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Vaisheshika
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Vaisheshika or Vaieika (Sanskrit: ) is one of the six Hindu schools
of philosophy (Vedic systems) of India. Historically, it has been closely associated with the Hindu
school of logic, Nyaya.
Vaisheshika espouses a form of atomism and postulates that all objects in the physical universe are
reducible to a finite number of atoms. Originally proposed by the sage Kada (or Kana-bhuk,
literally, atom-eater) around the 2nd century BC.
[1]

Contents
[hide]
1 Overview
2 Literature of Vaisheshika
3 The Categories or Padrtha
4 Epistemology and syllogism
5 The atomic theory
6 Later developments
7 Views by the Vedanta School
8 See also
9 Notes
10 References
11 External links
Overview[edit]
Although the Vaisheshika system developed independently from the Nyaya, the two eventually
merged because of their closely related metaphysical theories. In its classical form, however, the
Vaishesika school differed from the Nyaya in one crucial respect: where Nyaya accepted four
sources of valid knowledge, the Vaishesika accepted only perception and inference. Although not
among Kanada's original philosophies,.
[2]

An alternative view would qualify the above in that the holism evident in the ancient texts mandate
the identification of six separate traditional environments of philosophy, consisting of three sets of
two pairs.
Literature of Vaisheshika[edit]
The earliest systematic exposition of the Vaisheshika is found in the Vaieika
Stra of Kada (or Kaabhaksha). This treatise is divided into ten books. The two commentaries on
the Vaieika Stra, Rvaabhya and Bhradvjavtti are no more
extant. Praastapdas Padrthadharmasagraha (c. 4th century) is the next important work of this
school. Though commonly known as bhya of Vaieika Stra, this treatise is basically an
independent work on the subject. The next Vaisheshika treatise, Candras Daapadrthastra (648)
based on Praastapdas treatise is available only in Chinese translation. The earliest commentary
available onPraastapdas treatise is Vyomaivas Vyomavat (8th century). The other three
commentaries are ridharas Nyyakandal (991), Udayanas Kiranvali (10th century)
and rivatsas Llvat (11th century). ivdityas Saptapadrth which also belongs to the same
period, presents the Nyya and the Vaieika principles as a part of one whole. akara
Miras Upaskra on Vaieika Stra is also an important work.
[3]

The Categories or Padrtha[edit]
According to the Vaisheshika school, all things which exist, which can be cognised, and which can
be named are padrthas (literal meaning: the meaning of a word), the objects of experience. All
objects of experience can be classified into six
categories, dravya (substance), gua (quality), karma (activity), smnya (generality), viea(particul
arity) and samavya (inherence). Later Vaieikas (rdhara and Udayana and ivditya) added one
more category abhava (non-existence). The first three categories are defined as artha (which can
perceived) and they have real objective existence. The last three categories are defined
as budhyapekam (product of intellectual discrimination) and they are logical categories.
[4]

1.Dravya (substance): The substances are conceived as 9 in number. They
are, pthv (earth), ap (water), tejas (fire), vyu (air), kaa (ether), kla (time), dik (space),tman (sel
f or soul) and manas (mind). The first five are called bhtas, the substances having some specific
qualities so that they could be perceived by one or the other external senses.
[5]

2.Gua (quality): The Vaieika Stra mentions 17 guas (qualities), to which Praastapda added
another 7. While a substance is capable of existing independently by itself, a gua(quality) cannot
exist so. The original 17 guas (qualities)
are, rpa (colour), rasa (taste), gandha (smell), spara (touch), sakhy (number), parima(size/di
mension/quantity), pthaktva (individuality), sayoga (conjunction/accompaniments), vibhga (disjun
ction), paratva (priority), aparatva (posteriority), buddhi(knowledge), sukha (pleasure), dukha (pain),
icch (desire), dvea (aversion) and prayatna (effort). To
these Praastapda added gurutva (heaviness), dravatva(fluidity), sneha (viscosity), dharma (merit),
adharma (demerit), abda (sound) and saskra (faculty).
[6]

3.Karma (activity): The karmas (activities) like guas (qualities) have no separate existence, they
belong to the substances. But while a quality is a permanent feature of a substance, an activity is a
transient one. ka (ether), kla (time), dik (space) and tman (self), though substances, are
devoid of karma (activity).
[7]

4.Smnya (generality): Since there are plurality of substances, there will be relations among them.
When a property is found common to many substances, it is calledsmnya.
[8]

5.Viea (particularity): By means of viea, we are able to perceive substances as different from
one another. As the ultimate atoms are innumerable so are thevieas.
[9]

6.Samavya (inherence): Kada defined samavya as the relation between the cause and the
effect. Praastapda defined it as the relationship existing between the substances that are
inseparable, standing to one another in the relation of the container and the contained. The relation
of samavya is not perceivable but only inferable from the inseparable connection of the
substances.
[10]

