Common errors about Carvakas
#1
Hello.
During my net searches and other readings as well as real life conversations with educated people I realized that there are some misconceptions about carvaka/Lokayata movement. I am listing them below and pointing out why they are wrong.

a) Carvakas are a single homogenous school.
Though Brihaspati is supposedly the founder of the philosophical school of Lokayata thought, we don't know much about the formal philosophy. On the contrary the name is applied indiscrimantely to anyone who did not accept orthodox strictures. Even ordinary people who are hedonists can be called carvakas by this criteria. Also commentators themselves make mention of sthula Carvakas, shukhma Carvakas, pratyaksavadin carvakas, tattaplabvadin carvakas. To add to the confusion we have groups like Bhutavadins, svabhav-vadins, niyativadins etc. who seem to have the same beliefs with minor disparaties.
Just as there are atheists of every stripe today, so too merely being a materialist did not mean they all shared a common platform about everything.

b) Carvakas ultimately denied perception as a source of knowedge.
This is based on the belief that Tattvopaplavasimha is an authentic Carvaka text. But this has never been satisfactorily established. The book concludes that there is no valid method of cognition and even perception cannot be proved. But a game of extreme scepticism and Carvaka school as a whole are not the same. Also, even if Jayarasi is a carvaka there is no need to accept him as the final authority on Carvaka theories since all other sources dealing with Carvakas inform us that perception through senses is the sole criteria of proof.

c) Carvakas are only interested in hedonism
Of course enjoying oneself is a goal of carvakas without wasting money on priests. But even according to their enemies, carvakas were also interested in creating wealth from agriculture, trade and manufacturing. They were also for good government. In the play 'Agamadambara', the aim of the Carvaka advisor to the king is “to do away with God, set aside the world-to-come, demolish the validity of the Vedas, and thereby turn the king back from this wrong path and establish him on the right track, so that concentrating on worldly prosperity he can enjoy his kingship for a long time". To identify all carvakas with hedonism and sexual promiscuity is a mistake.

Feel free to flame this or raise other questions. Hungry
[+] 2 users Like nastikashiromani's post
Reply
#2
Charvakas do not have an overriding sense of duty to family members and to wider society: right or wrong?

Charvakas do not enter into discussions to establish the nature of reality: true or false?
Reply
#3
Shantanu.
You don't seem to have actually read my post. I distinctly said that carvakas are not a single group blindly following some guru or scripture.
So some of them will be selfish while others will feel strong sense of duty towards family and wider society and still others would be in-between. A carvaka makes his own values based on his understanding of the world.

As for the second question, what does it mean? To a carvaka reality is this material world. If you want to argue something else feel free and I will respond.
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)