Vaisheshika Darshan (370 Sutras, 10 chapters) was founded by Kaṇāda Kashyapa around the 2nd century BC. Vaisheshika Darshan, one of the six Hindu Philosophies explains about the existence physical universe, living beings, soul and moksha.
He postulated as under:
3. Atheism – Parmanu are eternal.
4. Creationism – No action / activity is done without reason. Activity is non-eternal. Supreme Being is creator and operator of the universe.
5. Salvationism – The ultimate goal of living being is escape from re-birth and attains liberation (Moksha).
The salient features of the Darshan are as under:
Physical Universe – Creation & Function
1. Parmanu and the true being is eternal, having no cause.
2. Part of the world is non-eternal i.e. subject to origin and destruction in time. All composite objects are constituted by the combination of atoms and destroyed through their separation. The 1st combination of 2 atoms is called a dvyanuka or dyad, and a combination of 3 dyads is called tryanuka or triad. Triad cannot be perceived, but are known through inference.
3. At the beginning of creation, God's given effort is possible only by the combination of atoms; earth and tree are all things.
4. A lot of great qualities arise from the properties of the atomic particles, etc. It is the effect that the qualities which are in the causation, those qualities are inferred in the activities.
5. Elemental knowledge is created by knowing nature six substances. The substances can be classified into six categories, dravya (substance - six), guṇa (quality – twenty four), karma (activity - five), sāmānya (generality - two), viśeṣa (particularity) and samavāya (inherence).
6. The experiences about the substance are derived from the interplay of substance (a function of atoms, their number and their spatial arrangements), quality, activity, generality, particularity and inherence and liberation is to be attained through understanding the nature of existence.
7. The natural qualities of the earth, air, fire, water and ether are smell, touch, form & heat, fluidity & coolness and sound.
Living Beings –Execution of Karma
8. The living beings are having bodies with senses and possessing mind, intellect and egoism. All these exist and interact with one another in time, space and Moksha.
9. Living beings are souls who enjoy or suffer in this world according as they are wise or ignorant, good or bad virtuous or vicious.
10. The knowledge of happiness and misery is not from any sense, therefore, in order to know these qualities, the soul needs some reason, and the reason is the mind (mann). The seat of knowledge is soul.
11. Desire which create tendency in the offerings of charity, yagna and donation, is Dharma (virtues). Violence, malice etc. are the tendency of the wicked. The activities done by speech, mind and body, are called tendencies. Speaking truth, speaking sweetly, speaking for others' sentiment are virtuous tendencies. Telling lies, talking bitter and harming others is sin.
12. Karma is done by the combination of soul and effort of organisms. The soul inspires the mind and the mind inspires the senses. By this inspirations the karma / activities arises.
13. Attachment and aversions create its strong sanskar/impressions in mind.
Wisdom to attain Moksha
14. Dharma & adharm (unrighteousness) or atma (soul) is associated with the body, senses and mind. This association is called birth. When atma separates from the body & senses, this is called death. Cycle of birth and death, is the name of the world. Dharm-adharm is due to attachment & aversion which caused by false knowledge.
15. False knowledge is a cause of sadness, desire and defects. The destruction of misery is not salvation, but the continuous happiness is the only salvation (Moksha or liberation).
16. When the mind (mann) detaches from the outside senses and lives in the soul, no action is done and the mind becomes steady. The same condition, when leaving all the work, meditation is called and that is Yoga. When yoga takes place, it is not the beginning of action in the mind, when Yoga happens, there is a lack of grief and the action is done to remove misery.
17. When the false knowledge is destroyed, attachment & hatred/aversion and their tendencies disappear, which results in the loss of karmic account of re-birth. Thereby, re-birth gets stopped, that is only salvation/liberation.
18. Knowledge of nature of atma and parmatma, at that time the body and mind which is separated from the soul, it is called moksha (liberation).
The chapter-wise detailed explanations are attempted as under (Verse wise):
Chapter One - Physicals, Essential Constituents, and Action
1.1.2- Need of spiritual philosophy and religion – to provide real knowledge for liberation of self.
