Manifesto of Charvaka Movement
#1
Hi fellow Charvakas. Here is a ROUGH DRAFT of Charvaka Manifesto. Let us have a robust discussion on this topic. - K. P. S. Kamath

A Manifesto For New Charvaka Movement



1. Preamble

Charvaka is a Rationalist Philosophy of ancient India. The original Manifesto of this philosophy was written by Brihaspati around 600 B. C. and they are lost to posterity. What little knowledge we have of this philosophy comes to us from commentaries written by their adversaries. There is a dire need to regenerate this philosophy in modern India by preserving its fundamental aspects and developing newer ones that are applicable in the twenty-first century.

2. Fundamental Beliefs Of Charvakas

A. Followers of Charvaka Philosophy do not recognize any knowledge, which is not based on sensory perception and physical verification. It rejects knowledge gained from inference, intuition and testimony.

1. Therefore, Charvakas reject all supra-sensory phenomena such as gods, Atman, rebirth, demons, evil spirits, Moksha, and the like. They consider them as relevant to ancient times but totally irrelevant to modern times.

2. Charvakas also reject all rituals such as Yajna, Pooja, Abhisheka, pilgrimage, and Shraddha meant to appease gods and ancestral souls. They believe that the sole purpose these rituals serve is to provide priests the means to make a living.

3. They do not believe that Swamis, Babas and Gurus have supernatural powers such as materializing ash, gold rings and watches. They consider all these magicians as frauds.

4. Charvakas reject all ancient scriptures such as the Vedas, the Brahmanas, Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita as sacred. However, they do consider them as valuable historical documents, which give useful insight into ancient Indian society, and therefore they must be diligently preserved for posterity.

5. Charvakas consider all ancient and medieval temples dedicated to various gods as important archeological and historical structures, which must be diligently cleaned and preserved for posterity.

6. Charvakas consider all functioning temples of India are temple-casino complexes operating to fleece naïve people by falsely promising to fulfill their desires and ward off unknown evil.

7. Charvakas do not believe in religion whether it is organized or not. They believe that religions have been highjacked by priestly class to generate hate for other religions and to consolidate their own power and security. Most conflicts in the world today originate from religions.

B. Charvakas believe that they have but one life to live and one should strive to enjoy it to the fullest extent as long as such enjoyment does not violate rights and sensibilities of others in the society.

3. Duties Of Charvakas

A. Charvakas consider the Constitution of India as paramount law above all other laws, ancient or modern. They will defend this law when followers of other laws attempt to subvert it.

B. Charvakas defend every citizen’s right for equality, justice, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

C. Charvakas will behave in the society as models of morally responsible, freethinking, reasonable, happy-go-lucky people. In the pursuit of their happiness, Charvakas will not violate the rights and welfare of others in the society.

D. Charvakas make it their business to nonviolently fight injustice perpetrated by political, government, religious or antisocial agencies in the society.

E. Charvakas will conduct themselves in the society as models of rectitude. They will not indulge in antisocial behavior of any kind. They will cheerfully pay the taxes they owe the government.

F. Charvakas will not violate the laws of the land except when they consider the law as patently against the spirit of natural law. When they do this, they will use nonviolent methods and willingly suffer consequences thereof.

G. Charvakas use non-violent methods when they protest against unjust laws or outrageous behavior of people deluded by religion.

F. Charvakas will fearlessly expose the fraud of Babas, Gurus and Swamis to the general public by means of enlightening articles in newspapers and magazines; DVDs, television shows, demonstrations, seminars, meetings, and other means of communications.

4. Development And Preservation Of Charvaka Literature

A. Charvakas will collect available literature on Charvaka Philosophy, develop new ones to suit twenty-first century, and collate them in the form of an easily readable book. This book will become the Manifesto of Charvaka Philosophy.

B. Charvakas will diligently preserve all materials pertaining to Charvaka Philosophy in the form of a book and give wide circulation to it. They will supply free of cost copies of such material to all libraries of India.
[+] 1 user Likes K. P. S. Kamath's post
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#2
Excellent manifesto, Dr. Kamath. I agree with most of the ideas put forth. I do take issue with a couple pf points which I will make clear in subsequent posts.

Everyone else, make sure to check out Dr. Kamath's recent article on Carvaka here:
http://nirmukta.com/2010/08/01/charvakas...ed-rebels/
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#3
Couldn't we do without another label, please? Just 'human' works fine for me. Thank you.
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#4
(01-Aug-2010, 11:00 PM)natselrox Wrote: Couldn't we do without another label, please? Just 'human' works fine for me. Thank you.

