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Vaisheshika 

 


The Greek philosopher Democritus (460370 BCE) may not have been the first to propound atomism.


Debate has played an important role within Hinduism, showing that spiritual commitment was not inconsistent with philosophical inquiry. Hinduism has little time for armchair philosophy, and demands high standards of personal integrity. If a scholar lost a debate, he would often become the student-disciple of the victor. This painting shows a debate between the bhakti revivalist, Chaitanya, and a famous religious leader of the day.The scholar was defeated, and became one of Chaitanya's leading followers.

Vaisheshika

Vaisheshika, another orthodox school, was founded by Kanada (circa 600 BCE). In much the same way as the Greeks, he describes the elements, their characteristics and their interrelations. He mentions atoms and molecules and infers the existence of the atman through specific symptoms. Despite a philosophical approach, he stresses dharma as a means to both prosperity and liberation, and prescribes many traditional practices such as fasting, celibacy, and service to the guru.

Kanada states that since all material objects are constructed from atoms, they are products rather than causes, and the causes are the irreducible particles themselves. He introduces the principle of adrishta, an unknown invisible cause. Although Kanada's philosophy is non-theistic, later doctrines built upon the notion of adrishta to propose God as the remote cause of everything: it is God who orchestrates the dynamic interrelations between the innumerable atoms.