Charvak Philisophy

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rohri

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Nov 24, 2009, 9:16:08 AM11/24/09
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Dear all,

Expecting your comments on the following Charvak Philosophy:

Charvak philosophy

Charu (चारु) means melodious and vak (वाक्‌) means speech. Charvak
(चार्वाक) thus means ‘melodious speech’. Hence people love this
doctrine.

यावज्‍जीवेत्‌ सुखं जीवेत्‌ ऋणं कृत्‍वा घृतं पिबेत्‌ ।
भस्‍मीभूतस्‍य देहस्‍य पुनरागमनं कुत: ।।

Meaning: So long as one lives, one should live happily, feasting
on clarified butter (ghee), even by incurring debt because once this
body is reduced to ashes, the same will not be acquired again.

Regards
Sanjeev

Trance Gemini

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Nov 24, 2009, 10:31:09 AM11/24/09
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Hi Sanjeev,

I believe that this simply refers to Carvaka's belief that people only have one life and that we should live it to the fullest.

This is sometimes misinterpreted as being hedonist and I disagree that it is.

When one spends all of their time worrying about their "afterlife" and not living *this* life it's a waste of a life.

That is why it's important to read that in the actual context of where it was said and what it was referring to.

The following places it in context:

"If our offering sacrifices here gratify beings in heaven,
why not make food offerings down below
to gratify those standing on housetops

While life remains, let a man live happily,
let him feed on butter though he runs in debt;
When once the body becomes ashes,
how can it ever return again

If he who departs from the body goes to another world,
why does he not come back again,"

What do you think?


Regards
Sanjeev

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rohri mani

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Nov 25, 2009, 5:47:54 AM11/25/09
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The essence of Carvaka doctrine:

Every human action has its own inevitable result. A virtuous action results in something good, a vicious action in something bad. Therefore, whatever you enjoy or suffer now is the result of your own past actions and the way you are now acting is going to determine your future. Such a doctrine had inevitably to lean on the conception of a transmigratory soul. For it has to explain why the virtuous man is frequently found to suffer a life of miserable existence and the vicious to prosper. Reinforced by the idea of rebirth and the Other World, the doctrine claims that the virtuous action, though it may not bring prosperity in this life, is sure to do so in some future life while the prosperity of a person who is now vicious must be the result of some good actions of his past life, just as his present vices, though not punished right now, will surely make him miserable in some future life. One obvious implication of this doctrine, therefore is that our own past looms over us like a dark unalterable force. As Radhakrishnan puts it, 'whatever happens to us in this life we have to submit in meek resignation, for it is the result of our past doings.' Its other implication is to offer some kind of justification for the observed diversity of human conditions. As Hiriyanna explains, 'its value as a' hypothesis for rationally explaining the observed inequities of life is clear.' It is, thus, easy to understand why, beginning from the times of the Upanisads, this karma‑doctrine was harnessed to justify the caste system. 'Accordingly', said the Chandogya Upanisad, 'those who are of pleasant, conduct here, the prospect is indeed that they would attain a pleasant womb—either the womb of a Brahmin or the womb of a Ksatriya or the womb of a Vaisya. But those who are of stinking conduct here, the prospect is indeed that they would enter a stinking womb—either the womb of a dog or the womb of a swine, or the womb of a Candala'. In the Gita, again, God Himself was made to declare that He created the four castes according to the same law of karma: 'the four‑caste division has been created by Me according to the division of virtue and action (guna‑karma‑vibhagasah)'.

 

Regards

Sanjeev


Trance Gemini

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Nov 25, 2009, 6:31:51 AM11/25/09
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On Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 5:47 AM, rohri mani <rohri...@yahoo.com> wrote:

The essence of Carvaka doctrine:

Every human action has its own inevitable result. A virtuous action results in something good, a vicious action in something bad. Therefore, whatever you enjoy or suffer now is the result of your own past actions and the way you are now acting is going to determine your future. Such a doctrine had inevitably to lean on the conception of a transmigratory soul.


What is your support for this statement? Where does Carvaka indicate this in his writings?
 

