Vaiśeṣika Sūtra

Vaiśeṣika Sūtra, (Sanskrit: वैशेषिक सूत्र), also called Kanada sutra, is an ancient Sanskrit text at the foundation of the Vaisheshika school of Hindu philosophy.[1][2][3] The sutra was authored by the Hindu sage Kanada, also known as Kashyapa.[4][5] According to some scholars, he flourished before the advent of Buddhism because the Vaiśeṣika Sūtra makes no mention of Buddhism or Buddhist doctrines;[6] however, the details of Kanada's life are uncertain,[7] and the Vaiśeṣika Sūtra was likely compiled sometime between 6th and 2nd century BCE,[8][9] and finalized in the currently existing version before the start of the common era.[10]

A number of scholars have commented on it since the beginning of common era; the earliest commentary known is the Padartha Dharma Sangraha of Prashastapada.[11][12] Another important secondary work on Vaiśeṣika Sūtra is Maticandra's Dasha padartha sastra which exists both in Sanskrit and its Chinese translation in 648 CE by Yuanzhuang.[13]

The Vaiśeṣika Sūtra is written in aphoristic sutras style,[14] and presents its theories on the creation and existence of the universe using naturalistic atomism,[15] applying logic and realism, and is one of the earliest known systematic realist ontology in human history.[16] The text discusses motions of different kind and laws that govern it, the meaning of dharma, a theory of epistemology, the basis of Atman (self, soul), and the nature of yoga and moksha.[17][18][19] The explicit mention of motion as the cause of all phenomena in the world and several propositions about it make it one of the earliest texts on physics.

Etymology

The name Vaiśeṣika Sūtra (Sanskrit: वैशेषिक सूत्र) is derived from viśeṣa, विशेष, which means "particularity", that is to be contrasted from "universality".[20] The classes particularity and universality belong to different categories of experience.