1.1.4-False knowledge is a cause of sadness, desire and defects. The destruction of that false knowledge comes from knowing the real nature of the soul and by following the philosophy of Yoga. The destruction of misery is not salvation, but the continuous happiness is the only salvation. Elemental knowledge is created by knowing nature six substances.
All the things or objects of experience can be classified into six categories, dravya (substance), guṇa (quality), karma (activity), sāmānya (generality), viśeṣa (particularity) and samavāya (inherence).
1. Physical substances: Nine substances - earth, water, fire, air, the akash/ether; time and dimension/space; individual self and mind. (verse-1.1.5)
2. Qualities (Gunas): twenty four qualities: form/colour, taste, smell, feel; number; measuring (size/dimension/quantity); individuality; priority; posteriority; conjunction (accompaniment); disjunction; pleasure; pain; desire; aversion; effort; heaviness; fluidity; viscosity; merit (dharma); demerit (adharma); faculty (samskara) sound and buddhi. While a substance is capable of existing independently by itself, a quality cannot exist so. (verse-1.1.6)
3. Activities: five bodily activities – respiration, heartbeat, grasping, letting go, etc. or movements: upward; downward; forward; contraction/drying and expansion/spreading. (verse-1.1.7). the activities like 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. Ether, time, space and ātman (self), though substances, are devoid of karma (activity). (1.1.8)
4. Inherence: What is common for the substances, the qualities, and activities is: that they are cause (and) they are effect, as the universal and particular are; that they are non-constant and real, as the physical is. (verse-1.1.9) the consistency with the dharma (of understanding) in regard to the physical and the essential constituents is their being (understood as) an instance and the originator of it (respectively), (verse-1.1.14) (but) karma is incompatible with this effect. The relation of samavāya is not perceivable but only inferable from the inseparable connection of the substances.
5. Universality/Generality: Since there is plurality of substances, there will be relations among them. When a property is found common to many substances, it is called sāmānya.
6. Particularity (visesa): By this, we are able to perceive substances as different from one another, as the ultimate atoms are innumerable.
1.1.10 -With the help of the formation of yoga, there is also knowledge of the atom of the fluid in the mind, and also becomes aware of the element of time, direction and sky. Yogi has sense power that he can know about the object that he feels. He does not know all the substances in a period.
1.1.21-Virtue arises from karma, but the thing cannot be generated by any kind of matter. Dravya is produced either from matter or by virtue, karma through karma.
1.1.28- A lot of great qualities arise from the properties of the atomic particles, etc. It is the effect that the qualities which are in the causation, those qualities are inferred in the work.
1.2.2- It is precisely opposite knowledge that causes suffering.
1.2.3- Normal and special are taken from the expectation of intelligence. No omnipresent object can be special, it will always remain normal. Except the ubiquitous substances, the rest of the matter is decided by general and special intelligence, and further strengthens this: But the word of the phrase can only be used for the characters of the alphabet. The intent is that normal and special is dependent on intellect only.
1.2.5- Matter has fluency properties, due to which it is known separately from the substances and this is the quality in the properties which separates them from others. There is an activity in such a thing which separates it from others. It's both normal and special. Separate from the qualities due to their cause, they are special because of their reason. Similarly, it is necessary to know in deeds.
Chapter Two - Physicals, Essential Constituents, and Indicators
2.1.1 Earth has qualities of form, taste, touch and smell.
2.1.2 Water has qualities of form, taste, touch and fluidity. Water is subtle from the Earth, hence the smell which is the property of the earth does not remain in it, but the beauty of the air and the properties of fire remain in it, so that air and fire are subtle with water;
2.1.3 Fire is felt with form and heat. Both the earth and the water are grosser then the fire, so their properties of smell and fluidity are not in the fire. Fire has bright appearance and warm touch.
2.1.4 vāyuḥ air is felt with touch. Although the properties of air are only touching and not the natural properties of cold and hot air, when the wind moves with the degree of water, then it cools down, and when the fraction of the fire moves, when it gets hot.
2.1.5 Akāśha of ether does not have all the four qualities viz. form, taste, touch and form.
2.1.18- By sowing seeds, a man can produce a tree but cannot produce the seed. Likewise, the existence of God is must for this.
2.1.27-sound is quality of ether.