For it has to explain why the virtuous man is frequently found to suffer a life of miserable existence and the vicious to prosper. Reinforced by the idea of rebirth and the Other World, the doctrine claims that the virtuous action, though it may not bring prosperity in this life, is sure to do so in some future life while the prosperity of a person who is now vicious must be the result of some good actions of his past life, just as his present vices, though not punished right now, will surely make him miserable in some future life. One obvious implication of this doctrine, therefore is that our own past looms over us like a dark unalterable force. As Radhakrishnan puts it, 'whatever happens to us in this life we have to submit in meek resignation, for it is the result of our past doings.' Its other implication is to offer some kind of justification for the observed diversity of human conditions. As Hiriyanna explains, 'its value as a' hypothesis for rationally explaining the observed inequities of life is clear.' It is, thus, easy to understand why, beginning from the times of the Upanisads, this karma‑doctrine was harnessed to justify the caste system. 'Accordingly', said the Chandogya Upanisad, 'those who are of pleasant, conduct here, the prospect is indeed that they would attain a pleasant womb—either the womb of a Brahmin or the womb of a Ksatriya or the womb of a Vaisya. But those who are of stinking conduct here, the prospect is indeed that they would enter a stinking womb—either the womb of a dog or the womb of a swine, or the womb of a Candala'. In the Gita, again, God Himself was made to declare that He created the four castes according to the same law of karma: 'the four‑caste division has been created by Me according to the division of virtue and action (guna‑karma‑vibhagasah)'.

 

Regards

Sanjeev


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rohri mani

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Nov 25, 2009, 8:36:29 AM11/25/09
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The link is given below. Pls go through the same.

http://www.autodidactproject.org/other/lokayata1.html

Regards
Sanjeev


--- On Wed, 11/25/09, Trance Gemini <trance...@gmail.com> wrote:

Sri Harsha Dandibhotla

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Nov 25, 2009, 8:51:56 AM11/25/09
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2009/11/25 Trance Gemini <trance...@gmail.com>



On Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 5:47 AM, rohri mani <rohri...@yahoo.com> wrote:

The essence of Carvaka doctrine:

Every human action has its own inevitable result. A virtuous action results in something good, a vicious action in something bad. Therefore, whatever you enjoy or suffer now is the result of your own past actions and the way you are now acting is going to determine your future. Such a doctrine had inevitably to lean on the conception of a transmigratory soul.


What is your support for this statement? Where does Carvaka indicate this in his writings?


Agree with Trance. How do you take the premise of actions affecting outcome within a timeline or frame of reference and apply it to action affecting outcome in a different frame of reference(the transmigratory soul argument)?
The Charvaka doctrine, in my interpretation only applies to cause and effect in ones lifetime, how do you extrapolate to the notion of a transmigratory soul?

 
 

For it has to explain why the virtuous man is frequently found to suffer a life of miserable existence and the vicious to prosper. Reinforced by the idea of rebirth and the Other World, the doctrine claims that the virtuous action, though it may not bring prosperity in this life, is sure to do so in some future life while the prosperity of a person who is now vicious must be the result of some good actions of his past life, just as his present vices, though not punished right now, will surely make him miserable in some future life. One obvious implication of this doctrine, therefore is that our own past looms over us like a dark unalterable force. As Radhakrishnan puts it, 'whatever happens to us in this life we have to submit in meek resignation, for it is the result of our past doings.' Its other implication is to offer some kind of justification for the observed diversity of human conditions. As Hiriyanna explains, 'its value as a' hypothesis for rationally explaining the observed inequities of life is clear.' It is, thus, easy to understand why, beginning from the times of the Upanisads, this karma‑doctrine was harnessed to justify the caste system. 'Accordingly', said the Chandogya Upanisad, 'those who are of pleasant, conduct here, the prospect is indeed that they would attain a pleasant womb—either the womb of a Brahmin or the womb of a Ksatriya or the womb of a Vaisya. But those who are of stinking conduct here, the prospect is indeed that they would enter a stinking womb—either the womb of a dog or the womb of a swine, or the womb of a Candala'. In the Gita, again, God Himself was made to declare that He created the four castes according to the same law of karma: 'the four‑caste division has been created by Me according to the division of virtue and action (guna‑karma‑vibhagasah)'.

 


This passage seems utterly contradictory to the other tenets of the Charvaka philosophy
Springing forth from these elements itself
solid knowledge is destroyed
when they are destroyed—
after death no intelligence remains.



Cheers

--
Sri Harsha Dandibhotla
Computer Science, IIT Kharagpur
http://dsriharsha.blogspot.com

Trance Gemini

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Nov 25, 2009, 9:01:52 AM11/25/09
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On Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 8:51 AM, Sri Harsha Dandibhotla <harsh...@gmail.com> wrote:


2009/11/25 Trance Gemini <trance...@gmail.com>



On Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 5:47 AM, rohri mani <rohri...@yahoo.com> wrote:

The essence of Carvaka doctrine:

Every human action has its own inevitable result. A virtuous action results in something good, a vicious action in something bad. Therefore, whatever you enjoy or suffer now is the result of your own past actions and the way you are now acting is going to determine your future. Such a doctrine had inevitably to lean on the conception of a transmigratory soul.


