Vaisheshika Darshan is one of the six classical schools of Indian philosophy, founded by the sage Kanada around the 2nd century BCE. Vaisheshika means “particularity” or “individuality,” and the school focuses on the nature of reality and the classification of things based on their properties.
The Vaisheshika school is atomistic and believes that all matter is made up of indivisible particles called atoms or paramanu. These atoms combine to form different types of matter, and the school identifies nine categories of substance:
- Dravya (substance) – The ultimate reality that exists independently
- Guna (quality) – The attribute that characterizes a substance
- Karma (action) – The motion or activity of a substance
- Samanya (generality) – The universal that is present in all substances of a particular type
- Vishesha (particularity) – The individual qualities that distinguish one substance from another
- Samavaya (inherence) – The relation between a substance and its qualities
- Abhava (non-existence) – The absence of a substance or quality
- Pratyaksha (perception) – Direct perception through the senses
- Anumana (inference) – Indirect perception through reasoning
The Vaisheshika school also discusses the concept of God or Ishvara, who is seen as the ultimate cause of the universe and the source of moral law. The school’s ethical teachings are based on the idea of dharma, or moral duty, which is determined by one’s social position and the stage of life one is in.
Overall, Vaisheshika Darshan provides a systematic and detailed analysis of the nature of reality, and its teachings have had a significant influence on Indian philosophy and science.