November 28, 2023

Particle Physics in Veda

 It has become a tradition to believe that science originated in the Greek con-federation. Not only this, they take Dalton as the pioneer. The great Indian sages working scientifically and logically awakened their rtambhara prajHd (purest intellect). not only to propound the philosophy about the self, but also to prescribe the proper technology to achieve the desired aim. In this pursuit, they did not ignore the study of the world of outside, but their enquiries were confined to the fields which helped them to understand self.

 Maharshi Kanada (महर्षि कणाद) is associated with the atomic theory.

The smallest state of matter is Parmanu (atom) and the largest state is called ‘mahat‘ (self sense). So he considered atom to be indivi¬sible, a point source, without magnitude, a concept nearer the Boyles’ concept. It has potentialities which come into play when it is combined with others. Before be-coming manifest in the form of matter, atoms make primary combinations to make diads and triads.

Maharshi Charaka (महर्षि चरक) postulated that  “atom is the smallest particle of matter and air and action (energy) are responsible for the combination and separation of atoms”.

Ashtanga Sharira believes that active air is responsible for the combination and separation of atoms. On breaking the matter it goes on breaking into smaller particles until we reach a point where further sub-division is not possible. Such state is known as the atomic state. Nyayas believes that the atoms of earth, water, fire and air are different from one another. They are spherical in natures. Since they have a shape, they can combine with other atoms around’ them.


[Dalton’s atomic theory states that matter consists ultimately of indivisible, discrete particles (atoms), and the atoms of the same element are identical. Chemical action takes place as a result of attractions between these atoms, which combine in simple proportions ]

Vaisesika takes atom as the cause, but Vyas considers atoms to be action and as such believes that they can be further sub-divided, a concept which is much nearer the modern concept of atom.

Some Buddhist thinkers conceive of atom as the minutest particle capable of occupying space (Van der Waal’s concept). According to them it also remains for the minutest duration of time, coming into being and vanishing almost in an instant only to be succeeded by another atom caused by the first. This concept resembles Planck’s quantum theory.

Buddhists and Ajivikas believe that in normal condition, no atom exists by itself; rather they exist in a variety of combinations Samghata or Kalapa.

Every unit of combination contains one atom of all the four types of elements (they do not take “Akasha” as an element) and obtains its character from the predominance of an elemental character. This accounts for the fact that matter shows characteristics of more than one element. Thus, wax may melt and also burn, because it is a samghata of elements of water and fire. The elements cohere in a samghata by virtue of the atoms of water acting as an adhesive.

According to Jain concept of pudgal (matter)  ” many atoms combine together to make a skanda (compound) which is matter joined together. The attributes of each atom when combined together go to make the attributes of the compound. These pudgal (atoms) are called skanda (compound) as long as they are held together by their binding power. The composition and the distribution of these skandas depend on their binding power and power of differentiation (bheda Sakti) which are of six types, viz, gross, grosser, very gross, subtle, subtler and very subtle. These atoms are perennial, but still they can be created and consumed”.

Very gross (Ati-Sthula: अति स्थूल): — Those substances that do not recombine by themselves after separation, e.g. wood, stone.

Gross (sthula: स्थूल) — Those substances that recombine after separation, e.g. water, milk, oil, etc.

Gross-subtle (sthula-sukshma: स्थूल-सुक्ष्म)  — Those that appear to be gross but cannot be held, e.g. shadow, darkness.

Subtle-subtle (sukshma-sukshma: सुक्ष्म-सुक्ष्म) — Those which are subtle but appear to be gross, e.g. taste, smell, touch, etc.

Subtle (sukshma: सुक्ष्म) — lose that cannot be felt by the body, e.g. karma.

Very subtle (ati-sukshma:  अति-सुक्ष्म)  — Those that are smaller than karma vary minute aggregate (dusnuk skandha).


The Greek philosopher Democritus developed a concept of atom which was later revised by Dalton in 1803 to account for the observation that elements combine in certain definite proportions by weight. The Daltonian atom was very much different from the version of Democritus, but essentially the same as that developed by Kanada in India in 600 B.C. From the writings of the first European Greek Hesiod about the evolution of earth, it appears that even in the ninth century B.c. Greek thoughts were very much in line with those in India.