What is your support for this statement? Where does Carvaka indicate this in his writings?


Agree with Trance. How do you take the premise of actions affecting outcome within a timeline or frame of reference and apply it to action affecting outcome in a different frame of reference(the transmigratory soul argument)?
The Charvaka doctrine, in my interpretation only applies to cause and effect in ones lifetime, how do you extrapolate to the notion of a transmigratory soul?

Exactly. Carvaka makes it clear that death is final. A transmigratory soul by definition is a dualist belief and is demonstrated by either reincarnation or karmic beliefs both of which are rejected by Carvaka.
 

 
 

For it has to explain why the virtuous man is frequently found to suffer a life of miserable existence and the vicious to prosper. Reinforced by the idea of rebirth and the Other World, the doctrine claims that the virtuous action, though it may not bring prosperity in this life, is sure to do so in some future life while the prosperity of a person who is now vicious must be the result of some good actions of his past life, just as his present vices, though not punished right now, will surely make him miserable in some future life. One obvious implication of this doctrine, therefore is that our own past looms over us like a dark unalterable force. As Radhakrishnan puts it, 'whatever happens to us in this life we have to submit in meek resignation, for it is the result of our past doings.' Its other implication is to offer some kind of justification for the observed diversity of human conditions. As Hiriyanna explains, 'its value as a' hypothesis for rationally explaining the observed inequities of life is clear.' It is, thus, easy to understand why, beginning from the times of the Upanisads, this karma‑doctrine was harnessed to justify the caste system. 'Accordingly', said the Chandogya Upanisad, 'those who are of pleasant, conduct here, the prospect is indeed that they would attain a pleasant womb—either the womb of a Brahmin or the womb of a Ksatriya or the womb of a Vaisya. But those who are of stinking conduct here, the prospect is indeed that they would enter a stinking womb—either the womb of a dog or the womb of a swine, or the womb of a Candala'. In the Gita, again, God Himself was made to declare that He created the four castes according to the same law of karma: 'the four‑caste division has been created by Me according to the division of virtue and action (guna‑karma‑vibhagasah)'.

 


This passage seems utterly contradictory to the other tenets of the Charvaka philosophy
Springing forth from these elements itself
solid knowledge is destroyed
when they are destroyed—
after death no intelligence remains.

And in contradiction to Carvaka's rejection of the Caste system.

The entire statement has no bearing whatsoever on Carvakan beliefs from what I can tell.
 



Cheers

--
Sri Harsha Dandibhotla
Computer Science, IIT Kharagpur
http://dsriharsha.blogspot.com

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rohri mani

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Nov 25, 2009, 11:13:20 AM11/25/09
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I dont think there is anything contradictory in the authors interpretation. What you have reproduced a part of that article which interpret various philosophy. If you read the entire article thorough you may find that author himself is a propagator of charvaka.
With regards
Sanjeev


--- On Wed, 11/25/09, Sri Harsha Dandibhotla <harsh...@gmail.com> wrote:

From: Sri Harsha Dandibhotla <harsh...@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Carvaka] The essence of Charvak Philisophy
To: car...@googlegroups.com

rohri mani

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Nov 27, 2009, 9:03:26 AM11/27/09
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What is the purpose of this group when we dont have enough scriptures on Charvaka philosophy? How can we revive a philosophy when we don't have any authentic scripture about it?
Regards
Sanjeeva

--- On Wed, 11/25/09, rohri mani <rohri...@yahoo.com> wrote:

Trance Gemini

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Nov 27, 2009, 9:30:45 AM11/27/09
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On Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 9:03 AM, rohri mani <rohri...@yahoo.com> wrote:
What is the purpose of this group when we dont have enough scriptures on Charvaka philosophy? How can we revive a philosophy when we don't have any authentic scripture about it?

I'm trying to collect information but it's difficult when the original material has been destroyed.

I'm reading one book now (when I have time and will be starting to put notes into pages) and there are a few others that I will be trying to get. The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sens.

The document you provided is an analysis and one that I believe is incorrect based on the small number of writings that I do have which directly contradict it.

If you are interested any work you contribute will be appreciated as you have already done.

We're new and very small so it will take time to build up to get enough people that we can do some serious work.

I simply don't have access to a lot of stuff (or know how to get it) because I'm Canadian (Indian origins but three generations ago).

However, as I said, when I have the time and find information I'll be posting it here and we can discuss it further.

You are free to do the same as you have done.

Your interest is appreciated even if I don't agree with your assessment.

So, thank you for starting this interesting discussion.

