Sunday, 20 November 2016

Karma - Yoga

Karma Yoga is a combination of two words Karma and Yoga. Karma means action; physical, mental and verbal.  In all actions there is also motive or attitude behind each action.  Law of Karma states that every deliberate action one does, produces two types of results; one that  flows from the visible action called dhrishta phala, visible result  and another that flows from the invisible motive behind the action called  adrishta phala. invisible result. The positive invisible result is called Punyam, with a pleasurable impact and the negative invisible result is called Papam with a painful impact. The actions wilfully performed with a sense of doership by a Jeeva in human form who has a sense of doership and judgemental capacity to discriminate actions as good and bad result in Punyams and Papams, which are the seeds of rebirth.

Yoga has many meanings. Here it is used in the meaning of sadhanam, a course of disciplines to achieve the goal. The goal is the spiritual goal of Liberation, Moksha, liberation from the cycle of birth and death.  In Karma Yoga, Karma is transformed into a means to achieve the goal of spiritual Liberation through doing proper action with proper attitude.  Let us see what constitutes proper action and proper attitude.  First we shall discuss proper action. 

Action is classified in three groups on the basis of spiritual impact or influence.  They are; Uttama karmas, Madhyama karmas and Adhama karmas.  Adhama karmas are Thamasa karmas that have a negative influence causing one’s spiritual downfall or retrogression. Sri Krishna defines them in Gita thus: 
अनुबन्धं क्षयं हिंसामनपेक्ष्य पौरुषम्।
मोहादारभ्यते कर्म यत्तत्तामसमुच्यते।।(18.25
Anubandham kshayam himsaam anavekshya cha paurusham;
Mohaadaarabhyate karma yattat taamasamuchyate.
That action which is undertaken from delusion, without regard to the consequences of
loss, injury and (one’s own) ability—that is declared to be Thamasic.
These are Para apakara karmas, actions that cause harm to self and others and  Nishiddha karmas, i.e. prohibited karmas listed in the Vedas. These are also sakama karmas,  actions undertaken for selfish ends.

Madhyama karmas are Rajasa karmas that are described by Sri Krishna thus:
यत्तु कामेप्सुना कर्म साहङ्कारेण वा पुनः।
क्रियते बहुलायासं तद्राजसमुदाहृतम्।।(18.24)
Yattu kaamepsunaa karma saahankaarena vaa punah;
Kriyate bahulaayaasam tadraajasamudaahritam
That action which is done by one longing for the fulfilment of desires or gain, with egoism or with much effort—that is declared to be Rajasic.
They are para udhasina karmas, actions done, not taking into account other’s welfare but only for one’s own selfish gains and ego-gratification.  They also do not help one’s spiritual growth.  

Uttama karmas are Satvika karmas  and Sri Krishna defines Satvika Karmas thus:
नियतं सङ्गरहितमरागद्वेषतः कृतम्।
अफलप्रेप्सुना कर्म यत्तत्सात्त्विकमुच्यते।।(18.23)
Niyatam sangarahitam araagadweshatah kritam;
Aphalaprepsunaa karma yattat saattwikamuchyate
An action which is ordained, which is free from attachment, which is done without love or hatred by one who is not desirous of any reward—that action is declared to be Satvik.
They are Para Upakara karmas, selfless action done to help others. So Satvik karma is one’s obligatory duties done selflessly without ego, attachment and raga-dvesha  These only, have a positive influence and help in one’s spiritual growth. So they only can be counted as proper action to qualify for Karma Yoga.  

Pancha Maha Yajnas, five duties prescribed by Vedas, are one’s obligatory duties. They are;
1)    Deva Yajna -  Worship and prayer of God
2)    Brahma Yajna – Chanting and teaching of Vedas and scriptures
3)    Pitr Yajna – Remembering the ancestors and expressing gratitude to Pitr devathas through appropriate ceremonies
4)    Manushya Yajna – All forms of social service
5)    Bhuta Yajna – All forms of contributions to non-human beings, environmental care.
Yajna is the action done with a sense of gratitude and as a service to humanity. Selfless Satvik action done without ego and without any likes and dislikes constitutes proper action.

Now let us see about attitude, Bhavana.  Sri Krishna talks about this thus:
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि।।2.47।।
Karmanyevaadhikaaraste maa phaleshu kadaachana;
Maa karmaphalahetur bhoor maa te sango’stwakarmani
You have a choice over action alone; never over results. May you not be the motivated by the results of actions. May you not have an inclination towards inaction

The Karma Yogi should have non-attachment to the fruits of actions.  The 'fruits of action' means whatever one might gain from action, including the favourable observation and applause of others. This can be achieved when he performs actions with the feeling of Ishvararpana dedicating his actions to God. Karma binds when it is done with a selfish motive, with the expectation of fruits. But when action is done without ego and without the expectation of fruits, it is liberating.  By offering action selflessly to God and performing Pancha Maha Yajna religiously one achieves mental purification, inner peace and a stress-free feeling of one with humanity.  He should also eschew likes and dislikes, raga and dvesha for the fruits of action, whatever it be.  This can be achieved when he accepts the results with Prasada Buddhi.  Because one’s duty is unpleasant or the result is not to one’s liking one should not take refuge in inaction.  So we can describe proper attitude is doing one’s duties selflessly and without attachment with Iswararpana buddhi as Kartha and Prasada buddhi as Bhoktha.  That is why Swami Sivananda defines Karma Yoga as “performance of actions dwelling in union with the Divine, removing attachment and remaining balanced ever in success and failure.”

Even Satvik Karma done in a routine way with attachment and anxiety for results, swayed by likes and dislikes and motivated by selfish desire has the effect of binding one to the cycle of birth and death through generation of Papam and Punyam.  But the same Satvik Karma when performed selflessly with Iswararpana Buddhi, without attachment and ego, and with an attitude of Prasada Buddhi to results, elevates one spiritually, purifying the mind and making it fit to benefit by Jnanam,  and becomes the sadhanam to reach the ultimate goal of Liberation. This we can see from Sri Krishna’s advice to Arjuna in the chapter on Karma Yoga.
तस्मादसक्तः सततं कार्यं कर्म समाचर।
असक्तो ह्याचरन्कर्म परमाप्नोति पूरुषः।।3.19
Tasmaad asaktah satatam kaaryam karma samaachara;
Asakto hyaacharan karma param aapnoti poorushah
Therefore, remaining unattached, always perform the obligatory duty, for, by performing (one's) duty without attachment, a person attains the Supreme (for a purified mind becomes a fit instrument to absorb Jnanam, as and when one receives it) 

Sri Krishna condenses Karma Yoga, later in this chapter:
मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि संन्यस्याध्यात्मचेतसा।
निराशीर्निर्ममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वरः।।3.30।।
Mayi sarvaani karmaani sannyasyaadhyaatma chetasaa;
Niraasheer nirmamo bhootwaa yudhyaswa vigatajwarah
Offering all actions unto Me with a devoted mind, fight without expectations, without possessiveness, (and) without anxiety.
Since Arjuna is a warrior who has come to the battle field to fight for Dharma, Sri Krishna says here ‘fight’,  So advice to fight is to be interpreted as advice to do one’s obligatory duty. “Offering actions unto Me” is to be interpreted as Iswararpana Buddhi.  So to become a Karma Yogi
1)    Have spiritual goal as the primary priority of your life
2)    Perform obligatory duties with devotion, as an offering to Iswara
3)    Have no anxiety or attachment to fruits of action
4)    Have no ahamkara or mamakara
5)    Have equanimity at all times

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Nasthika Darshanas – 3


Buddhism is a Nasthika Darshana that had its origins about 2,500 years ago when prince Siddhartha got enlightenment and transformed to Buddha, the Enlightened one, at the age of 35.  Buddha did not teach any systematic philosophy but collection of  his sayings, Dhammapada, is one of the widely followed well-known scripture of Buddhism.  Buddhism does not have a concept of  Almighty God and the relationship between Buddha and his followers is that of a teacher and students.    Buddha discouraged his followers from indulging in intellectual arguments for its own sake, as it is fruitless and distracting from true awakening.  He also remained silent when asked some contentious metaphysical questions like existence of God, the eternity of the Universe etc.  He wanted his disciples to concentrate on the task of freeing themselves from the cycle of suffering instead of asking too many questions even about Nirvana. Buddha asked all his followers not to take his word as true, but rather to test the teachings for themselves.  This makes Buddhism more of a teaching which each person learns and uses in their own way and less of a fixed package of doctrines to be accepted in its entirety. 

The basic concepts in Buddhism can be summed up as the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.  Buddha rejected speculation about such matters as God, the nature of the Universe and the after-life and urged his followers to focus on Four Noble Truths and free themselves from suffering.  The Four Noble Truths are:
1.    The truth of suffering (Dukkha)
2.    The truth of the origin of suffering (Samudaya)
3.    The truth of the cessation of suffering (Nirodha)
4.    The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering (Magga)
The truth of suffering is that Existence itself is suffering as life includes physical suffering due to disease, pain, old age, and death besides psychological suffering like frustration, fear, anger, disappointment and loneliness. The truth of the origin of suffering is that suffering is caused by craving and attachment.  A desire fulfilled fuels more desires leading to more struggles and suffering.  The truth of the cessation of suffering is freeing ourselves from attachments and learning to live in the present controlling our desires. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering is the Noble Eight-fold Path, which leads to the end of suffering. The Eightfold Path is also called the Middle Way as it avoids both indulgence and severe asceticism. The state of cessation of suffering is the state of total bliss, called Nirvana or liberation. These eight stages support and reinforce each other. They are:
1.    Right Understanding (Accepting Buddhist teachings)
2.    Right Intention (A commitment to cultivate the right attitudes.)
3.    Right Speech (Speaking truthfully, avoiding slander, gossip and abusive speech)
4.    Right Action (Behaving peacefully and harmoniously; refraining from stealing, killing and overindulgence in sensual pleasure)
5.    Right Livelihood (Avoiding making a living in ways that cause harm, such as exploiting people or killing animals, or trading in intoxicants or weapons.)
6.    Right Effort (Cultivating positive states of mind; freeing oneself from evil and unwholesome states and preventing them arising in future)
7.    Right Mindfulness (Developing awareness of the body, sensations, feelings and states of mind.)
8.    Right Concentration (Developing the mental focus necessary for this awareness)
The eight stages can also be grouped as Wisdom (right understanding and intention), Ethical Conduct (right speech, action and livelihood) and Meditation (right effort, mindfulness and concentration). 

The great tragedy of existence, from a Buddhist point of view, is that it is both endless and subject to impermanence, suffering and uncertainty. These three are called the tilakhana or three signs of existence. Existence is endless because individuals are reincarnated over and over again, experiencing suffering throughout many lives. It is impermanent because no state, good or bad, lasts forever. Our mistaken belief that things can last is a chief cause of suffering. It is uncertain because when we examine our experience, no knower can be defined and no enduring essence of experience can be located. Only achieving liberation, or Nirvana, can free a being from the cycle of life, death and rebirth.

Buddhism holds two Pramanas, Prathyaksha and Anumana only, as valid Pramanas.  Buddhism also believes in the theory of Karma and re-birth.  Karma underlines the importance of all individuals being responsible for their past and present actions. The Karmic effect of our actions is determined by (1) the intention behind the action, (2) effects of the action on oneself, and (3) the effects on others.  Karma has implications beyond this life as Karma determines where a person will be reborn and their status in their next life. Good Karma can result in being born in the heavenly realm. Bad karma can cause rebirth as an animal, or torment in a hell realm.  Karma is not a system of punishment or reward dealt out by God. Karma is a natural law similar to gravity.

Buddhism has no Creator God to explain the origin of the universe. Instead, it teaches that everything depends on everything else: present events are caused by past events and become the cause of future events. In Buddhism the cyclical change of coming into being, survival and destruction of Time and Space happens naturally without the intervention of God. Universe has six realms in any one of which one can be reborn.  They are:
1.    Heaven, the home of the Devas
2.    The realm of humanity
3.    The realm of the asuras
4.    The realm of the ghosts
5.    The animal realm
6.    Hell realm
The first two levels are good realms to be born. The inhabitants of the next three levels suffer a particular defect (greed, hatred, ignorance), and hell is the worst level.

The realms of life are depicted in a diagram known as the Bhavachakra, the Wheel of Life or Wheel of Becoming. The wheel itself is a circle, symbolising the endless cycle of existence and suffering.  In the middle of the Wheel are the three fires of greed, ignorance and hatred, represented by a rooster, a pig and a snake. These are the cause of all suffering and are shown linked together, biting each other's tails, reinforcing each other. In the next circle out, souls are shown ascending and descending according to their Karma.  The next ring out is composed of six segments showing the six realms: Devas, humans and Asuras above and ghosts, animals and hell below.  The outer ring shows twelve segments called nidanas, illustrating the Buddhist teachings.

There are the five precepts that all followers of the Buddha must observe if they hope to be reborn as a human being. They are:
1.    Refrain from killing living things.
2.    Refrain from stealing.
3.    Refrain from unchastity (sensuality, sexuality, lust).
4.    Refrain from lying.
5.    Refrain from taking intoxicants.

Buddhism which had its origin in India has spread all over the world and now has 376 million followers worldwide. There are many subdivisions within Buddhism but most can be classified into two main branches-Theravada (“Way of the Elders”) and Mahayana (“Greater Vehicle”).  The well-known Zen school of Buddhism is a sub-division of Mahayana Branch.  All of them are rooted in the basic teachings of Buddha, and they emphasise the individual search for liberation from the cycle of samsara (birth, death, rebirth and suffering).   They differ only in the methods or practices for doing that.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Nasthika Darshanas – 2


Jainism is a NasthikaDarshana, whose practitioners believe that nonviolence and self-control are the means by which they can obtain liberation. They trace their history through a succession of twenty-four Tirthankaras, or liberated souls who are the spiritual leaders, with Rishabha as the first and Mahāvīra as the last.  Mahavira is the one who gave Jainism its present form and the texts containing the teachings of Mahavira are called the Agamas.  These comprise forty-six works: twelve angas, twelve upangaagamas, six chedasutras, four mulasutras, ten prakirnakasutras and two culikasutras.  Mahavira was a contemporary of Buddha and is generally regarded as founder of Jainism.  Jainism incorporates the Hindu concepts of Karma and re-birth, but rejects the authority of Vedas and the idea of a creator God. Jainism accepts three Pramanas: Prathyaksha, Anumana and Sabda.  The Jain community today is divided into two major sects, Svetambaras and Digambaras.  The two sects agree on the basics of Jainism and they differ on - 1) details of Mahavira’s life; 2) the spiritual status of women; 3) rituals and 4) clothes for monks. Digambara monks do not wear any clothes because they believe them as possessions that increase dependency. Svetambara monks and nuns wear white robes.

Jains believe that the universe we perceive really exists and is not an illusion. It contains two classes of things: jivas, living souls (Athma), and ajivas, non-living objects (anathma), which include everything else, including space. Nothing in the universe is ever destroyed or created; they simply change from one form to another. Jains believe that the universe has always existed and will always exist.  It is not created by any God and it is regulated by cosmic laws and is kept going by its own energy processes.  Their prayers tend to recall the great qualities of the Tirthankaras and remind the individual of various teachings. Their rituals centre around sacred images and mantras. The Jain system also includes various gods, goddesses and protective deities who serve the Jinas, the liberated Jivas.  The Jain universe is in five parts. They are – 1) Siddhashila where liberated beings live forever; 2) Urdhvaloka where celestial beings live, but not forever; 3) Madhyaloka where human beings live; 4)Adholoka where beings are tormented by demons; 5)The base where lower forms of life, ekendriyas, live.
Jains believe that Jivas (souls) are infinite in number and their essential characteristics are consciousness (Chetana), bliss (sukha) and energy ( Virya).  The body is only an inanimate container for the animate Jiva. Jiva assumes the dimensions of whatever body it occupies though not identical with the body. Body only, perishes at death; Jiva continues to live taking a different body to live a different life.  This process continues until it attains liberation. According to Jains, souls are intrinsically pure and possess the qualities of infinite knowledge, infinite perception, infinite bliss and infinite energy and exist forever.  But these qualities are defiled and polluted on account of the Jiva’s association with Karma over an eternity of time, that is beginning-less.
For Jains, Karma is a physical substance that is everywhere in the universe. Karma particles are attracted to the Jiva by the actions of that JivaKarma particles, on their own have no effect but when they stick to a soul they affect the life of that soul.  Jivas attract Karma particles through their actions, verbal, physical and mental i.e. when they say or do or think things. Karma works without the intervention of any other being - Gods or angels have no part to play in dispensing rewards or punishments.  A Jiva can only achieve liberation by getting rid of all the Karma attached to it.  The quantity and nature of the Karma particles sticking to Jiva cause Jiva to be happy or unhappy and affect the events in the Jiva’s present and future lives.  Karma sticks to the jiva because negative characteristics of the Jiva, passions like anger, pride and greed, make the jiva sticky.  Karma can be warded off by avoiding these negative characteristics.  Jivas can avoid Karma sticking to them by leading a religiously correct life. By living according to the Jain vows strictly, Jivas can get rid of Karma. The Jiva takes its Karma with it from one life to another.  There are 8 forms of Karma as per Jains, 4 destructive, 4 non-destructive. Destructive karmas are; mohaniya-karma (delusory),  jnana-avaraniya-karma (knowledge-obscuring), darshan-avarniya-karma (perception-obscuring), and antaraya-karma (obstructing).  The non-destructive karmas are vedaniya-karma (feeling-producing), nama-karma (physique-determining), ayu-karma (life-span-determining) and gotra-karma (status-determining).

The five vows of Jains relate to five abstinences:
·         Ahimsa (non-violence)
·         Satya (truthfulness)
·         Asteya (not stealing)
·         Aparigraha (non-acquisition)
·         Brahmacharya (chaste living)
The strict observance of these vows is called Mahavrata, which are followed by Jain monks and nuns. The less strict version of these vows to be observed by lay people is called Anuvrata.  These follow from the three guiding principles of Jainism which is called “Three Jewels”. They are; the right belief (Samyak darshana), right knowledge (Samyak jnana) and right conduct (Samyak charitra).  Ahimsa is the cardinal principle of their Dharma. A scrupulous and thorough application of nonviolence to everyday activities, and especially to food, is the most significant aspect of Jain religion. Ahimsa is more radical, and comprehensive than in other religions. Jains follow a vegetarian diet that excludes onion and garlic, while strict followers adopt Vegan diet.  Jains also take special efforts not to hurt even small insects and other minuscule animals.

Jain philosophy classifies non-liberated Jivas in five groups depending on the number of active senses. Human beings come in the highest class Panchendriyas (beings with five senses), ones who have the five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. Others in the group are:
·   Higher animals: This includes all non-human animals above insects
·   Infernal beings: Jivas in Adholoka. This form of jiva experiences the greatest suffering
·   Heavenly beings: Jivas in Urdhvaloka.  This form of jiva is the happiest
The other groups are Ekendriya (with sense of touch only), Beindriya (with sense of touch and taste), Treindriya (with sense of touch, taste and smell) and Chautindriya (with sense of touch, taste, smell and sight).  As for Ajivas, they are divided into two categories: non-sentient material entities and non-sentient non-material entities like space, time etc. 

One other unique doctrine of Jainism is anekantavada, or the “many-sidedness of reality.”  The doctrine of anekantavada states that all entities have three aspects: substance (dravya), quality (guna), and mode (paryaya).  Dravya serves as a substratum for multiple gunas, each of which is itself constantly undergoing transformation or modification. Thus, any entity has both an abiding continuous nature and qualities that are in a state of constant flux. So according to this doctrine, all statements can be judged as true or not true or as both true and not true and thus inexpressible, depending on the point of view. The combinations of these possibilities can be stated in seven logical alternatives called saptabhangi. These seven propositions are:
1.   syad-asti—in some ways, it is;
2.   syad-nasti—in some ways, it is not;
3.   syad-asti-nasti—in some ways, it is, and it is not;
4.   syad-asti-avaktavyaḥ—in some ways, it is, and it is indescribable;
5.   syad-nasti-avaktavyaḥ—in some ways, it is not, and it is indescribable;
6.   syad-asti-nasti-avaktavyaḥ—in some ways, it is, it is not, and it is indescribable;
7.    syad- avaktavyaḥ—in some ways, it is indescribable
Their notion that truth and reality are perceived differently from diverse points of view and no single human view is complete by itself and can claim to represent absolute truth can serve as a cure for dogmatism and fanaticism in all fields at all times.
Once a major religion, Jainism declined due to a number of factors, including proselytizing by other religious groups, persecution, withdrawal of royal patronage, sectarian fragmentation and the absence of central leadership.  But still it is a major religion, though the smallest. It had a significant  impact on art and architecture and on the philosophy of other religions in India.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Nasthika Darshanas - 1


Darshana is the name given to ancient systems of Indian philosophy as they were the visions of Self acquired by Indian mystics searching within rather than outside. Darshanas are divided into two categories; namely Asthika (believer in the Vedas) and Nasthika (non-believer in the Vedas).  Astika systems, that were also referred to as orthodox systems are Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa and Uttara Mimamsa or Vedanta.  Nastika Systems which are also referred to as heterodox or non-orthodox systems are Charvaka, Jainism and Buddhism. Others are a mixture of the ideas of these systems.  The Asthika systems were briefly explained in the two blogs; on Six Darshanas; Six Darshanas - 1 & Six Darshanas - 2. We shall briefly see the Nasthika systems starting from Charvaka, 

Charvaka school is the school of Indian materialism.  Swami Vivekananda says “Charvakas, a very ancient sect in India, were rank materialists.”  It is also known as Lokayata school, Lokayata meaning philosophy of the people. Charvaka is said to have established Indian Materialism as a formal philosophical system, but some still hold that Brhaspati was its original founder and Brhaspati seems to be more of a legendary figure than an actual person.  Even the work allegedly authored by Brahaspati, the Brhaspati Sutras is not available now.  

