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Chapter Thirteen
HINDU PHILOSOPHICAL SYSTEMS

I.  ADVAITA  - MAYA VADA

"Brahma Sathyam, Jagat Mithya;
Jivo Brahmaiva Na Paraha".


Advaita (Monism or Non-dualism), is believed to be the ultimate explanation of things. According to it, there is one Absolute Reality (Brahman) which is pure consciousness and pure bliss. This can only be defined as Sat (Truth) Chit (Consciouness) and Ananda (Bliss). Of course such an absoulute God is really inexplicable and beyond comprehension. He is neither existing nor not existing, because existence does not make meaning in the concept. Brahman therefore has no Guna - property. Brahman is simply the singularity. Hence any attempt to describe Brahman will be futile. Nirguna according to Sankara is being beyond the guna traya,(Triguna-Ateeta) the three attributes of Prakriti (nature')".viz., Satva (goodness), Rajas (passion) and Tamas (ignorance). But then such a God is of no consequence. According to Sankara, Brahman is the only reality. The Brahman is unborn and uncreated. He does not create; He does not cause.

 

Adi Sankaracharya

 

According to historians, Shankara was born in the year Nandana (26th year of the sixty year cycle) in the lunar month of Vaishaakha (May/June) under the Zodiac sign of the Archer on Monday in the year 805 AD.

Yet from the the 'Vyahavaric' (pragmatic) standpoint, Sankara postulates a Saguna Brahman, Iswara. But this Iswara is an illusion of the beholder. How can a propertyless Brahman cause a Vyahavaric dimension is not clear. Attributeless implies homogenity within the dimension of Brahman. Only when this homogenity is transformed into inhomogenity can guna arise. Advaitic Nirguna Brahman therefore is a myth incapable of creation as long as there is nothing outside of the Brahman. But if there is an outside of Brahman, then Brhaman receives a property in relation to this outside. A pure Monistic Advata is a misnomer since a relative standpoint cannot be established on it.

Brahmans to be a reality capable of creation there has to be an inhomogenity within it. Then we can attribute Sat, Chit and Ananda to the Brahman. We can attribute a purpose of Goodness, and a happiness which is possible only if Brahman is a personality with dimensions within.

This Brahman can then transform and emanate and create. The Saguna Brahman has to be a transform of Nirguna Brahman.

The Hindu Saguna Brahman being a transform of a homgeneous Brahman causes both good and evil. But what defines good and evil is not really defined. This theme runs through the puranic schmes of creation stories etc in the form of churning of milky way and the like where polarisation is produced bringing in creation - bringing in good and evil, producing both Amrit (elixir of life) and Visham (Poison or death)

This appearance of Saguna Brahman is Iswara - the perosn of God. Here again I have come across conflicting descriptions of Ishwara. To some Ishwara is both Good and Evil. For others Ishwara is always good. Good and evil are mere illusions (Maya) to this way of thinking. The created universe itself being maya. The universe (pervaded by God) is analysable into the subjective experiences called soul and objective experiences called matter; these two constitute man and the creation.

Matter with its name and form, themselves have no reality of their own. On this basis, Advaita explains that God, man and creation are aspects of one Absolute Reality. Life and its experiences are only a game played (Leela) by God.

A basic problem with this appraoch is that it gives us no reason to escape from the experience. In fact trying to escape will be in direct violation of the intentions of God. Imagining that suffering is only an illusion do not make it any less pleasant for anyone.

Vishishtadvaita explains that the three entities, i.e, God, man and universe are one integral whole, that man is but an aspect of God.

But we see the world. Advaita says it is only a change in name and form of Brahman - 'Vivarta'. It is only a superficial appearance while there is no change in reality. What seems to be a'snake' is really only a rope. We can understand that only when a light is lit. One Brahman appears as many Pratibimbas (reflections)as 'Pratibhasika Satya'. Sometimes the diversity of Jivas are explained as conditioned Brahman or limitations of Brahman for period just as there are waters in the pools and lakes and rivers. This is 'Avacheda Vada'. But what is this reflecting media and the limiting walls? Are they also Brahman? If they are then it produces the inhomogenity and the variation, the essence of guna. Form and substance cannot be identical in essence. They belong to two categories.

Thus pure monism is a self destructing philosophy. It has the beauty of the Unified Field Theory. But unification can work only when the unified monad itself is complicated, not otherwise. It must be capable of transformation providing many distinguishable dimensions and variables.

