INTRODUCTIONThe philosophicalsystems in India are broadly divided into ?stika and N?stika schools. The word?stika literally means one who believes in God and N?stika means one whodoesn’t believe in God. But in Indian Philosophy the word ?stika means thosewho believe in the authority of the Ved?s and N?stika means those who do notbelieve in the authority of the Ved?s. The N?stika schools of Indian philosophyinclude C?rv?ka, Jainism and Buddhism.
The ?stika schools of Indian philosophy include Ny?ya,Vai?e?ika, S??khya, Yoga, M?m??s? and Ved?nta. Out of these C?rv?ka school isconsidered as ‘the school of materialism’, it is given the name because itbelieves that ‘matter is the ultimate reality’. The earliest references ofmaterialism can be found in the Ved?s, the Buddhist literature and the epicslike R?m?yana and Mah?bh?rata. Garbe says “Several vesting show that even inthe pre-Buddhistic India proclaimers of purely materialistic doctrainsappeared”.1 Traditionally Brihaspati is called the founder of this school buthis sutras, as of now, we are unable to find in its original form but able toknow about the philosophy and history of C?rv?ka writings in otherphilosophical schools of India, in the context of the criticism of the materialSchool. When it comes to the etymology of the word C?rv?ka, some says, the nameC?rv?ka is originated from its founder C?rv?ka.
But it seems a little bitambiguous. C?rv?ka was even originally a common descriptive name given to amaterialist, either because he preaches the doctrine of ‘eat drink and bemerry’ (Carve – eat, chew) or because his words are pleasant and nice (C?ru –nice, v?k – word). It means that he, who eats and enjoys his life and does notbelieve in the reality of merits and demerits.2 They have also other nameslikeLok?yat? – a commoner(a man of low and unrefined taste). Deh?tmav?dins – thosewho believe that ‘the body is the soul’. Hedonists – those whobelieve that the ultimate goal of life is pleasure. BASIC SOURCES OF THE SCHOOLWhen it comes to thesources of the school of materialism, Though it is as old as Ved?s, who do notfind any systemic work on this school of original work.
Unfortunately we haveto take some references and have to extract them given in many other schools ofIndian classical systems like R?m?yana 3, Mahabh?ratha4 and Tattvopaplavasi?ha5There was no continuity in the C?rv?ka tradition after the 12th century. Whatever is writtenon C?rv?ka post this is based onsecond-hand knowledge, learned from preceptors to disciples and no independentworks on C?rv?ka philosophy can befound.6The recent and a complete literature on this school can befound in Sarvadarshanasangraha by 14 th century Philosopher Sw?mi Vidy?ranya.
He gave a detailed accountof the school of materialism. EPISTEMOLOGY OF C?RV?KASCHOOLEpistemology is thebranch of philosophy, which deals with the problems of concerning knowledge.According to C?rv?ka perception is the only means of valid knowledge. The othermeans of knowledge like inference, testimony and comparison are rejected. Thesource of valid knowledge is only perception.
They maintained a five-foldperception, based on five senses. They accept that only the perceptible worldis real.7 They do not believe in God, Soul, Heaven and Hell, because they arenot perceived, with this they advocate naive realism and empiricism. They evenreject inference as the source of knowledge, they consider inference as “a mereleap in darkness” and also they reject inference because the invariablerelation of vy?pti can’t be proved between S?dhya and hetu.Based on theperception, the materialists also rejected the authority of the Ved?s andrituals. They argue that the rituals are created by the brahmins for theirlivelihood only, there is no use of rituals. METAPHYSICSMetaphysics is thetheory of reality.
According to the school of materialism matter is the onlyreality, because it is the only perceptible thing. Perception is the onlysource of knowledge, they do not believe in God, Soul, Heaven and Hell, lifeafter death, because they are not perceptible.This world is made of fourelements. They admit only four elements earth, water, fire and air and rejectthe fifth element ?k?sha (eather). Eather, which is accepted by most of thephilosophical systems in India, as a part of Pancha b?th?s (the five elements).If four elements are accepted as the cause of the universe, what about theconsciousness of living beings? for this the C?rv?ka replies that, matter isthe base of consciousness, in other words consciousness is a “byproduct” of thematter, as if we chew a paan, which is made of betel leaves and lime etc.. thered colour is produced.