2.1.30- The knowledge is normal quality of the soul. But souls are many. Some souls experience happiness, and some souls experience sorrow. No such specialty is in sound/word. So the ether/akash is the same.
2.2.2 to 5- The natural qualities of the earth, air, fire, water and ether are smell, touch, form & heat, fluidity & coolness and sound. The remaining properties are found on the basis of others.
2.2.6 Later than later vs. simultaneous, long-term vs. short-term; such are the indications of time.
2.2.10 "This from here", "that from there" is the indication of what has dimension.
2.2.14 East direction is known from sun from where it was rising in the past, rising now and would rise in future.
2.2.31 the manifestation of sound (words) is known from conjoining and from disjoining, and it is also known from the sound.
Chapter Three - The Separate Thing
3.1.1- The subjects of the senses are famous, that is, the eye receives the form, ears receive the sound, the nose experiences the smell and the skin tells the touch. Each sense that arises from the excess of the element, absorbs the properties of the same element, hence the subject of the senses is famous and fixed.
3.1.4- The causes of the body i.e. earth, water, wind, fire & ether, do not seem to have knowledge.
3.1.5- Question: if the causes of body have knowledge, then terrestrial / earthy matters would have knowledge. Dead body does not have knowledge. Soul is two, jeevatma - living in a body and parmatama – living in the world. It is not natural of having total knowledge of God. Knowledge of his consciousness cannot be universal. But being alive and intimate in one body of living soul, it is possible to have knowledge of jeevatma.
3.2.1-The indication of mind is the absence vs. presence of understanding. When the combination of the mind with the senses comes from the soul and the object is related to the senses, then the soul Knowledge is there. The knowledge of happiness and misery is not from any sense, therefore, in order to know these qualities, the soul needs some reason, and the reason is the mind (mann). The seat of knowledge is soul.
The filling and emptying breaths are "expanding and contracting" actions in the body, also associated with air and the power of feel, while the "opening and closing of the eyes", alternately rising into wakefulness and falling asleep, are upcasting and down-casting actions.
Chapter Four – The Great one and the Individual
4.1.1 The true being is eternal, having no cause.
4.1.2-Small matter has a few atoms and big matter has more atoms.
4.1.6- The qualities are of three types - natural casual, and postulary. The natural virtue comes in the work due to the reason. Nominal properties are either coincidentally or come in from other subtle matter.
4.1.11 Counting, measuring, individuality, conjoining vs. disjoining, priority vs. posteriority, and action, are instances of the faculty of sight that arise from the inherence of the possession of form in physical things,
4.1.12 (but) there are no such instances of sight in the case of those (same things) possessing no form.
4.1.13- The five qualities, smell etc., is the knowledge from the senses but knowledge of the number of the senses, and the sense of pleasure and sadness, comes from mind (mann).
4.2.7-At the beginning of creation, God's given effort is possible only by the combination of atoms; earth and tree are all things. By virtue of the given action of God, the atoms together produce the body of the Rishis. According to this rule, the body of mosquitoes and small animals also arises without the consent and rule of the parents. They are still born without parents. Therefore there can be no objection.
4.2.10- The above technique and evidence proves that without the birth of God, there are the bodies of the dev-rishis, without their parents, according to the name of the Vedas, in the beginning of every creation, compound i.e. fire, air aditya, angira, manu and brahya Etc. are kept from one.
Chapter Five-Action (in Conjoining with the Self)
5.1.1- Karma is done by the combination of soul and effort of organisms.
5.1.9-The soul inspires the mind and the mind inspires the senses. By this inspirations the karma / activities arises. The sense of intentionally displacing something, associated with the quality of passion (rajas) vs. the sense of dropping, without that effort, associated with the quality of lethargy (tamas).
5.1.11- The attempts are of two types - one in which there is an idea of the harm to others, it is the cause of sinfulness. The second, which does not have the intention to gain harm, is tried according to nature.
5.1.12- Those who burns other’s house, poisoning others, kill other by weapons for no fault, rob others, one who snatches the farm, wealth and the woman of others are six types of terrorists. If an unjust person is killed in the thought of protecting others, there is no sin for him.
5.1.16-A special kind of coincidence only destroys karma.