 



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rohri mani

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Nov 27, 2009, 11:24:56 AM11/27/09
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The Charvaka Philosophy is called the Lokayata because the philosophy believes that only this world or the `lok` is the truth. They believe that whatever is arrived by the means of direct perception is the ultimate truth. Whatever is not perceivable is non-existent because of the simple reason that it cannot be perceived. The proponents of this school of thought believed that since sense perception is the only form of knowledge therefore in that case matter becomes the only reality. It is only matter that is cognizable with the help of senses. According to the philosophy the ultimate principles are the four elements. The four elements are earth, water, air and fire. These elements according to them are eternal and can explain the development from a protozoan to a philosopher. In fact they said that intelligence is also the modification of the four elements and intelligence is perished when the element from which it rises gets dissolved. Even consciousness says the Charvaka philosophy is produced after combining the four elements. Thought is also the function of matter. They believe that there is no world other than this. There exists neither hell nor heaven. For them religion is a foolish aberration and God is not necessary to account for the world. Thus with an audacious dogmatism the Charvaka philosophy has swept the world clean of all its values and has put down belief in the Almighty as a symbol of mendaciousness, weakness and cowardice.

The Charvakas have emphasised that pleasure and pain are the central themes of life and it is not possible to separate life from all these. They have also claimed that virtue is nothing more than a delusion and enjoyment is the only reality. The Charvaka School of Thought believed that life is the end of life. Unlike the Upanishads the Charvaka or the materialist philosophy asserts the doctrines of uncontrolled-energy, self-assertion and reckless disregard for authority.

Charvaka philosophy strictly believes in perception as the one source of valid knowledge. Hence, everything is pivoted according to this principle. Metaphysics or the knowledge of being and knowing is also rigidly adhered with perception as the source of knowledge. According to Charvakas, atman is not a separate entity, as one can never `see` atman. It is consciousness that makes one grasps the reality of everything worldly. Hence, the mind, the physical body, or the world one dwells in - everything depends on perception and the realisation by the consciousness.

Charvakas believe not in the notion of stringent philosophy, but in liberal beliefs. Hence, they refute most of the already-established rules in the context of Indian philosophy. The prime importance is laid on the likes and dislikes of humans. As a result, Charvakas believe in the perceived knowledge of the present life, and not in rebirth and past life. According to them good deed is not much necessary to perform in one`s lifetime, as is instructed by the crafty priests. The basic thought of the Charvakas is to obtain worldly pleasure by making merry, as there is no hell where one can be hurled.

Hence, it can be concluded saying that the materialist philosophy had a lot to do with regard to the repudiation of old system of religion and custom of magic. The Charvaka Philosophy is in fact a man`s return to his own spirit and rejection of all those which are external and foreign. It also says that nothing needs to be accepted by an individual which do not find its place in the way of reason.

Regards
Sanjeev

Sri Harsha Dandibhotla

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Nov 27, 2009, 11:37:51 AM11/27/09
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Hi Sanjeev.. nice to see your initiative in reneweing discussions in this group..
btw, is this message, your summary or has been taken from other source?

2009/11/27 rohri mani <rohri...@yahoo.com>

The Charvaka Philosophy is called the Lokayata because the philosophy believes that only this world or the `lok` is the truth. They believe that whatever is arrived by the means of direct perception is the ultimate truth. Whatever is not perceivable is non-existent because of the simple reason that it cannot be perceived. The proponents of this school of thought believed that since sense perception is the only form of knowledge therefore in that case matter becomes the only reality. It is only matter that is cognizable with the help of senses. According to the philosophy the ultimate principles are the four elements. The four elements are earth, water, air and fire. These elements according to them are eternal and can explain the development from a protozoan to a philosopher. In fact they said that intelligence is also the modification of the four elements and intelligence is perished when the element from which it rises gets dissolved. Even consciousness says the Charvaka philosophy is produced after combining the four elements. Thought is also the function of matter. They believe that there is no world other than this. There exists neither hell nor heaven.

Hence you see the contradiction of rebirth in the earlier thread.

 
For them religion is a foolish aberration and God is not necessary to account for the world. Thus with an audacious dogmatism the Charvaka philosophy has swept the world clean of all its values

Is this your annotation or someone else's? Doesn't read well to me..

 
and has put down belief in the Almighty as a symbol of mendaciousness, weakness and cowardice.

The Charvakas have emphasised that pleasure and pain are the central themes of life and it is not possible to separate life from all these. They have also claimed that virtue is nothing more than a delusion and enjoyment is the only reality. The Charvaka School of Thought believed that life is the end of life. Unlike the Upanishads the Charvaka or the materialist philosophy asserts the doctrines of uncontrolled-energy, self-assertion and reckless disregard for authority.



