Lokayata Philosophy (A Fresh Appraisal)
|Subuddhi Charan Goswami
|THE ASIATIC SOCIETY
|8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Highly enriched by the contributions of fourteen specialist scholars, this work on Lokayata philosophy, which has the lowest place in the ancient philosophical systems of India, and which was invariably debunked by the conservative Brãhmanas and Sectarian Gurus, has now, in the essays collected in this volume, a constructive evaluation, which would help other scholars to know both the sources of Lokayata philosophy, and its connotations. The editor must be congratulated for his editorial competence, and for his scholarly contribution (pp. 112 ff.). This is undoubtedly a commendable work.
At the very outset of this booklet, which is the outcome of a two-day seminar organized by the Asiatic Society, Kolkata on 18-19 February 2008,1 beg to mention some names, both Indian and Western who pioneered the study and research of Okayed system of Indian philosophy to achieve the present state of development on the subject. They are J. Muir, Rhys David’s, Paraphrased Sastri, G. Tucci, Daksinaranjan Sastri, Th. Stcherbatsky, Gopinath Kaviraj, Eric Frauwaliner, F.W. Thomas, Sukhla4i Sanghavi, R.C. Parikh, Walter Ruben, K.K. Dixit, S.N. Dasgupta, Radhakrishnan, Rajkrishna Mukhopadhyay, B.M. Barua, Deviprasad Chattopadhyaya, etc. I express my deep sense of gratitude to all of them. The Lokayata is now otherwise called Cärväka, and Nãstika, Asura, etc. are its synonyms. The first writing on Cãrväka as a system of philosophy reached to the European scholars probably through the English version of Sarvadar anasathgraha prepared by E.B. Co well & A.E. Gough in the late nineties. The text of the work was constructed and edited by Pt. Iswarchandra Vidyasagar. The Cãrvãla?-section of this work became the basis of knowing Carvãka-philosophy to the non-Sanskrit scholars both Indian and Western. The merits and demerits of this work thus became responsible for generating ideas of that philosophy to the scholars in general at the initial stage of research. Sarvadaranasathgraha is not an original work of any individual system of philosophy. It is a compendium of summaries of all existing systems of philosophy at the time of Madhavacarya, its renowned author. This type of work was meant for students of philosophical seminaries in ancient India. The author of Sarvadaranasaingraha was a teacher of Monistic Vedanta and to advocate the supremacy of Monistic Vedanta oner others was alive in his mind. A survey of the entire text may reveal many of its lapses. Dr. Deviprasad Chattopadhyaya already pointed out that the account of Cãrvãkaphilosophy presented by Mãdhavãcãrya was partly the result of intellectual construction of the author. To bring out the true spirit of Ctrvãka-philosophy in this situation has become a desideratum of the day. .
From the findings of all those researchers mentioned above we are now convinced that India can not be marked solely as a land of idealism and spiritualism. A strong wave of materialism existed in the formative period of Indian philosophical systems and the orthodox - schools of Indian philosophy had to fight hard against the materialistic outlook of the Carväkas to build up their philosophical edifice. The followers of Lokayata have no faith in the post-mortem existence of souls. Means of knowledge according to them can be applied only to what can be perceived by senses. There is no soul as different from the body. Air, earth, water and fire— these are the basic materials from which everything including what is known as living bodies comes to emerge. All other systems of Indian philosophy accept the theory of transmigration of soul and the theory of virtue and vice as the regulator of life after death. The entire domain of Indian philosophy can be classified into two heads — Lok.ayata and Non-Loktyata. Lokyata played the role of challenger to all other systems of Indian philosophy. In spite of onslaughts from all corners Carvãka-philosophy survives due to tremendous potentiality it contains. Where lies that potentiality is a matter of investigation of our time. .
The difficulty we are confronted with in the study of Cãrvãkaphilosophy is that not a single text of the Lokãyatikas in original has come down to us. From so many references available here and there it is almost certain that they had some texts in the formative stage of development. But we are in the dark about the fate of those texts. F.W. Thomas is known to have discovered a manuscript copy of. He edited and published the same in the year 1921 from Lahore. But that is scarcely available now. Moreover, Dr. Thomas himself was not sure about the authenticity of the text. As reported by him some portions of the text are old and other portions of the text are of later origin and no commentary of the text is available. .
edited by Dr. D. R. Sastri is not an independent text. It is a collection of verses mostly collected from the 17th Canto, of Shriharsa’s of Krishna Mishra and of Murari. Dr. Sastri endeavoured a lot to prepare a historical development of Lokayata philosophy. But the materials he relied upon are not of original works of the Lokayata philosophy. If genuine philosophical works of the Lokãyata school are discovered some day, it is not unlikely that most of his conjectures may prove futile. The recent discovery of it of Jayarashi Bhatta edited and published by Sukhlalji Sanghavi and R.C. Parikh in the Gaekwad Oriental Series, Baroda is difficult to be accepted as a text of Lokayata system. Like of Shriharsa it denounces validity of all Pramãi:zas (means of cognition) and advocates a thesis which is akin to nihilism.
In this situation we have no other alternative but to search for other materials to construct a faithful representative work of the Carvaka-school of philosophy. The views of Lokãyata school are alluded to in different branches of learning. Lokayata tenets are quoted in the texts of other philosophical schools though for the purpose of repudiating them. Numerous compendiums are available both in printed and unpublished forms which are supposed to have been taught in the seminaries of philosophy all around Indian subcontinent. There is necessity to compile and examine materials collected from these sources with the application of proper scientific method and logical acumen. If this is undone we shall be failing in our duty to show due honour to this age-old cultur.il tradition of Indian soil. The voice of India does not mean spiritualism alone. In answer to the quest for truth there was the voice of materialism also and that was not as feeble as it appears to be so now.
I am thankful to the contributors for enlightening us with different aspects of Lokayata Philosophy from limited resources which they could manage to gather under their disposal.
|The Lokãyata School
|Mrinal Kanti Gangopadhyay
|Scientific Nature of the Lokãyata Metaphysics and its Root
|The Cãrvãka Criticism of Inference : Some Recently Discovered Details
|Prabal Kumar Sen
|Some Reflections on Lokayata Philosophy (as depicted by rikta Mira)
|Lokayata Epistemology and Place of Anumãna in it
|Rajendra Nath Sarma
|Lokayata Materialism: Classification of Source Materials
|Lokayata Ethics Reappraised
|Surendra Mohan Mishra
|Jayarai Bhatt&s Philosophical Position
|Lokãyata Materialism: A Histodiamatic Evaluation
|K. Maheswaran Nair
|Lokãyata— Its Popularity, Recognition and Disappearance
|G. Gangadharan Nair
|Lokãyata— The Uncompromising Materialistic Philosophy
|Some Paradoxes of Cãrvãka Hedonism
|Lokayata Philosophy : In Search of Authentic Materials
|Subuddhi Charan Goswami
|(Cãrvãka : In the light of Jam Philosophy)
|(Jitendra Bhai Shaha)
|List of Contributors
We Also Recommend
The Original Programme of The Theosophical Society And Preliminary Memorandum of the Esoteric Section