Update: 2017-08-25 07:53 PM -0400


A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary


by A. A. Macdonell, 1893, http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/scans/MDScan/index.php?sfx=jpg ;
1929, http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/macdonell/ 110416 , 110611 

downloaded and edited by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA) and staff of Tun Institute of Learning (TIL) . Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL  Computing and Language Center, Yangon, MYANMAR :  http://www.tuninst.net , http://www.softguide.net.mm

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{d-w:} : Romabama hasn't come up with a transcription for second syllable. -- UKT120414

UKT notes :
Dehatmavada of Carvaka

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देवतुमुल devatumula [ deva-tumula ]
-- n. thunderstorm.


देवत्य devatya [ deva-ty ]
-- a. having -as a deity, sacred to (--); -tr&asharp;, ad. among the gods; -tv, n. divinity, divine nature, state of the gods.


देवदत्त devadatta [ deva-datta ]
-- a. god-given; m. Arguna's conch; the vital air which causes yawning; Dieu-donn, very common N., hence used to denote indefinite persons, So and-so; -dantin, m. ep. of Siva (?); -dars ana, a. seeing or associating with the gods; m. N.; n. manifestation of a god; -darsin, a. associating with the gods; -dru, m. n. N. of a kind of pine (Pinus Deodora); -dsa, m. N.; -dt, m. messenger of the gods; -deva, m. god of gods, supreme god, ep. of Brahma, Siva, Vishnu, Krishna, and Ganesa: , f. Durg; -daivatya, a. having the gods as a divinity, sacred or addressed to the gods.


देवन devana [ dv-ana ]
-- n. shining; gambling.


देवनदी devanadi [ deva-nad ]
-- f. divine river, ep. of various sacred rivers; *-ngar, f. sacred city writing, N. of the current Sanskrit character; -ntha, m. lord of the gods, Siva; -nyaka, m. N.; -nikya, m. host of gods; -ntha, m. N. of a Vedic passage containing seventeen pdas.


देवपति devapati [ deva-pati ]
-- m. lord of the gods, Indra; ()-patn, a. f. having a god for a husband; -pasu, m. animal consecrated to the gods; -ptr, n. cup of the gods; -p&asharp;na, a. serving the gods for drinking; -putra, m. son of a god; a. (dev-) having gods as children; -pur, f. citadel of the gods; Indra's abode; -pura, n. Indra's abode; -pg, f. divine worship; -prva, a. preceded by the word deva: -giri, m.=deva-giri; -prabha, m. N. of a Gandharva; -prasda, m. N.; -priya, a. beloved of the gods (Siva); -bhakti, f. devotion to a god or the gods; -bhavana, n. abode of the gods, heaven; temple; -bhi shag, m. divine physician; -bhta, pp. hav ing become or being a god; -man, m. divine jewel, esp. Vishnu's breast ornament; whirl of hair on a horse's neck; -maya, a. containing the gods; -mtri-ka, a. nourished by rain only, i. e. by no other water; -mrga, m. path of the gods, jocular designation of the hind quarters; -muni, m. divine sage.


-- a. sacrificing to or worshipping the gods; -ygana , a. ( i ) id.; n. place of sacrifice; -yag , m. sacrifice to the gods, burnt offering (one of the five kinds of sacrifice); ...


देवयत् devayat [ deva-yt ]
-- den. pr. pt. serving the gods.

देवयात्रा devayatra [ deva-ytr ]
-- f. procession with sacred images; -y&asharp;na, a. going --, leading to or frequented by the gods; n. path of the gods; -ynya, a. leading to the gods.


देवयु devayu [ deva-y ]
-- a. devoted to the gods, pious; ()-yukta, pp. yoked by the gods; -yuga, n. age of the gods, first age of the world; -yosh, f. divine woman.


देवर devara [ dev-ara ]
-- m. husband's (younger) brother, brother-in-law; lover, husband: -ghn, a. f. killing her brother-in-law.


देवरत devarata [ deva-rata ]
-- pp. delighting in the gods, pious; -rath, m. divine car; -rg, m. king of the gods, Indra; -rg, m. id.; divine ruler; N.; -rgya, n. sovereignty of the gods; -rta, pp. god-given; m. N., Theodore; -rp in, a. having a divine form; -‿rishi, m. divine sage (dwelling among the gods).


देवल devala [ deva-la ]
-- m. showman of images (also -ka); N. ( end p125c1 )

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देवलिङ्ग devalinga [ deva-liṅga ]
-- n. statue of a god; -lekh, f. N. of a princess; -lok, m. world of the gods; -vadh, f. divine female; -van d, a. praising the gods; -vrman, n. divine armour; -vs, f. race of gods; ()-vti, f. feast of the gods; -vrat, n. religious observance; a. (a), devoted to the gods, religious, pious; m. ep. of Bhshma and Skanda.


देवशक्ति devasakti [ deva-sakti ]
-- m. N. of a king; -satru, m. foe of the gods, Asura, Rkshasa; -sar man, m. N.; ()-sishta, pp. taught by the gods; -sun, f. bitch of the gods, Saram; -sesha, n. remnant of a sacrifice to the gods; -samnidhi, m. presence of the gods; -sarasa, n. N. of a locality; -srishta, pp. discharged or created by the gods; -sena, m. N.: &asharp;, f. divine host; N. of Skanda's wife; -smit, f. N. of a merchant's daughter; -sva, n. property of the gods; -svmin, m. N.; ()-hiti, f. divine ordinance; ()-hti, f. invocation of the gods.

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देवांश devaṃsa [ deva‿amsa ]
-- m. part of a god, partial incarnation; -‿agra, m. n. house of god, temple; -‿aṅgan, f. divine female; -‿tman, m. divine soul; -‿adhipa, m. lord of the gods, Indra.

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देवानांप्रिय devanampriya [ devnm-priya ]
-- m. (favourite of the gods), plain simple man.


देवानीक devanika [ deva‿anka ]
-- n. divine host; -‿anu- kara, m. attendant of a god; -‿anuyyin, m. id.; -‿anna, n. food offered to the gods; -‿yatana, n. temple; -‿aranya, n. forest of the gods (the Nandana forest); -‿ari, m. foe of the gods, Asura; -‿arkana, n. worship of a god or the gods; -‿laya, m. temple; -‿va satha, m. id.; -‿asva, m. divine steed.


देविका devika [ dv-ik ]
-- f. subordinate goddess.

-- m. gambler; -in , a. gambling; m. gambler

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देवी devī  [ dev ]
-- f. of deva: -ka, -- a. princess, queen; -kriti, f. N. of a pleasure grove; -garbha-griha, n. inner sanctuary containing the image of Durg; -griha, n. temple of Durg; queen's apartment; -tva, n. condition of a goddess or princess; -dhman, n. temple of Durg; -bhavana, n. temple of Durg.

UKT 130223: The Hindu religionists have taken hold of Devi or Shakti who was a Himalayan goddess. And so the present-day Hinduism is a conglomeration of three sects: Vaishnavism ( वैष्णव धर्म ), Shaivism (शैव पंथ śaiva paṁtha), and Shaktism (Śāktaṃ, शाक्तं; lit., 'doctrine of power' or 'doctrine of the Goddess') that focuses worship upon Shakti or Devi as the absolute, ultimate Godhead. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_denominations 120223.

I propose that, these sects had belonged to peoples of different linguistic groups, that had clashed some 4000 years ago:
Vaishnavism ( वैष्णव धर्म ) - IE (Indo-European) speakers who migrated into India from the north-west.
Shaivism (शैव पंथ śaiva paṁtha - Dravidian speakers who migrated into India from the south, and,
Shaktism (शाक्तं śāktaṃ) - Tib-Bur (Tibeto-Burman) speakers, who were subjugated militarily primarily by IE speakers and made into servants or Shudra . 