5.1.17- From the first karma, a very first sanskar arises. Sanskars continue to create actions which in turn create karma.
5.2.12-The natural calamities happen due to karma of organisms. The formation of fire and the destruction of the trees in it and the destruction of those trees, etc. also happen by the inspiration of God to give the fruits of the actions of those who reach the harm or benefit of the organisms that reach them.
5.2.15- When the mind (mann) detaches from the outside senses and lives in the soul, no action is done and the mind becomes steady. The same condition, when leaving all the work, meditation is called and that is Yoga. When yoga takes place, it is not the beginning of action in the mind, when Yoga happens, there is a lack of grief and the action is done to remove misery. The relation of the senses is misery. When there is no grief, happiness comes since happiness comes in absence of grief. There is no need of mind when there is a relation with the soul, so the action ceases.
5.2.16 when mind remain steady in the soul (Samadhi), suffering in the body is absent.
5.2.17-The mind and life that comes out of one body is called ablutions. Leaving the body with the mind & soul, and going into the other body is the result of the deeds of the former karmas.
5.2.18-When the false knowledge is destroyed, attachment & hatred/aversion and their tendencies disappear, which results in the loss of karmic account of re-birth. Thereby, re-birth gets stopped, that is only salvation/liberation.
5.2.21- Jeevatma is calm and without action.
5.2.22- Being infinite and formless, Akash, time and directions and God are without action. Due to this, qualities and deeds/karma are also without action.
Chapter Six - Conjunction and Disjunction of Experience with Happiness and Suffering
6.1.1-As senses require the help of physical objects by being material and non-materialistic, likewise Intellect need for non-material education to help them. At time of creation of universe, God produced materials for the physical senses. For giving help to intellect, God revealed Vedas.
6.1.3-Vedas has knowledge on making donations (daan) to others which is compatible with intellect. Donation is like the seeds which give fruits later. Those deeds which are far from the sorrow, they are worthy of doing.
6.1.7-Those involved in forbidden activities and who give pain to others, are wicked persons.
6.1.13-One should never deal with those who are opposed to religion and should never give donation to and take donation from them.
6.2.1-Those deeds which have been done for the benefit of this world are having two distinctions. One whose fruits are immediate, others which yield fruits after years. It is clear from the fact that the person, who has done good deeds in the previous birth, takes birth in rich.
6.2.2-The following deeds give happiness and salvation in the coming life: For some human beings, purification is taking baths to sanctify the body with water. But actual purification is needed which Sri Krishna told Arjuna. Soul is the river, the ghats of restraint and virtuous deeds, the water of truth, the shores of the modesty and the waves of compassion are rising, Arjun! You can take a bath in such a river. Only water cannot be purify soul. Fasting, to be educated in Gurukul, to follow rules of Vaanprasth ashram, to perform yagya, and to do rituals in morning & evening as per time & constellations.
6.2.3- Both good and bad deeds give fruits. If an action is done with pure intention which gives unfavourable result, it will not create bad consequences later. By doing good karma with reverence in all the ashrams give good rewards and vice versa. But these two deeds produce different fruits from the temporal power of reverence.
6.2.4- Attachment (Raga), malice, insanity/negligence, discourteous, ego, pride, and Nindaa etc. are the faults of the mind, which are said by the name of the upadha. As against those, good qualities which are capable of doing karma are knowledge, devotion, satsanga, patience, love, etc. are called Anupadha.
6.2.5-The form, juice, touch and smell Shruti Veda and memory Dharmashastra have been beneficial, they are pure. Just as money earned through right way, is sacred. It is pure that which is sanctified in the Vedic Mantra.
6.2.8-The person who is violent, adulterous, perverted, arrogant, trapped in the subjects of the senses; it is sin to feed such person. It means one can feed to those who do virtuous deeds, but never feed to the sinner.
6.2.9-Only money earned from truth is worth donation. Donation should be given with reverence and to good persons. Such donation is means for moksha (salvation).
6.2.10-Those things which are cause of happiness develop attachment (raag). Those kinds of things which cause aversion produce disenchant (moh).
6.2.11-Attachment and aversions create its strong sanskar/impressions in mind.
6.2.12-Invisibles of previous births also create defects.
