Indian Philosophy, Hinduism does not shun those who deny the existence of God.
It is taken as a point of view of Life.
Though philosophical arguments were engaged in rebutting the Carvakas, there not harassed nor branded as Atheists and ostracized.
They were present during the Rig Vedic period, some 5000 years back and their later work is dated to be around 600 BC.
The CarvakaSyatem, the Indian Atheistic Hedonist Syatem is also also called Lokayata.,(worldly wise)
The flip side of this is that the Charvaka’s first Text,the primary source, which is lost to us , is credited to Bruhaspati, the Guru,Preceptor of the Devas!
This shows that though one is a Realized soul, Bruhaspati is One, one is not averse to exploring the other views as well and even propagated one so that to who ever these thoughts appealed they might follow.
Kapila, who is an Avatar of Lord Vishnu is the founder of Samkhya Philosophy,which denies God!
Samkhya is considered s one of the most respected philosophical systems of India.
Hinduism does not differentiate between one who believes in God and one who does not.
Astika system is one that believes in the Authority of the Vedas and others who do not accept the Vedas, Sabda, as the authority are called Nastikas.
Carvakas, Jainism, Buddhism and Ajivika are Nastika systems.
What does Carvakas say?
Carvakas do not believe in God, Vedas.
They do not believe in Rebirth and Karma or ceremonies.
They take Perception only as the means of knowledge and deny even inference as an Instrument of Knowledge.
Inference, the process by which, we come to know of things by things that are present before us.
The presence of electricity is inferred by the results it produces,like Light, Sound .
Carvakas, do not admit this knowledge , saying that the conditions for this inference may not always be correct.
They imply that One result may be caused by more than one Cause.
This is rebutted by Advaita and it proves that Inference is an essential tool, by describing Parinamavada and Vivartahvada, that is Cause is contained in the Effect and Effect in the Cause.
I shall write on this in detail.
For the Carvakas, Pleasure is the only Goal.
On Death, Birth, origin of the Universe , they brush every thing aside by saying it is Nature.
They do not go into the point of what Nature is.
This enquiry is done by the Astika systems like Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaiseshika,Mimamsa and Vedanta, apart from Vedas, which deals with this subject in detail.
Cārvāka means “agreeable speech” or “sweet talkers” (चारु, cāru – agreeable, pleasant or sweet and वाक, vāk – speech). Its traditional name, Lokāyata (Sanskrit: लोकायत) signifies “directed towards, aiming at the world” (लोक, loka which means “worlds, abode, place of truth, people”, and आयत, āyata means “extended, directed towards, aiming at”
Some observations by Carvaka.
‘The Carvaka epistemology holds perception as the primary and proper source of knowledge, while inference is held as prone to being either right or wrong and therefore conditional or invalid Perception are of two types, for Carvaka, external and internal. External perception is described as that arising from the interaction of five senses and worldly objects, while internal perception is described by this school as that of inner sense, the mind. Inference is described as deriving a new conclusion and truth from one or more observations and previous truths. To Carvakas, inference is useful but prone to error, as inferred truths can never be without doubt. Inference is good and helpful, it is the validity of inference that is suspect – sometimes in certain cases and often in others. To the Cārvākas there were no reliable means by which the efficacy of inference as a means of knowledge could be established…
Cārvākas denied metaphysical concepts like reincarnation, extracorporeal soul, efficacy of religious rites, other worlds (heaven and hell), fate and accumulation ofmerit or demerit through the performance of certain actions.Cārvākas also rejected the use of supernatural causes to describe natural phenomena. To them all natural phenomena was produced spontaneously from the inherent nature of things.
The fire is hot, the water cold, refreshing cool the breeze of morn;
By whom came this variety ? from their own nature was it born.
Consciousness and afterlife.
There is no other world other than this;
There is no heaven and no hell;
The realm of Shiva and like regions,
are invented by stupid imposters.—Sarvasiddhanta Samgraha, Verse 8 [
The Sarvasiddhanta Samgraha states the Carvaka position on pleasure and hedonism as follows,
The enjoyment of heaven lies in eating delicious food, keeping company of young women, using fine clothes, perfumes, garlands, sandal paste… while moksha is death which is cessation of life-breathe… the wise therefore ought not to take pains on account ofmoksha.
A fool wears himself out by penances and fasts. Chastity and other such ordinances are laid down by clever weaklings.—Sarvasiddhanta Samgraha, Verses 9-12No independent works on Cārvāka philosophy can be found except for a few sūtras composed by Brihaspati. The 8th century Tattvopaplavasimha of Jayarāśi Bhaṭṭa withMadhyamaka influence is a significant source of Carvaka philosophy. Shatdarshan Samuchay and Sarvadarśanasaṅ̇graha of Vidyaranya are a few other works which elucidate Cārvāka thought.Lord Rama had a detailed discussion with Jabali, a Carvaka, Please read my post on this.Reference and Citation.