Barhaspatya sutras

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Bārhaspatya-sūtras (a patronymic of Brhaspati), also Lokāyata ("materialistic", "atheistic") sutras were the foundational text of the Cārvāka school of "materialist" (nastika) philosophy.

Probably dating to the final centuries BC (the Mauryan period), these texts have been lost, and are known only from fragmentary quotations. Dakshinaranjan Shastri in 1928 published 60 such verses. In 1959, he published 54 selected verses as Barhaspatya sutram. Shastri was of the opinion that many more fragments could be recovered. Bhattacharya (2002) attempts a new reconstruction, with the caveat that the more verses are listed, the greater the uncertainty that it will be either misquoted or foreign materials included as a part of the text.

Most of the fragments are found in works dated to the Indian Middle Ages, between roughly the 8th and 12th centuries. The extensive 14th century treatise on Indian philosophy by Sayana, the Sarvadarshanasamgraha, gives a detailed account of Cārvāka, but it doesn't quote Cārvāka texts directly, instead paraphrasing the doctrine according to the understanding of a learned 14th century Vedantin. Bhattacharya lists 68 items on 9 pages.


  • Dakshinaranjan Shastri, Charvaka philosophy, Purogami Prakashani (1967)
  • R. Bhattacharya, Carvaka Fragments: A New Collection, Journal of Indian Philosophy, Volume 30, Number 6, December 2002, pp. 597-640.