-- m. husband's (younger) brother, brother-in-law

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देवेद्ध deveddha [ dev‿iddha ]
=  द े व े द ् ध  {d-wd~Da.} : compare to / {hkt}/
-- pp. kindled by the gods; -‿indra, m. lord of the gods, Indra; -‿sa, m. id.: , f. Durg; -‿svara, m. ep. of Siva.

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देवैनस devainasa [ deva‿enas ]
-- n. curse of the gods.


देव्यायतन devyayatana [ dev‿yatana ]
-- n. temple of Durg.

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देश desa [ des- ]
Skt: -- m. point, spot, place, region (often redundant --); country: -m -vas or ni vis, settle in a country; lc. in the right place. -- Mac125c2
Pal: {d-a.}
- - UHS-PMD0487

UKT from UHS: m. indicated object, legend (remark). place, township

देशक desaka [ desa-ka ]
-- a. (--) showing, teaching; m. instructor.


देशकाल desakala [ desa-kla ]
-- m. du. place and time: sg. -for (g.): -ga, a. knowing place and time: -t, f. knowledge of place and time; -vid, a. knowing place and time, experienced; -virodhin, a. disregarding place and time; -vyatta, pp. neglecting the right time and place.


देशच्युति desacyuti [ desa-kyuti ]
-- f. exile, banishment; -ga, a. born in the right country, of genuine descent (horses, elephants); -tyga, m. leaving the country; -drishta, pp. current in the country; -dharma, m. law or usage of the country.


देशना desana [ des-an ]
-- f. direction, instruction, teaching, doctrine.
( end p125c2 )

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( p125c3-top )

देशभङ्ग desabhanga [ desa-bhaṅga ]
-- m. ruin of the country; -bhsh, f. language of the country, vernacular; -rakshin, m. protector of the country of -=king of (--).


देशाक्रमण desakramana [ desa‿kramana ]
-- n. invasion; -‿kra, m. custom of the country; -‿atana, n. travelling; -‿atithi, m. guest in the country, stranger; -‿antara, n. another region; foreign country; -‿antarita, pp. living in a foreign country; -‿antarin, a. foreign; m. foreigner.


देशिन् desin [ des-in ]
-- a. indicating (--): -, f. forefinger.


देशी desi [ des- ]
-- f. vernacular; provincialism: -nma-ml, f. Garland of Provincial Words, T. of a dictionary by Hemakandra.

देशीय desiya [ des-ya ]
-- a. belonging to the country, provincial; living in, native of (--); bordering or verging on, not far from, about, like (--).


देश्य desya [ des-ya ]
-- fp. to be pointed to, exemplary; a. being on the spot, having been present (m. eye-witness); belonging to or current in the country, provincial; native of (--); bordering or verging on, not far removed from, almost, like (--).

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देष्टव्य destavya [ desh-tavya ] fp. to be designated as (nm.); -tri, m. guide, instructor (--); -tr, f. Instructress (as a deity).

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देह deha [ deh-a ]
-- m. n. [envelope of the soul: √dih] body; mass, bulk; person: -kara, m. procreator, father; -krit, m. id.; -kara, a. bodily; -kary, f. tending the body; -ga, m. son; Kma; -tyga, m. abandonment of the body, death; -tva, n. corporeal nature; -dhrana, n. bearing a body, life; -dhrin, a. possessing a body, embodied; -pta, m. collapse of the body, death; -bhg, m. corporeal being, esp. man; -bhrit, a. having a body (Siva); m. corporeal being, esp. man; -madhya, n. waist; -ytr, f. maintenance of the body, support of life.


देहली dehali [ deh-al&isharp; ]
-- f. threshold.

देहवत् dehavat [ deha-vat ]
-- a. embodied; m. living being, esp. man; -vritti, f. maintenance of the body.


देहात्मवाद dehatmavada [ deha‿tma-vda ]
-- m. doctrine that the soul is identical with the body; -‿anta, m. end of the body, death.

See my note on Dehatmavada of Carvaka


-- 2. pers. sg. impv. of √I.

देहिन् dehin [ deh-in ]
-- a. embodied; m. living being; man; (incarnate) soul.


देही dehi [ deh-&isharp; ]
-- f. rampart.

देहेश्वर dehesvara [ deha‿svara ]
-- m. soul.

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-- purify; v. 2. [D]

दैक्ष daiksa [ daiksha ]
a. relating to initiation (dksh).


दैत्य daitya [ daitya ]
-- m. descendant of Diti, Asura or demon, esp. Rhu: -dnava-mardana, m. Crusher of the Daityas and Dnavas (Indra); -nishdana, m. ep. of Vishnu; -pa, -pati, m. ep. of Bali.


दैन्य dainya [ dain-ya ]
-- n. dejection, distress; wretch edness, misery, pitiable state: -m kri, act piteously, humble oneself; -vat, a. dejected, afflicted.


दैप daipa [ daipa ]
-- a. relating to a lamp.

दैर्घ्य dairghya [ dairgh-ya ]
-- n. length.


UKT: p125c3-b15 moved to the next page.

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UKT notes

Below is the original navigation of Mac-Chicago, and will not work unless you are online.
If you are just a user, use Windows navigation.

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The entries were given not only in HTML (which is very misleading) but also in simple ASCII which can be easily related to IAST . I am removing the so-called HTML which were in [...] and substituting simple ASCII.

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Dehatmavada of Carvaka 

UKT: Who are the Carvaka? And what is their philosophy called Dehatmavada? It is materialistic dialectics. Can the modern Man - particularly those of the Capitalistic-Materialistic West - agree with their views? And, specifically, I, U Kyaw Tun, a material scientist and a skeptical chemist, by training; and a Theravada Buddhist by upbringing, disagree with their views? If not, would I accept their views? I have discussed such matters with my co-brother (husband of my wife's eldest sister Daw Than Yin), Sarpaybeikmhan U Aye Maung for many an evening. Even though he has been gone for many years, I still cherish those evenings. With this note of mine I pay my respect to my co-brother: Gone but never will I forget! -- 120415

The following is the complete text from:
A History of the Carvakas by Phil Hari Singh,
http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/Singh01.htm - 120415
Note: my additions, mostly from Wikipedia, follow my name UKT.


The problem that faces us in addressing the status of the Carvakas in the history of Indian thought has been expressed by one of the leading experts in the field of Indian materialism, Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya: However, as it is well known, there is a special reason that makes the study of the Lokayata particularly difficult. While at least the major texts of the other schools are preserved for us, all the original works of the Lokayatikas are lost beyond the prospect of any possible recovery. What we are actually left with are merely a few fragmentary survivals of the Lokayata, but all these as preserved in the writings of its opponents, i. e., of those who wanted only to refute and ridicule it. Lokayata thus remains to be reconstructed from the essentially hostile references to it.[1] Whilst this is true to certain extent, Lokayata is not alone in this. It must be noted that in the writings of all schools of Indian thought, refutation of rival views and the presentation of opponent's ideas that can sometimes border on caricature occurs in order to advance the arguments of the proponents. Nevertheless, it is clear from the materials at our disposal that Lokayata was viewed with far greater opprobrium than any other darsana, although it is not exactly clear why this should be the case. There appears to be an underlying hostility towards the Carvakas that is not fully borne out by the analysis of their doctrines. The depth and variety of Indian thought actually precludes the idea that the Carvakas came to be so disparaged on philosophical arguments alone. There is however a glaring difference between the ontological position of the Carvakas and all the other major streams of thought in ancient and medieval India. The Carvakas rejected absolutely the concept of an afterlife in any shape or form, and that there was no karmic law of reward and retribution that could influence the destiny of a human being whatsoever. A widely respected account of Lokayata,[2] given by the Advaita Vedanta theologian Sayana Madhava (in the Sarvadarsanasamgraha, 14th century CE), says of this, "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."[3] The text continues: The Agnihotra [fire sacrifice], the three Vedas, the ascetics three staves and smearing oneself with ashes were made by nature as the livelihood of those destitute of knowledge and manliness. If a beast slain in the Jyotishtoma rite will itself go to heaven, why then does the sacrificer not offer his own father immediately?While life remains let a man live happily, let him eat ghee [clarified butter] even if he runs into debt. When the body turns into ashes, how can it ever return again? If he who departs from the body goes to another world, how is it that he does not come back again, restless because of his love for his kindred? Hence it is a means of livelihood that the Brahmin priests have established all these ceremonies for the dead- there is no fruit anywhere. The three authors of the Vedas were buffoons, knaves and demons.[4]

