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RfC: Was Cārvāka a Hindu Nastika system?[edit]

See comments in white box. Formerip (talk) 13:49, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Result: Yes, Carvaka was a Hindu nastika system.

There doesn't seem to be any remaining dispute about this. The sourcing is clear (I've also been able to verify it for myself) and editors seem to be in agreement that what was initially contentious - the use of "Hindu" - is appropriate. Additional issues have been raised about whether is might be misleading for readers who have only a basic understanding about Hinduism. I don't think it's necessary to address those in detail, because this is not what was originally asked and the article appears stable at the moment. FWIW, though, I don't find the lead as it is currently written misleading.

Is it correct to say that Cārvāka was a "Hindu" nastika system? --Rahul (talk) 17:55, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

The lead mentions that "Cārvāka is classified as a heterodox Hindu (Nāstika) system.[1][2][3] However, the sources provided here seems to be unreliable or misrepresented. "Radhakrishnan and Moore" and "Galvin flood" does not support the assertion. "M.h.Siddiqui" is of dubious reliability and also does not directly say that it was a "Hindu" movement. I think the word "hindu" should be replaced with Indian.

The second line of the same paragraph states that "It is characterized as a materialistic and atheistic school of thought. While this branch of Indian philosophy is today not considered to be part of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, some describe it as an atheistic or materialistic philosophical movement within Hinduism.[4][5]" The sources seem to be misrepresented again. The Jain monk Haribhadra, for example is a primary source. The other mentioned source also does not back up the assertion. --Rahul (talk) 17:55, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ "Philosophical & Socio" by M.h.Siddiqui, p. 63|quote="Carvaka is classified as a "heterodox" (nastika) system", "part of the six orthodox schools of Hinduism"
  2. ^ Radhakrishnan and Moore, "Contents".
  3. ^ p. 224. Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  4. ^ Though this school of thought is not commonly considered as a part of six orthodox schools of Indian Philosophy, Haribhadra Suri, a Jain mendicant from c. seventh century, considers this school as a part of those six in his book ShaDdarshan Samucchaya. Potter, Karl H. (2007). The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies: Buddhist philosophy from 350 to 600 A.D. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publications. pp. 435–436. ISBN 978-81-208-1968-9. 
  5. ^ Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore. A Source book in Indian Philosophy. (Princeton University Press: 1957, Twelfth Princeton Paperback printing 1989) pp. 227–49. ISBN 0-691-01958-4.
(( Add the reflist so we can see what sources the numbers refer to. (talk) 15:08, 30 January 2014 (UTC) ))
Despite these sources seems to be large in amount, if you start mining for the sources, you may find many more reliable sources, that would be considering Carvaka as Hindu. Bladesmulti (talk) 18:06, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Follow Radhakrishnan and Moore, and Flood. Sources must not be misrepresented. Itsmejudith (talk) 08:42, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm a little surprised that this rfc was requested, and then edits made before even giving a chance for discussion. It would be sensible Rahul to revert and discuss this. FMMonty (talk) 14:56, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
I have self-reverted for now. --Rahul (talk) 15:30, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
  • In my view after reading the link provided by Bladesmulti in "Further Notes", Radakrishnan did NOT regard Lokayata/Cervaka as within orthodox Vedanta, but paved the way for that school by demolishing the old patterns of thought.Arildnordby (talk) 16:41, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Looking into that source provided in Further Notes this philosophical school of thought died out around 1000 AD (+-30%). However (this is a poor summary please read the source to see where I'm going, to help I have added in a few page numbers) parts of the philosophy passed into Jainism and Hinayana Buddhism, as well as into the philosophical schools of Samkhya and Vaisesika (p76). As Samkhya is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy (is it just me who finds a religion where you can be an atheist fascinating) I'm be inclined to make a couple of arguments.
  • Cārvāka was a nastika system (is there any argument over this?).
  • Elements of Cārvāka survive in Hindu philosophy as Samkhya (Samkhya is epistemologically very close to the Cārvāka system (p89), however it is Astika), Cārvāka sources were cited by Samkhya thinkers as authoritative (p84), so it was an accepted "Hindu" school of philosophy, if not orthodox Hindu.
I need to do a lot more reading, however on the grounds that Hinduism is variably a religion, a set of Indian philosophies, and a set of practices / way of life I think it'd be hard to find something you couldn't call Hindu rather than the other way round. FMMonty (talk) 11:15, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
