Atheism in Hinduism

Atheism (Sanskrit: IAST|"nir-īśvara-vāda", lit. "statement of no Lord", "doctrine of godlessness") or disbelief in God or gods has been a historically propounded viewpoint in many of the ‘heterodox’ and astika streams of Hindu philosophies. [ [ THE SPEAKING TREE
The Atheistic Roots of Hindu Philosophy-Editorial-Opinion-The Times of India
] [ [ Atheism in Hinduism Verify source|date=May 2008 ] ]

Astika atheism

The term Sanskrit "IAST|Āstika" ("pious, orthodox") is sometimes translated as "theist" and "IAST|Nāstika" as "atheist". Sanskrit "IAST|asti" means "there is", and "IAST|Āstika" per Panini 4.2.60 is derived from the verb, meaning "one who says "IAST|'asti'", one who believes in the existence [of God, of another world, &c.] " [Monier-Williams (1899)] When used as a technical term in Hindu philosophy the term IAST|Āstika refers to belief in the Vedas, not belief in the existence of God.

There are six schools of thought within Hinduism addressed as the "Shat (Astik) Darshana" ("darshana" meaning "viewpoint.") Within the Astika schools of Hindu philosophy, the Samkhya and the early Mimamsa school did not accept a God in their respective systems.

The atheistic viewpoint as present in the Samkhya and Mimamsa schools of Hindu philosophy takes the form of rejecting a creator-God. The Samkhya school believed in a dual existence of Prakriti ("nature") and Purusha ("spirit") and had no place for an Ishvara ("God") in its system. The early Mimamsakas believed in a "adrishta" ("unseen") that was the result of performing "karmas" ("works") and saw no need for an Ishvara in their system. Mimamsa, as a philosophy, deals exclusively with karma and thus is sometimes called "Karma-Mimamsa". The karmas dealt with in Mimamsa concern the performance of Yajnas ("sacrifices to gods") enjoined in the Vedas.

The Vedanta philosophy had its practitioners advocating a Nirguna Brahman of which the most prominent example is Adi Shankara.

Nastika atheism

In Indian philosophy, three schools of thought are commonly referred to as "Nastikas": Jainism, Buddhism and Cārvāka for rejecting the doctrine of Vedas. "Nastika" refers to the non-belief of Vedas rather than non-belief of God. However, all these schools also rejected a notion of creationist god and so the word Nastik became strongly associated with them. Cārvāka, an atheistic school of Indian philosophy, traces its origins to 600 BCE. It was a hedonistic school of thought, advocating that there is no afterlife. Cārvāka philosophy appears to have died out some time after 1400 CE. Buddhism and Jainism also have their origins before 300 BCE but are not hedonistic. It is debated whether the ancient followers of the Jain and Buddha paths were Hindu or non-Hindu because they, like Hinduism, discussed the Arya Sangh, karma, brahman and Moksha. Also worth mentioning are the [ Ājīvikas] (now an extinct religion), whose founder, Makkhali Gosala, was a contemporary of Mahavira and Gautama Buddha (the central figures of Jainism and Buddhism, respectively). Gosala and his followers also denied the existence of a creator god. [History and Doctrines of the Ājīvikas: A Vanished Indian Religion]

Hindu atheists in recent times

The Indian Nobel Prize-winner Amartya Sen, in an interview with Pranab Bardhan for the "California Magazine" published in the July-August 2006 edition by the University of California, Berkeley states: [ [ California Magazine ] ]

Prominent atheists

*Jawaharlal Nehru
* Well-known personality, Veer Savarkar, who was president of Hindu Mahasabha, was an atheist. [cite book
title = Towards Understanding Communalism
first = Pramod
last = Kumar
publisher = Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development
location = Chandigarh
year = 1992
isbn = 9788185835174
oclc = 27810012
pages = 348
quote = VD Savarkar was publicly an atheist.Even when he was the Hindu Mahasabha leader he used to publicly announce and advertise lectures on atheism, on why god is not there and why all religions are false. That is why when defining Hindutva, he said, Hindutva is not defined by religion and tried to define it in a non-religious term: Punyabhoomi.
] [cite book
title = Time Warps: The Insistent Politics of Silent and Evasive Pasts
first = Ashis
last = Nandy
publisher = Orient Longman
location = Delhi
year = 2003
isbn = 9788178240718
oclc = 49616949
pages = 71
] He is credited for developing a Hindu nationalist political ideology he termed as Hindutva (Hinduness).
* The first Hindu woman in British politics was Shreela Flather, Baroness Flather of Windsor and Maidenhead. She described herself as a "Hindu atheist". Broadly, she is an atheist with affinity to secular aspects of Hindu culture such as dress and diet. [ ]
*K. Shivaram Karanth- Jnanapita award winner was an atheist. He reflects his beliefs in his novel "Mookajjiya Kanasugalu".Fact|date=September 2008
*Poornachandra Tejaswi - prominent Kannada writer was an outspoken atheist.Fact|date=September 2008
*S. Nijalingappa - Former chief minister of Karnataka. Fact|date=September 2008
*A. N. Murthy Rao - Prominent Kannada writer who wrote acclaimed book "Devaru"(God) rejecting the concept of god.
*Goparaju Ramachandra Rao, called "Gora", atheist activist, along with his wife Saraswathi GoraFact|date=January 2008
*G. A. Kulkarni - a famous Marathi writer has expressed his atheist views through his correspondence with other famous literary figures like Sunitabai Deshpande, Jayawant Dalvi, Shri.Na. Pendse, et al. ["G.A.-chi Nivadak Patre: Khand 1 & 2" (Selected Letters of G.A. : Part 1 & 2), Mauj Prakashan]
*Dr. Shriram Lagoo - a famous film and theatre actor, who also is a rationalist & atheist activist.Fact|date=August 2008
*Vijay Tendulkar [] - a famous Marathi writer and dramatist who was also known to be an atheist.
*Kamal Haasan, world acclaimed film actor and a self-professed atheist, is known for making films having themes of both atheism and brahminism.Fact|date=August 2008
*Beechi -- the great Kannada humourist-philosopher was a known atheist, whose 'positive atheism' is similar to that of Douglas Adams.Fact|date=August 2008
*Yogi Vemana -- the great Telugu poet-philosopher was a known atheist.Fact|date=September 2008
*H. Narasimhaiah Kannada freedom fighter and socialist.Fact|date=September 2008
*Periyar E. V. Ramasamy


External links

* [ Modern Hinduism, Atheism, and their philosophical roots]

ee also

*Ajita Kesakambali

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