The Charvakas are atheists who deny the existence of the soul after the death of the body. The materialists who worship the body as the soul and who deny the existence of a soul independent of the body, which is separate from the body, are also atheists. The Charvakas, the Lokayatikas, and the materialists believe that the body only is the soul and the soul does not exist outside the body. They also believe that the soul dies when the body dies.
They say that the soul is formed by the combination of the five elements, just as the red colour is formed by the combination of betel leaves, nuts and lime; or just as an intoxicating liquor is formed by the combination of some ingredients. Is this not a beautiful philosophy? It is the philosophy of the flesh. It is the philosophy of Virochana and his followers.
They believe in nothing which cannot be cognised by the senses. They will not admit the existence of anything which lies beyond the reach of their senses. They want ocular proof for everything. They must see the soul with the naked eyes. Then only they will believe in the existence of a soul. They do not know that the soul can be intuitively realised and that it is not an object of perception. Their philosophy is “Eat, drink and be merry. Have sensual enjoyment to the maximum degree. Do not think of the future. If you have no money, beg or borrow it and then eat and drink. Then again drink, because when the body is burnt to ashes, no one will have to be accountable for your actions.” Such philosophers are abundant in every country. Their number is increasing daily. There are many who do not believe at all in the existence of a soul.
The Charvakas and the materialists do not bother about reincarnation or transmigration of souls, about philosophical questions like “Who am I? Whence and where? Whither? What remains after death? What is life? What is death? What is then on the other side of death? When the body dies what conditions shall man pass into; in which world shall he find himself?” They think that those who make such enquiries are ignorant persons and that they are the only clever and wise persons. No argument can convince them or change their views. They have written volumes after volumes against the existence of the soul. Wonderful people indeed with perverted intellects!
Most of the modern college students of India, the children of the ancient Rishis and Seers of India, have become followers of the above philosophy on account of wrong education and wrong association. They are in the grip of the devil. They are in the clutches of fashion and passion. They have left off prayer, Sandhya, Gayatri Japa, Satsanga, study of the Gita and the Upanishads, the Ramayana and the Bhagavata. They are worshippers of the body. They practise vile imitation in dress etc. They visit hotels, restaurants, clubs and cinemas regularly, play cards and study novels enthusiastically. They have no idea of the financial difficulties of their parents and spend hundreds monthly. After graduation they cannot earn even fifty. Ignorant parents foolishly imagine that their sons will become big judges, big engineers, barristers and civilians and educate them even by borrowing money and selling their lands. Then eventually they find them in the role of the unemployed. Nature surely punishes wicked students.
The Charvakas and materialists hold that the combination of matter or body produces thought, intelligence, consciousness, mind and soul, and that consciousness, etc., last so long as the body lasts. They believe that thought or intelligence or consciousness is a function or secretion of the brain, just as bile is a secretion of the liver. Very strange indeed! Combination of atoms and molecules can never generate thought, intelligence or consciousness. Motion cannot produce sensation, ideas and thoughts. Consciousness or intelligence is verily not an act of motion. No scientist can prove that matter or force has ever produced consciousness or intelligence. The Charvakas and the materialists are deluding themselves by various false arguments. They have lost their power of discrimination on account of sensual indulgence. They have not got the subtle pure intellect to discern things in their proper light. Consciousness, intelligence and bliss are the attributes of the Universal Soul. This body is constantly changing. This physical body, which is a combination of the five elements, will be destroyed. But the eternal Soul which is the basis, substratum and source for matter, energy, mind will ever remain. The sense of ‘I’ will continue to exist even after this body perishes. You can never think or imagine that you do not exist after the body is destroyed. There is an innate feeling in you that you do exist after the body is gone. This proves that there is an immortal soul independent of the body. The soul can never be demonstrated, but its existence can be inferred by certain empirical facts.
The innate question: “What remains after death? What becomes of the soul after the death of the body? Where is he gone? Does he still exist?” spontaneously arises in all minds. This is a momentous question which touches the hearts of all deeply. The same question arises today in all people of all countries, as it arose thousands of years ago. No one can stop this. The same question is discussed today and it will be discussed in the future also. From ancient times, philosophers, sages, saints, Yogins, thinkers, Swamis, metaphysicians and prophets have tried their best to solve this great problem.
When you lead a life of luxury, when you are rolling in wealth, you forget it. But the moment you see that one of your dearest relations is snatched away by the cruel hand of death you are struck with awe and wonder and begin to reflect within yourself. “Where is he gone? Does he still exist? Is there a soul independent of body? He cannot be totally annihilated. His impressions of thoughts and actions cannot die.”
The seers of Upanishads boldly declared with emphasis on account of their intuitive realisation that there is One All-pervading Immortal Soul, Self-luminous, All-Blissful, Birthless, Decayless, Deathless, Timeless, Spaceless, Thoughtless, and that the individual soul is identical with this Supreme Soul when his limiting adjuncts such as body and mind are dissolved when he is freed from ignorance through knowledge of the Imperishable Soul. Soul is the Inner Ruler and Director of the mind, Prana and senses. Mind borrows its light from the soul.
Soul is beyond the realm of physical science. Soul is beyond the reach of material science. Man is a soul wearing a physical body. Soul is extremely subtle. It is subtler than ether, mind and energy. Consciousness, intelligence are of the soul and not of the body. Consciousness is evidence of the existence of the soul. Personality of man is a brief, partial manifestation of the Immortal, All-pervading, Indivisible Soul or Atman or Brahman. Soul is the immortal part in man. O ignorant man, who has been led astray by the study of those books which deny the existence of an Immortal Soul, wake up now from the slumber of ignorance. Open your eyes. You have already reserved a seat for you in hell and obtained a direct passport to this dark region by study of heaven-closing worthless books. Burn these books at once, and study the Gita and the Upanishads. Do Japa, Kirtan and meditation regularly and thoroughly overhaul your wrong Samskaras. Then only you are saved from destruction.
Do not identify with this body. You are not this perishable body. You are the Immortal Soul. Identify yourself with the soul. “Tat Tvam Asi—Thou art That”. Feel this. Realise this and be free.
~ Swami Sivananda