What then is the means of Mukthi? Hindusim arbitrarity define the purpose of life in terms of human perspective. However all forms agree that the ultimate purpose is Tatva Darsana (realization of essene) and not Tatva Jnana (intellectual conception of truth). This realisation is said to put an end to all sorrows and leads to abiding inner peace and joy and bliss eternally without break.

How do we attain this mukthi? Karma, whether good or bad, has a binding effect. This will result in series of incarnations. Punarapi Jananam Punarapi Maranam. Bhakti is devotion and love towards a chosen deity. It brings viveka(understanding) and vichara (Intellect), but does not remove the ignorance. In fact in adds to the ignorance that I am different from Iswara.

Ajnana leads to bondage and Jnana alone leads to liberation.

While Bahkthi and Karma prepares the mind to recive the Jnana, they themselves do not lead to mukthi. Once we accept the monistic oneness Brahman Absolute, Jnana is the only marga. All others leads to further bondage and further mythya

II -Vishista Advaita   -  Modified Monism

The chief proponent of this philosophy was Ramanuja.

 



Sri Ramanuja was born in 1017 AD (1017-1137 AD) The basic philosophy was however first proposed by Sri Nathamuni at least a century before him. Ramanuja gave it its systematic form as it is today.

Other Acharyas of the Vishnavite tradition are:

  •  Nathamuni (823-923 AD)

  •  Yamunacarya (916-1036 AD)

  •  Parasara Bhattar

  •  Pillan

  •  Sudarsanasuri and

  •  Rangaramanuja

The gross errors of Advaita is overcome by Ramanuja by giving the full inhomogenity within Brahman. The Brahman, according to this philosophy, is not attribute-less but it is full of attributes. Brahman is Sarvaguna, possessing infinite number of attributes. But these are selective qualities like jnana (knowledge), bala (strength), veerya (courageousness), shakti (power), tejas (brilliance), satyakama (desire of good), satyasamkalpa, kaarunya (merciful compassion) etc. Brahman is the antithesis of all imperfections and negative qualities, like anger, pain, hunger, death, evil, sin, sickness and so on. Brahman is eternal, pervades all, is the cause of the entire creation. Being the creator Brahman is the only Independent Entity and the Support of the other two entities in the cosmos viz., souls (Jiva) and the material world (Jagat). Since there was nothing outside of Brahman, the created is also part of the creator but distinct from it.

There are three entities Chit, Achit and Iswara. There is unity in this trinity. The cosmos is the body of the Lord. Ishwara is the head of the cosmos whole Cosmos, the entire universe, is the body of Brahman. Brahman is like Man because Man was created in the Image of Brahman. In Man, Jiva is in this body. Jiva is the Saririn while the body is the Sarira. Brahman is the Lord. Jivas are His servants. While Brahman exists, Jiva and world subsist in Him. When creation occurs, the universe the essence of which was always within Brahman evolves itself and issues out of the Brahman with name and form, this is what is called creation. Brahman creates the world just as a spider creates it's webs out of itself. In this sense, Jivas exists within the Brahman dormant in the state of "sleep". Sao also insentient matter existed within Brahman dormant. They are translated and comes into reality. Creation is a spontaneous, joyous, creative activity (Leela) of Brahman arising out of love, which gives the Jiva the purpose and fulfilment in life.

In the Vedarthasamgraha Ramanuja establishes that all the statements of the Upanisads can be interpreted in a coherent manner if it is assumed that Brahman is the efficient cause of the universe due to His active role in effecting the manifest creation from its unmanifest cause, as well as being the material cause of the universe by ever being the inner abiding soul of the unmanifest cause. He further clarifies the latter by emphasizing that it is impossible to conceive the unmanifest cause as being independent of Brahman. In the state of pralaya (grand dissolution), the manifest Universe is dissolved into its unmanifest cause, and the latter exists as a mode (prakara) of Brahman. The relation between this Universe (in both the manifest as well as the unmanifest state) and Brahman is that between the body and the soul - they form one organic whole. Further Vishista Advaita emphasizes a divine form - a supernal form of personality to Iswara whom they call Vishnu.

The divine form is a corrolary to the since the scriptural texts themselves indicated at many places that the Lord possesses a Supernatural Form. It reconciles the apparent contradictory texts where the Lord is described as enjoying Praktrtic (material) endowments Several earlier acharyas have suggested it including, Bhagavan Badarayana (the author of the Brahmasutras), Acarya Tanka and Dramidacarya.