Wicken writes that “The science never got any final answer for what matter is” but proceeds through a tension of empirical facts and theoretical concept to pro – gressively more powerful and general ways of explaining its behaviour.”

An answer to all these questions was given by the Vedas long back.

Life, Matter and Universe : 

In recent years scientists of many disciplines have devoted considerable attention to the study of the relation of life with matter Virtually all these studies are based on the assumption that life is a manifestation of matter. These scientists postulated a primordial chemical soup of small and simple molecules and they imagined that in the course of time under the influence of chance and mechanical laws, life generated itself from the atoms and molecules.

Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Newton were pioneers in the study of gross material phenomena, such as planetary motions. Among the more enthusiastic ones, the French scientist Pierre de Laplace believed that the universe was made of atomic particles.

He claimed that for a given position and velocity of these particles, he could at least in principle calculate the entire past and future of the universe. To under-stand all the natural phenomena and the relationships existing between life, matter and universe a scientist should involve himself in nothing but a study of the simple pushes and pulls between particles. One might well wonder whether mere pushes and pulls can be solely responsible for all the diverse aspects of the world and ourselves that we experience in Iife.

Atomic Structure: 

The Vedic seers tried to symbolise the various attributes of matter in terms of individuals, e.g. heat, energy and radiations represented by Agni, light by Surya, lightning by Apsara, electricity by Indra, etc. Satapatha, Susruta, Taittiriya and other treatise, visualised the whole world as composed of two basic elements, viz. Agni and Some. These were represented by different names as the two Asvins. Mitta and Varuna, Ravi and Prana, Brahma and Ksatra, the horses of Indra and Aditi. This thought became so much prevalent in ancient India that it was mentioned in later Sanskrit books of secterian type.

The attributes of Asvins which pervade everything are given as rasa and jyoti which are again identical with Agni and Soma. They are described as carry {possessing different and opposite characters), sakhya (friends of having attraction for each other) and ultimate elements of the world.

Similarly, Mitra and Varuna – Brahma and Ksatra,Rayi and Prana are identical with Soma and Agni. Aditi is identical with matter and its two-fold character suggests that it is composed of only two basic elements. Soma has come out of Aditi(matter).

The dual character of matter in later times assumed the character of good or evil. Day and night and was symbolised by sun and moon which in their turn are again Agni and Soma.Agni and Soma are related to the two horses of Indra and their power.

Electricity is identified with Indra. Nighunta has given vidyut (electricity), thunderbolt, Pani and Kulisa as the names of indra’s weapons which are all identical with electricity.

It is apparent from the above that the two basic elements of matter are the two types of electrical chargesls which are opposite in character, but attract each other.

Rig Veda uses pariyaman (going round according to Sayana : सायणाचार्य) for Indra, which means that the charge in moving around in space like planets and sun.

Words like Samyuja and sankyuja (well joined and joined together) indicate that it refers to modern proton cemented to the nucleus. Mitra and Varuna and As’vins are related to north and south,

Atharva Veda states that Agni is related to north (positive) and Soma to south (negative), North is magnetic, warm, positive and masculine. It attracts electricity from south. South is electrical, cold, negative and feminine. External is negative and internal is positive. South is most negative, but north is most positive. The unit of positive eiectricity is more massive than the unit of negative electricity.

Rudra is the god of electricity. It is known as the father of maricis, which are also known as maruts.  They are known to be electrical in nature and produce magnetic field in the north-east direction.

All that has been said can be summarized as follows:

1. The ultimate particle of matter is composed of two basic elements.
2. Each of these elements is electrical in nature.
3. The two types of electricity have opposite character, but they attract each other.
4. Electricity is positive and negative.
5. The unit of negative electricity is much lighter than the unit of positive electricity.
6. The lighter negative charge goes around the positive charge like planets or the solar system.
7. The negative charge produces magnetism when going around the positive charge.


It is clear from the above presentation that thinkers in India as far back as the Vedic era had gained clear insight into such complex problems as the nature and structure of matter, atomic structures and relationship between fife and matter.

The hypotheses propounded by sages of Vedic. Buddhist and Jain periods regarding elements, atomic structure, energy and related aspects are seen to align closely with those put forth in western countries by various thinkers of modern times.

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