring it into the paths of theism (cf. the recognition of a future existence, asthikapathe).' See Orig. Sansk Texts, iii. p. 209. Compo Professor Banarjea's Dialogues, pp.78 ff., 477 ff.

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