This is a part of the Vedic civilization topics. Unlike the others, this will concentrate solely on Vedic Physics, Nyaya-Vaisesika Darsana(school of
logical physics) and related subjects.
I will first reintroduce the vedic cosmology of the universe:
The Theological school
The entire universe/space is called Prakriti and manifests by a vibration of the Svra, a current of a life-force or a superstring called the
Parabrahman and the Purush. This in turns causes the subtle elements of the 5 ethers, or strings(the quality of ether is called sound) to vibrate, the
distinct vibration causes the Pancha-Mahabhuttas, the five physical elements.
The five main elements occur in the following order of aggregation:
Akasha(Ether) Tejas(energy) Vayu(forces/fields) Pritvhi(Atomic elements) and Apas(fluid)
Except for ether, all of the elements are composed of discreet and distinct indivisible particles called Paramanu(beyond atoms) i.e. light is composed
of discreet and distinct particles.
Space, soul and time are eternal.
The Rationalist school
The Darsana's were part of the six rationalist schools of the Vedas, the main schools were Nyaya(logic), Vaiseshika(physics), Yoga(metaphysics) and
Each school of thought is composed of it's own Sutras or aphorisms, rules or formulas, that condense volumes of knowledge into a few sentences. They
also contain Vriti(commentary), Bhaksha(explanations) by several teachers, making them self-contained texts on their discipline. Each Darsana also has
a Sutrakala, that is the first teacher that systematized the knowledge of the Vedic teachers into sutras. A full online Darsana of Yoga is available
The geneology of the teachers of the schools are mentioned and can be traced far into vedic times to the Krita Yuga, more than 5000 years ago.
The Nyaya-Vaisesika Sutra was founded by Rishi Gautama and Kanada. The Nyaya and Vaisesika schools originally started as separate schools, but then
merged into one due to their common rational approach.
The Naya-Vaiseshika Sutra consists of 373 Sutras and is composed of 12 chapters. It's main postulates are:
1. All of the universe is composed of the 5 mahabhuttas and the 4 non physicals: that is Fluid, Atomic elements, fields/force, energy, ether and
space, time, mind and soul.
2. Except ether, all of the physical elements are made of discreet and distinct paramanus or atoms
3. Space-time is a frame in which the physical universe exists
4.there are seven categories of experience, which are substance, quality, activity, generality, particularity, inherence, and non-existence.
5. Energy and mass are equivalent.
The Vaiseshika Sutras deal with the investigation, observation and mechanics of the universe and the elements and the theory of space and time. A lot
of the modern sciences are covered, including laws of motion, gravitation, thermodynamics, waves, hydrostatics and magnetism among others.
Here are some of the Sutras(Source
) The source is from an Indian microbiologist.
Force is that which displaces, holds together or moves things apart.V.S 1.1.20
In the absence of a force, a particle of matter experiences no change. V.S 1.1.6
The forces to be considered are an external force, gravity, that with causes attraction of particles, that which causes repulsion of particles and the
internal movements of them in matter.
Thus, vaisheShika aims at understanding a substance in terms of the effect of external forces that act on it including gravity and the internal forces
on its particles that cause their attraction, repulsion and vibrations. Then the text makes a rather interesting statement: V.S 1.1.13
Action is opposed by an equivalent opposite reaction - V.S 5.1.16-18
The diversities of the movement of an arrow are due to the consecutive changes in the components of the acting forces. The stored energy provides the
propulsion to the arrow and this causes it move further to a high point. This component keeps reducing while that of gravity increases resulting in
its fall.Once the work against gravity ceases then the body reaches an energy-less state falling under gravity. - V.S 1.1.27
The force on a body is the resultant of gravity and the work done against it. V.S 5.1.13
In the absence of all other forces (saMyoga-bindings) gravity exists. V.S 5.1.7
The “guna” of forces (direction) prevents a magnitude from being obtained - V.S.1.1.20a
The nature of physical changes in matter is the terms of work being done on the basic particles that constitute matter. .V.S 2.1.14
The particular nature of air is suggested by the mixing of gases that occurs on their collision.
despite of being made of atoms and occupying space air fails show orderly movement so its form cannot be perceived: V.S 4.1.8
Solids occupy space and assume form due to conglomeration of the constituent particles: V.S 4.1.6
The (fluid’s) particles possess energy. This causes them to possess the property of fluidity. The heat bearing rays provide the particles with
energy to form a gas and rise. The heated particles of air impact the vapor and with this energy it mixes with it. Freezing and melting of a liquid as
being a result of heat being taken up or given up by its particles V.S 5.2.9
Some apparently solid substances like ghee, lac and wax are in reality liquids, as their particles are naturally “heat-conjoined” or disorganized
as in water. Other true solid substances such as tin, lead, iron, silver and gold need their atoms to be supplied with external heat to disorder them
before they become a fluid V.S 2.1.6-7
Any body’s mass needs to be wholly explained in terms of its constituent particles. V.S 1.1.8-9
A substance can only emerge from another substance and not on its own eventhough its properties change from one to another. V.S 9.1.9
Any fundamental particular entity can be a constituent multiple substances: V.S 1.1.22
Any substance comprising of two or more primary particle types requires a chemical reaction to generate it- the conjoining and break up of prexisting
molecules: V.S 1.1.23
The “molecules” are stated as emerging from combinations between the fundamental entities: V.S 1.1.25
Forces are necessary to bring about combination and break up of molecules: V.S 1.1.28
The combinations of particles to produce molecules result in substances with states very different from those of the original particles: V.S 4.1.9
I have been researching extensively into the VS and found more information scattered about on several web sites. I have managed to locate a Hindi web
site from the Indian university of Banaras which has an extensive discourse on on it's web site. Unfortunately it is in Hindi. I have managed to have
some of it translated by a friend of mine.
I will expand further on the laws of motion in the VS:
Prashastpada, 5th century commentator on VS mentiond two forms of physical force:
1. vega (mechanical)
2 sthitisthApakatA (elasticity)
Prashastpada has defined ‘vega’ in the following ways: -
1. It is as a result of mechanical force that action is produced.
2. vega is proportional to the work produced and works in a given direction.
3. vega opposes combination of matter and sometimes one vega produces other vegas in sequence.
The inference of the above definition is as follows:-
1. vega (mechanical force) is a special cause for action.
2. vega is proportional to the action produced and works in a given direction.
3. vega is opposed by an equivalent opposite reaction
1: In the production or increment of karma (i.e. motion), the root cause is force. In other words, there is incremental or decremental change in
2: This law is a law of the measure of force. According to this, so long mechanical force works, there is change in motion i.e. there is momentum. To
find its value, it is calculated how much work it produces in a unit time.
Mathematically, the rate of change in momentum i.e. the increment in work in unit time is proportional to the force in action. Also, this change is in
the direction of the force.
Suppose that the mass of an object is 'm' and in time interval 't', the velocity of the object changes from 'u' to 'v' due to the force acting
on it. Then,
Initial momentum = mu
Final momentum = mv
Change in momentum = m(v-u)
Therefore, the rate of change of momentum = m(v-u)/t = ma (from Kanada's first law)
From Kandas second law,
force is proportional to the rate of change of momentum.
Or, p k ma
Or, p = kma (where k is a constant)
If m=1 and a=1, then
1 = k*1*1 or k = 1
Or, p = ma
Therefore, unit force is the one that produces unit acceleration in an object of unit mass.
The VS then goes to say that force is a result of work and is not a physical quantity. Which is superior to Newtons law that measures it as a physical
[edit on 16-2-2005 by Indigo_Child]