We may note here some of the features that have come to be associated with this school. There is the rejection of the efficacy of Vedic sacrificial ritual and ascetic practises, combined with a contemptuous attitude directed towards the Vedic priesthood. There is also a tacit acknowledgement of the "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die" philosophy that has been associated with the Carvaka system. It is noticeable that only three Vedas are mentioned, which we may assume to mean the Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas. The exclusion of the Atharvaveda from the text is curious, given that by the 14th century it had become part of the Vedic corpus in Samhita recension. The reason for this could be that the text or oral tradition that Madhava based his account on was composed before the Atharvaveda was accepted as sruti. It is generally accepted that the ancient Indian tradition in general speaks of only three Vedas, and that the Atharvaveda occupies a rather ambivalent position in the Veda. There may be a different explanation to be placed on the exclusion, in this text, of the Atharvaveda (and its possible relationship to Lokayata) in Chapter 2. Madhava gives in his account an exposition of the philosophical tenets of the Carvakas. These are as follows:

1. Metaphysics

"In this school the four elements, earth, etc., are the original principles; from these alone, when transformed into the body, intelligence is produced."[5]

2. Ethics

"The only end of man is enjoyment produced by sensual pleasures."[6]

3. Epistemology -

"Therefore the soul is only the body distinguished by intelligence, since there is no evidence for any soul distinct from the body, as such cannot be proved, since this school holds that perception is the only source of knowledge and does not allow inference, etc."[7]

4. Causality -

"From this it follows that fate, etc., do not exist, since these can only be proved by inference. But an opponent will say, if you do not thus allow adrishta, [8] the various phenomena of the world become destitute of any cause. But we cannot accept this objection as valid, since these phenomena can all be produced spontaneously from the inherent nature of things."[9] We shall deal with the origins and development of these tenets, and whether the tradition that Madhava is drawing on is an entirely accurate one, in later chapters. First, let us examine the meaning of the term Lokayata.

1. Lokayata

Early in the Sarvadarsanasamgraha [UKT: I find this word split up: Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha - see below] we find this interesting quotation: The mass of men, in accordance with the Sastras of policy and enjoyment, considering wealth and desire the only ends of man, and denying the existence of any object belonging to a future world, are found to follow only the doctrine of Carvaka [UKT: : चार्वाक]. Hence another name for that school is Lokayata [UKT: Lokāyata ] - a name well accordant with the thing signified.[10]

UKT: The title of the work by Madhvacharya (12381317) is found to be split up as: Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha .

The use of the phrase "The mass of men" is curious. Does Madhava [UKT: मध्वा ?] really mean to suggest here that the majority of the Indian populace were adherents of a system that denied the validity of the concept of rebirth, a central theme in Indian thought from the post-Vedic period onwards? The word Lokayata is a compound term, a combination of loka (the material world) and ayatah (that which was prevalent in or amongst).[11] Rhys Davids says, "Lokayata is explained by Wilson as 'the system of atheistical philosophy taught by Carvaka', and by the Petersburg Dictionary as 'Materialism'."[12] He also quotes from a Buddhist text: "Buddhaghosa in our passage has: Lokayatam vuccati vitanda vada-sattham: 'the Lokayata is a text-book of the Vitandas (Sophists)'."[13] This quotation of Rhys Davids' own interpretation gives another meaning to Lokayata: about 500 BC the word Lokayata was used in a complimentary way as the name of a branch of Brahmin learning, and probably meant Nature-lore - wise sayings, riddles and rhymes, and theories handed down by tradition as to cosmogony, the elements, the stars, the weather, the scraps of astronomy, of elementary physics, even of anatomy, and knowledge of the nature of precious stones, and of birds and of beasts and of plants. To be a master of such lore was then considered to by no means unbecoming to a learned Brahmin, though it ranked, of course, below his other studies The amount then existing of such lore was too small to make a fair proficiency in it incompatible with other knowledge. As the amount of it grew larger, and several branches of natural science were regularly studied, a too exclusive acquaintance with Lokayata came to be looked upon with disfavour. Even before the Christian era, masters of the dark sayings, the mysteries, of such mundane lore, were marked with sophists and casuists.[14]

Rhys Davids is quite correct in stating that the study of Lokayata was at one time not incompatible with Brahmanical learning. In the Arthasastra, composed sometime around 300 BCE,[15] we find this reference: 1. The branches of learning are: Logic, the three Vedas (trayi), agriculture, cattle-raising and trade (collectively called varta) and the technique of ruling (dandaniti)3. For, logic is only a branch of Vedic lore10. Logic-based philosophy (anvikshiki) (is represented by the following three): Samkhya, Yoga and Lokayata12. Logic is ever accepted to be the lamp of all branches of learning, the means for all kinds of activities and the basis of all virtues (dharmas).[16]

Against this, we have a text from a much later date that depicts the Carvakas in a distinctly different manner. Gunaratna (c. 15th century CE) is here commentating on the Saddarsanasamuccaya of Haribhadra, a Jain philosopher (c. 8th century CE):[17] First, the characteristics (svarupa) of the Nastikas[18] are being stated. The Nastikas are a kind of people, including Brahmins and ending with the low-born, who carry human skulls, smear their bodies with ashes and practise yoga. They do not admit the self, virtue (punya), vice (papa) and the like. They speak of the world as consisting of only four forms of matter. Some sections of the Carvakas, considering akasa as the fifth form of matter, declare that the world consists of five forms of matter. In their view, consciousness is produced from these forms of matter, like the power of intoxication. Living beings are like water-bubbles. The self is nothing but the body as characterised by consciousness. They take spirituous drinks and meat and also copulate with those unfit to be sexually approached (agamya) like the mother, etc. Every year, on a particular day, they assemble and copulate randomly with women. They do not consider dharma to be anything different from kama.[19]

Gunaratna here appears to be identifying the Carvakas with what is evidently some form of Tantric ritual.[20] This identification however is not clearly made in the Saddarsanasamuccaya, and it is possible that Gunaratna is using a different text or oral tradition for this view.[21] Thus it appears that there is no exact consensus regarding the meaning of Lokayata, and these are the possibilities that have been presented: a populist doctrine that concentrates purely on the means of self gratification in one's lifetime (the pursuit of wealth and desire, artha and kama); an atheistic system that stands in comparison to the materialist school of Epicurus (341-270 BCE) in ancient Greece[22]; a form of sophistry or casuistry; folk-lore (touching on elements of witchcraft?) that anticipates a more formal approach to scientific enquiry; a respected branch of logic-based philosophy; or a sect that is inclusive of Brahmanas and Tantrikas, holding a physicalist (or more precisely epiphenomenalist) position whilst engaging in what appear to be hedonistic practises. Not all of these descriptions are mutually exclusive (apart from the stark contrast between anvikshiki and Tantric ritualism), but they do nevertheless represent shadings of difference. What is also noticeable is the lack of a clear, precise chronology as to when (or indeed if) these views of Lokayata were in circulation. This is a problem that faces all scholars engaged in the study of Sanskrit literature. Of this, K. B. Krishna gives the view that, "We are confronted in Indian history with the perennial difficulty of assigning dates of events of individuals. Because Brahmins, one of the ruling and dominant classes in India, systematically sabotaged history-writing. They substituted myth-making to history-writing."[23] It is highly debatable whether Brahmanas did actually engage in wanton destruction of texts that were not to their liking.[24] However it would be fair to say that a great deal of what is referred to as history in the Western tradition has been, in India, embedded within a more mythic tradition from the time of the Rigveda onwards. There are historical arguments that can and indeed, in the sense that we are deprived of any hard historical "facts", must be constructed from these texts, for it is in these that we find the first mention of the founder of Lokayata.

