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Studies on the Cārvāka/Lokāyata

Ramkrishna Bhattacharya

Studies on the Cārvāka/Lokāyata

The first attempt at a scientific study of the Cārvāka/Lokāyata, the materialist system of philosophy that flourished in ancient India between the eighth and the twelfth century CE.

Imprint: Anthem Press
ISBN 9780857284334
December 2011 | 252 Pages | 229 x 152mm / 9 x 6
PRICE:  £60.00  /  $99.00  Buy from Amazon.co.uk  Buy from Amazon.com

About This Book

‘Studies on the Carvaka/Lokayata’ is the first attempt at a scientific study of the Carvaka/Lokayata, the materialist system of philosophy that flourished in ancient India between the eighth and twelfth centuries CE, and which has since disappeared. Despite the paucity of material relating to the Carvaka, a reconstruction of its basic tenets reveals it to be the lone contender standing against the perceived binary of pro-Vedic Brahminical schools on the one hand, and the non-Vedic Buddhist and Jain schools on the other.

This study seeks to disprove certain notions about the Carvaka/Lokayata, particularly that the Carvaka-s did not approve of any instrument of cognition other than perception, and that they advocated unalloyed sensualism and hedonism. In contrast, this volume offers evidence to show that the Carvaka-s, despite their difference of opinion in other areas, did admit inference in so far as it was grounded on perception. Furthermore, the author argues that the common belief that ‘all materialists are nothing but sensualists’ is a misconception, as no authentic Carvaka aphorisms have been cited by the movement’s opponents to support this view.

This study also seeks to establish the fact that a pre-Carvaka school of materialism existed in India, although there is no way to prove that the Carvaka system grew out of it. Yet if the evidence provided by the ‘Manimekalai’ – and indirectly supported by the ‘Mahabharata’ – is admitted, it could be suggested that the two schools existed simultaneously.

Readership: Students and scholars in the fields of philosophy, religious studies and South Asian history, with interests in ancient Indian philosophy and materialism.

Author Information

Ramkrishna Bhattacharya is an Emeritus Fellow in English, University Grants Commission, New Delhi. He was previously a Reader in the Department of English at Anandamohan College, Kolkata and a Guest Lecturer with the postgraduate faculty of English at the University of Calcutta.

Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; Abbreviations; I. Origin of Materialism in India: Royal or Popular?; II. Jain Sources for the Study of Pre-Cārvāka Materialist Ideas in India; III. Ajita Kesakambala: Nihilist or Materialist?; IV. Perception and Inference in the Cārvāka Philosophy; V. Commentators of the ‘Cārvākasūtra’; VI. Cārvāka Fragments: A New Collection; VII. On the Authenticity of an Alleged Cārvāka Aphorism; VIII. ‘Paurandarasūtra’ Revisited; IX. What Did the Cārvāka-s Mean by ‘sukhaṃ jīvet’?; X. Sāṃkhya, Yoga and Lokāyata in the ‘Kauṭilīya Arthaśāstra’: A Re-View; XI. Yogācāra Against the Cārvāka: A Critical Survey of ‘Tattvasaṅgraha’, Chapter 22; XII. Jayantabhaṭṭa’s Representation of the Cārvāka: A Critique; XIII. What does Udayana mean by ‘lokavyavahārasiddha iti cārvākāḥ’?; XIV. Hemacandra on the Cārvāka: A Survey; XV. Haribhadra’s ‘Ṣaḍdarśanasamuccaya’, Verses 81-84: A Study; XVI. The Significance of ‘Lokāyata’ in Pali; XVII. On ‘Lokāyata’ and ‘Lokāyatana’ in Buddhist Sanskrit; XVIII. ‘Lokāyata’ and ‘Lokāyatana’ in Sanskrit Dictionaries; XIX. ‘ṛṇaṃ kṛtvā ghṛtaṃ pibet’: Who Said This?; XX. ‘jīvikā dhātṛnirmitā’ or ‘jīviketi bṛhaspatiḥ’?; XXI. ‘mṛtānāmapi jantūnām’...; XXII. Cārvāka/Lokāyata Philosophy: Perso-Arabic Sources; XXIII. What is meant by ‘nāstika’ in the ‘Nyāyasūtra’ Commentary?; Bibliography