6.2.14-Desire which create tendency in the offerings of charity, yagna and donation, is Dharma (virtues). Violence, malice etc. are the tendency of the wicked. The activities done by speech, mind and body, are called tendencies. Speaking truth, speaking sweetly, speaking for others' sentiment are virtuous tendencies. Telling lies, talking bitter and harming others is sin.
6.2.15-Dharma & adharm (unrighteousness) or atma (soul) is associated with the body, senses and mind. This association is called birth. When atma separates from the body & senses, this is called death. Cycle of birth and death, is the name of the world. Dharm-adharm is due to attachment & aversion which caused by false knowledge.
6.2.16-Knowledge of nature of atma and parmatma, at that time the body and mind which is separated from the soul, it is called moksha (liberation). What is the means of knowing the soul? To purify the first mind, do the ritual and worship according to the order. Ashtanga Yoga is the main instrument. When knowledge becomes pure, then false knowledge destroys.
Chapter Seven - The Prior and the Posterior
7.1.2- Earth, water, fire, and air that are formed by the atoms and their properties, the smell, the fluidity, and the form of the touch are transient/non-constant.
7.1.10-Molecule is formed due to significant causes. Bigger molecules are formed of more and more atoms and smaller molecules with fewer atoms.
7.1.20-The world is made of atoms which are permanent.
Chapter Eight – Inherence
8.1.1- Intellect has two types of knowledge. 1. Natural 2. casual. Natural knowledge is dharm of Atma and is eternal. Casual or un-natural knowledge is the instinct (वृत्ति) of the mind and transient.
8.1.2-Intellect is of three type viz. True knowledge, knowledge and false knowledge. True knowledge implies that, there is a right knowledge of God, the soul and the atom which remain same. Knowledge is of four type viz. direct knowledge that arises from the relation of senses, by indicative knowledge, by memory and by preaching. False knowledge is has four type viz. Scepticism, Counter-knowledge, Dreaming and who does not have faith in soul. The knowledge of the substances in them that are not experienced by the senses is from the estimation.
8.1.4-Qualities and Karma are produced in the matter. If the matter is not worth the experience, then its qualities and deeds cannot be experienced. Matter relates to the senses. There can be no knowledge of the word when separated from the sky.
8.1.6-General and special knowledge do not arise without any reason. Knowledge that, it is a substance, it is a quality/virtue, it is a karma; requires specific knowledge for its origin. It implies that without need, the knowledge does not arise.
8.1.11- Context of knowledge is not due to the context of the work, but due to the quality of the mind.
8.2.4-5-The senses are produced by the atoms of respective panch bhoot without which it cannot have that quality.
Chapter Nine - The Basis for Knowing the Individual
9.1.9-In the soul, direct knowledge is generated by special kind of coincidence soul and mind. Yogis are of two types; one whose mind is concentrated and other whose mind is not concentrated. We have some knowledge in soul, but it is covered with ignorance. By a special kind of coincidence with the soul and mind of the yogis, they get enlightenment.
9.1.10-With the help of yoga, mind gets knowledge of the atom of the matter in the mind, and also becomes aware of the element of time, direction and sky. God knows the merits of each object at one time. However, yogi can know about the object where he apply his mind.
9.1.12- one who knows the knowledge from the external senses is direct. The other yogis who have the knowledge of the qualifications of each substance inside the mind are mental direct. These temporal and supernatural knowledge by Yogis are from two types of direct samadhi.
9.2.7-The types of avidya (Ignorance) are sedative Knowledge, dream Knowledge, false Knowledge, Unbelievable Knowledge, and Changing Knowledge.
10.2.4- As it is said in the Vedas, good deeds done without selfish motive, if do not do any good in this world, then good deeds will not be fruitless, but it will purify soul & will be taken towards salvation, and due to liberation and without worship of God, he will become eligible for wisdom. The Vedas said, Do not injure any living being, do not eat meat, do not drink wine, if it do not harm in the world, even then mind does not remain good for worship of God and wisdom. Whereby, the creature gets hurt by receiving harmful atoms.
2. Shad Darshanamm by Swami Jagdishwaranand Saraswati, publisher: Vijay kumar Govindram Hasanand, nai Sarak, Delhi-110006.