Siva and Brahma are merely demigods compared to Visnu (Narayana), who alone is the expressed image of the Brahman and the Head of the Cosmic organism. But the identification of Visnu as the Personal God is arbitrary and not necessarily of Vedic import. He ascribes five divine attributes - sat (reality), jnana (knowledge), ananta (infinity), amalatva (purity) and ananda (bliss) to the high God which he calls as Kalyanaguna.. The favorite dictum of the Advaitins
''Tat tvam asi" is explained by Ramanuja as the indwelling of the Brahman in all creation qnd not as an identity. Thusthere is no discrepancy if all things are equated to Brahman by Upanishads since He is the indwelling soul of all entitities.

The corresponding Greco-Christian concept is that of the Logos becoming a reality. In the creation of Jiva. The word became flesh in the creation. It is this presence of the word within the jagat that originally gave its direction of flow from order to higher growth. It was also the nature of Jiva to grow from glory to greater glory.

Jiva is dependent on Brahman for its subsistence and possesses various relationships to Brahman. So also Jiva is related to external world in a similar relation. These relations are describable in such terms as: sarira of the sariri (body of the indweller), Prakara of the Prakari (attribute or mode of the substance), sesha of the seshi (Owned of the owner), amsa of the amsi (part of the whole) , adharadeya and the sambandha (supporter and the supported), Niyamya and the Niyanta (controlled and the controller) and Rasksya and the Raksaka (redeemed and the redeemer). Jiva being the image of Brahman has the ability to make choices and do things of its own will. But Jivatma is not totally free because It is dependent on a Paramatma and his absolute nature . Jiva's moral and social responsibility arise from this eternal nature, purposes and will of Paramatma. Thus Jiva reaps the consequences of his Karma, the fruits of the actions.
 

"Even the All-loving Father, the Great Isvara, does not force His presence on the Atma, not yet ripe to receive Him. With infinite patience He waits and watches the struggle of the soul in Samsara , since the struggle is necessary for the full unfolding of the faculties of the Jiva." (Pillai Lokacharya).

The Rakshsas, the Devil are Jiva just as any others who have deviated from their purpose being self centered, having caught up in the net of pleasures. They misuse both Jiva and Ajiva to their gains and thus imposes death on all things.

Just as the Jiva is related to jagat so is Brahman related to Jiva. Brahman is the creator, and the creation is real, it is not mithya. Brahman permeates the creation. Just as human body consists of various organic elements combined together to form a body, various Jivas and Matter form to beocme the body of the Brahman.The Head of the experiential cosmos is the Saguna Brahman, the Iswara himself , the Brahman whom Jivatma can know.

In this view Bhakthi is the means of Mukthi. It is of the nature of the God to love. God is indeed Love. It makes sense because there are other beings beside God. Total and complete surrender to the will and puposes of God in love towards God, beings and non-beings brings mukthi. Any deviation from it by any one Jiva produces an in balance within the cosmos. Bliss is when the whole cosmos is redeemed.

There is more to this. While the Jiva struggles through the samsara, Iswara also suffers because of it. This is because Jivas are part of the body of Iswara. Iswara is not an immune distant being who do not feel hurt at the struggle of Jiva but is actively involved in the redemption process. While this is a logical conclusion of the vishista vedanta, where is the historic action of Iswara in history in the redemptive process? Only in the revelation of Jesus we see this suffering Iswara portrayed.

The relationship of Jiva and Brahman in the state of Redemption is given by the example of arrow and the target. When the arrow hits the target, it does not become the target. It subsists in the target. We go to a place. When we reach there, we do not become that place ourselves. We only subsist in that place but we do not become identical with that place.

As long as there is freewill for Jiva, the cycle of fall and redemption will continue.

Vishita Advaita is a beautiful picture and fits well into the Christian Theology. Jesus is the first born of all creation the Iswara - the Godhead. Paul in fact uses this picture

  • Col 1: 15 Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

  • 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

  • 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

  • 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

  • 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,

  • 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  • Rom 1: 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, 

     

  • Eph. 1: 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

  • 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,

  • 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,

  • 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

  • 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,

  • 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

  • Eph 4: 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

  • From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

  • Church then is the redeemed Jivas who work together in unison to recreate and reconcile, the cosmos unto the Brahman, which forms the mukthi for the cosmos as a whole. Then Brahman can rest and go into blissful state till another fall occur within the cosmos. This cosmos consists not only the visible universe but all dimensions of existence. Moksha, according to Ramanuja, is attaining to the likeness or similar nature of Brahman. Moksha is the destruction ahamkara (ego or pride) which is the cause of all suffering.