2. Brihaspati

An alternative appellation for the Lokayata system is Barhaspatya, a straightforward term that means, "those who follow Brihaspati [UKT: बृहस्पति ]." Most scholars are agreed that this Brihaspati was the founder of the Lokayata system, though there is a question as to the historicity of this person. The tradition associated with Lokayata suggests that Brihaspati also provided it with its original sutras, but in the absence of a clearly substantiated Barhaspatya text, this claim is not sustainable. We do have at our disposal far more material on the mythic Brihaspati. He was originally an early Vedic deity also known as Brahmanaspati, and there are references to him stretching back to the Rigveda. There appears to be some confusion as to the exact role of Brihaspati within the Vedic pantheon. With reference to the god Indra, Brockington states: Indeed, he is often joined or replaced in allusions to the myth [the slaying of Vritra [UKT: वृत्र] by Brihaspati, a little mentioned deity who does not figure in the original pantheon, and accompanied by the priestly band of Angirases, who sometimes play the major role. The term Brihaspati was no doubt originally an epithet of Indra, indicating his priestly functions as king of the gods, for the word means "lord of brahman (the power of the ritual, but originally 'hymn' or 'formula')"; indeed the title is occasionally applied to Agni, the priestly god. Just as the Vedic king progressively relinquished his religious duties to professional priests, so Indra was replaced by Brihaspati in this context.[25]

In contrast to this apparent respectability, we find this reference in the Maitri Upanishad vii. 9: Really speaking, Brihaspati, taking the guise of Sukra [UKT: शुक्र], created this ignorance for the security of Indra and the destruction of the Asuras. It is because of this (ignorance) that they (Asuras) consider good as evil and evil as good. They claim: Let people consider as dharma that which is destructive of scriptures like the Veda, etc. [26]

The mention of the destruction of the Asuras is odd, because we find in the Rigveda that Asura is interchangeable with the word Deva (i. e., god or deity).[27] But between the composition of the hymns of the Rig-Veda and the Upanishads, the application or meaning of epithets undergoes a great deal of change, and the Asuras are demonised in the latter. Not only that; the focus of attention in the Upanishads (though not exclusively) is on a quest for the meaning behind the mythology and ritual formulae of the Vedic hymns. But what exactly do we mean by Vedic hymns? As we briefly touched on in the introduction, there is a section of Veda that sits rather uneasily with the rest of corpus, in that it is not primarily centred on the sacrificial ritualism of the earliest section of the Rigveda. Brockington says of the Atharvaveda: The Atharvaveda is, like the Rigveda, a collection of complete hymns rather than isolated verses, but its general lack of connection with sacrificial ceremonial led to some reluctance to accept its authority alongside the other three Vedas. It takes its title from one of the great priestly families (partly mythological) of the Rigveda, while an older name for it links the Atharvans with that other notable priestly family, the Angirases. It consists of a diverse compilation of spells for every purpose, whether to secure success and wealth, or to procure health and offspring. There is, of course, little basic difference between the spell and sacrifice, for both seek to achieve similar ends, and the distinction between the Vedas is by no means absolute; the Rigveda contains, for instance, a hymn likening the chanting of Brahmans to frogs croaking (RV 7.103), often misunderstood as satirical but in fact a rain charm used as such up to modern times. So too, the spells of the Atharvaveda have been given a priestly veneer throughout, some spells have been included which do pertain to the sacrifice, and its last and latest book, book twenty, seems to have been added specifically to link the work to the sacrificial cult.[28]

Speculative thought is also more prevalent in the Atharvaveda: Philosophy in India has always been firmly rooted in practical aspirations, so the presence in the Atharvaveda of a greater amount of philosophical speculation than in the other three Vedas is not inappropriate. Knowledge of the true nature of things is not seen as merely a liberating force for the individual concerned, but as a means of acquiring ascendency [sic] over his fellows, particularly his enemies, and thus of gaining wealth and temporal success Altogether, the Atharvaveda provides important evidence of older Vedic thought and, as a forerunner of the oldest Upanishads, presents a valuable insight into the continuity and development of Indian speculative reflections.[29]

The development of the Veda is commonly portrayed in a rather linear fashion by scholars; we are presented with the early Vedic hymns, commentated and expanded upon in the Brahmana literature and in the Aranyaka texts, before reaching their final culmination in the brahman/atman identification in the Upanishads.[30] But this brief analysis of the Atharvaveda suggests a rather different model. What we have instead is a division of Vedic religion into two aspects: the sacrificial and the magical [31], and it is by no means certain which of the two is anterior to the other. As the speculations of those connected to the sacrificial cult developed, so too did those of the priests who had followed the traditions of the Atharvaveda, at least until the harmonising of all these trends in the final redaction of the Vedic corpus. Could the rituals associated with the fourth Veda have been the knowledge imparted by Brihaspati to the Asuras?[32] And if so, did this knowledge have any bearing on the development and doctrines of Lokayata? There is another aspect of Brihaspati that requires mention. In 1921, Dr. F. W Thomas translated and published "The Brihaspati Sutra."[33] This document is a work devoted to the art of statesmanship and the ordinances of correct government, bearing a close resemblance to the Arthasastra, and exhibits no clear affiliation to any particular school of philosophy. However there are several indications that the text draws upon Lokayata traditions, e. g., "5. Universally the Lokayata system of doctrine is alone to be followed at the time of acquiring gain; 6. Only the Kapalika as regards attainment of pleasure;"[34] Here we see Brihaspati connected with a system advocating the pursuit of artha and kama, in conjunction with the attainment and consolidation of political power. Set against this, we have an episode in the Mahabharata that can be interpreted as casting a different complexion on the ethics of the Carvakas.

3. Carvaka

The earliest explicit mention of the name Carvaka is not found in any of the philosophical texts dealing with Lokayata, but in the Mahabharata. The Epic deals with the war between the Kurus and the Pandavas, and its most important aspect for later Hindu theology is the separate text incorporated within it, the Bhagavad Gita. The episode involving Carvaka is found in 12. 1. 414 of the Mahabharata, and it is worth quoting in full: When the Brahmins were now once again standing silent, Carvaka the Raxasa [UKT: राक्षसः], [35] in the disguise of a Brahmin, addressed the King [UKT: युधिष्ठिर - th eldest Pandava]. This friend of Duryodhana [UKT: दुर्योधन - the eldest Kaurava - enemy of Pandava], 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 son of Kunti? Since you have slaughtered your kinsmen and elders, death is desirable for you, and not life." Hearing this speech of the wicked Raxasa the Brahmins were pained and indignant, being maligned by his words. But they, as well as King Yudhishtira, all remained silent, being ashamed and cut to the heart. Then Yudhishtira said: "Let all your reverences be reconciled to me, who bows down and supplicates you: you ought not to curse me who has recently (?)[36] 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 pretend mendicant) by the eye of knowledge, and exclaimed: "This 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 Brahmins, infuriated with anger, uttering menaces, slew with, with muttered curses, the wicked Raxasa; who fell down consumed by the might of of utterers of Vedic incantations, burnt up by the bolt of Indra, like a tree covered with leaves.[37]