I support all such measures because people are different and we need all the arsenal we can get our hands on. The rationale behind adopting the 'Carvaka' brand as one of the paths towards reason that we offer fellow Indians is pretty solid, IMO, but I'd rather not get into that in this thread (unless we have to Cool )
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#5
You have a point, Ajita. Btw, let's not get into that here.

Good luck with the Charvaka movement.
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#6
Hi folks,

I am not so very sure about the point in the manifesto as agreeing to be bound by the constitution of India. And by no stretch can I accept that the upnishads are hallowed as being purported above. Carvaka's were pure rationalists but who wer pre vedas and upanishads , I do not really understand as is being implied that the charvaka philosophy is a byproduct of the vedic shamans.
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#7
(02-Aug-2010, 11:22 AM)Raveejee Wrote: Hi folks,

I am not so very sure about the point in the manifesto as agreeing to be bound by the constitution of India. And by no stretch can I accept that the upnishads are hallowed as being purported above. Carvaka's were pure rationalists but who wer pre vedas and upanishads , I do not really understand as is being implied that the charvaka philosophy is a byproduct of the vedic shamans.

Hi Raveejee.

I do agree with you that the idea that the constitution should be used as a replacement for religious scripture is an uncomfortable one. But I'm pretty sure you have misunderstood Dr. Kamath's post.

Firstly, for some background as to what Dr. Kamath is saying, please read his articles in this series: http://nirmukta.com/the-truth-about-the-...ar-kamath/

Secondly, his post is a bit tongue-in-cheek, which should be obvious. What is not very obvious is that it appeared at the same time as his article on our parent site: http://nirmukta.com/2010/08/01/charvakas...ed-rebels/

Finally, you have not read his post properly if you think that he says anything to the effect "the upnishads are hallowed", or that his post implies by the wildest stretching of his words that "the charvaka philosophy is a byproduct of the vedic shamans". In fact, quite to the contrary, he says:

Quote:Charvakas reject all ancient scriptures such as the Vedas, the Brahmanas, Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita as sacred. However, they do consider them as valuable historical documents, which give useful insight into ancient Indian society, and therefore they must be diligently preserved for posterity.

So Dr. Kamath is saying that Charvakas reject the Vedas and Upanishads as being sacred or supernaturally inspired in any way, and only consider these works worth anything at all because of the factual information that they may contain detailing some of the earliest historical events on record in the Indian subcontinent. I don't find anything wrong here.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#8
I cannot agree with the paramountcy of Constitution:
i) Personal religious laws should be abolished
ii) Most of Founders of Constitution would have a heart attack if they could see the modern career-oriented woman. They were just human beings and there is nothing sacred about their thoughts.
iii) It is just a guideline which needs to be updated from time to time.
iv) Sounds too much like American worship of Constitution.

Agree with the rest.
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#9
Hi Nastikashiromani,

I welcome your opinions. However, you need to back it up with sound arguments. Please elaborate on your points in detail so that I can respond to them.
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#10
Indian Constitution should be followed but it is not a shastra that is not to be questioned.

i) Personal religious laws should be abolished: this is fairly obvious. Personal laws are governed by religion which is ridiculous. As with criminal law there should be only one Civil Law for all citizens. Even though considerable progress have been made by both legislations and Supreme Court judgements (like Hindu daughters getting a share of ancestral property), such laws should be totally done away with unless they conform to modern value system.

ii) Most of Founders of Constitution would have a heart attack if they could see the modern career-oriented woman. They were just human beings and there is nothing sacred about their thoughts:
The people who wrote our constitution were just fallible human beings, making the best of circumstances. I gave the example of their attitude towards women to show that they are not always in synch with modern needs.

iii) It is just a guideline which needs to be updated from time to time: see previous.

iv) Sounds too much like American worship of Constitution: Americans are always going on about the sacredness of their constitution. No need for us to fall into that trap.
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#11
You said: Indian Constitution should be followed but it is not a shastra that is not to be questioned.

Obviously, you think 'Shastra' is different from the Constitution. Shastra was the Constitution of Brahmanism. Shastra was nothing but a set of rules by which people conducted themselves. Because enlightened people felt that these Brahmanic Shastras were unjust, they rebelled against it. Charvakas were among those who rebelled (please read my articles on this subject). The mistake Charvakas made was that they did not offer alternative Constitution, which treated all people as equals, as Buddhists did. They simply condemned all Shastras and the fraud and injustice in them. As a result, they portrayed themselves as irresponsible, anarchist bunch of misfits in the society. They were hooted off the stage of Indian history. No society wants people who simply pursue pleasure without respect for other people's rights. The idea of protecting and preserving other people's rights is known as the Constitution. Modern day Charvakas must let everyone know that we are not a bunch of hedonists who do not hold the Constitution of India as paramount. If we find anything wrong with it, then we must attempt to amend it.