In that way when four elements are combined in certainratio, the consciousness is produced. So in this regard alsothere is no need of extra Terrestrial entities like God and soul. ETHICSEthics is the branch ofphilosophy that deals with the conduct of human beings. Every school has itsown ethics based on their epistemology and metaphysics. C?rv?ka believes thatthe pleasure is the ‘summum bonum’ of life and their Motto is “eat,drink and be merry”8 because once the body is reduced to ashes it will notcome back again. For them the means of the life is Artha (wealth), the end ofthe life is kama (Desire or Pleasure). So for them sensual pleasure is the highest goal of life.They do not believe in Mok?a also, in their version Mok?a is death (DehachhedoMok?aha).
Everybody will get Mok?a after death. THE EXISTENCE OFMATERIALISM IN MEDIEVAL PERIOD OF TELANGANATelangana being theGateway of North India and South India, it can offer more about the flow ofknowledge and culture from North India to South India. Telangana being thebridge, the connecting link of North India and South India was a place ofcultural exchange, it also has its own culture and religion. Dravida culture,which is expected to be older than the Vedic culture flourished here withimmense human values. From Satavahanas to the present state government, nodiscrimination was shown regarding the religion of the people. When theviolence occurred in Tamilnadu among religious sects, so many schools ofphilosophy came to Telangana, Karnataka and other states and led a peacefullife. Here they also get chance to propagate their school of thought.
The sameculture of tolerance was carried to the medieval period of Telangana and thesame culture of tolerance is being shown by present government. This culture oftolerance made Hyderabad a CosmopolitanCity. Unfortunately the philosophy of Charvaka School was perished inits literary form.Hsüan-tsang who visited India during 637-640 AD., mentioned aboutAcharya Nagarjuna’s Sunyavada and other schools including materialism and alsoknew about “the father of Indian logic”, rationalist and a philosopherDinnaga.9 From Dhanakataka Hsüan-tsang went to Choladesha whichis identified as present Kadapa and Kurnool area. There he heard about Uttara,a daarshanic who knows about the six systems of Indian philosophy includingCharvaka.10 Palkuriki Somanatha, a 14th century Telangana literarybeacon, also mentioned about the school of materialism and their culture in hismonumental work PanditaaraadhyaCharitra.
With these two references of Hsüan-tsang and Palkuriki Somanatha we canconclude that from 7th century to14th century, the school of materialismexisted in Telangana and after that we don’t have any mentioning about theschool, An extensive research is required in this regard, not only at the levelof Telangana State but also at the level of Indian Philosophy. CONCLUSIONC?rv?ka thoughprotested against monkdom and their ritual exploitation, the Ethics of pleasureof Charvaka is disreputable. Buddhism and Jainism arose immediately andsupplied ethical and spiritual background which ejected materialism.11 Theyhelped Indian philosophy in a way that the unnecessary rituals and exploitationof the priesthood were removed from time to time, by the reason and logic.
Italso encouraged the development of material science and helped in developing somany economic activities in mediaeval India and Telangana. Whateverreligion we may belong to, we are all charvakas, when we are earning wealth anddoing something for the sake of pleasure. But one should notstuck with one’s narrow intellectualism, one must go beyond sensual pleasureand find the truth, I can conclude my paper with few words Littlebeautiful heart with puritySubtledutiful mind with clarityWeneed a blend of bothTofind the eternal truth. References1.
Garbe. ThePhilosophy of Ancient India, p.25. 2. Prof. R.
Venkatreddy.Indian Philosophy. Prof. G. Ram Reddy Centre for Distance Education.O.
U.3. Ayodhya Kanda.4. Shanthi Parva. ( aperson questions Yudhistira of his unethical warfare, is named as Charvaka)5.
A work by JayarashiBhatta. Published by the Oriental Institute of Baroda in 1940.6. Bhattacharya,Ramakrishna. Materialism in India: A Synoptic View7. Prof.
R.Venkatreddy.Indian Philosophy. Prof. G.
Ram Reddy Centre for Distance Education.O.U.8. N.V. Isaeva (1993). Shankaraand Indian Philosophy.
ISBN 978-0-7914-1281-7.9. Bhavaraju VenkataKrishnarao. Videshi Yatrikulu – Prachinandhra Deshamu (Telugu- 1947).p.80.10. Ibid.
p.94.11. ChandradharaSharma(2003). A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy.