Acharya Kanada – The Great Physicist of Ancient India

Acharya Kanada

Guys, you must have heard that India was the Golden Bird in the past. Many people believe that the business and export industry was the reason India earned the title of the Golden Bird. But What if I tell you that India was the birthplace of science. If we go into history, there is much evidence proving that Ancient India was the center of knowledge. The invaders destroyed much of India’s culture and knowledge, but the surviving books like Kaṇāda Sutras, Vaiśeṣika Sūtra, etc., prove that India’s knowledge was advanced. In this article you will know about one of the great Acharyas of Ancient India- Acharya Kanada.

Acharya Kanada

Acharya Kanada

Acharya Kanada was one of the greatest Acharyas of Ancient India. He was a natural scientist and philosopher who founded the Vaisheshika school of Indian philosophy that also represents the earliest Indian physics. His birth is unclear but there is an estimate that he existed in sometime between 6th century to 2nd century BCE, little is known about his life.

Kanada is known for developing the foundations of his atomistic approach to physics and philosophy in the Sanskrit Text  Vaiśeṣika Sūtra. 

His school, in fact, explains the creation and existence of the universe through an atomistic theory, employing logic and realism. It stands as one of the earliest systematic realist ontologies known in human history. According to his teachings, while everything can be subdivided, the division cannot continue indefinitely, ultimately halting at the concept of “Parmanu.”

According to physics, Kaṇāda’s ideas suggest that the observer plays a distinct role in studying a system. His ideas had a significant impact on other schools of Hinduism and became closely linked with the Nyaya school of Hindu philosophy over time.

Kaṇāda’s system puts forth the idea of six nameable and knowable properties called padārthas. According to him, these properties are enough to describe everything in the universe, including observers. The six categories are substance (dravya), quality (guna), motion (karmana), time (samaya), particularity (visesa), and inherence (samavaya). In his system, there are nine classes of substances, some of which are atomic, some are non-atomic, and others are present everywhere.

Today, we can appreciate the lasting legacy of Acharya Kaṇāda, as his teachings continue to ignite intellectual curiosity and serve as a foundation for philosophical discourse. His emphasis on observation, analysis, and understanding reminds us of the timeless importance of seeking knowledge and unraveling the mysteries of the world around us.

As we delve into the realms of physics, metaphysics, and philosophy, let us acknowledge the invaluable contributions of Acharya Kaṇāda, a luminary whose ideas continue to guide us towards a deeper comprehension of the universe and our place within it.