Sunday, May 25, 2008


Anu and Parmanu
It was Kanada who first propounded the that the Parmanu (atom) was an indestrutible particle of matter. According to the material universe is made up of Kana. When matter is divided and sudivided, we reach a stage beyond which no division is possible, the undivisible element of matter is Parmanu. Kanada explained that this indivisible, indestructible y cannot be sensed through any human organ.
In saying that there are different types of Parmanu for the five Pancha Mahabhootas, Earth, water, fire, air and ether. Each Parmanu has a peculiar property which depends, on the substance to which it belongs . It was because of this conception of peculiarity of Parmanu (atoms) that this theory unded by Kanada came to be known Vaisheshika-Sutra (Peculiarity Aphorisms). In this context Kanada seems to arrived at conclusions which were surpassed only many centuries after him.
According to Kanada, an object appears to be heavy under water than it does in air because the density of atoms in water is more than in air. The additional density of , in water, Kanada said, takes on part of the weight of an object, hence we feel only a part of its total weight, while in air, the lesser density of atoms results in a lesser part of an object's weight being picked by air, hence we feel the object to be heavier in air than what is was when under the water. In saying this, in a very elementary but important way, Kanada foreshadowed Archimedes' theory that a body immersed in a fluid is subject to an upward force equal in magnitude to the weight of the fluid it displaces. Kanada's idea also had shades of relativity in it which was propounded by Einstien in our times.
About his ideas on atom, Kanada observed that an inherent urge made one Parmanu combine with another. When two Parmanu belonging to one class of substance combined, a dwinuka (binary molecule) was the result. This dwinuka had properties similar to the two parent Parmanu. In the material universe, according to him, Parmanu be longing to different classes of substances combine in different combinations giving us a variety of dwinuka, which in other words means different types of substances. Apart from such combination of different Parmanu, Kanada also put forth the idea of chemical changes occuring because of various factors. He claimed that variation in temperature could bring about such changes.
He cited the examples of blackening of a new earthen pot and the ripening of fruit to illustrate the chemical change in substances brought about by the heat. Thus according to Kanada all substances, all matter that existed in the universe was formed of Parmanu (atoms). The variations in the matter reflected the peculiarity of the Parmanu which constituted that particular matter, the variety of combinations between different types of Parmanu and the effect on them of variation in temperature.


Anonymous said...

thank you for the article.
which books are there to explain Vedic chemistry?

Anonymous said...

There are three words for particles - kaNa, aNu and paramANu Then theere are molecules like dvyaNUka and tryaNuka. All these are basic in the vaiseshika category dravya. Heat (pAka) changes properties - but there are two theories here pIlu-pAka-vADa and piThara-pAka-vAda. pIlu is synonym for aNu The first is more vaiSeshika view and the second is nyAya view. There are some discussions now whether Higgs-boson and other particles fit into VaiSeshika theory.