Of falling apples and better marketing…

संयोगाभावे गुरुत्वात् पतनम् ॥५।१।७॥

Saṃyogābhāve gurutvāt patanam (5.1.7)
In the absence of action, the object falls by gravity.

कार्य्यविरोधि कर्म ॥१।१।१४॥

Kāryyavirodhi karma (1.1.14).
Action is opposed by reaction.

These are extracts from the Vaiśeṣika Sūtra and are attributed to Kaṇāda. Sound familiar?

Also, have you ever heard of कणाद (Kaṇāda)? He was an ancient Indian Rishi and philosopher who founded the Vaisheshika school of Indian philosophy that also represents the earliest Indian physics. He lived in 6th Century BCE.

His traditional name “Kaṇāda” means “atom eater”, and he is known for developing the foundations of an atomistic approach to physics and philosophy in the the Vaiśeṣika Sūtra, also known as the Kaṇāda Sutras.

Kaṇāda suggested that everything can be subdivided, but this subdivision cannot go on forever, and there must be smallest entities (paramanu) that cannot be divided, that are eternal, that aggregate in different ways to yield complex substances and bodies with unique identity, a process that involves heat, and this is the basis for all material existence.

Back to the two sutras above. If they sounded familiar, I don’t blame you. Read the two sentences below:

1. An object remains in the state of rest or motion unless acted upon by a force

2. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

The above are two laws of motion, made famous by Newton in the 16th century, or around a thousand years after Kaṇāda.

And the laws were well established by Kaṇāda when Newton’s ancestors were still err..in the woods.

The funny thing is that you know all about Newton and his apples, and have hardly heard of Kaṇāda, the actual proponent of these theories.

Something very wrong in the Indian educational system yes? Thought all this would have been corrected by now!