The Charvaka school of philosophy held perception (Prathyaksha) only, as the valid and reliable source of knowledge, rejecting all other Pramanas including inference (Anumana) as not valid Pramanas. It has the least number of Pramanas of all the Darshanas. Yet another point of radical difference with other systems is its rejection of the doctrine of Karma and rebirth, which even the other two Nasthika schools subscribe to.  Along with its rejection of the doctrine of Karma is rejected the belief in the existence of God, in soul (Athma), in hell and heaven.  Religion, they said, is nothing but a fraud devised by clever men who want to take advantage of others. Soul or consciousness they explained as a side effect of having a healthy body.  When the body dies, consciousness simply disappears.  Followers of Charvaka were concerned only with truths that could be verified.  Charvakas considered paradise as "the state in which man lives as he chooses, without control of another", while hell as "the state in which he lives subject to another's rule".

For them world and objects of the world that can be experienced by the senses only are real.  They held all existence can be reduced to the four elements: air, water, fire and earth. All things come into existence through a mixture of these elements and will perish with their separation. Even human consciousness is no exception and it is also a material construct. There is also no doctrine of Creation in Charvaka.  To speculate as to why the universe exists would be an exercise in futility for them.  The purpose and origin of existence is not discoverable through scientific means.  Furthermore, the speculation about such matters leads to anxiety and frustration, which reduces pleasure and overall contentment. Their position is that the universe itself probably came into existence by chance.  Although there can be no certainty about the origin of the universe, the most probable explanation is that it evolved as a result of a series of random events.

The attitude towards human conduct in the Charvaka school was a very flexible one: Right or wrong were seen as merely human conventions. The cosmos, they believed, was indifferent to human behaviour. If this life is all there is, if there is no afterlife whatsoever, then we should live enjoying the physical life the best we can.  Charvakas believed that there was nothing wrong with sensual pleasure. Since it is impossible to have pleasure without pain, Charvakas thought that wisdom lay in enjoying pleasure and avoiding pain as far as possible. Unlike many of the Indian philosophies of the time, Charvakas did not believe in austerities or rejecting pleasure out of fear of pain and held such reasoning to be foolish. They are critical of other ethical systems for being tied to notions of duty or virtue that are derived from false, supernaturalist cosmologies.  Charvaka school regards pleasure, in itself and for itself, as the only good.  It rejects the utilitarian approach to pleasure.  Utilitarianism holds that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct.  The Charvaka doctrine suggests that individuals have no obligation to promote the welfare of society and would only tend to do so if it were to ultimately benefit them as well.  It adopts the perspective that an individual's ends take priority over the ends of others.  Their main concern is how to survive in the present or in a beautiful world.  Charvaka ethics urged each individual to seek his or her pleasure here and now. "As long as you live, live life to the fullest," said Charvaka. "After death, the body is turned to ashes. There is no re-birth."  So ‘eat, drink and be merry treating it as liberation here and now’, is their philosophy. 

The following famous lines describe well Charvaka philosophy:
यावत् जीवेत् सुखम् जीवेत्।      So long as you live, Live well happily
ऋणम् क्रित्वा घ्रितम् पिबेत्॥   Don’t  mind using ghee,even if you have to borrow for it
भस्मिभूतस्य देहस्य।            When the body is burnt and reduced to ashes
पुनार्गमनम् कुतः?              How are you going to come back again?    

The following quotations from Sarvasiddhanta Samgraha as well illustrate their philosophy well:
1. There is no other world other than this;
 There is no heaven and no hell;
 The realm of Shiva and like regions,
  Are inventions of stupid impostors.
2. 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-breath... the wise therefore ought not to take pains to attain Moksha.

So the salient points of Charvaka philosophy can be briefly summed up as:
·         That which cannot be perceived does not exist; to exist implies to be perceivable.
·         Heaven and hell, God and Athma, are nothing but inventions.
·         The only goal of humans is to enjoy pleasures and avoid pain.
·         All things are matter only, made of earth, air, fire and water.
·         Religion is a clever scheme for providing good living for the priests.