Lokayata

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lokayata

 

(from Sanskrit, “directed to the world”), an ancient Indian materialistic doctrine. The actual works of the representatives of lokayata have not been preserved. Its founder is traditionally given as the ancient sage Brihaspati, who taught that the source of being was the always-existing principle of svabhava (nature). His views and the skeptical attitude toward the truthfulness of the Veda gave rise to lokayata; a later form was the hedonistic doctrine of sarvaka.

REFERENCE

Artkhashastra, ili Nauka politiki. Text prepared by V. I. Kal’ianov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959. (Translated from Sanskrit.)
Chattopadhyaya, D. Lokaiata darshana. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from English.)
Chattopadhyaya, D. Indiiskii ateizm. Moscow, 1973.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Skepticism about means to knowledge became associated with the later materialist Lokayata school, from the ninth century.
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Citation of a non-Buddhist sastra (1 passage): (23) A verse associated with the Lokayata tradition (PPMV 360.6-7); see Lokatattvanirnaya 113, in Suali 1887: 290
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Sen refers to the powerful effect of the Lokayata and Carvaka schools of thought from the first millennium CE which encouraged open debate, and supported the Mughal emperor Akbar in his famous open multi-religious dialogues in the late sixteenth century.
Lokayata, the materialist school, emphasized rationalism, laid the earliest Foundations of scientific methods of analysis and investigation, and provided the wellsprings for the efflorescence of Indian science, medicine, astronomy and the like.
European historians of Indian thought tended to forget that there had been many pre-vedic, non-vedic and even anti-vedic schools of thought which were quite popular with the people (Lokayata, Carvaka, Kapalika, etc.).