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VAISESIKA - On atoms

Identifier

021012

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

from Autobiography of a Yogi - Paramahansa Yogananda

The atomic structure of matter was well-known to the ancient Hindus. One of the six systems of Indian philosophy is VAISESIKA, from the Sanskrit root VISESAS, "atomic individuality." One of the foremost VAISESIKA expounders was Aulukya, also called Kanada, "the atom-eater," born about 2800 years ago.

In an article in EAST-WEST, April, 1934, a summary of VAISESIKA scientific knowledge was given as follows:
"Though the modern 'atomic theory' is generally considered a new advance of science, it was brilliantly expounded long ago by Kanada, 'the atom-eater.' The Sanskrit ANUS can be properly translated as 'atom' in the latter's literal Greek sense of 'uncut' or indivisible. Other scientific expositions of VAISESIKA treatises of the B.C. era include

(1) the movement of needles toward magnets,

(2) the circulation of water in plants,

(3) AKASH, inert and structureless, as a basis for transmitting subtle forces,

(4) the solar fire as the cause of all other forms of heat,

 (5) heat as the cause of molecular change,

(6) the law of gravitation as caused by the quality that inheres in earth-atoms to give them their attractive power or downward pull,

 (7) the kinetic nature of all energy; causation as always rooted in an expenditure of energy or a redistribution of motion,

(8) universal dissolution through the disintegration of atoms,

(9) the radiation of heat and light rays, infinitely small particles, darting forth in all directions with inconceivable speed (the modern 'cosmic rays' theory),

 (10) the relativity of time and space.

"VAISESIKA assigned the origin of the world to atoms, eternal in their nature, i.e., their ultimate peculiarities. These atoms were regarded as possessing an incessant vibratory motion. . . . The recent discovery that an atom is a miniature solar system would be no news to the old VAISESIKA philosophers, who also reduced time to its furthest mathematical concept by describing the smallest unit of time (KALA) as the period taken by an atom to traverse its own unit of space."

The source of the experience

Kanada

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Commonsteps

References