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Shvoong Home>Arts & Humanities>Philosophy>Carvaka/Lokayata Summary

Carvaka/Lokayata

Book Summary   by:Kawaljeet     Original Author: Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya
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Carvaka/Lokayata An Anthology of source materials and some recent studies Edited by – Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya (New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 1994), pages 543.
The ancient Indian materialistic thought system known as Carvaka or Lokayata undoubtedly was a very intellectual and secular school of thought outside the Vedic fold. Lokayat has been the main unorthodox school of Indian thought which rejects the existence of the otherworld, soul and god. It also rejects the authority of the Vedas. Lokayata means philosophy of people. It also means philosophy of this-worldiness or materialism. It is a secular philosophy and clearly and strongly rejects supernaturalism. The basic idea of Lokayata philosophy is: this world is the only world and this life is the only life and one should make the best of it.
Carvaka or Lokayata philosophy was suppressed intensely by the orthodox elements of ancient Indain thought. Still this unorthodox philosophy stood its ground unfailingly and has left a powerful impress on the corpus of Indian literature from the Vedas to the Upanisads and later. The strong logic of its basic stance still appeals to the progressive intellectuals as well as to the masses. Debiprasad Chattopadyaya is a Marxian scholar, who has done much pioneering research on Lokayata/Charvaka in the twentieth century. Information about Lokayata doctrines, both direct and indirect, are scattered in various philosophical sources, Jaina, Buddhist and Brahminical. In this anthology almost all available source materials on Carvaka and Lokayata have been methodically arranged by Debiprasad. All materials have been divided into three sections: The first part includes the text from traditional sources such as Upanishad, Epic, Purana, Buddhists literature, Shankara, Jain, and Nyaya and so on. The second part deals with the studies of the modern scholars, for example, Muir, Rhys Davids, H.P.Sastri, G. Tucci and some others. The third part is a critical survey of Jayarasi’s Tattvopaplavasimha
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This compilation gives a comprehensive material to persons who desire to study or research Indian materialism and Indology. The scholars by ignoring the bias and negative comments of the texts of the traditional sources can derive much information from this major contribution of Debiprasad’s anthology. The English translations of the original text provided are a great help.
Published: January 12, 2008   
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