Epistemology and syllogism[edit]
The early Vaieika epistemology considered only pratyaka (perception) and anumna (inference)
as the pramas (means of valid knowledge). The other two means of valid knowledge accepted by
the Nyya school, upamna (comparison) and abda (verbal testimony) were considered as
included in anumna.
[11]
The syllogism of the Vaieika school was similar to that of the Nyya, but
the names given by Praastapda to the 5 members of syllogism are different.
[12]

The atomic theory[edit]
The early Vaieika texts presented the following syllogism to prove that all objects i.e. the
four bhtas, pthv (earth), ap (water), tejas (fire) and vyu (air) are made of indivisible paramus
(atoms): Assume that the matter is not made of indivisible atoms, and that it is continuous. Take a
stone. One can divide this up into infinitely many pieces (since matter is continuous). Now, the
Himalayan mountain range also has infinitely many pieces, so one may build another Himalayan
mountain range with the infinite number of pieces that one has. One begins with a stone and ends
up with the Himalayas, which is a paradox - so the original assumption that matter is continuous
must be wrong, and so all objects must be made up of a finite number of paramus (atoms).
According to the Vaieika school, the trasareu (dust particles visible in the sunbeam coming
through a small window hole) are the smallest mahat (perceivable) particles and defined
as tryaukas (triads). These are made of three parts, each of which are defined as dvyauka (dyad).
The dvyaukas are conceived as made of two parts, each of which are defined as paramu (atom).
The paramus (atoms) are indivisible and eternal, they can neither be created nor
destroyed.
[13]
Eachparamu (atom) possesses its own distinct viea (individuality).
[14]

The measure of the partless atoms is known as parimaala parima. It is eternal and it cannot
generate the measure of any other substance. Its measure is its own absolutely.
[15]

Later developments[edit]
Over the centuries, the school merged with the Nyaya school of Indian philosophy to form the
combined school of nyya-vaieika. The school suffered a natural decline in India after the 15th
century.
Views by the Vedanta School[edit]
The Vaisheshikas say that the visible universe is created from an original stock of atoms (janim
asata). As Kada's Vaieika Stra (7.1.26) states, nitya parimaalam (that which is of the
smallest size, the atom, is eternal), he and his followers also postulate eternality for other, nonatomic
entities, including the souls who become embodied, and even a Supreme Soul. But in Vaieika
cosmology the souls and the Supersoul play only token roles in the atomic production of the
universe. The Brahma Sutra (2.2.12) says ubhayathpi na karmatas tad-abhava. According to this
stra, one cannot claim that, at the time of creation, atoms first combine together because they are
impelled by some karmic impulse adhering in the atoms themselves, since atoms by themselves, in
their primeval state before combining into complex objects, have no ethical responsibility that might
lead them to acquire pious and sinful reactions. Nor can the initial combination of atoms be
explained as a result of the residual karma of the living entities who lie dormant prior to creation,
since these reactions are each jiva's own and cannot be transferred from them even to other jvas,
what to speak of inert atoms.
See also[edit]
Darshanas
Hindu philosophy
Hinduism
Nyaya (philosophy)
Padrtha
Vaieika Stra
Notes[edit]
1. Jump up^ Oliver Leaman, Key Concepts in Eastern
Philosophy. Routledge, 1999, page 269.
2. Jump up^ Kevin Burns: "Eastern Philosophy", Enchanted Lion Books,
2006
3. Jump up^ Radhakrishnan 2006, pp. 18081
4. Jump up^ Radhakrishnan 2006, pp. 18386
5. Jump up^ Chattopadhyaya 1986, p. 169
6. Jump up^ Radhakrishnan 2006, p. 204
7. Jump up^ Radhakrishnan 2006, pp. 20809
8. Jump up^ Radhakrishnan 2006, p. 209
9. Jump up^ Radhakrishnan 2006, p. 215
10. Jump up^ Radhakrishnan 2006, pp. 21619
11. Jump up^ Chattopadhyaya 1986, p. 170
12. Jump up^ Radhakrishnan 2006, p. 75ff
13. Jump up^ Chattopadhyaya 1986, pp. 16970
14. Jump up^ Radhakrishnan 2006, p. 202
15. Jump up^ Dasgupta 1975, p. 314
References[edit]
Chattopadhyaya, D. (1986), Indian Philosophy: A Popular
Introduction, Peoples Publishing House, New Delhi, ISBN 81-7007-
023-6.
Dasgupta, Surendranath (1975), A History of Indian Philosophy,
Vol. I, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, ISBN 81-208-0412-8.
Radhakrishnan, S. (2006), Indian Philosophy, Vol. II, Oxford
University Press, New Delhi, ISBN 0-19-563820-4.
External links[edit]
A summary of Vaisheshika physics
Shastra Nethralaya - Vaisheshika
GRETIL e-text of the Vaieika Stras
[hide]
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