Of chief interest to us here the reasoning behind Carvaka's denunciation of the King: "Since you have slaughtered your kinsmen and elders, death is desirable for you." There was evidently something in this particular act of war that appalled him. Before we address this, let us first examine the etymology of Carvaka. Dakshinranjan Shastri says, "The word carvaka is often taken as caru (beautiful) and vaka (speech). And it is interesting that caru is also a synonym for Brihaspati. Thus it may be suggested that carvaka stands for "the word of Brihaspati".[38] The first explanation, "Beautiful speakers", could indeed be another way of describing sophists or casuists. The second is slightly less convincing, in that the name Barhaspatya occurs frequently in texts in order to serve roughly the same purpose. It is still a possibility though. Another view is that Carvaka is derived from the root carv, "to chew or to eat". Richard King says, "This may be the name of their founder, but Carvaka means 'one who eats' and so may refer to the materialist philosophy of 'eating up' all that is given in perception."[39] Gunaratna gives a similar explanation in the text we have already quoted from.[40] Alternatively, the name can be interpreted in a more literal sense, and requires a somewhat lengthy digression. There is this strange passage in the Chandogyopanishad, I. xii: Next we come to the chant of the dogs. Baka Dalbhya, or [as he was called,] Glava Maitreya, retired to study the Veda. [One day] a white dog appeared on the scene, and other dogs gathered round him saying: "Venerable sir, get us some food by singing; we are hungry." [The white dog] said to them: "Gather round me here tomorrow morning." So Baka Dalbhya, that is, Glava Maitreya, kept watch. [The next day] the dogs appeared making the same motions as [priests] make when, hand in hand, they start chanting the hymn of praise called Bahishpavamana. Then they sat down together and said: "Hin! Om. Let us eat; Om, let us drink! Om. May the god Varuna, may Prajapati and Savitri bring food here! O Lord of food, bring food here, - bring it here![41]

Most commentators have understood this passage to be a rather curious satire on the excesses of priestly ritual. But why choose dogs to satirise priests? Why is the satire confined merely to the description of the participants in this strange rite, and not to the actual words of the rite itself? As has been noted, the hymn of the croaking frogs in the Rigveda may not have been intended as a satire on the Vedic priesthood. They were called frogs not out of a playful or mythical sense, but because "the frogs" was the name of the clan or tribe to which these priests belonged. And the use of the term dogs was not meant as an insult or as a parody, but was in fact the tribal name of this group of people involved in this act. There are surprising examples of this: Kautilya in his Arthasastra spoke of a people called the dogs. They, along with a few other people, belonged to the raja-sabdopaviji-gana. A whole chapter of the Harivamsa was devoted to describe the geneology of a highly respected family, called the family of dogs. The Mahabharata referred to a section of the Yadavas called the dogs. The same epic, at least in two more places, mentioned human groups called the dogs.[42]

The origin of the use of the name dogs could have been a form of totemism. Chattopadhyaya states: The essence of totemism is as follows. Each clan of which the tribe is composed associates itself with an animal (or a plant), which is called its totem. The clansmen regard themselves as akin to their totem-species and as descended from it. Thus the people belonging to the dog-clan, for example, would consider themselves to be dogs and as descended from the dog.[43]

The evidence of totemism in Vedic literature is not accepted unanimously.[44] But the use of animal names is almost certainly retained in the Upanishads: Even some of the principal Upanishads bear obvious animal names. These are the Svetasvatara (from the white mule), the Mandukya (from the frog), the Kausitaki (from the owl), the Taittiriya (from a species of bird). Another Upanishad, though it is now extinct in its Sanskrit form was called Chagaleya, a name derived from the goat.[45]

What is being suggested here is not that the name carvaka itself is totemistic, rather it relates to a form of ritual that was prevalent in India when the predominant structure of society was on a tribal basis. We do have this example from the Taittiriyopanishad : Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! I am food! I am food! I am food! I am an eater of food! I am an eater of food! I am an eater of food! I am a maker of verses! I am a maker of verses! I am a maker of verses! I am the first-born of the universal order (rita), Earlier than the gods, in the navel of immortality! Whoso gives me away, verily, has succoured me! I who am food eat the eater of food! I have overcome the whole world!

He who knows this shines with a golden light.[46]

"I am an eater of food." Could this be a primitive carvaka, and, if so, what significance does this have for the passage from the Mahabharata? Carvaka's hostility in this episode is directed at the slaying of svajanam (one's own kindred) in the name of dharma. That the war involved fratricide is not contested, and is indeed the source of the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. The passage explicitly notes that the priests evidently felt shame as a result of Carvaka's denunciation of inter-tribal killing. But whatever qualms they may have held about this were soon dispelled, and Carvaka is killed by them. If carvaka is truly representative of an older form of tribal ritual, then the death of Carvaka in this passage could be interpreted as marking the disappearance of religious practises that focussed exclusively on the needs of the immediate tribe. Admittedly, this is pure hypothesis,[47] and that the Carvakas are not viewed by Kautilya in the Arthasastra as opposing the requirements of the state and society in general (if indeed his reference to Lokayata is concomitant with Carvaka). However, there is evidence that there were teachers proclaiming doctrines similar to the Carvaka position in the period that saw the rise of Jainism and Buddhism.

4. Dehatmavada

For the Carvakas, there was no metaphysical concept of the "Self" as depicted in the Upanishads, and the karmic law that necessitated the rebirth of this entity into the next life was nonsensical. The believed that consciousness was the body endowed with intelligence. Madhava adds that the Carvakas quote from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad ii. 4, 12 to support this assertion,"Out of these elements (bhuta) do [all contingent beings] arise and along with them are they destroyed. After death there is no consciousness (samjna): this is what I say. Thus spake Yajnavalkya."[48] Yajnavalkya here was presumably acting as purvapakshin,[49] as his true philosophical position was in direct opposition to the Carvaka view. In fact, we can fairly say that that is the case for all the Upanishadic sages, with the possible exception of Brihaspati in the Maitri Upanishad. These philosophers have one other thing in common: their caste status is either Brahmana or Kshatriya. And in many instances we find examples of a reversal of the functions of these twice-born castes, whereby the Brahmana becomes the pupil of the Kshatriya. It could possibly be that what we are witnessing here is a reflection of the political realities that faced Indian society in the period when fully-fledged statehood is being carved out between warring tribal factions (as evidenced, or at least hinted at, in the events of the Mahabharata and possibly the Ramayana). The important point is that we do not have at our disposal in these texts the philosophical speculations of those castes that were outside of this Brahmana-Kshatriya hegemony. This is not a simply a question of literacy. As in all Vedic literature, the Upanishads were taught and expanded upon by centuries of oral tradition long before transcription, and there is no reason to believe that the lower castes in Indian society did not have a similar oral tradition over the same period, or at the least have leaders or teachers who shaped these traditions. The most famous of these teachers who rejected the Vedic orthodoxy were of course the Buddha and Mahavira. There were other thinkers in this period who are documented in the Buddhist and Jain literature. Makkhali Gosala[50] appears to have been quite a formidable influence at the time and his sect, the Ajivikas, may have at one time been more important than the Jains.[51] There are others who appear to have been expounding a form of crude materialism.[52] One such teacher was Ajita Kesakambala, and we have this said of his thought: A second teacher, Ajita Kesambala, represented the following view: "There is no gift in charity, there is no sacrifice, there are no offerings. There is no fruit and ripening of good and bad actions. There is not this world or that. There is no mother nor father. There are no suddenly-born beings. In the world, there are no ascetics and Brahmanas who have gone along the right path of conduct and follow the right conduct, who have seen this world and that world out of independent knowledge and proclaimed it. A man consists of four Elements. When he dies, earth goes into the mass of earth (prithivikayah), water into the mass of water, fire into the mass of fire, breath into the mass of air, and the sense-organs enter into space (akasah). Four men, with the bier as the fifth, carry forth the dead person, and they carry on their talk until they come into the place of cremation. Then there remain only white bones and all sacrifices end in ashes. The gift of charity is, therefore, the doctrine of a buffoon; it is empty and false talk when anybody asserts that there is something beyond. Fools and wise men are destroyed and disappear when the body falls to pieces. There are no more after death.[53]