    Eph 1:9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,

  • 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

  • 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

  • 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

    Heb. 2: 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil--

  • 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

Thus we see that Vishista Advaita teaches exactly what the bible teaches in a very pictorial way. This is exactly the stand of the Eastern Churches

 III   Dvaita vada  - Dualistic Theism

Madhvacarya dvaita

 

 

Madhwa is the chief proponent of the Dvaita philosophy. Duality Philosophy postulates that there are in fact three irreducible separate entities,

1. Brahman - God

2. The Beings - Living

3. The Material World - Non-living

This is the empirical reality. There is no reason to doubt this experience. There is no intellectual and logical reason for unity of Absolute. It is never an apriori axiom, as many would have us think.

There is a clear distinction between the Creator and the Created - between Brahman and the Jagat. The twins that are created are the Jiva and the Ajiva - the living and the non-living. We differentiate between Paramatma (The ultimate Soul) and Jeevatma (The living soul) Both the Being and the non-being are real.

Before we go further, it is important to know what we mean by reality. Reality is that which exists in space and time. Thus Nirguna Brahman is not a reality. It is only an unknowable assumption. What we can know starts with Iswara. So are Jiva and Jada. And who is Iswara? He is Brahman who exists and therefore real and can be known by Jiva. Iswara and Jiva can act on Jada in creative process.

This is also the stand of the Western Churches of Christians.

Hari is supreme Iswara. "harih paratarah" There is none superior to Hari. Madhava do not consider the option of a Nirguna Brahma because it does not really define anything. The word Hari simply means to overcome. Iswara the Supreme Lord is the overcomer. Overcomer of what? Overcomer of sin, decay and death. He is the only one that can save. Thus the word Hari could simply mean Savior.

World is real, the Jiva are many. Thus we have three eternal entities. Iswara, Jiva and Jagat or Jada.

There is substantial difference between all these three. "tattvatah bhedah" is the one that causes sensation and perception. If there is homogenity and identity, one cannot differentiate one from the other. Jeevas and Jada are controlled by Iswara." jIvagaNA hareranucarAh" Apart from the Tatva Bheda between Iswara an Jeeva and Jada so also there is a difference in essence between Jeeva. There is gradation among the jivas. Some are superior; some are inferior. (nIcoccabhAvam gatAh)

In this system Moksha is being in the likeness of Iswara. Since Iswara is independent of the Jiva is responsible for its own actions and do not affect the condition of Iswara except through the mercy and love of Iswara.

This philosophy of dualism is basically the same as the concept of God in the Western churches.

IV  CARVAKA - HINDU MARXISTS

Go to top level of Marxism Page

 

Among the Hindu thought is also the Materialistic Philosophy, which most people tend to discard as non-existent. However in as much as there were Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Duties) there existed within it and side by side of it the Carvaka, and their doctrine that this world is all that exists. This doctrine is called Lokayata. It is thought that Carvarka comes from the root caru (beautiful) vak (talk). Majority of common populance were not really concerned with the mukthi - which was a long shot after many a births anyway - but were concerned about the here and now. Pragmaticaly the name Lokayata (the way of the world) came to mean the existential realism. Carvaka school of Materialists flourished from the 6th century BC until medieval times in India.

Like the modern day Rationalists, the Hindu rationalists were simply empiricists and refused to believe anything beyond the sense perception. They were the scientists of the era and were the most persecuted at all times. They were social reformers and human right activists of their period. Although this school is widely acknowledged to have been influential in the development of Indian thought over a considerable period, Lokayata is now extinct. The original texts of this school are also lost to us, and the knowledge that we possess of this philosophy is derived from the writings of its Buddhist, Jain and Brahmanical opponents.

