Acharya Kanada: The Father of Atomic Theory - Deepstash

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Acharya Kanada: The Father of Atomic Theory

Acharya Kanada: The Father of Atomic Theory


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7. Acharya Kanada

Modern science credits the atomic theory to an English chemist and physicist named John Dalton (1766-1844). However, not many people are aware that a theory of atoms was formulated approximately 2500 years before Dalton by an Indian sage and philosopher named Acharya Kanada.  

Kashyap displayed a keen sense of detail since childhood and minute things attracted his attention.As a young boy, he once accompanied his father on a pilgrimage to Prayaga. He noticed that thousands of pilgrims in the town were littering its roads with flowers and grains of rice which they offer...

around him and started wondering why he was acting in such a strange manner. 

When questioned about why he was collecting grains of rice that even a beggar wouldn’t touch,Kashyap replied that one grain in itself may seem worthless but a collection of some hundred grains make up a person’s m...

Anu (Atom) Indestructible Particle

It was Kanada who first realized the idea that “anu” (atom) was an indestructible particle of matter. 

This theory occurred to him while he was walking with food in his hand.  As he nibbled at the food in his hand, throwing away the small part...

Vaisheshika School And Vaisheshika Sutra

He called this indivisible matter, “anu” which literally means atom. He founded the Vaisheshika School of philosophy where he taught his ideas and the nature of the universe.  He authored the text “Vaisesika Sutras” or Aphorisms, pioneering theatomic t...

Adherents of this philosophy further held that atoms of same substance combined with each other to produce dvyanuka (bi-atomic molecules) and tryanuka (tri-atomic molecules). This devinuka has the properties similar to those of the two original paramanu. Kanada also put forward the idea that atom...

Gurutva ( Gravity)

His primary area of study was Rasavādam, considered to be a type of alchemy. He is said to have believed that all living beings are composed of five elements: water, fire, earth, air, ether. Vegetables have only water, insects have water and fire, birds have water, fire, earth and air, and Humans...

Accordingly, the universe is the interplay of seven aspects or states of material things, namely:

  1. Dravyam (matter)
  2. Guna (Quality)
  3. Karma (Action)
  4. Samanya (Generic species)
  5. Vi...

  1. Prithvi (Earth)
  2. Jala (Water)
  3. Teja (Light)
  4. Vaayu (Gas)
  5. Aakaasa (Ether)
  6. Dika (Direction / space dimension)
  7. Kaala (Time)
  8. Maanas (Mind)
  9. Atma (Soul)

Kanada defined‘life’ as an ...

Systematic Realist Ontology

The school founded by Kanada explains the creation and existence of the universe by proposing an atomistic theory, applying logic and realism, and is one of the earliest known systematic realist ontology in human history.

Kanada suggested that everything can be subdivided, but this subdivis...

Concept Of Atman

He used these ideas with the concept of Atman (soul, Self) to develop a means to moksha. If viewed from the prism of physics, his ideas imply a clear role for the observer as independent of the system being studied.

Kanada's ideas were influential on other schools of Hinduism, and over its...

Multiple Hindu texts dated to the 1st and 2nd century CE, such as the Mahavibhasa and Jnanaprasthana from the Kushan Empire, quote and comment on Kanada's doctrines.His ideas are also mentioned in Buddhist texts attributed to Aśvaghoṣa of the same period.

In Jainism literature, he is referr...

Kanada was influential in Indian philosophies, and he appears in various texts by alternate names such as Kashyapa, Uluka, Kananda, Kanabhuk among others.

The ideas of Kanada span a wide range of fields, and they influenced not only philosophy, but possibly scholars in other fields such as ...

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