The are extremely close similarities between this text and the description of Lokayata in Madhava's account, although there are no references in the Buddhist literature to Ajita Kesambala explicitly naming him as a Carvaka or a Lokayatika. Another notable feature of his teaching is the sense of pessimism that pervades the text. This is not surprising, as it could be argued that these anti-Brahmanical thinkers were as much influenced by the perceived deterioration of the material culture in which they lived as by their rejection of the hollowness of the sacrificial cult. But neither the Buddhists or the Jains reached the conclusion that the only existent property in the world was matter, as Lokayata did. The theory of consciousness that the Carvakas developed from this position is referred to as dehatmavada or bhutacaitanyavada in the philosophical texts of classical India. In a Nyaya[54] text that explicitly mentions the latter, the bhutacaitanyavadin is described as "one who admits the consciousness of material elements."[55] In his commentary on the Brahma-sutra,[56] Sankara gives this view of dehatmavada: The existence of an intelligent Self joined to a body and so on which are the bode of activity can be established (by inference) only; the inference being based on the difference between living bodies and mere non-intelligent things, such as chariots and the like. For this very reason, viz, that intelligence is observed only where a body is observed while it is never seen without a body, the Materialists consider intelligence be a mere attribute of the body. Hence, activity belongs only to what is non-intelligent. [57]

There is a problem here with Sankara's use of the word intelligence, rather than using cit or caitanya, i. e., consciousness. It could be argued that the theory of mind depicted here is synonymous with the Samkhya theory of how intelligence is arrived at. Samkhya is a form of dualism that accepts the separation of consciousness and matter. It is an ancient philosophical system that was in its original form atheistic, and pre- dates the composition of the Upanishads. The Samkhya system views the world as a construction of prakriti and purusha, i. e., primeval matter and consciousness.[58] The relationship between these two concepts forms the basis of Samkhya philosophy. Prakriti, and its constituents, evolves in order to liberate the purusha that is imprisoned within the material world, and the system is sometimes (though not always) referred to as the "Evolutionist" school. Prakriti can also be translated as "primal nature". Primal nature is the physical phenomenon through which everything, except purusha, comes into being. In the unevolved avyakta state it consists of three gunas (literally ropes or strands): sattva, rajas and tamas. These are intelligence, energy and mass,[59] respectively. The mixture of these unfolds, and the intellect, mahat, comes into being. Following on from that is the ego, ahamkara, and from that emerges the mind-organ, manas. At each stage of this development, the evolutes of prakriti are in contact with the organs of sense and action, and the potentialities inherent within them. Purusha, the indestructible consciousness that pervades and is contained within every human individual, is held in bondage within this material world until liberation is achieved; and that occurs when the individual realises he or she is not at one with the individual's body: This evolution, from the Great to the specific elements (bhuta), accomplished by the modifications of Nature (prakriti), is for the emancipation of each individual spirit. It is for the sake of another, though it appears to be simply for its own sake. Just as insentient milk flows for the nourishment of the calf, so too does Nature (prakriti) act for the sake of the spirit's liberation. Just as people engage in action to satiate desire, so does the unevolved function for the liberation of the spirit. Just as the dancer stops dancing after she has displayed to the spectators, so too does primal Nature (prakriti) stop after displaying herself to the spirit.[60]

The Samkhya philosophers constructed an elaborate system whereby all the features of the mind, except for what we would be later called atman by the Advaita Vedanta school, could be produced from insentient matter. There is the possibility that this could have been influential in the development of Lokayata, although the Carvakas apparently saw no difference between the products of mind (i. e., intelligence, ego etc.,) and the quality of consciousness that Samkhya refers to as purusha. Dehatmavada, in the sense of being a negation of anything outside of the material elements from which the body was constituted,[61] could also be construed as being "the cult of the body". The Tantrikas and the adherents of the Yoga school also emphasised the importance of the body, and bodily functions, in their systems. But the ultimate goal of their rituals and practises was similar to the liberation aimed at by Samkhya. Nevertheless, there are scholars who see a connection between Lokayata and Tantrism, i. e., the Kapalika sect. Dhakshinranjan Shastri states: Formerly, this sect flourished in an independent form. In course of time it became weak, and lost its independence. Probably the inhuman cruelties, or the dreadfulness of the sect, brought about its ruin. As kama or the enjoyment of sensual pleasure was the goal of this sect, it came gradually to be affiliated to the Nastika form of the Lokayata school, according to which the summum bonum of human life is pleasure. Thus the Kapalikas, like the Assassins, became the solitary historical example of a combination of materialistic philosophy with cruelty, lust, supernatural power and systematic crime. Or, it may be that the followers of orthodox schools, through bitter contempt, identified the Lokayatikas with the fierce Kapalikas, as in previous cases the Vedicists used freely terms of abuse like "bastard", "incest" and "monster" with regard to the Lokayatikas. At the time of the author of Arthasastra, these Kapalikas were a distinct sect. In Gunaratna's time we find them identified with the Lokayatika school which had already become a hated name in the country.[62]

It must be noted that the evidence connecting Lokayata with the Kapalikas is extremely fragmentary, and that we do not possess a definitive chronology for the development of the latter sect. But Shastri may be right in suggesting that there was an alternative form of Lokayata that did not meet with the approval of other schools of thought. Chattopadhyaya gives this quotation from the Vinaya Pitaka: Now at that time the Chabbagiya Bhikkhus learnt the Lokayata system. People murmured, etc., saying "Like those who still enjoy the pleasures of the world!" The Bhikkhus heard of people thus murmuring; and those Bhikkhus told the matter to the Blessed One. "Now can a man who holds the Lokayata as valuable reach up, O Bhikkhus, to the full advantage of, or attain full growth in, to full breadth in this doctrine and discipline?" "This cannot be, Lord!" "You are not, O Bhikkhus, to learn the Lokayata system. Whosoever does so shall be guilty of dukkata (a form of offence for the monk)". Now at that time the Chabbagiya Bhikkhus taught the Lokayata system. People murmured, etc., saying, "Like those still enjoying the pleasures of the world!" They told this matter to the Blessed One. "You are not, O Bhikkhus, to teach the Lokayata system. Whosever does so shall be guilty of dukkata." "You are not, O Bhikkhus, to learn - to teach, - the low arts."[63]

Could these low arts have been some form of magic? If they were, it may be that some Lokayatikas still adhered to the forms of ritual that are found in the Atharvaveda. The use of such rituals by magicians is for attaining power (for whatever purpose), and is also the aim of Hindu Tantrikas in their sex rituals. This does open up the (admittedly hypothetical) possibility that the Carvakas, or at least some of them, were connected to the Kapalikas, using the Tantra in the pursuit of artha and for the fulfilment of kama.