These materialists refused to accept anything beyond the sense perception since they are the only source of human knowledge. Human kind can generalize and produce all sorts of mental constructs to explain what is perceived by these senses. But their validity is constrained within the experience of the person. They therefore focused on the senses. Like the Greek and all other ancients scientists they defined the four traditional elements of earth, water, fire, and air. These are the only realities. Consciousness is only a modification of these elements in their relationships with each other and arises out of the motion of matter. There exist no soul outside of the body. Soul, which experience pleasure and pain, are simply the organized qualitative aspect of matter in its position and movement. Has anyone seen a soul apart from the body? It is because they are the property of the body in the particular organizational form.

Compare these thoughts with the modern day Marxism.

The principal features of the Marxist dialectical method  are as follows:

a) Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics does not regard nature as an accidental agglomeration of things, of phenomena, unconnected with, isolated from, and independent of, each other, but as a connected and integral whole, in which things, phenomena are organically connected with, dependent on, and determined by, each other.

The dialectical method therefore holds that no phenomenon in nature can be understood if taken by itself, isolated from surrounding phenomena, inasmuch as any phenomenon in any realm of nature may become meaningless to us if it is not considered in connection with the surrounding conditions, but divorced from them; and that, vice versa, any phenomenon can be understood and explained if considered in its inseparable connection with surrounding phenomena, as one conditioned by surrounding phenomena.

b)  Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics holds that nature is not a state of rest and immobility, stagnation and immutability, but a state of continuous movement and change, of continuous renewal and development, where something is always arising and developing, and something always disintegrating and dying away.

The dialectical method therefore requires that phenomena should be considered not only from the standpoint of their interconnection and interdependence, but also from the standpoint of their movement, their change, their development, their coming into being and going out of being.

c)  Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics does not regard the process of development as a simple process of growth, where quantitative changes do not lead to qualitative changes, but as a development which passes from insignificant and imperceptible quantitative changes to open' fundamental changes' to qualitative changes; a development in which the qualitative changes occur not gradually, but rapidly and abruptly, taking the form of a leap from one state to another; they occur not accidentally but as the natural result of an accumulation of imperceptible and gradual quantitative changes.

The dialectical method therefore holds that the process of development should be understood not as movement in a circle, not as a simple repetition of what has already occurred, but as an onward and upward movement, as a transition from an old qualitative state to a new qualitative state, as a development from the simple to the complex, from the lower to the higher:

Dialectical and Historical Materialism :Joseph Stalin (September 1938)

This approach brings us to the social ethics. There are no absolutes in morality or behavior. These are constructs of the society in order to maintain the function of the society determined by the dominant group and persons. They have no eternal validity and are a mere social convention. There is no after life, heaven or hell. Moksha is a myth - an ideal developed by man. These are constructs of the exploiters to exploit those who are gullible. Hell and heaven are here and now. Moksha is liberation from the pain and suffering of now. But in pragmatic level pleasure may be maximized and pain minimized by vairagya (detachment). Enjoy your life now for they are the only truth. Immortality is the fame one leaves behind when the posterity remembers you and your contribution to the society.

The Carvaka therefore refuted any karmic transference beyond the grave. Life comes to an end when the body dissolves as consciousness is the function of the brain and sense perceptions are the function of the senses. They argued that there is no Dharma beyond the self-existence. 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.

There are no gains beyond the temporal attainment of pleasure, power and prosperity." This is why Carvakas are often termed as Rakshashas. They laughed at the foolishness of those that accepted the Vedas and put themselves in subjugation to the exploiters of the period.

The Vedic proponents destroyed most of the literary works of the Carvaka philosophy. But from the few that we have received we could reconstruct their stand. Prabodha-candrodaya (Rise of Wisdom) which survived is a drama. In this play Passion is personified and speaks to a materialist and one of his pupils. Passion laughs at ignorant fools, who imagine that spirit is different from the body and reaps a reward in a future existence. This he says is like expecting trees to grow in air and produce fruit. Has anyone seen the soul separate from the body? Does not life come from the configuration of the body? Those who believe otherwise deceive themselves and others.

"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.

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"
(Quoted by Advaita Vedanta theologian Sayana Madhava in 'Sarvadarsanasamgraha', 14th century AD),

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.

D Chattopadhyaya, Lokayata: A Study in Ancient Indian Materialism

In the great epic Mahabharata there is a description of a Carvaka being burned to death for preaching against the bloodshed of the Great War and condemning Yudhishthira for killing thousands for his greed. They condemned the practices of sacrifices and penance. They stood against the Brahminic and Kshtariya domination of the period.

