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(vī'shəshē`kə): see Hindu philosophyHindu philosophy,
the philosophical speculations and systems of India that have their roots in Hinduism. Characteristics

Hindu philosophy began in the period of the Upanishads (900–500 B.C.
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one of the six orthodox Hindu systems of ancient Indian philosophy.

According to tradition, the founder of the Vaisheshika system was Kanada; the fundamental work of the system, the Vaisheshika Sutra (the final text of which dates to the first half of the first millennium), is attributed to him. Another important source of the Vaisheshika is the Padartha-dharma-sangraha —commentaries to the Vaisheshika Sutra. The Vaisheshika attained its greatest development in southern India during the ninth through 14th centuries.

According to the teaching of the Vaisheshika, everything that exists is included in six categories: substance, quality, action, the general, the particular, and the inherent. Substance, which expresses the essence of a thing, is the main category. The nine substances (earth, water, light, air, ether, time, space, spirit, and mind), which are endowed with qualities (permanent characteristics) and actions (transient characteristics), make up the entire existing universe. The Vaisheshika maintained an atomistic viewpoint, according to which the first four substances were combinations of atoms (anu) —invariable spherical material particles. Although atoms were not created by anyone and exist eternally, they are passive: they start to move because of an invisible force, adrishty, and then enter into combinations under the direction of the world spirit Brahma, which subjects the material world to the eternal cyclical process of creation and destruction. The sensuously apprehended world exists in time, space, and ether and is governed by a special universal moral law (dharma).


Radhakrishnan, S. Indiiskaia filosofiia, vols. 1-2. Moscow, 1956—57. (Translated from English.)
Keith, A. B. Indian Logic and Atomism: An Exposition of the Nyaya and Vaiçeşika Systems. Oxford, 1921.
Mishra, U. Conception of Matter According to Nyaya-Vaiçeşika. Allahabad, 1936.