The Theory Of Gravity Presented In Vaisheshika Sutra 2500 Years Ago

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Vaisheshika Sutra

The system known as Vaisheshika is from the group of Hindu philosophy schools in ancient India. The name of the system comes from a Sanskrit word vishesa, which means distinguishing feature or simply distinction. The emphasis of the system is on naturalism and metaphysics. Somewhere around the 6th and to the 2nd century BCE, Acharya Kanada has presented his gravity theory in the Vaisheshika-Sutra.

This person was also called Kashyap. Acharya Kanada was also the one that formulated the concept of atoms.

Vaisheshika Sutra discussed gravity’s role in three events:

What is the reason for objects falling on the ground when we let go?

Sutra 5.1.6 describes this situation. According to the description, this action of the body and of its members happens as a result of the conjunction they make with our hands.

The second sutra, the 5.1.7, describes that there is no conjunction at all and that objects fall as a result of gravity. In that way, it recognizes that objects fall on the ground because of gravity.

What is the reason for objects falling after a few seconds or minutes when we throw them in the air?

The Vaisheshika Sutra also discussed what role gravity has in the falling of objects that move. It, in fact, gives through the analogy of the arrow. First of all, it gives the mechanism of projection of arrow in the Sutra 5.1.17.

So, the primary action that the arrow performs comes from impulse, while the following one results from the energy which is produced by that which was first, and the following after them are similar.

After that, it gives the explanation what is the reason for its falling in the following Sutra, the 5.1.18, saying that when propulsive or resultant energy which is generated by the action is absent, the falling will result from gravity.

What is the reason for the occurrence of evaporation and rain?

After that, the Sutras also discussed the reason for the falling of water, in the form of evaporation or rain, from our sky. The water is falling when the conjunction does not exist because of gravity. After that, it also discussed the water flow, saying that flowing is the result of fluidity.

It also discussed the reason for the rising of water, saying that the rays of the sun make the water ascent pass through the conjunction with the air.

Therefore, from all the three Sutras from above, we may realize that the Vaisheshika Sutra system clearly mentions gravity. In fact, it utilized the word ‘Gurutwa’ that is also utilized nowadays, representing gravity. Moreover, the meaning of Gurutwa is force arising because of mass. You can find the full translated text of Vaisheshika Sutra here.


Image Credit: timbayo

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