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VAISHESHIKA or VAIśEṣIKA (Sanskrit : वैशेषिक) is one of the six orthodox schools of Hinduism (Vedic systems) from ancient India. In its early stages, the Vaiśeṣika was an independent philosophy with its own metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics, and soteriology. 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
Buddhism
, accepted only two reliable means to knowledge: perception and inference. Vaiśeṣika school and Buddhism
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
Vedas
.

Vaisheshika school is known for its insights in naturalism , and it is a form of atomism in natural 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. According to Vaiśeṣika school, knowledge and liberation were achievable by complete understanding of the world of experience.

Vaiśeṣika darshana was founded by Kaṇāda Kashyapa around the 2nd century BC.

CONTENTS

* 1 Overview

* 2 Epistemology
Epistemology

* 2.1 Syllogism

* 3 Literature * 4 The Categories or _Padārtha_ * 5 The atomic theory * 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links

OVERVIEW

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 four substances (earth, water, air, fire). Each of these four are of two types, explains Ganeri, atomic (paramāṇu) and composite. An atom is that which is indestructible (anitya), indivisible, and has a special kind of dimension, called “small” (aṇu). A composite is that which is divisible into atoms. 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 atoms, 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).

EPISTEMOLOGY

Hinduism identifies six _Pramāṇas _ as epistemically reliable means to accurate knowledge and to truths: _Pratyakṣa_ (perception), _Anumāna_ (inference), _Upamāna_ (comparison and analogy), _Arthāpatti_ (postulation, derivation from circumstances), _Anupalabdi_ (non-perception, negative/cognitive proof) and _Śabda_ (word, testimony of past or present reliable experts). Of these Vaiśeṣika epistemology considered only _pratyakṣa_ (perception ) and _anumāna_ (inference ) as reliable means of valid knowledge. Nyaya school, related to Vaiśeṣika, accepts four out of these six.

* _PRATYAKṣA_ (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. 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). 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). Further, the texts considered and refined rules of accepting uncertain knowledge from _Pratyakṣa-pranama_, so as to contrast _nirnaya_ (definite judgment, conclusion) from _anadhyavasaya_ (indefinite judgment). * _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. Observing smoke and inferring fire is an example of _Anumana_. In all except one Hindu philosophies, 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). 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_. A conditionally proven hypothesis is called a _nigamana_ (conclusion).

SYLLOGISM

The syllogism of the Vaiśeṣika school was similar to that of the Nyāya school of Hinduism, but the names given by Praśastapāda to the 5 members of syllogism are different.

LITERATURE

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

THE CATEGORIES OR _PADāRTHA_

According to the Vaisheshika school, all things that exist, that can be cognized and named are _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), _guṇa_ (quality), _karma_ (activity), _sāmānya_ (generality), _viśeṣa_ (particularity) and _samavāya_ (inherence). Later Vaiśeṣikas (Śrīdhara and Udayana and 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 _budhyapekṣam_ (product of intellectual discrimination) and they are logical categories.

1._Dravya_ (substance): The substances are conceived as 9 in number. They are, _pṛthvī_ (earth), _ap_ (water), _tejas_ (fire), _vāyu_ (air), _ākaśa_ (ether), _kāla_ (time), _dik_ (space), _ātman_ (self or soul) and _manas_ (mind). The first five are called _bhūta_s, the substances having some specific qualities so that they could be perceived by one or the other external senses.

2._Guṇa_ (quality): The Vaiśeṣika Sūtra mentions 17 guṇas (qualities), to which Praśastapāda added another 7. While a substance is capable of existing independently by itself, a guṇa(quality) cannot exist so. The original 17 guṇas (qualities) are, _rūpa_ (colour), _rasa_ (taste), _gandha_ (smell), _sparśa_ (touch), _saṁkhyā_ (number), _parimāṇa_ (size/dimension/quantity), _pṛthaktva_ (individuality), _saṁyoga_ (conjunction/accompaniments), _vibhāga_ (disjunction), _paratva_ (priority), _aparatva_ (posteriority), _buddhi_ (knowledge), _sukha_ (pleasure), _duḥkha_ (pain), _icchā_ (desire), _dveṣa_ (aversion) and _prayatna_ (effort). To these Praśastapāda added _gurutva_ (heaviness), _dravatva_ (fluidity), _sneha_ (viscosity), _dharma_ (merit), _adharma_ (demerit), _śabda_ (sound) and _saṁskāra_ (faculty).

3._Karma_ (activity): The _karma_s (activities) like guṇas (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. _Ākāśa_ (ether), _kāla_ (time), _dik_ (space) and _ātman_ (self), though substances, are devoid of _karma_ (activity).

4._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 _sāmānya_.

5._Viśeṣa_ (particularity): By means of _viśeṣa_, we are able to perceive substances as different from one another. As the ultimate atoms are innumerable so are the _viśeṣa_s.

6._Samavāya_ (inherence): Kaṇāda defined _samavāya_ as the relation between the cause and the effect. 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 _samavāya_ is not perceivable but only inferable from the inseparable connection of the substances.

THE ATOMIC THEORY

According to the Vaiśeṣika school, the _trasareṇu_ are the smallest _mahat_ (perceivable) particles and defined as tryaṇukas (triads). These are made of three parts, each of which are defined as dvyaṇuka (dyad). The dvyaṇukas are conceived as made of two parts, each of which are defined as paramāṇu (atom). The paramāṇus (atoms) are indivisible and eternal, they can neither be created nor destroyed. Each paramāṇu (atom) possesses its own distinct viśeṣa (individuality).

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.

SEE ALSO

* Darshanas * Hindu philosophy * Hinduism * Nyaya (philosophy) * Padārtha * Tarka-Sangraha * Vaiśeṣika Sūtra * Atomism * Naturalism (philosophy)

NOTES

* ^ Amita Chatterjee (2011), Nyāya-vaiśeṣika Philosophy, The Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy, doi :10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195328998.003.0012 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ DPS Bhawuk (2011), Spirituality and Indian Psychology (Editor: Anthony Marsella), Springer, ISBN 978-1-4419-8109-7 , page 172

* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_

* Eliott Deutsche (2000), in Philosophy
Philosophy
of Religion : Indian Philosophy
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 238

* ^ Dale Riepe (1996), Naturalistic Tradition in Indian Thought, ISBN 978-8120812932 , pages 227-246 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Analytical philosophy in early modern India J Ganeri, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Oliver Leaman, _Key Concepts in Eastern Philosophy._ Routledge, ISBN 978-0415173629 , 1999, page 269. * ^ M Hiriyanna (1993), Outlines of Indian Philosophy, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120810860 , pages 228-237 * ^ 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 * ^ Gavin Flood , An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521438780 , page 225 * ^ Chattopadhyaya 1986 , p. 170 * ^ _A_ _B_ MM Kamal (1998), The Epistemology
Epistemology
of the Carvaka Philosophy, Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies, 46(2): 13-16 * ^ B Matilal (1992), Perception: An Essay in Indian Theories of Knowledge, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0198239765 * ^ _A_ _B_ 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 * ^ 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 * ^ 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 * ^ W Halbfass (1991), Tradition and Reflection, State University of New York Press, ISBN 0-7914-0362-9 , page 26-27 * ^ Carvaka school is the exception * ^ _A_ _B_ James Lochtefeld, "Anumana" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A-M, Rosen Publishing. ISBN 0-8239-2287-1 , page 46-47 * ^ Karl Potter (2002), Presuppositions of India's Philosophies, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0779-0 * ^ Monier Williams (1893), Indian Wisdom - Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Doctrines of the Hindus, Luzac & Co, London, page 61 * ^ Radhakrishnan 2006 , p. 75ff * ^ Radhakrishnan 2006 , pp. 180–81 * ^ Radhakrishnan 2006 , pp. 183–86 * ^ Chattopadhyaya 1986 , p. 169 * ^ Radhakrishnan 2006 , p. 204 * ^ Radhakrishnan 2006 , pp. 208–09 * ^ Radhakrishnan 2006 , p. 209 * ^ Radhakrishnan 2006 , p. 215 * ^ Radhakrishnan 2006 , pp. 216–19 * ^ Chattopadhyaya 1986 , pp. 169–70 * ^ Radhakrishnan 2006 , p. 202 * ^ Dasgupta 1975 , p. 314

REFERENCES

* Chattopadhyaya, D. (1986), _Indian Philosophy: A Popular Introduction_, People’s Publishing House, New Delhi, ISBN 81-7007-023-6 . * Dasgupta, Surendranath (1975), _A History of Indian Philosophy, Vol. I_, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, ISBN 978-81-208-0412-8 .

* Radhakrishnan, S. (2006), _Indian Philosophy, Vol. II_, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, ISBN 0-19-563820-4 .

FURTHER READING

* Bimal Matilal (1977), A History of Indian Literature - Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447018074 , OCLC
OCLC
489575550 * Gopi Kaviraj (1961), Gleanings from the history and bibliography of the Nyaya-Vaisesika literature, Indian Studies: Past ;background:none transparent;border:none;-moz-box-shadow:none;-webkit-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;">v

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