Thursday, February 7, 2013

Lokāyata/Cārvāka, Ajita Kesakambali & the Greek Materialists (500 BC)

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"Though Shramana traditions are associated with ascetism, some shramana traditions were, in fact, peculiar as materialists, in the sense they preached a worldly existence and carried denunciation of brahmanical orthodoxy to the extreme... The Shramana traditions included a range of beliefs, such as the Cārvākas, who on one end of the spectrum lived a luxurious life, to the Jainas, who on the other hand, developed a theory of extreme self-mortification. Some Shramanas were openly critical of the sacrificial traditions of the Brahmins and the concepts of Karma, claiming them to be simply a swindle --.....'Don't believe in them - when you're dead, you're dead. All their talk of Karman is nonsense. One of the materialists said, 'If a man went north of the Ganges and murdered, and tortured, and stole, and plundered and set buildings on fire, he would make no bad Karman. If another man went south of the Ganges and gave in charity, and helped the weak and healed the sick, he would make no good Karman. You live as a combination of the four elements, but when you die, everything is finished. So borrow money and live as happily as you can, for when you're dead, they can't pursue you.'"......http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shramana

"Traditional thought, throughout the world, has always seen the "progression" of humanity as a downward movement. And throughout the world we find a division of the cycle of human decline into four Ages. The ancient Greeks called the four ages of human civilization the Age of Gold, the Age of Silver, the Age of Bronze and the Age of Iron. The Hindus and Buddhists call them Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga.......Of the Seven Great Janyati, or planetary influences, the one that rules "strife, discord, quarrel and contention" is Sai Vikhë, or Mars. Mars is also the planet that rules the masculine principle on earth. Indeed the sign of Mars is also used as the sign of maleness. It is for this reason that Kali Yuga is also called the Age of Iron. Iron is, of course, the metal of Mars......Kali Yuga; the age of darkness, when moral virtue and mental capabilities reach their lowest point in the cycle. The Indian epic The Mahabharata describes the Kali Yuga as the period when the "World Soul" is Black in hue; only one quarter of virtue remains, which slowly dwindles to zero at the end of the Kali Yuga. Men turn to wickedness; disease, lethargy, anger, natural calamities, anguish and fear of scarcity dominate. Penance, sacrifices and religious observances fall into disuse. All creatures degenerate. Change passes over all things, without exception."....http://www.viewzone.com/kali.html

The Kali Yuga (Iron Age) was preceded by three others Yugas: Satya or Krita Yuga (Golden Age), Treta Yuga (Silver Age) and the Dwapara Yuga (Bronze Age).

"The Sadhana of Mahamudra.......This is the darkest hour of the dark ages.Disease, famine and warfare are raging like the fierce north wind.The Buddha's teaching has waned in strength.The various schools of the sangha are fighting amongst themselves with sectarian bitterness..".....http://www.chronicleproject.com/stories_110.html

"Lokāyata/Cārvāka – “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 good, for the Indian materialist, is strictly associated with pleasure and the only ethical obligation forwarded by the system is the maximization of one’s own pleasure".....http://www.iep.utm.edu/indmat/

"The terms Lokāyata and Cārvāka have historically been used to denote the philosophical school of Indian Materialism. Literally, “Lokāyata” means philosophy of the people. The term was first used by the ancient Buddhists until around 500 B.C.E. to refer to both a common tribal philosophical view and a sort of this-worldly philosophy or nature lore. The term has evolved to signify a school of thought that has been scorned by religious leaders in India and remains on the periphery of Indian philosophical thought. After 500 B.C.E., the term acquired a more derogatory connotation and became synonymous with sophistry. It was not until between the 6th and 8th century C.E. that the term “Lokāyata” began to signify Materialist thought. Indian Materialism has also been named Cārvāka after one of the two founders of the school." ...http://www.iep.utm.edu/indmat/

"Cārvāka (Sanskrit: चार्वाक), also known as Lokāyata, is a system of Indian philosophy that assumes various forms of philosophical skepticism and religious indifference.....The Cārvāka school of philosophy had a variety of atheistic and materialistic beliefs. They held perception to be the only valid source of knowledge.....Cārvākas denied metaphysical concepts like reincarnation, extracorporeal soul, efficacy of religious rites, other world (heaven and hell), fate and accumulation of merit or demerit through the performance of certain actions. Cārvākas also rejected the use of supernatural causes to describe natural phenomena.....Cārvāka emerged as an alternative to the orthodox Hindu pro-Vedic Āstika schools, as well as a philosophical predecessor to subsequent or contemporaneous nāstika philosophies such as Ājīvika, Jainism and Buddhism ....The earliest documented materialist in India is Ajita Kesakambali, a senior contemporary of the Buddha (sixth/fifth century BC). The basic tenets of Cārvāka philosophy, of no soul and existence of four (not five) elements were probably inspired from him......Cārvāka was a living philosophy up to the 12th century AD after which this system seems to have disappeared without leaving any trace. The reason for this sudden disappearance is not known."....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cārvāka

"Adevism (from the Sanskrit term deva, on the analogy of atheism) is a term introduced by Friedrich Max Müller to imply the denial of gods, in particular, the legendary gods of Hinduism."....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adevism

"The term atheism originated from the Greek ἄθεος (atheos), meaning "without god(s)".....Atheism is accepted within some religious and spiritual belief systems, including Jainism, Buddhism, Raelism, Neopagan movements such as Wicca, and nontheistic religions. Jainism and some forms of Buddhism do not advocate belief in gods, whereas Hinduism holds atheism to be valid, but some schools view the path of an atheist to be difficult to follow in matters of spirituality.....The ancient Romans accused Christians of being atheists for not worshiping the Roman deities." .....