There is no argument over the fact that Carvaka was a nastika system. The argument is whether it is a "Hindu" nastika system or not. I also agree that elements of Carvaka might have survived in Hindu philosophy, Jain philosophy and/or Buddhist philosophy. I think we can mention that Carvaka is an Indian nastika system in the lead (instead of Hindu). Also, either, we can remove the "Hinduism" template, or add "Jainism" and "Buddhism" templates too, since they also have parts of Carvaka philosophy. (Jainism, Buddhism and many other non-abrahamic religions are atheistic) I am in favor of removing Hinduism template. --Rahul (talk) 14:41, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Carvaka shares nothing so special with buddhism or Jainism. It is a heterodox Hindu nastika system. There isn't anything to argue, as the picture is clear. Tomorrow someone will make a new religion which will share similarities with Carvaka so we will need more templates? No. Bladesmulti (talk) 15:14, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Bladesmulti, if it was clear from what we currently have to hand this discussion wouldn't be continuing. Rahul and you do not share the same definition of Hindu. You can keep repeating it is a heterodox Hindu nastika system as often as you'd like, but unless you understand why Rahul disagrees you're setting yourself up for an eternal editwar.
Rahul, do you have any specific reason to believe that Carvaka, with its deep roots in Hindu thought is not an unorthodox line of thinking within the body of Hindu philosophy? FMMonty (talk) 15:41, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Carvaka, along with Ajivika, Jainism and Buddhism are some of the schools of thought which has their roots in Indian thought. Wikipedia relies on reliable sources, most of which clearly says that the above four philosophies are not part of Hinduism. We can write that Carvaka was an "Indian" hetrodox movement in the lead and discuss their precise relation with Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and other religions somewhere in the body of the article. --Rahul (talk) 18:24, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
No one is talking about Ajivika, Buddhism or Jainism. We already got reliable sources for confirming that Carvaka is classified as a heterodox Hindu (Nāstika) system, those I had posted on main page. They clearly confirm so. Hope you are not repeating yourself. Bladesmulti (talk) 04:36, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
OK, lets see if we can help with why it is hard to agree
  • Reference 1, page 63, Indian philosophy that shows a strand of materialism in Hinduism, note doesn't directly call it Hindu philosophy. Haven't read outside of p63.
  • Reference 2, Indian philosophy
  • Reference 3, I don't have access to Flood without requesting it from the library.
@Bladesmulti, the reason that Rahul doesn't agree is that you've not made a clear enough argument from the sources. It is both a Hindu philosophy and an Indian philosophy, which makes you both right, yet you're both trying to tell the other that they are wrong! To a follower of Buddhism / Jainism, Carvaka would be seen through the lens of their beliefs as a philosophy rejecting the past and helping strengthen parts of their faith. To a Hindu it would be seen as part of the rich history of philosophies making up the Hindu body of thought.
That said, if you look at pages 67 and 82, page 19, drawing from the more formal Halbfass, Wilhelm . (1988), India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding, State University of New York Press  you'll find that we should probably keep Hindu (pretty much the same argument I made earlier but made by people who aren't me), but it would be good to mention it's importance to the other faiths. FMMonty (talk) 01:29, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
I am still in favor of keeping "Indian" philosophy. If possible, please have a look at the conversation here at Talk:Cārvāka#Carvaka.2C_a_Hindu_philosopher.3F. I have also left messages at the talk page of User:Mayasutra and User:Kenfyre for more opinion. --Rahul (talk) 08:44, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
As I said, according to the sources it's both, and it would not be in agreement with the sources to not include both Indian and Hindu. I would suggest Carvaka was an Indian philosophy that is usually classified as a non orthodox, atheist Hindu philosophy. Using the terms heterodox or nastika are unnecessarily confusing. FMMonty (talk) 08:56, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
Firstly, are we on the same page on what we mean by Hinduism? The ancient texts, which describe Carvaka, don't use the word Hindu. Because the word have not come into use then. Carvaka, if described as Hindu anywhere, are done so by some modern scholars. Originally, Hindu was used to describe all the people living east of the Indus. Later, it came to refer to the religion/set of philosophies. If we describe Hinduism as the set of all philosophies originating in India, it would include Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism along with Carvaka. As some have mentioned, Carvaka, Buddhism and Jainism were categorised as Nastika philosophies, philosophies that were contrary to Vedic principles. Vedic religion was much different from modern Hinduism. I propose that if Carvaka has been called a Hindu philosophy, it should be explicitly mentioned by whom. But, it should be not be in the introductory sections. Kenfyre (talk) 03:31, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Hi @Kenfyre, can you clarify something for me please. As far as I can see from the current sources the prevailing view is that Carvaka was atheist, opposed to Vedic principles, and stopped being mainstream about 1000 years ago. The current sources we have available (on this page) also say that scholars these days usually classify Carvaka as a non orthodox Hindu philosophy. Do you disagree with any of those statements / sources? FMMonty (talk) 09:09, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

