BR^ihaspati and the Caarvaakas.

Jean Fezas jean.fezas at
Tue Jul 1 08:24:20 UTC 1997

At 01:28 01/07/1997 BST, you wrote:
>Brockington in "The Sacred Thread" on page 87 writes that "BR^ihaspati is
>regarded as the founder of politics and the author of a Suutra which
>reputedly was the original text of the Caarvaakas." He goes on to note
>that BR^ihaspati is credited with the maxim `better a pigeon today than a
>peacock tomorrow' which Brockington notes as fitting well with the
>"generally hedonistic approach of the school."
>I would like to know what the name of this text is. I've scanned the
>holding of our libraries here and could not come up with anything written
>by a BR^ihaspati excepting a dharmashaastra or two. Secondly, is the
>source of this maxim to be found in the above text? Also, could anyone 
>tell me when and why BR^ihaspati became linked with the Caarvaakas and how
>strong the connection between these two was? And lastly, what is the
>reasoning behind crediting BR^ihaspati as the founder of politics?
>This ought to fill my question quota for the week.
>Thank you!
>Anshuman Pandey

The arthazAstra of kauTilya begins with an invocation to zukra and
bRhaspati, supposed to be the primeval teachers of political science. No
other allusion to bRhaspati himself are to be found in the text which
refers several times to the opinions of bArhaspatya, i.e. followers of
bRhaspati (1.2.4; 1.15.48; 2.7.13; 3.11.46; 3.17.13) in the context of
On this subject, see F. Wilhelm: Politische Polemiken im Staatslehrbuch des
Kautalya, Wiesbaden, 1960; A. Wezler: "Über Form und Character der
sogenannten 'Polemiken im Staatslehrbuch des Kautalya'" in ZDMG Band 143,
1, 1993, pp.106 ff.; J. Fezas: "Remarques sur la forme de deux traités de
l'Inde Ancienne", in N. Balbir (ed.) Genres littéraires en Inde, Paris, 1994.

According to kAma-sUtra : 
(For the sanskrit text of the KS, see, in INDOLOGY files)
KS.1.1.5-8, the creator (prjApati) enunciated, in hundred thousand lessons,
a set of rules relating to the tri-varga. From this original set, manu,
bRhaspati and nandin, derived separate works, respectively devoted to
dharma, artha and kAma.

KS.1.2.21-24 ascribes to laukAyatikAH, (people only concerned with worldly
matters) opinions, according to which : Following the dharma is useless
because its result is future and doubtful; who, not being stupid, would
transfer something he holds in his hand into someone else's hand; a pigeon
today is better than a peacock tomorrow, just like an authentic copper coin
(kArSApaNa) is better than a doubtful gold coin (niSka)

The fact that lokAyatika is another name for the cArvAka is recorded in
Cowell's translation of the sarva-darzana-saMgraha (fourth edition,
London,1904) (see chapter 1 : "the charvaka system", it includes various
verses ascribed to bRhaspati).

See also the prabodhacandrodaya of kRSNamizra*, act II, where the
impersonification of materialism (cArvAka) says that the science of
politics is the only 'science', the triple (veda) being only a talk for
rogues (vatsa jAnAsi daNDa-nItir eva vidyA
 dhUrta-pralApas trayI),  which
shows the connection of politics and materialism, bRhaspati being the
original exponent of both. 
You'll find a very lively discussion of materialism in this play, including
verses like: "If the animal killed for a sacrifice is gaining paradise,
should not the one who orders a sacrifice have his own father executed?"
(nihatasya pazor yajJe svarga-prAptir yadIzyate / svapitA yajamAnena kið nu
kasmAn na hanyate), etc. 

*Sanskrit text and French translation : A. Pedraglio, Un drame allégorique
sanskrit, le prabodhacandrodaya 
, Paris, Institut de Civilisation
Indienne, 1974
Hoping it helps

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