When the Brahmins were now once again standing silent, Carvaka the Rakshasa in the disguise of a Brahmin, addressed the King. This friend of Duryodhana, 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 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 Rakshasa 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. Mahabharata 12. 1. 414

Carvakas met their doom as exemplified by the Mahabaharata Story on the onslaught of the Aryan thrust. They were neither organized nor powerful to withstand the gods of the other world. A few Dalits who have taken up the fight at other level today tell the story.

Brahmana-Kshatriya hegemony was an ongoing process. These two -The Priests and the State - worked hand in hand to keep the others in subjugation. That does not mean there were no literature, thought or leaders in that group. Only that we did not get them. If they tried they were destroyed. We should note that the Rakshasas were as powerful as the Asuras if not more. They had probably greater science including Vimana. However because they repudiated any tradition, they failed to form a system of teaching their philosophy and died out. Rationalism hence appear and reappear in history. Other forms of Hindu Philosphy survived not because of their intrinsic merit but because of the rigorous method of parampara and insistence on this as a dharma.

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 and the Ajivikas, and Ajita Kesakambala

Once started the materialism took different turns. They produced the development of Art and Science including Ayrveda. They took the materialism to the extremes of hedonism - kama sastra which mixed with other systems developed Kundalini Yoga and the Sex Arts.

Now at that time the Chabbagiya Bhikkhus learnt the Lokayata system. People murmured, .., 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, .. 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
(Vinaya Pitaka)

The rationalistic anti-vedic thrust found better expression through Jainism and Budhism. But these again were defeated by infiltration in many fronts. They survived with inclusion of theistic elements. Over and above these communal elements, the onslaught of Islam destoryed any surviving documents.

Liberation Now

It is best to remember that the Lokayata philosphy was two pronged.
First it was a socialogical struggle of the exploited against the Brahminic-Kshatriya exploiters.
The second was the generation of an alternate philosophical system to counter the brahminic attempt of subjugation by emphasizing Karma and Dharma.

The similarity between Marxism and social struggle is obvious.

In contrast within the Judeo-Christian religion the struggle was initiated by God himself. Judaism was essentially the product of the slave liberation struggle. Yahvh God heard the cries of the slaves in Egypt and led them out into liberation and gave them freedom and a land to possesses. He also gave them more humane regulations to live by. They later rejected God and went after the ways of the world and made for themselves Kings over them. As the Kings and Priests weilded their power, Jesus came down strongly against them and presented to them a God of love. They crucified him. The followers of Jesus even experimented with a sort of communal living where "each according to their ability and to each according to their need" was the principle. It failed miserably because men and women were still Aninias and Saphras. Hence the need for a redemption.

Perception and Inference in Carvaka Philosophy

The essence of epistomological approach is summarised by Purandara a follower of Carvaka (7th Centuary) thus.

The usefulness of inference in determining the nature of all worldly things where perceptual experience is available is not questionable. However such inference cannot be employed for establishing any dogma regarding the transcendental world, or life after death or the laws of Karma for which ordinary there is no 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 is this. Any conclusion based on Inductive generalization by observing a large number of cases of agreement together with total absence of disagreement is true. But in the case of transcendent sphere such agreement can do not exist because; they can not be perceived by the senses (Purandara in Kamalasila's Panjika)

In the Christian reasoning too, the above argument is sound. We cannot make arbitrary assumptions based on possible inferences. This is especially true on matters that are of eternal consequence. How can we know the reality of God and his purposes. The historical verification of matters of faith had been very important to Judeo-Christian tradition. Prophets and seers were resepected and accepted not because of their logic, of their declaration power, or because of signs and wonders they performed. They were accepted based on whether their decalaration tallied with verifiable historical facts. There are two such points of contacts.

1. The Mosaic covenant ceremony where Yahvh met with 74 elders of the Israel while all Israel, a tribe of over a million watched from afar.

2. Over 150 disciples who walked and talked with Jesus of Nazareth witnessed his glory of resurrection from the dead and his ascension.

All the scriptures of Christian faith rest on these two solid verified and verifiable experience of the transcendant power of God. God entered into history so that we may be able to perceive him. We not only check for logic and reason, but also for historicity and evidence. It is not proof alone, but also evidence to see whether logic fits reality. This is carvaka - the gospel. That alone will bring liberation from bondage - not only of the body, mind and society but also of the spirit in the ages to come