No, I don't disagree with those sources. But, I am opposed to putting them in the introductory section. The Oxford Dictionary defines Hindusim as, "a major religious and cultural tradition of South Asia, which developed from Vedic religion". Thus, layperson arriving via a search will be left confused by such an introduction, if he is not aware of the intricacies of Hinduism. Kenfyre (talk) 17:12, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm glad we're all on the same page with the sources. Now all we need to do is agree the wording. I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you think people will find confusing, so I can't suggest some changes. What do you think would be confusing? FMMonty (talk) 18:03, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
If the word "Hindu", if means a follower of the religion of "Hinduism", then Charvaka cannot be described as a "Hindu". The authoritative books on Hinduism such as flood and Dongier does not mention Charvaka as hetrodox Hinduism. However, the word is ambiguous. For example, according to the constitution of India the followers of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism etc. are collectively called as Hindu. This might be the reason that Indian authors characterize charvaka as a Hindu movement, because the word "Hindu", in this sense is synonymous to the word "Indian". --Rahul (talk) 18:49, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Ah, I see your point. However I can't imagine anyone who doesn't have an interest in philosophy coming onto the page of a 1000 year old philosophy, that'd be a little like accidently stumbling onto Heraclitus. Actually Heraclitus is a good example simply because he wasn't considered to be within a school of thought at the time, however later followers were classified as Heracliteans, and eventually (somewhat changed) Stoics. I'm not convinced that avoiding the statement that these days it is usually classified as a Hindu philosophy is necessary, however I'd like to work with you guys on how that could best be worded. What we don't want is to give the idea that it is a Hindu religious sect, as that would be way off base. FMMonty (talk) 19:18, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
FMMonty, the other way someone might arrive at Talk:Cārvāka is via AN/I.  :-)   The discussion seems to have trailed off, but without decisions being finalized into mainspace. Currently the article is in the somewhat-confusing state of having the Hindu-infoboxen up top, as preferred by Bladesmulti, and the "Indian" keyword in the first sentence, as preferred by Rahul. We might end up with Sophists infoboxen, if we aren't careful! Can you please suggest a compromise-wording, that covers what you think the sources are telling us here? I had never heard of Cārvāka before, and am not versed in either the ancient or the modern languages that describe it best, plus as Rahul says the original primaries are lost, so I have little to put forward in the way of prose-suggestions of my own at the moment. But if you are willing, please put forward some suggested wordings, either one at a time or several in a bunch, and we'll see what folks think is closest to the sources. Thanks for improving wikipedia, please drop a note on my talkpage if you reply, and I don't respond promptly. p.s. Suggest making an arbitrary section break since this is getting pretty long in the tooth. (talk) 00:06, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Further notes[edit]

Radhakrishnan viewed Carvaka as orthodox vedantin.[1] Bladesmulti (talk) 10:24, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ James Thrower. [[1] The Alternative Tradition: Religion and the Rejection of Religion in the Ancient World]. Walter de Gruyter. p. 54. ISBN 9789027979971.