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Carvakas were one of the nastik schools of Indian philosophy. We are led to believe that Carvakas did not believe in authority of the Vedas, and they were alien to the concept of rebirth.

I recently came across one research paperlink which dispels the above myth. The author of the paper claims that most of Carvakas were brahmins who did not believe in rebirth and they even used Vedic verses to bolster this claim.

My question is what do we know about Carvakas based on Hindu texts?

  • I don't understand your question. You already linked a research paper on the topic. So you want to find out if there are any Hindu texts that contradict the paper's findings? And when you say "Hindu texts" I'm guessing you mean Vedas, Upanishads etc. and not general comments by Hindu gurus/acharyas etc. correct? – sv. Oct 22 '17 at 20:44
  • No I wanted to know if they find any mention in Hindu texts or not – user12262 Oct 23 '17 at 4:05
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Charvakas : Indian Materialism" refers to the school of thought within Indian philosophy that rejects supernaturalism.  It is regarded as the most radical of the Indian philosophical systems.  It rejects the existence of other worldly entities such an immaterial soul or god and the after-life.  Its primary philosophical import comes by way of a scientific and naturalistic approach to metaphysics.  Thus, it rejects ethical systems that are grounded in supernaturalistic cosmologies.

The Charvaka system of thought believed neither in God nor in the after life of man. Their doctrines are traced to an ancient scripture

Charvaka' means he who grinds both vice and virtue. The Charvakas are also known as Brihaspatayas because it is believed that Brihaspathi was the author of this doctrine. Another sect which was close to the lokayatas in their thinking was the sect of the kapalikas, who believed in the practice of sex and gory rituals to gain siddhis or spiritual powers. 

There are similarities between the modern day rationalism and materialism of the west. The lokayata school of thought, believed to have been founded by Charvaka, whose history is not much available today.

Here we find one shloka related to Charvakas given in Sarva Darsana Samgraha by Madhavacharya (Vidyaranya Swami)

यावज्जीवेत्सुखं जीवेत् ऋणं कृत्वा घृतं पिबेत् ।
भस्मीभूतस्य देहस्य पुनरागमनं कुतः ।।
त्रयोवेदस्य कर्तारौ भण्डधूर्तनिशाचराः ।

While life is yours , live joyously : None can escape Death's searching eyes. When one this frame of yours they burn. How shall it ever again return.


जडभूतविकारेषु चैतन्यं यत्तु दृश्यते ।
ताम्बूलपूगचूर्णानां योगाद् राग इवोत्थितम् ।।

Jdbhutwikareshu Catnyn Ythu Drishyte. Tambulpugcuarnanan Yogad raga Ivotthitam

As Paan interact with prepared Betel nuts and generates the colors on our lips when chewed ,in the same way , these non living elements mix with each others to create life. By various substances the intensity of chetana (force of movement) increases or decreases and thus it proves that ,these substances are cause of life


Here is what Swami Vivekananda from The Complete Works

Charvakas , a very ancient sect in India, were rank materialists. They have died out now, and most of their books are lost. They claimed that the soul, being the product of the body and its forces, died with it; that there was no proof of its further existence. They denied inferential knowledge accepting only perception by the senses.

We find some traces of this school in in the Valmiki Ramayana Ramayana, Ayodhya kanda, chapter 108, where Jabāli tries to persuade Rāma to accept the kingdom by using nāstika arguments (but Rāma then refutes him in chapter 109):[19]

“ O, the highly wise! Arrive at a conclusion, therefore, that there is nothing beyond this Universe. Give precedence to that which meets the eye and turn your back on what is beyond our knowledge. (2.108.17)”


Charvaka Philosophy- There is no heaven, no final liberation, nor any soul in another world, Nor do the actions of the four castes, etc., produce any real effect. The Agnihotra, the three Vedas, the ascetic's three staves, and smearing one's self with ashes, Were made by Nature as the livelihood or those destitute of knowledge and manliness."

  • @iammilind - Chanakya also mentioned lokayatas.Will try to find his quotes also. – SwiftPushkar Oct 20 '17 at 7:24
  • " 'Charvaka' means he who grinds both vice and virtue ": afaik charvaka or chaaruvaaka literally means 'chaaru vaachah' or 'those who speak well'. Could you explain how you got to the above description? Nice answer, +1 – user1952500 Oct 20 '17 at 17:24
  • Yes ,the wise thinkers. – SwiftPushkar Oct 20 '17 at 17:26
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    May be the word is associated with Charvana -चर्वण - Grinding. – SwiftPushkar Oct 20 '17 at 17:28
  • Did you copy the first few lines in your answer from this article? (iep.utm.edu/indmat) – sv. Oct 22 '17 at 20:36

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