5. Svabhavavada

The following is an account of Lokayata epistemology, drawing from traditional sources, by Surendranath Dasgupta: The Carvakas admitted the validity only of perception. There is nothing else but what can be perceived by the five senses. No inference can be regarded as a valid means of knowledge, for inference is possible only when the universal concomitance of the reason (hetus) with the probandum is known, and such a reason is known to be existing in the object of the minor term (vyapti-paksa-dharmata-sali hi lingam gamakam). Such a concomitance must first be known before an inference is possible; but how can it be known? Not by perception, for concomitance is not an objective entity with which the senses can come in contact. Moreover, the concomitance of one entity with another means that the entities are associated with each other in the past, present and future (sarvo-pasamharayatri vyaptih), and the sense organs can have no scope to future associations or even with regard to all past timeIf the concomitance cannot be perceived by the sense organs, it cannot be perceived by the mind either, for the mind cannot associate itself with the external objects except through the sense organs. The concomitance cannot be known through inference, for all inference presupposes it. Thus, there being no way of perceiving concomitance, inference becomes impossible...[64]

It would be an extremely rare occurrence for one to come across a modern textbook on the schools of Indian philosophy where an analysis differing from this one is to be found. It has become something of a clich in the modern understanding of Lokayata that its adherents accepted pratyaksha (perception) as the only pramana. The Carvaka rejection of anumana (inference) is dealt with in greater length in the purvapaksin tradition than any other doctrine of theirs by their contemporaries. The material pertaining to this argument is probably the decisive factor in persuading modern scholars that there was an inherent, inescapable flaw in the Carvaka's philosophy that today renders it as almost a footnote or an afterthought in our texts. And let us make no mistake about this: the refusal to accept inference as a pramana, and reliance on perception alone renders not only the discipline of philosophy impossible. If we cannot rely on an object of knowledge that is not immediate to our sense-data, if we cannot believe in anything that is not presented before our very eyes, then we have ceased to be rational human beings and our ability to function as such in the world is practically nil. That, in essence, is the epistemology of the Carvakas followed to its logical conclusion. Chattopadhyaya quotes the Nyaya philosopher Udayana as reaching the same conclusion.[65] There is simply something intuitively wrong in accepting this as a true representation of Lokayata logic, and a closer look at the passage above reveals why: "and the sense organs can have no scope to future associations or even with regard [etc]." The future associations in this context simply mean that which is likely to be known or to happen in the future, e. g., the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. The method in determining this is a process of induction that involves inferential reasoning. But what if the object of future knowledge in question is extended beyond the phenomena of this world? We have already seen in Madhava's critique that the Carvakas denied the existence any object belonging to a future world outside of the one lived in on a daily basis, that "There is no heaven, no final liberation." The rejection of inference by the Carvakas was not an attempt to stunt and distort the human intellect. They rejected inferential thinking as a means of establishing the existence of paraloka. However, in the extant sources this argument is corroborated on only one occasion. Dasgupta finds this reference to a certain Purandara in Kamalasila's Panjika: Purandara, however, a follower of Carvaka (probably of the seventh century), admits the usefulness of inference in determining the nature of all worldly things where perceptual experience is available; but inference cannot be employed for establishing any dogma regarding the transcendental world, or life after death or the laws of Karma which cannot be available to ordinary perceptual experience. The main reason for upholding such a distinction between the validity of inference in our practical life of ordinary experience, and in ascertaining transcending truths beyond experience, lies in this, that an inductive generalization [sic] is made by observing a large number of cases of agreement in presence together with agreement in absence, and no cases of agreement in presence can be observed in the transcendent sphere; for even if such spheres existed they could not be perceived by the senses.[66]

This explanation must be measured against the arguments found in the Tattvopaplavasimha, an apparently newly discovered text that is accredited by some scholars to the Carvaka school, and dating from the 8th century CE.[67] The author, Jayarasi Bhatta, claims to be drawing on Brihaspati as an authority.[68] But the main aim of his text is to demolish the epistemological arguments of the Carvaka's opponents, rather than establishing any definite pramana-vada for his own school. In that sense the text is a-pramana, i. e., Jayarasi Bhatta rejects not only inference but all pramanas as being valid sources of knowledge, and that his true philosophical position is one of agnostic scepticism. Walter Ruben writes: In this way, a definite sophistic-agnostic-antiphilosophic tradition comes down through more than a thousand years and our author is to be placed as belonging to this trend to certain extent [sic]; but the difference of his argumentation, in several instances, is also to be noted. Jayarasi Bhatta specially invents for himself a bagful of points of opposition and hair-splittingsHe declares with pride at the end of his work that his arguments have not come under the purview of Brihaspati. As Jayarasi's agnosticism does not hold good philosophically, so is his claim of originality unfounded and the sign of pettiness.[69]

The mention of hair-splittings and pettiness is significant, for this could be the vitanda, fallacious argumentation, that Buddhaghosa accused the Carvakas of engaging in. But if the Carvakas rejected the use of the pramanas in establishing the existence of a world outside of our sense-data, then how were they to account for existence of the empirical world and its causal relations? Lokayata had no place for Divine creation in its system, nor did it hold that the world unfolded as an outward manifestation of Brahman, as taught by the Advaita Vedanta school. Causality, if the materialists were to maintain a consistent doctrine, must be due to purely physical processes only and there could be no room for adrishta in this system. We can quote from Madhava: From this, it follows that fate, etc., do not exist, since these can only be proved by inference. But an opponent will say, if you do not thus allow adrishta, the various phenomena of the world become destitute of any cause. But we cannot accept this objection as valid, since these phenomena can all be produced spontaneously from the inherent nature of things. Thus it has been said - The fire is hot, the water cold, refreshing and cool the breeze of morn; By whom came this variety? From their own nature was it born.[70] Gunaratna gives a more precise definition of the doctrine self-origination: The Svabhavavadins argue as follows. Here, it is the "essential nature" (svabhava) of a thing that it undergoes transformation by itself (svatah). All entities are born due to the influence of svabhava. Thus for example, from clay, a jar is produced and not cloth, and from yarn, a cloth is produced and not the jar, etc. But this production according to a fixed rule cannot be explained to take place without it being characterised by such specific svabhava. Therefore, it is to be concluded that all this is due to svabhava. Thus it has been said: "Who produces sharpness in thorns? (Who creates) different dispositions in animals and birds? All this has proceeded from svabhava. There is no scope for action according to one's will. What is the use of effort?"[71]

He also describes an alternative view of causality: According to the view of the Yadricchavadins, the word yadriccha means the attainment of objects without any prior deliberation (abhisandhi) (i. e. accidentally). But who are these Yadricchavadins? The answer is as follows. The Yadricchavadins are those who, in this world, do not admit to any fixed cause-effect relation in respect to objects, but maintain (such relation to be due) to yadriccha (accident).[72]

As we have noted with regard to Lokayata epistemology, there are clearly problems in establishing a cause-effect relationship in the absence of perceptually verifiable evidence. Gopinath Kaviraj[73] has this to say on the relationship of the theories described above: It is very difficult to distinguish between Svabhava and Yadriccha, as both are identical so far as the rejection of the causal principle is concerned. But the distinction, however, may be taken to lie in this, that whereas in svabhavavada a niyama is formally admitted which is technically known as svabhavaniyama, in yadricchavada there is no scope for any such restriction. With reference to the question - why a jar should be produced from vlay and not from threads - the answer of the Svabhavavadin is a plain statement of the nature of the thing which is unchangeable; but the answer of the Yadricchavadin would be a flat denial of any such natural principle. The observed order and regularity in our experience is due to mere chance, they would say.[74]

It is possible that the Carvakas held the view that the world was caused merely by accident. We would certainly not be surprised to find that this was the view of a sceptic such as Jayarasi Bhatta. But the element of chance in the causal process also opens up the possibility that there is a property outside of our sense-data that has an influence on events in the physical realm. If the Carvakas accepted yadriccha as the causal axiom, then they would be accepting, however crude, a form of adrishta into their system. On balance, the Carvakas probably accepted svabhavavada. It could be consistent with their materialistic outlook by virtue of the fact that even if the creation of an entity or object could not be directly experienced, then it could be inferred (if Purandara's account of inference is to be accepted) that the object actually present in the world contained within itself the potentiality for that origination.

6. The Disappearance Of The Carvakas

The Carvakas are not mentioned in any other text after the 16th century CE, and there are no sects in India today that claim any direct descent from them. What happened to them, and why has none of their literature been preserved? Richard King has this to say: The fact that so little is known about the Carvakas may stem from their suppression by other groups, but it may also reflect their own repudiation of tradition. Ancient Indian philosophical systems have survived for millenia not just because their views and arguments have proved compelling and worth taking seriously by adherents, but also because they have been associated with institutional structures and traditions. The rejection of authoritative testimony (sabda-pramana) or tradition (agama) in any form as a valid source of knowledge (as exemplified in their critique of the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist adherence to their own sacred texts), made it less likely that the materialists would be able to preserve their views as a sustained tradition with some form of institutional backing or lineage (sampradaya).[75]

For the latter, it could be argued that the Carvakas did in fact consistently argue that they claimed their descent from Brihaspati, who as a Vedic deity could certainly be seen as authoritative, at least in terms of stature. But the texts that we have at our disposal that actually quote him as an authority, the Brihaspati Sutra and the Tattvopaplavasimha, are not considered by scholars to be truly representative of the Lokayata school. We should also be wary of reading too much into the favourable manner in which the Arthasastra viewed Lokayata. There is a good deal of evidence that some rulers in India found common cause with materialism for purely atavistic purposes, and this may have been the reasoning behind Kautilya's advocacy of the Lokayata doctrine.[76] As to possibility of suppression by other groups, we have already noted that K. B Krishna believed, without presenting any real evidence for this claim, that the Lokayata texts were systematically destroyed by the Brahman class. That there is evidence that there was a certain level of misinterpretation by the Carvaka's opponents is probably not beyond dispute. But that these texts were systematically destroyed by them is not provable, for we are hardly likely to come across any written evidence where the opponents actually admit doing it. There is an alternative hypothesis for the disappearance of their literature. What we do know is that towards the end of the first millenium CE, atheism in India was under sustained attack, due to the resurgence of the Brahmanical tradition, i. e., the Vedanta and Bhakti (i. e., devotional) movements. Even the ancient Samkhya system had long succumbed to the admittance of a theistic element. The major victims in this were the Buddhists. It is widely acknowledged that for centuries the Buddhists had played a massive role in the collection of, and commentaries on, all the philosophical traditions in India. As the Buddhist presence in India dwindled, it is possible that the texts dealing with the older atheistic movements became concentrated in fewer places, possibly at Nalanda. This university, and with it the Buddhist presence in India, was eradicated during the invasions and eventual domination of Northern India by the Islamic conquests that began in the 11th century. It is not entirely implausible that the Lokayata texts were also lost in the ferocity of the Islamic attitude towards Buddhism. Of course, that would also hold true for any individual who proclaimed to be a follower of the stark atheism of the Carvakas. The Brahmanic faith survived due to the eventual accommodation reached between its adherents and the Islamic conquerors. It is doubtful whether there was any possibility of accommodation with Lokayata.[77]


For a text that bears the title, "A History of the Carvakas", the most striking feature of this document is the lack of a precise chronology that we would normally associate with a historical examination. If I am to be accused of being rather vague with dates, then it is entirely due to the fact that all histories of Indian thought must be constantly aware of the problems in assigning absolute and non-controvertible dates to the key events and the formation of new ideas. This is particularly relevant in the case of the Vedic and Epic material that I have used in the argument set out, though I believe I have not deviated too far from the overall development of philosophical structures in India. Before I begin to summarise this argument, there is this interesting quotation from Nirad Chaudhuri: Hinduism differs fundamentally from Christianity in this, that for its followers it is not an alternative to the world, but primarily the means of supporting and improving their existence in it. Of course, as in all other religions, so in Hinduism there is belief in another world, in life after death, and in all the supra-mundane things which form the staple of every religious system. The Hindus also make a distinction between this world (iha-loka) and the other world (para-loka), between things which belong to here (ahika) and those that belong to there (paratrika). They also speak of salvation (moksha). But the unwordly aims of religion when put against the worldly have hardly ant weight. As to the notion of salvation, it is wholly unreal and unattractive - a mere talking point, as indeed so much verbiage about it shows. Salvation is never the object of the religious observances and worship of the Hindus. The main object is worldly prosperity, and this absorption in the world has made the doctrine of rebirth in it the most appealing and strongly held belief among all the notions put forward by them about existence after death. They so loved the world that they made the possibility of leaving it for good even after many cycles of birth as remote and difficult as possible.[78]

Of course, no one in ancient India is represented as loving the material world more than the Carvakas. And yet they saw no reason for believing that they were ever coming back to it. Did they pursue artha and kama because the denial of the karmic law necessitated enjoying the one and only life to the full? There is a maxim attributed to them in the Kama Sutra: "A pigeon to eat is worth more than a peacock in the sky."[79] The worldliness of the Hindu religion is not a recent phenomenon. We can trace this right back to the Rigveda, where the sacrifices and rituals are performed with the express intention of receiving some earthly benefit. As the performance of these rites increased in complexity so too did the speculations that dwelled on their meaning, ultimately developing intoerent tradition of the Atharvaveda, not completely independent of Vedic society, but nevertheless viewed by the more orthodox Brahmanas as somewhat lacking the authority of their own tradition. If the interpretation of the episode in the Chandogyopanishad is correct, the "chanting dogs" could have been priests who were allied to the shamanistic aspect of the Atharvaveda rituals, in fact, the forerunners of the later Lokayata. But I have only been able to infer or hypothesise this; the link between magic and materialism (as a philosophical school) is a difficult one to establish in the absence of texts. The period that saw the emergence of Buddhism and Jainism, roughly 600 BCE onwards, also saw the rise of the Mahajanapadas,[80] possibly alluded to in the Epic literature where we first see an explicit mention of Carvaka. His death at the hands of the orthodoxy could be interpreted as the point at which Lokayata lost the tribal basis of its origins, but nevertheless retaining the mantras from its early history.[81] And these mantras were only later viewed in disfavour by other philosophical schools as their own doctrines increased in sophistication. The Lokayata mantras, connected with wordly things, could have been influential in informing the Carvaka philosophy that the only thing that existed was the materiality of the world. But I think it is doubtful that Lokayata is synonymous with the modern usage of scientific materialism.


UKT: I could only find the following bibliography, but to footnotes -- 120415

Bharati, A. The Tantric Tradition, London: Rider & Company, First published 1965 
Biardeau, M. Hinduism: The Anthropology of a Civilisation, Delhi: OUP, English edition, 1989
Brockinton, J.L The Sacred Thread: Hinduism in its Continuity and Diversity, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, First published 1981

Chattopadhyaya, D. Crvka/Lokyata: An Anthology of Source Materials and some Recent Studies, New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research, First published 1990
Chattopadhyaya, D. Lokyata: A Study in Ancient Indian Materialism, New Delhi: Peoples Publishing House, First published 1959, Seventh edition 1992
Chaudhuri, N.C, Hinduism: A Religion to Live By, New Delhi: OUP, First published 1979

Danielou, A. trans. The Complete Kma Sktra, Vermont: Park Street Press 1994
Dasgupta, S. A History of Indian Philosophy Vols. I, & III Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, 1922 40, Reprinted 1973-75

Shubhada, Dr., A. Lokyata - A Critical Study (Indian Spiritualism Reaffirmed), Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications, 1995

King, R. Indian Philosophy: An Introduction to Hindu and Buddhist Thought, Great Britain: Edinburgh University Press, 1999
Kinsley, D.R. Hindu Goddesses, London: University of California Press, Paperback 1988
Krishna, K.B. Studies in Hindu Materialism, Guntur: Milinda Publications First edition 1994

Mookerjee, A. & Khanna, M. The Tantric Way: Art, Science, Ritual, London: Thames & Hudson, 1977

Nambiar, Dr., S.K. The Prabodhacandrodaya of Krishna Mi[ra, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, Second Edition 1998

Radhakrishnan, S. History of Philosophy Eastern and Western Volume One, London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1952
Radhakrishnan, S. Indian Philosophy Volume I, London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., First Published 1923, Eighth impression 1966

Sharma, C. A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1976
Shastri, D. Charvaka Philosophy, Calcutta: Rabindra-Bharati University, First edition 1996

Thapar, R. A History of India Volume One, London: Pelican Books Ltd., 1966, Reprinted in Penguin Books 1990
Thapar, R. Interpreting Early India, New Delhi: OUP, First Published 1992

Zaehner, R.C. Hindu Scriptures, London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., First Trans., & Ed., published 1966

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