BR^ihaspati and the Caarvaakas.

S Krishna mahadevasiva at
Tue Jul 1 19:45:35 UTC 1997

Anshuman Pandey writes:
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?

As far as I can tell,this maxim seems to be the Sanskritized version of 
the modern day"Yesterday is a cancelled check, Tommorrow is but a 
promissory note, so earn all that you can today!" This seems to be a 
line from a much bigger verse( Kalidasa also has a verse in the same 
vein, this has been quoted by many authors including Dale Carnegie)
in which case one would have to go through all secondary texts refering 
to Brhaspatis work and look for the requisite verse. (It does not seem 
to me that this is a proverb from the Hitopadesa/Jatakas which have 
stories involving animals/birds etc)....Since this is looking for a 
needle in a haystack, I would suggest contacting the author 

It must also be noted that since Brhaspati seems to have been the 
name of a mythical character as well as a Rishi( and Dr Bockington says 
that "later, the maxim was attributed to him"), the said 
originator would have been the later day Rishi instead of the 
originalmythical character in which case the Katahsaritasaagara MAY 

Anshuman Pandey:
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?

As far as the connection between Brhaspati and Carvaka is concerned,
S.N.Dasgupta, D.P.Chattopadhyaya and S.K.Belvalkar mention that Carvaka 
was a sishya of Brhaspati. It was his doctrine that later provided the 
basis of Caarvakas hedonistic philosophy. Hedonistic philosophy is also 
called Barhaspatya. Brhaspati advocated a rational examination of 
scripture and questioned certain stands of scripture which he found 
illogical. Caarvaka extended this theory to include overt hedonism and 
to include "Naastikatavaada". According to D.P.Chattopadhyaya,Caru is a 
synonym for Brhaspati. Carvaaka translates as "sweet/convincing speech" 
or "Carus speech". He attempts to link the very word "Caarvaka" to 

 There are 2 different theories for saying that Brhaspati is the father 
of politics. I am not sure if the 2 theories refer to the same 
Brhaspati. One Brhaspati seems to be the Sage/Advisor to the heavenly 
beings and another seems to be a later day Rishi( but this is my opinion 
only and I welcome corrections).

 1. Brhaspati was the "Guru", guide and advisor to the DEvas. In order 
to confuse the ASuras, he is supposed to have taken on the form of
Sukra, the Guru of the Asuras and confused them into thinking that right 
was wrong and wrong was right. This is mentioned in passing in the 
Maitri Upanishad, one of post-Sankara upanishads. This led to Brhaspati 
being called the "Guru of Politics" since he resorted to political 
tactics in order to ensure the supermacy of the Devas.

2.  Works transmitted from the Carvaaka school say that Brhaspati helped 
set up the school of politics which came to be known as "lokayata". 
Since this precedes the schools set up by Chanakya or Ushanas, they 
claim that Brhaspati is the father of politics. No work written by 
Brhaspati is directly available, though there are secondary sources 
which give tracts/sections of his works on politics.( This is what makes 
me think that in reply to your first question i.e. which text by 
Brhaspati refers to the maxim, that the author quotes a swcondary source 
instead of a primary source). The philospher Jayantabhatt alludes to 
Brhaspatis "materialistic" and "opposed to spiritual" views in his 
This seems to be another reason for his being called the father of 

>This ought to fill my question quota for the week.

This fulfills my posting quota for the DAY!;-);-)


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