You said: i) Personal religious laws should be abolished: this is fairly obvious. Personal laws are governed by religion which is ridiculous.


My response: The vast majority of people think that you speak like a dictator. You have a personal opinion that religious laws are ridiculous, and therefore they must be abolished. In fact, not to compare you to Hitler, he said exactly the same thing: These Jews are a menace to the society; their religion is ridiculous and so they must be sent to the incinerator. There was no Constitution to protect the Jews. Six millions of them died.

You said: As with criminal law there should be only one Civil Law for all citizens. Even though considerable progress have been made by both legislations and Supreme Court judgements (like Hindu daughters getting a share of ancestral property), such laws should be totally done away with unless they conform to modern value system.

My response: Once again, ideally, one could do that if one was a dictator, who dictates what an ideal country looks like. This does not take into account the historical realities. Even Muslim rulers realized their limitations in imposing their personal opinions and will on the people.

You said: ii) Most of Founders of Constitution would have a heart attack if they could see the modern career-oriented woman. They were just human beings and there is nothing sacred about their thoughts:The people who wrote our constitution were just fallible human beings, making the best of circumstances. I gave the example of their attitude towards women to show that they are not always in synch with modern needs.

My response: The Constitution reflects the existing situation of a country. A dynamic society always provides for amendments. Democracy is always slow to change as everyone must feel that his opinion, however ridiculous it might seem, is heard. Yes, women have made great progress in terms of equality. The Constitution, imperfect as it is, has protected their rights.

You said: iii) It is just a guideline which needs to be updated from time to time: see previous.

There is no doubt about the fact that it needed to be amended. However, it is not a guideline. A guideline is something we can opt to ignore. If everyone thought, "Well, the Constitution forbids me from entering into that man's house uninvited. I will choose to ignore it this time" there would be total chaos and anarchy in the country. The Constitution provides appropriate penalty for misbehavior. Guidelines do not.

You said: iv) Sounds too much like American worship of Constitution: Americans are always going on about the sacredness of their constitution. No need for us to fall into that trap.

My response: America is in reasonably good order because significant number of people fight to protect it unlike in India. Today, I am practicing psychiatry in the heartland of America filled with right wing Christian nuts only because the Constitution is on my side. When I visit India, all I see is lawlessness. A strong man decided that he wants something and he gets it by hook or crook. A weal man protests against injustice, and no one comes to his rescue. Today, the ONLY THING America has to offer the world is the idea that THE CONSTITUTION IS PARAMOUNT. NO ONE IS ABOVE IT. THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES TO ONE'S ACTIONS.

If Charvakas want to be in the mainstream of the Indian thought, they must shed their image of a bunch of anarchist freaks who enjoy life without any restraints or responsibilities. Blindly following the ancient Charvaka philosophy without modifying it to suit the modern circumstances is foolish.

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#12
By shastra I simply meant a sacred document which is not to be questioned.

The vast majority of Hindus thought that a daughter should not have a share in ancestral property and it was sanctified by religion. This democratic decision was duly carried out. It was only 2-3 years ago that we got a share of what sons enjoy by virtue of being born males. there ares till problems in Islamic personal law.
The writers of Constitution were also dictators imposing their vision of the India they wanted to see over-riding objections of others who were not in a position of power.

ii) & iii): ok

If by Constituion you mean law and order then it is one thing.
But if we mean the actual text --- WHOSE constitution?
Let us compare it to the USA's.

USA Constitution was drafted and agreed on by representatives from all states. India's drafters simply left out large swaths of populations. Most importantly they did not ask many of the NorthEastern states whether they even wanted to be part of India or not! Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunchal Pradesh tribes did not want to be an integral part of India or wanted a united autonomous territory. Moreover, not a single member of these regions were consulted and of all things, a Bengali represented their interests. It is such things that led the tribes to bitterly resent the Indian government and was later exploited fully by by missionaries and other countries.

As you your self said in USA you are safe because the Constitution is on your side. And it is on your side because there is separation of Church and state. Here as you know laws are based on religion and govt is actively involved in running religious institutions. This is entirely proper according to the original constitution. Now think of the condition of USA if it had such a clause.

USA has freedom of speech. India has it too --- except if you criticise religions or revered figures you are out of luck. You can be banned/fined/sacked from your job.

Gender equality: India has it but religious laws subverted it in everyday life. No one said anything until sensibilities changed and the courts passed judgements that overrode personal laws.

It is principally religious laws I have the problem with. How can India progress when ancient superstition is embedded right in the Constitution?
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