Again.. I am concerned about this "reckless disregard for authority" business.
 
Charvaka philosophy strictly believes in perception as the one source of valid knowledge. Hence, everything is pivoted according to this principle. Metaphysics or the knowledge of being and knowing is also rigidly adhered with perception as the source of knowledge. According to Charvakas, atman is not a separate entity, as one can never `see` atman. It is consciousness that makes one grasps the reality of everything worldly. Hence, the mind, the physical body, or the world one dwells in - everything depends on perception and the realisation by the consciousness.

Charvakas believe not in the notion of stringent philosophy, but in liberal beliefs. Hence, they refute most of the already-established rules in the context of Indian philosophy. The prime importance is laid on the likes and dislikes of humans. As a result, Charvakas believe in the perceived knowledge of the present life, and not in rebirth and past life. According to them good deed is not much necessary to perform in one`s lifetime, as is instructed by the crafty priests. The basic thought of the Charvakas is to obtain worldly pleasure by making merry, as there is no hell where one can be hurled.

:O
[citation needed]
 

Hence, it can be concluded saying that the materialist philosophy had a lot to do with regard to the repudiation of old system of religion and custom of magic. The Charvaka Philosophy is in fact a man`s return to his own spirit and rejection of all those which are external and foreign. It also says that nothing needs to be accepted by an individual which do not find its place in the way of reason.

Regards
Sanjeev



The tone of the passage seems similar to one often used by Christians while describing Atheists and lacking values/morals. A materialistic philosophy does not necessarily mean one where pursuit of pleasure and indulging in vices is the whole point of existence..

 

Trance Gemini

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Nov 27, 2009, 12:00:20 PM11/27/09
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Hi Rohri

I also agree with Harsha's comments, however, I just wanted to say that one of the problems we face when trying to evaluate Carvaka's actual writings is that they only exist in criticisms of those writings.

I believe that it's because of that, passages are often misunderstood.

Theist interpretations based on criticism of Carvaka are not necessarily going to be accurate.

Of course, it's useful to have them so that we can critique them so thank you for providing this for us to look at.

There is a book (which name I've forgotten at the moment) which is a compilation of all of the writings themselves that have been located.

It would be quite an interesting book to look at and I'll purchasing it at a later date.

When I locate the title (I have it somewhere) I'll post it here so that you can see if you can find it.

You might find it to be a useful reference.

Thanks again for this interesting post.


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rohri mani

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Nov 28, 2009, 11:01:37 AM11/28/09
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“Na Swargo naapavargo vaa naivaatmaa paaralaukikah
Naiva varnaashramaadeenaa m kriyaashcha phaladaayikaah”
 
There is no heaven, no liberation, no soul going to another world,
Nor do the prescribed rituals produce any effect.
 
Gachchataamiha jantoonaam vyartham paatheya kalpanam
Gehastha-kruta shraaddhena pathi triptiravaaritaa
 
“Paatheya shraaddha” done for the dead is meaningless
as if the shraaddha can be done for travellers when they start,
It is needless to give the food for the journey.
 
“Ashvasyaatra hi shishnam tu pathneegraahyam prakeerthitham
maamsaanaam khaadanam tadvat nishaacharasameerit ham
Bhandaistadvat param chaiva graahyajaatham prakeerthitham”
 
The obscene rites prescribed for the queen in  Ashvamedha,
Eating of flesh like night-prowling demons in yajnya -
These were invented by buffoons, so also the gifts to priests.
 
“Na Swargo naapavargo vaa naivaatmaa paaralaukikah
Naiva varnaashramaadeenaa m kriyaashcha phaladaayikaah”
 
There is no heaven, no liberation, no soul going to another world,
Nor do the prescribed rituals produce any effect.
 
Gachchataamiha jantoonaam vyartham paatheya kalpanam
Gehastha-kruta shraaddhena pathi triptiravaaritaa
 
“Paatheya shraaddha” done for the dead is meaningless
as if the shraaddha can be done for travellers when they start,
It is needless to give the food for the journey.
 
“Ashvasyaatra hi shishnam tu pathneegraahyam prakeerthitham
maamsaanaam khaadanam tadvat nishaacharasameerit ham
Bhandaistadvat param chaiva graahyajaatham prakeerthitham”
 
The obscene rites prescribed for the queen in  Ashvamedha,
Eating of flesh like night-prowling demons in yajnya -
These were invented by buffoons, so also the gifts to priests.


Regards
Sanjeev

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