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{{EngvarB|date=April 2015}}{{Use dmy dates|date=April 2015}}{{Hindu philosophy}}Vaisheshika or Vaiśeṣika () is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy (Vedic systems) from ancient India. In its early stages, the Vaiśeṣika was an independent philosophy with its own metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics, and soteriology.Amita Chatterjee (2011), Nyāya-vaiśeṣika Philosophy, The Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy, {{doi|10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195328998.003.0012}} Over time, the Vaiśeṣika system became similar in its philosophical procedures, ethical conclusions and soteriology to the Nyāya school of Hinduism, but retained its difference in epistemology and metaphysics.The epistemology of Vaiśeṣika school of Hinduism, like Buddhism, accepted only two reliable means to knowledge: perception and inference. Vaiśeṣika school and Buddhism both consider their respective scriptures as indisputable and valid means to knowledge, the difference being that the scriptures held to be a valid and reliable source by Vaiśeṣikas were the Vedas.Vaisheshika school is known for its insights in naturalism.Dale Riepe (1996), Naturalistic Tradition in Indian Thought, {{ISBN|978-8120812932}}, pages 227-246Kak, S. 'Matter and Mind: The Vaisheshika Sutra of Kanada' (2016), Mount Meru Publishing, Mississauga, Ontario, {{ISBN|978-1-988207-13-1}}. It is a form of atomism in natural philosophy.Analytical philosophy in early modern India J Ganeri, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy It postulated that all objects in the physical universe are reducible to paramāṇu (atoms), and one's experiences are derived from the interplay of substance (a function of atoms, their number and their spatial arrangements), quality, activity, commonness, particularity and inherence.Oliver Leaman, Key Concepts in Eastern Philosophy. Routledge, {{ISBN|978-0415173629}}, 1999, page 269. According to Vaiśeṣika school, knowledge and liberation were achievable by a complete understanding of the world of experience.Vaiśeṣika darshana was founded by Kaṇāda Kashyapa around the 6th to 2nd century BC.{{Sfn|Jeaneane D. Fowler|2002|pp=98-99}}Oliver Leaman (1999), Key Concepts in Eastern Philosophy. Routledge, {{ISBN|978-0415173629}}, page 269J Ganeri (2012), The Self: Naturalism, Consciousness, and the First-Person Stance, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0199652365}}


Although the Vaisheshika system developed independently from the Nyaya school of Hinduism, the two became similar and are often studied together. 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 two.The epistemology of Vaiśeṣika school of Hinduism accepted only two reliable means to knowledge - perception and inference.Vaisheshika espouses a form of atomism, that the reality is composed of five substances (examples are earth, water, air, fire, and space). Each of these five are of two types, explains Ganeri, (paramāṇu) and composite. An Parmanu (Para means beyond and Anu means Atom or very small but divisible particle while parmanu is indivisible) is that which is indestructible , indivisible, and has a special kind of dimension, called “small” (aṇu). A composite is that which is divisible into parmanu. Whatever human beings perceive is composite, and even the smallest perceptible thing, namely, a fleck of dust, has parts, which are therefore invisible. The Vaiśeṣikas visualized the smallest composite thing as a “triad” (tryaṇuka) with three parts, each part with a “dyad” (dyaṇuka). Vaiśeṣikas believed that a dyad has two parts, each of which is an atom. Size, form, truths and everything that human beings experience as a whole is a function of parmanus, their number and their spatial arrangements.Vaisheshika postulated that what one experiences is derived from dravya (substance: a function of atoms, their number and their spatial arrangements), guna (quality), karma (activity), samanya (commonness), vishesha (particularity) and samavaya (inherence, inseparable connectedness of everything).M Hiriyanna (1993), Outlines of Indian Philosophy, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-8120810860}}, pages 228-237


Hinduism identifies six Pramāṇas as epistemically reliable means to accurate knowledge and to truths:P Bilimoria (1993), Pramāṇa epistemology: Some recent developments, in Asian philosophy - Volume 7 (Editor: G Floistad), Springer, {{ISBN|978-94-010-5107-1}}, pages 137-154 Pratyakṣa (perception), Anumāna (inference), Upamāna (comparison and analogy), Arthāpatti (postulation, derivation from circumstances), Anupalabdhi (non-perception, negative/cognitive proof) and Śabda (word, testimony of past or present reliable experts).
  • Eliott Deutsche (2000), in Philosophy of Religion : Indian Philosophy Vol 4 (Editor: Roy Perrett), Routledge, {{ISBN|978-0815336112}}, pages 245-248;
  • John A. Grimes, A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy: Sanskrit Terms Defined in English, State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0791430675}}, page 238Gavin Flood, An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press, {{ISBN|978-0521438780}}, page 225 Of these {{IAST|VaiÅ›eá¹£ika}} epistemology considered only pratyaká¹£a (perception) and {{IAST |anumāna}} (inference) as reliable means of valid knowledge.{{harvnb|Chattopadhyaya|1986|p=170}} Nyaya school, related to VaiÅ›eá¹£ika, accepts four out of these six.DPS Bhawuk (2011), Spirituality and Indian Psychology (Editor: Anthony Marsella), Springer, {{ISBN|978-1-4419-8109-7}}, page 172
  • Pratyaká¹£a (प्रत्यक्ष) means perception. It is of two types: external and internal. External perception is described as that arising from the interaction of five senses and worldly objects, while internal perception is described by this school as that of inner sense, the mind.MM Kamal (1998), The Epistemology of the Carvaka Philosophy, Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies, 46(2): 13-16B Matilal (1992), Perception: An Essay in Indian Theories of Knowledge, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0198239765}} The ancient and medieval texts of Hinduism identify four requirements for correct perception: Indriyarthasannikarsa (direct experience by one's sensory organ(s) with the object, whatever is being studied), Avyapadesya (non-verbal; correct perception is not through hearsay, according to ancient Indian scholars, where one's sensory organ relies on accepting or rejecting someone else's perception), Avyabhicara (does not wander; correct perception does not change, nor is it the result of deception because one's sensory organ or means of observation is drifting, defective, suspect) and Vyavasayatmaka (definite; correct perception excludes judgments of doubt, either because of one's failure to observe all the details, or because one is mixing inference with observation and observing what one wants to observe, or not observing what one does not want to observe).Karl Potter (1977), Meaning and Truth, in Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Volume 2, Princeton University Press, Reprinted in 1995 by Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|81-208-0309-4}}, pages 160-168 Some ancient scholars proposed "unusual perception" as pramāṇa and called it internal perception, a proposal contested by other Indian scholars. The internal perception concepts included pratibha (intuition), samanyalaksanapratyaksa (a form of induction from perceived specifics to a universal), and jnanalaksanapratyaksa (a form of perception of prior processes and previous states of a 'topic of study' by observing its current state).Karl Potter (1977), Meaning and Truth, in Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Volume 2, Princeton University Press, Reprinted in 1995 by Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|81-208-0309-4}}, pages 168-169 Further, the texts considered and refined rules of accepting uncertain knowledge from Pratyaká¹£a-pranama, so as to contrast nirnaya (definite judgment, conclusion) from anadhyavasaya (indefinite judgment).Karl Potter (1977), Meaning and Truth, in Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Volume 2, Princeton University Press, Reprinted in 1995 by Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|81-208-0309-4}}, pages 170-172
  • Anumāna (अनुमान) means inference. It is described as reaching a new conclusion and truth from one or more observations and previous truths by applying reason.W Halbfass (1991), Tradition and Reflection, State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|0-7914-0362-9}}, page 26-27 Observing smoke and inferring fire is an example of Anumana. In all except one Hindu philosophies,Carvaka school is the exception this is a valid and useful means to knowledge. The method of inference is explained by Indian texts as consisting of three parts: pratijna (hypothesis), hetu (a reason), and drshtanta (examples).James Lochtefeld, "Anumana" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A-M, Rosen Publishing. {{ISBN|0-8239-2287-1}}, page 46-47 The hypothesis must further be broken down into two parts, state the ancient Indian scholars: sadhya (that idea which needs to proven or disproven) and paksha (the object on which the sadhya is predicated). The inference is conditionally true if sapaksha (positive examples as evidence) are present, and if vipaksha (negative examples as counter-evidence) are absent. For rigor, the Indian philosophies also state further epistemic steps. For example, they demand Vyapti - the requirement that the hetu (reason) must necessarily and separately account for the inference in "all" cases, in both sapaksha and vipaksha.Karl Potter (2002), Presuppositions of India's Philosophies, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|81-208-0779-0}} A conditionally proven hypothesis is called a nigamana (conclusion).Monier Williams (1893), Indian Wisdom - Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Doctrines of the Hindus, Luzac & Co, London, page 61


The syllogism of the {{IAST |Vaiśeṣika}} school was similar to that of the Nyāya school of Hinduism, but the names given by {{IAST |Praśastapāda}} to the 5 members of syllogism are different.{{harvnb|Radhakrishnan|2006|p=75ff}}


The earliest systematic exposition of the Vaisheshika is found in the {{IAST |Vaiśeṣika Sūtra}} of {{IAST |Kaṇāda}} (or {{IAST |Kaṇabhaksha}}). This treatise is divided into ten books. The two commentaries on the {{IAST |Vaiśeṣika Sūtra}}, {{IAST |Rāvaṇabhāṣya}} and {{IAST |Bhāradvājavṛtti}} are no more extant. {{IAST|Praśastapāda}}’s {{IAST |Padārthadharmasaṁgraha}} (c. 4th century) is the next important work of this school. Though commonly known as {{IAST |bhāṣya}} of {{IAST |Vaiśeṣika Sūtra}}, this treatise is basically an independent work on the subject. The next Vaisheshika treatise, Candra’s {{IAST |Daśapadārthaśāstra}} (648) based on {{IAST |Praśastapāda}}’s treatise is available only in Chinese translation. The earliest commentary available on {{IAST |Praśastapāda}}’s treatise is {{IAST |Vyomaśiva}}’s {{IAST |Vyomavatī}} (8th century). The other three commentaries are {{IAST |Śridhara}}’s {{IAST |Nyāyakandalī}} (991), Udayana’s {{IAST |Kiranāvali}} (10th century) and {{IAST |Śrivatsa}}’s {{IAST |Līlāvatī}} (11th century). {{IAST |Śivāditya}}’s {{IAST |Saptapadārthī}} which also belongs to the same period, presents the {{IAST |Nyāya}} and the {{IAST |Vaiśeṣika}} principles as a part of one whole. {{IAST |Śaṁkara Miśra}}’s {{IAST |Upaskāra}} on {{IAST |Vaiśeṣika Sūtra}} is also an important work.{{harvnb|Radhakrishnan|2006|pp=180–81}}

The Categories or Padārtha

According to the Vaisheshika school, all things that exist, that can be cognized and named are {{IAST |padārtha}}s (literal meaning: the meaning of a word), the objects of experience. All objects of experience can be classified into six categories, dravya (substance), {{IAST |guṇa}} (quality), karma (activity), {{IAST |sāmānya}} (generality), {{IAST |viśeṣa}} (particularity) and {{IAST |samavāya}} (inherence). Later {{IAST |Vaiśeṣika}}s ({{IAST |Śrīdhara}} and Udayana and {{IAST |Śivāditya}}) 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 {{IAST |budhyapekṣam}} (product of intellectual discrimination) and they are logical categories.{{harvnb|Radhakrishnan|2006|pp=183–86}}
  1. Dravya (substance): The substances are conceived as 9 in number. They are, {{IAST |pṛthvī}} (earth), ap (water), tejas (fire), {{IAST |vāyu}} (air), {{IAST |ākaśa}} (ether), {{IAST |kāla}} (time), dik (space), {{IAST |ātman}} (self or soul) and manas (mind). The first five are called {hide}IAST
    bhūta{edih}s, the substances having some specific qualities so that they could be perceived by one or the other external senses.{{harvnb>Chattopadhyayap=169}}
    1. {{IAST |Guṇa}} (quality): The {{IAST |Vaiśeṣika Sūtra}} mentions 17 {{IAST |guṇa}}s (qualities), to which {{IAST |Praśastapāda}} added another 7. While a substance is capable of existing independently by itself, a {{IAST |guṇa}}(quality) cannot exist so. The original 17 {{IAST |guṇa}}s (qualities) are, {{IAST |rūpa}} (colour), rasa (taste), gandha (smell), {{IAST |sparśa}} (touch), {{IAST |saṁkhyā}} (number), {{IAST |parimāṇa}} (size/dimension/quantity), {{IAST |pṛthaktva}} (individuality), {{IAST |saṁyoga}} (conjunction/accompaniments), {{IAST |vibhāga}} (disjunction), paratva (priority), aparatva (posteriority), buddhi (knowledge), sukha (pleasure), {{IAST |duḥkha}} (pain), {{IAST |icchā}} (desire), {{IAST |dveṣa}} (aversion) and prayatna (effort). To these {{IAST |Praśastapāda}} added gurutva (heaviness), dravatva (fluidity), sneha (viscosity), dharma (merit), adharma (demerit), {{IAST |śabda}} (sound) and {{IAST |saṁskāra}} (faculty).{{harvnb|Radhakrishnan|2006|p=204}}
    2. Karma (activity): The karmas (activities) like {{IAST |guṇa}}s (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. {{IAST|Ākāśa}} (ether), {{IAST |kāla}} (time), dik (space) and {{IAST |ātman}} (self), though substances, are devoid of karma (activity).{{harvnb|Radhakrishnan|2006|pp=208–09}}
    3. {{IAST |Sāmānya}} (generality): Since there are plurality of substances, there will be relations among them. When a property is found common to many substances, it is called {{IAST |sāmānya}}.{{harvnb|Radhakrishnan|2006|p=209}}
    4. {{IAST |Viśeṣa}} (particularity): By means of {{IAST |viśeṣa}}, we are able to perceive substances as different from one another. As the ultimate atoms are innumerable so are the {{IAST |viśeṣa}}s.{{harvnb|Radhakrishnan|2006|p=215}}
    5. {{IAST |Samavāya}} (inherence): {{IAST |Kaṇāda}} defined {{IAST |samavāya}} as the relation between the cause and the effect. {{IAST |Praśastapāda}} 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 {{IAST |samavāya}} is not perceivable but only inferable from the inseparable connection of the substances.{{harvnb|Radhakrishnan|2006|pp=216–19}}

