Charvaka Philosophy

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Charvaka Philosophy

Theory of knowledge

The basic principle that the Charvaka sect has taken as the basis is Hedoism. The simple meaning of Hedonism is that to attain happiness is moral action. All our actions which provide happiness are moral and those which provide pleasure are immoral. Out of the nine sects of Indian philosophy, Charvaka is the only one who stands in favor of Hedonism. Almost all the remaining sects  condemn pleasure and declare them undesirable.

There is a clear view of the Charvaka sect that as long as you live happily, drink and borrow, once the body is consumed, no one comes back. The Charvaka’s have also given some clear principles regarding easement. Their first principle is that instead of the uncertain pleasure of the future, the definite pleasure of the present should be enjoyed. The second principle is that no happiness is completely pure, it also includes some amount of sorrow. But, fearing that petty misery, leaving the desire for happiness is meaningless. For example, fish food should not be left out because there are thorns in it.

The Charvaka’s were purely materialistic, they did not accept the hereafter. He claims that there is no object called a soul. He has said in sarcasm that there is no salvation except death.

Positive aspects of the Charvaka Philosophy

Charvaka ethics rests entirely on present world. Present world (ihilok) means that this world is the ultimate truth. In the context of morality, it means that we should determine our moral principles on the basis of secular life, for that we should not base the supernatural or the extraterrestrial context.

Another positive aspect of the Charvaka policy is that it respects human spontaneity. For example, Sankhya, Jain, Nyaya, Vaiseshika and Advaita all philosophy advises human beings to keep as far as possible distance from worldly pleasures. Charvaka is the only exception to the Indian philosophical tradition in this matter. Accepts worldly life in a natural way. He sees happiness and sorrows as easy parts of life.

Another useful thing of Charvaka philosophy is that he advises a person to live in the present instead of drowning in concerns of past or future. Some people make the present unnecessarily burdensome in the race to achieve something good in the future. Nowadays, many psychologists suggest that one should not be bother about past and predent and one should focus on present life.

Negative aspects of the Charvaka Philosophy

Despite some good things about the Charvaka policy, the truth is that it is not only irrelevant to society in many ways, but also becomes fatal at many points.

The other major drawback of the moral principle of the Charvakas is that they only talk about the happiness of the individual and not the pleasures of the society.

It is broadly true that every person in the world wants maximum happiness for themselves, but it is equally true that if all the people are indiscriminately vying for pleasure without any moral regulation, then they should be among themselves. There will be so much struggle that most will suffer.

The third drawback of Charvaka’s moral philosophy is that it touches the level of extremism. Opposing the principles of the Vedic tradition, the Charvaka’s reach one end and also themselves fall prey to a kind of orthodoxy. For example, when they say that ‘work is the only effort’, they glorify work so much that there is nothing in life other than that.

This article is compiled by Sarvesh Nagar (NET/JRF).

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