|What is Philosophy?|
Kanada, a learned sage, founded this system. This system is believed to be as old as Jainism and Buddhism. Kanada presented his detailed atomic theory in Vaisheshika-Sutra. Basically, Vaisheshika is a pluralistic realism. It explains the nature of the world with seven categories:
Dravya (substance), guna (quality), karma(action), samanya(universal), vishesha (particular), amavaya(inherence) and abhava (non-existence).
Vaisheshika contends that every effect is a fresh creation or a new beginning. Thus this system refutes the theory of pre-existence of the effect in the cause. Kanada does not discuss much on God. But the later commentators refer to God as the Supreme Soul, perfect and eternal. This system accepts that God (Ishvara ) is the efficient cause of the world. The eternal atoms are the material cause of the world.
Vaisheshika recognizes nine ultimate substances : Five material and four non-material substances.
The five material substances are: Earth, water, fire, air and akasha.
The four non-material substances are: space, time, soul and mind.
Earth, water, fire and air are atomic but akasha is non-atomic and infinite.
Space and time are infinite and eternal. The concept of soul is comparable to that of the self or atman. This system considers consciousnessas an accidental property. In other words, when the soul associates itself to the body, only then it ‘acquires’ consciousness. Thus, consciousness is not considered an essential quality of the soul.
The mind (manas) is accepted as atomic but indivisible and eternal substance. The mind helps to establish the contact of the self to the external world objects.
The soul develops attachment to the body owing to ignorance. The soul identifies itself with the body and mind. The soul is trapped in the bondage of karma, as a consequence of actions resulted from countless desires and passions. It can be free from the bondage only if it becomes free from actions. Liberation follows the cessation of the actions.