Vrihaspati, a defiant atheist founded the Charvaka religion about 600 B.C. He did not believe in the existence of God, in (the revealed character of) the Vedas and in the efficiency of good works, such as rituals. He professed that no living creature is immortal not even mankind. All are subject to death and therefore must live in pleasure and comfort until then. Let a man, then, enjoy himself to his utmost capacity, deport himself in his world as expediency may direct, accumulate wealth and spend it on the gratification of his desires.
All their interests are centered in this world. There is no hereafter. "The four elements, earth, water, fire and air, have entered into the composition of the human body; consciousness results form their combination even as inebriation results from the use of intoxicants. Similarly, the soul takes its birth simultaneously with the body and is dissolved with its dissolution. The reaping of the fruits of good or evil deeds is, therefore, an utter impossibility.
The soul is called into existence as the result of the combination of the four elements and is annihilated synchronously with the dissolution of the body. Therefore, the existence of the soul, after death, is not demonstrable by direct cognition.
They believe in direct cognition only, because the inferential and cognate modes of reasoning have for their basis direct cognition. Therefore direct cognition being of primary importance, all the rest sink into secondary importance, and are, therefore, not acceptable. The enjoyment that results from embracing a beautiful woman is the greatest reward of human effort.
The Charvakas (see Chapter 12) reviled the Vedas saying that they were composed by buffoons, scoundrels and devils. They read their unauthoritative books and others that condoned their sensual and pleasurable life. . Renunciation of carnal pleasure is considered foolish, because it is mixed with pain. A wise man should reject pain and enjoy pleasure.
Those who renounce all worldly pleasures, for a paradise of uncertain joys, with the practice of rituals and do righteous deeds are subjected to misery. The offer of worship, devoting themselves to the acquisition of spiritual knowledge and all practices sanctioned by the Vedas which have been composed by rogues, are sunk deeper in ignorance. Is it any wonder there is so much misery in India? Since its founding, its following has declined tremendously.
The hope for heavenly bliss when it is clear there is no hereafter is considered rather foolish. In their opinion physical pain such as caused by puncturing the body with a thorn constitutes hell. Salvation is nothing but attaining to the position of a king, who is, as a matter of fact, God, possessed of glory or the dissolution of the body.
The Charvakas maintained that there is no author of the universe and all things combined together by virtue of properties inherent in them.
This can be easily disputed. Dead and inert substances cannot combine together of their own accord and according to some design unless the Conscious Being, God, fashions and shapes them. If they could combine together by virtue of inherent properties, why does not another set of suns or moons keep springing up into existence by themselves.
There is neither heaven nor hell, nor is there any entity like the soul to reap, hereafter, the fruits of deeds done in this life. Nor does the performance of duties pertaining to one's class and order bear any fruit. The enjoyment of happiness constitutes heaven while the suffering of misery constitutes hell, but if there is no soul, who would enjoy happiness or suffer misery? Just as in this life the soul enjoys and suffers, likewise it will enjoy and suffer in the next birth. Again, it is difficult to believe that the cultivation of virtues as veracity in speech and benevolence by people belonging to other religion will go unrewarded.
They believe that a man should pass his life in ease and comfort even if he has to borrow money from others. Since there is no hereafter no obligation to make repayment exist.
It is wrong to say that, after death, the soul leaves the body and is transported to the next world, for if it be otherwise, why does not the departed soul return home, impelled by love for its family.If oblations offered to the manes of departed ancestors satisfy the living, what need is there, then, for people going abroad to take with them victuals, clothes, cash, etc., to maintain themselves during the journey.
Further more, if animals offered as sacrifice goes to heaven, why does not the master of ceremonies sacrifice his parents or any other relatives or friends to send them to heaven. If the physical wants of ancestors in heaven can be satisfied by offerings made in his name in this mortal world, why cannot the cravings of hunger, felt by a person in the upper story of a house, be satisfied, by some one in the lower story.
The soul is an entity which passes on to another body after death. The joy of borrowing and not paying back is a sin and thus misery will follow you in the next birth. The soul is embodied again and again. This cycle is eternal, but forgets all about its previous births and thus cannot return to a previous family. Then again if you can remember your past as a human being then there will be fear to remember your past as an animal also.
Hence, all these practices have been invented by the priests for their own pecuniary benefit. The ceremony of offering rice balls on the 10th day after death, and other funeral ceremonies like this have been devised for the same selfish purpose.
There are many such pecuniary gains by priests who invented all sort of irrational practices, but all are opposed to the teachings of the Vedas. The lack of the true knowledge is the product of illiterate imbeciles like the Charvakas. How can they ever tell what is intelligent or rational when they were not willing to practice the proper method of studies of the Vedas? It was a serious problem then and sadly it is still an existing problem the world over.
The Charvakas believe that the soul comes into being simultaneously with the body and cease to exist as soon as the body dies. They do not believe that after death the soul begins a new cycle of existence in a human or animal body (metempsychosis), nor in a future life and they reject all kinds of evidence except that of direct cognition.
These three atheist religions (Buddhism, Jainism and Charvaka) professed their founders to be the teachers and Lords of the world, while they refuse to believe in the Eternal, Supreme Spirit who is the Lord of Lords. The question is who was the teacher of those founders? If the answer is that they evolved knowledge out their own minds, it cannot be right, because no effect can come into existence without a cause. Man had to be taught as explained earlier in previous chapters.
The followers of these faiths became learned by learning from others and if one can learn without being taught, it is not so among their religions. If, negation of all that exists be the belief of the Buddhists, it can never be valid since that which exists can never cease to exist, though it can be converted into its subtle causal form, the elementary matter from which the whole universe has proceeded.
I have briefly described some of the doctrinal views of these three atheistic faiths. Anyone enlightened and learned will know how much ignorance prevailed among the writers, the real buffoons, scoundrels and devils, of these doctrines that millions follow without any logics attached to it. Just as a straw shows which way the wind blows, so the few specimens of these doctrines given will show the main current of the their views.