Hedonism vs Dharma – Part 1

Hedonism, as a philosophy, gives great importance to the pleasure of an individual. Nothing is more important than pleasure. The aim of life is to enjoy pleasure (and avoid pain completely as much as possible).

Thus, most hedonists are also great supporters of individual freedom. They will support the freedom of an individual to do whatever he/she wants unless it hurts another individual. Traditional morals/ethics do not matter to them.

Ancient India had a school of hedonistic atheism – lokAyata. One branch of it, the niilapat.a (aka niilAmbara) made hedonism the basis of their very existence. The famed tolerance of Hindus towards diverse philosophical traditional found its limit with the niilapat.a doctrine. Jayanta bhat.t.a ad RAjA Bhoja of Dhar made it a point to exterminate this sect. niilapat.as’ belief could be summarized as follows:

“Indulge in coitus with any woman/man you like. Give up social norms (let there be no barriers to pleasure). Drink wine as much as you want. In short, do whatever gives you pleasure.”

Jayanta understood that even faithful wives will be instigated to leave their households as all restraints are rejected by this cult. Family system will cease to exist and with it, the entire society will fall into abyss. The community will cease to exist in a few generations. That is the reason why Jayanta and Bhoja exterminated this cult.

This opposition to unadulterated hedonism is one major reason for the continued survival of Hinduism despite the various onslaughts throughout the centuries. Greek and Roman pagans became extinct as they had taken to hedonistic values. Various civilizations have met their end within a short span of taking to hedonism – the end result of which was undermining the family system (Sumeria, Greece, Rome, Persia). We will take a detailed look at these cultures and how hedonism undermined them in the next post.

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4 thoughts on “Hedonism vs Dharma – Part 1”

  1. The claim that there was a ‘school’ called Lokayata is a concoction by Marxist Indologists. There was never a school of thought in that name. It only denotes the common tendency among people to behave with utilitarian motive in sensual manner.

    The niilapata is a branch of Tantric method practised in Srilanka. The difference between hedonism and tantra is pretty huge and vast.

    1. LokAyata is not just a ‘Marxist concoction’. Sarva dars’ana sam.graha of s’rI MAdhavacArya mentions it as one of the main dars’anas. s’rI vedAnta des’ika also mentions lokAyata in his paramatabhanga. Maybe, you want to categorize these two Hindu giants as Marxists? The niilapat.a mentioned here is hedonism par excellence and was identified as a cult of decadence by both Jayanta and Bhoja. Are you trying to say that you have more knowledge about niilpat.a doctrine then Jayanta and Bhoja? Consider this, Madhava, Des’ika, Jayanta and Bhoja were great scholars who studied and learned about various sects thoroughly (unlike you who is commenting about things without even learning the source texts). It has become the practice of many of the so called Hindu right to behave as if they know about everything under the sun. And we are seeing that most of them have never even looked at the original texts, let alone read them. They simply seem to follow one or other baba/’Indian Indologist’ and simply repeat like a parrot whatever their ‘idol’ has written/claimed.
      And what is the proof for the claim that niilapat.a was a tantrik method in LankA? Niilapat.a entered lankA from India (as many other doctrines). If niilapat.a can be called as a tAntrika doctrine, then even Marxism can be called one. Niilapat.a was a heretical sect which was put down by Sena II of lankA. But of course, there is no point in discussing with people who make false claims without reading/learning (reminds me of Witzel who derided Talageri’s first book without even seeing the book).

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