Wednesday, November 25, 2009



Buddha, Mahavira, Gosala, and many lesser teachers of the sixth century Be ignored the gods, but they were not thoroughgoing atheists and materialists. All admitted the existence of supernatural beings of strictly limited powers, and all accepted the fun<;iamental doctrine of transmigra­tion, though they interpreted its mechanics individually. Some thinkers, however, rejected all immaterial categories completely.
Important Materialistic Sects Some of the materialistic sects are given below.
Uchchedavada or Annihilationism The sect was estab­lished by Ajita Kesakambalin, a contemporary of Buddha. According to it, the concept of rebirth and life after death are false and as such there is no life after the present one. Annihilationism did not believe in the existence of soul.

Antinomianism Antinomianism was propagated by Purana Kassapa. According to Kassapa, there is nothing like bad consequences of bad works and good consequences of good works. Non-violence, sacrifices, rituals, meditation, helping others, etc., are not pious works; nor are lying, stealing and killing sins. According to this sect, no one does any type of work. So it preached inactivism (Akriyavad).
Atomism The Atomism sect was established by Pakuda Katyayana. The sect believed that just as earth, water, air and light are primary indestructible elements, so are sorrow, happiness and life. It is suggested that the later Vaisheshika school originated from this idea.

Lokayat The Lokayat, an important materialistic sect, was established by Charvaka. Charvaka did not believe in the existence of God and was opposed to the Vedas. He did not believe in rebirth and soul either. According to him, one should lead a lustful life even if it entail~ing in debt (Yawat jivet sukham jivet, Rinam kritwa ghritam pibet).

Scepticism The propounder of this sect was Sanjaya Bellathiputta. According to this sect, the existence of heaven, soul, god, virtues, sin, etc., cannot be determined with certainty.

Besides numerous quotations attributed to materialists in religious and philosophical works, one anti-religious philosophical text has survived. This is the Jattvopaplavasimha ("The Lion Destroying all Religious Truth") written by a certain Jayarasi in the eighth century AD.

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