"The Greek materialists: Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes.....The earliest Greek philosophers all came from one small area on the Ionic coast of Asia Minor, in what is now Turkey.....As Aristotle wrote: Most of the first philosophers thought that principles in the from of matter were the only principles of things. For they say that the element and first principle of the things that exist is that from which they all are and from which they first come into being and into which they are finally destroyed, its substance remaining and its properties changing. [Metaphysics 983]........For Thales it was water. For Anaximenes it was air. For Heraclitus it was fire. For Anaximander it was none of the familiar elements, but an indefinable "apeiron" or infinite underlying all four, not unlike the Tao.......The Miletan materialists were pantheists as well as materialists. Thales believed that all things were full of divinities." ....http://www.pantheism.net/paul/history/greeks.htm

"In the Phaedo, Socrates argues that the senses do not grasp reality in any way. He believed that a philosopher's "concern is not with the body but ... [with] the soul." To the ancient Greeks the word 'philosopher' had a different meaning from today's and it denoted a lover of wisdom or knowledge. Socrates was a philosopher who spent his entire life searching for the truths -- the simple, uncomplicated, and indestructible truths that make up knowledge. Socrates believed that there was a division between the body and the soul, and that the body played no part in the attainment of knowledge....The body is only concerned with pleasures such as food, drink, sex, material acquisitions, and wealth. To Socrates, the body with all its needs was an obstacle in the "search for knowledge," and never gives us an accurate account of anything."....http://www.moyak.com/papers/socrates-truth.html

"The Atomists were the second outstanding school of materialist philosophy in Greece. They carried forward the Milesian investigations of nature and speculation about its processes. The real founders of this school were Leucippus (about 500 B.C. and Democritus about 460 B.C.). They conceived that matter is divided into small particles with empty space between them. They taught that everything consists of atoms and vacuum. Atoms are hard and have form and size; they are invisible, have no colour, taste or smell, since these are secondary or subjective properties, and they are in ceaseless motion......Leucippus and Democritus postulated two kinds of ultimate existence. The full and the empty, the something and the nothing, the atom and the void. One was equivalent to being; the other to not-being. Thus, in opposition to the Eleatic School (founded about 540 B.C.) who concluded that all things were essentially fixed and motionless and that change was an illusion of the senses."....http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=1158

"Secular Humanism embraces human reason, ethics, social justice and philosophical naturalism, whilst specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience or superstition as the basis of morality and decision making.....It posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god......Historical use of the term humanism (reflected in some current academic usage), is related to the writings of pre-Socratic philosophers. The Presocratic philosophers rejected traditional mythological explanations of the phenomena they saw around them in favor of more rational explanations.These writings were lost to European societies until Renaissance scholars rediscovered them through Muslim sources and translated them from Arabic into European languages ("Islamic political philosophy: Al-Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes". Fordham.edu. )....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_humanism#cite_note-11

"Scientific 'Materialism' is often synonymous with, and has so far been described, as being a reductive materialism..... the only thing that exists is matter or energy; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance, and reality is identical with the actually occurring states of energy and matter."....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Materialism

"Xunzi (ca. 312–230 BC) developed a Confucian doctrine oriented on realism and materialism in Ancient China.....Xunzi believed man's inborn tendencies need to be curbed through education and ritual, counter to Mencius's view that man is innately good. He believed that ethical norms had been invented to rectify mankind..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Materialism

"Ajita Kesakambali.......Living about the time of the founders of Buddhism and Jainism, Ajita Kesakambali was one of the earliest people in recorded history to deny the existence of gods, spirits, souls, a non-material realm, the afterlife, reincarnation, absolute moral values, and karma. He was a major influence on the Indian school of philosophy known as Carvaka.....Though he denied the existence of absolute morals, he does not seem to have abused people or even sought his own pleasure, for he was an ascetic: he chose to be abstinent from “worldly pleasures” like alcohol and sex......I often wonder what it must have been like to be just about the only person on the planet who didn’t buy into superstitious nonsense.... He may have been a skilled debater because he was known as “the unconquered.” Also, he seems to have had contempt for his colleagues: 'Ideas like generosity are the concepts of a stupid person. He who speaks of their existence, his words are empty and confused; a cry of desperation.'......http://commonsenseatheism.com

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….February 2013

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