The reason for the propagation for Vaisheshika Philosophy:

Absolute truth is one without a second . But there are differences in the knowledge of Absolute truth. Sometimes the philosophy seems coherent(logical and consistent) and sometimes it appears there is some confusion. We have tried to present the differences in a coherent manner so that one is not confused why there different philosophies were propagated.

The reason can be found in Padma Puran Uttara Khanda Chapters 235-236:

Parvati said, “O sinless one, tell me about the tamasic scriptures that were composed by the brahmanas bereft of devotion  to the Lord. O Lord of the demigods Please tell me their names in sequence.

Lord Shiva replied, “O goddess, please listen. In sequence I shall tell you about the tamasic texts. Simply by remembering  them even wise persons become deluded. First,I Myself proclaimed the Shiva,pasupata, and related texts. After my power had  entered him, Kanada preached the Vaisesika Philosophy. Similarly, Gautama preached Nyaya,and Kapila preached the atheistic  Sankhya.Brihaspati preached the much-censured Charvaka doctrine, and Buddha proclaimed Buddhism to destroy the demons.

The entire conversation is not presented here. For more details please click the below link:

Conversation between Shiva and Parvati

So in a nutshell as per scriptures Vaisheshika philosophy was propagated by Shiva on the will of Narayana to attract the atheists.

Vaisheshika : An introduction:

Vaisheshika  (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, 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,  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. Knowledge and liberation was achievable by complete understanding of the world of experience, according to Vaiśeṣika school of Hinduism.

Vaiśeṣika darshana was founded by Kanada .


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” aspramāṇa 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).

The Categories or Padartha:

According to the Vaisheshika school, all things which exist, which can be cognised, and which can be named are padārthas (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) andsamavāya (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 bhūtas, 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, aguṇa(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 karmas (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 calledsāmānya.

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 viśeṣas.

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:

The early Vaiśeṣika texts presented the following syllogism to prove that all objects i.e. the four bhūtas, pṛthvī (earth), ap (water), tejas (fire) and vāyu (air) are made of indivisible paramāṇus (atoms): Assume that the matter is not made of indivisible atoms, and that it is continuous. Take a stone. One can divide this up into infinitely many pieces (since matter is continuous). Now, the Himalayan mountain range also has infinitely many pieces, so one may build another Himalayan mountain range with the infinite number of pieces that one has. One begins with a stone and ends up with the Himalayas, which is a paradox – so the original assumption that matter is continuous must be wrong, and so all objects must be made up of a finite number of paramāṇus (atoms).

According to the Vaiśeṣika school, the trasareṇu (dust particles visible in the sunbeam coming through a small window hole) 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.

Views by the Vedanta School:

The Vaisheshikas say that the visible universe is created from an original stock of atoms (janim asataḥ). As Kaṇāda’s Vaiśeṣika Sūtra (7.1.26) states, nityaṃ parimaṇḍalam (that which is of the smallest size, the atom, is eternal), he and his followers also postulate eternality for other, nonatomic entities, including the souls who become embodied, and even a Supreme Soul. But in Vaiśeṣika cosmology the souls and the Supersoul play only token roles in the atomic production of the universe. The Brahma Sutra (2.2.12) saysubhayathāpi na karmatas tad-abhavaḥ. According to this sūtra, one cannot claim that, at the time of creation, atoms first combine together because they are impelled by some karmic impulse adhering in the atoms themselves, since atoms by themselves, in their primeval state before combining into complex objects, have no ethical responsibility that might lead them to acquire pious and sinful reactions. Nor can the initial combination of atoms be explained as a result of the residual karma of the living entities who lie dormant prior to creation, since these reactions are each jiva’s own and cannot be transferred from them even to other jīvas, what to speak of inert atoms.


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