    The atomic theory

    According to the {{IAST |Vaiśeṣika}} school, the {{IAST |trasareṇu}} are the smallest mahat (perceivable) particles and defined as {{IAST |tryaṇuka}}s (triads). These are made of three parts, each of which are defined as {{IAST |dvyaṇuka}} (dyad). The {{IAST |dvyaṇuka}}s are conceived as made of two parts, each of which are defined as {{IAST |paramāṇu}} (atom). The {{IAST |paramāṇu}}s (atoms) are indivisible and eternal, they can neither be created nor destroyed.{{harvnb|Chattopadhyaya|1986|pp=169–70}} Each {{IAST |paramāṇu}} (atom) possesses its own distinct {{IAST |viśeṣa}} (individuality).{{harvnb|Radhakrishnan|2006|p=202}}The measure of the partless atoms is known as parimaṇḍala parimāṇa. It is eternal and it cannot generate the measure of any other substance. Its measure is its own absolutely.{{harvnb|Dasgupta|1975|p=314}}

    See also




    • {{Citation

    | surname1 = Chattopadhyaya
    | given1 = D.
    | year = 1986
    | title = Indian Philosophy: A Popular Introduction
    | publisher = People’s Publishing House, New Delhi
    | isbn = 81-7007-023-6
    • {{Citation

    | surname1 = Dasgupta
    | given1 = Surendranath
    | year = 1975
    | title = A History of Indian Philosophy, Vol. I
    | publisher = Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi
    | isbn = 978-81-208-0412-8
    • {{Citation

    | surname1 = Radhakrishnan
    | given1 = S.
    | year = 2006
    | title = Indian Philosophy, Vol. II
    | publisher = Oxford University Press, New Delhi
    | isbn = 0-19-563820-4

    Further reading

    • Bimal Matilal (1977), A History of Indian Literature - Nyāya-VaiÅ›eá¹£ika, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447018074}}, {{oclc|489575550}}
    • Gopi Kaviraj (1961), Gleanings from the history and bibliography of the Nyaya-Vaisesika literature, Indian Studies: Past & Present, Volume 2, Number 4, {{oclc|24469380}}
    • BOOK,weblink Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism, Sussex Academic Press, 2002, 978-1-898723-93-6, harv, Jeaneane D. Fowler,
    • BOOK, harv, H. Margenau, Physics and Philosophy: Selected Essays,weblink 2012, Springer Science, 978-94-009-9845-2,
    • BOOK, harv, Bimal Krishna Matilal, Nyāya-VaiÅ›eá¹£ika,weblink 1977, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 978-3-447-01807-4,
    • Kak, Subhash: Matter and Mind: The VaiÅ›eá¹£ika SÅ«tra of Kaṇāda {{ISBN|9781988207148}}
    • BOOK, harv, Riepe, Dale Maurice, Naturalistic Tradition in Indian Thought,weblink 1961, Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint 1996), 978-81-208-1293-2,
    • BOOK, harv, Bart Labuschagne, Timo Slootweg, Hegel's Philosophy of the Historical Religions,weblink 2012, BRILL Academic, 90-04-22618-4,
    • BOOK, harv, Chandradhar, Sharma, A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy,weblink 2000, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-0365-7,

    External links

    {{Indian Philosophy}}

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