Classical Indian Philosophy: Vaisesika the Metaphysical Concepts

Get top class preparation for GATE right from your home: Get detailed illustrated notes covering entire syllabus: point-by-point for high retention.

The Concept of Guna

  • The second padartha or category according to Vaisesika school is Guna or quality.
  • Guna or quality inheres in the substance or dravya.
  • Guna depends for its existence on the substance.
  • It is called an independent reality because it can be conceived, thought, and named independent of the substance in which it inheres, that is dravya.
  • It deals with objective qualities. They are not necessarily eternal.
  • It also deals with both mental and material qualities.
  • They are also regarded as a permanent feature of dravya.
  • Yet, it is different from dravya.
The Concept of Guna
  • Kanada quotes, “quality inheres in a substance, and does not produce any composite thing, and which is not the cause of conjunction and disjunction like an action.”
  • According to Kanada, there are seventeen qualities (seven more were added later by Prashastapada)
  • So, Vaisesika accepts a total of twenty-four qualities.

Some of the most important ones are:

Material Qualities

Mental Qualities

Mental Qualities Which in Here in the Self

Mental Qualities Which in Here in the Self

The Concept of Karma

  • Karma means action, it is the third category accepted by Vaisesika.
  • It inheres in the substance or dravya and cannot exist independently of dravya, (like Guna)
  • Unlike Guna, karma or action is not the permanent feature of the substance.
  • Rather, it is the transient feature of dravya for it is dynamic in nature.
  • Also, unlike quality, an action is the cause of conjunction and disjunction.
  • Action is said to be of five types.

The five types are:

  • Upward movement or utkshepana.
  • Downward movement or avakshepana
  • Contraction or akunchana
  • Expansion or prasarana
  • Locomotion or gamana

The Concept of Samanya

  • Samanya or generality is the fourth category accepted by Vaisesika.
  • It is a class concept- universal in nature.
  • It is universal in the sense of common characteristics of the individuals belonging to one class.
  • It is one but resides in many.
  • Simply put, it is common to many individuals.
  • It resides in substances, quality, and action.
  • For example, the class of man-ness or humanity which inheres all the individual men. Similarly, the class of cow-ness which inheres all the particular cows.
  • According to Kanada, Samanya is universal in nature and it is an objective reality. It is not a subjective class concept in our mind.
  • He explains, generality and particularity are relative to thought.
  • He says, they are not subjective concepts in our mind. Rather, they are objective realities.
  • The Vaisesika school is staunchly realistic in nature.
  • So, the universal has as much objective reality as the particular.
  • Hence, Nyaya-Vaisesika together advocate realism.

Samanya or generality is of two kinds:

  • Higher generality
  • Lower generality

Higher generality is that of being or satta or being-hood. It includes everything and is not included in anything.

Lower generality is every other generality than higher generality. It is so because it only includes some things and not all things. In other words, they cover limited things.

Questions

1. Higher generality is the state of

a. Sattva-hood

b. Cow-ness

c. Both a and b

d. None of these

Answer: A

Explanation: Higher generality is that of being or satta or being-hood. It includes everything and is not included in anything.

2. ________ is common to many individuals

A. Samanya

B. Samavaya

C. Inference

D. None of these

Answer: A

Explanation: Samanya or generality is the fourth category accepted by Vaisesika. It is a class concept, class essence or universal in nature. It is common to many individuals.

3. There are ________ types of karmas

A. Four

B. Five

C. Three

D. Two

Answer: B

Explanation: Action is said to be of five types. The five types are Upward movement or utkshepana, Downward movement or avakshepana, Contraction or akunchana and Expansion or prasarana and Locomotion or gamana.

4. Smell is the quality of

A. Water

B. Air

C. Earth

D. None of these

Answer: C

Explanation: Smell is the quality of earth. Taste is the quality of water; Colour is the quality of fire. Touch is the quality of air and Sound is the quality of ether.

#Vaisesika

#Metaphysics

#Dravyas

#Karma

#Guna

Developed by: