The Story of Kanada Rishi
Vaiseshika Darsana of Kanada propounded the concept of atom and its indivisibility, and the law of cause and effect. Dr.S. Radhakrishnan discussed at length the philosophical aspects of Vaiseshika Darsana, and gave emphasis on the atomic theory and its universality by devoting one chapter in his book Indian Philosophy Vol. 2, published by Oxford University Press, London, 1930.
Rishi Kanad founded “Vaisheshik Darshan "- one of six principal philosophies of India. He has classified all the objects of creation into nine elements, namely: earth, water, light, wind, ether, time, space, mind and soul. He says, "Every object of creation is made of atoms which in turn connect with each other to form molecules."
The eminent historian, T.N. Colebrook , has said, "Compared to the scientists of Europe , Kanad and other Indian scientists were the global masters of this field."
In Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science - By Dick Teresi, he wrote that
"The Indians came closest to modern ideas of atomism, quantum physics, and other current theories. India developed very early, enduring atomist theories of matter. Possibly Greek atomistic thought was influenced by India, via the Persian civilization. The Rig-Veda, is the first Indian literature to set down ideas resembling universal natural laws. Cosmic law is connected with cosmic light, with gods, and, later, specifically with Brahman. It was the Vedic Aryans... who gave the world some of the earliest philosophical texts on the makeup of matter and the theoretical underpinnings for the chemical makeup of minerals. Sanskrit Vedas from thousands of years before Christ implied that matter could not be created, and that the universe had created itself. Reflecting this, in his Vaiseshika philosophy, Kanada (600 B. C) claimed that elements could not be destroyed. Kanada's life is somewhat a mysterious, but his name is said to mean "one who eats particle or grain" likely referring to his theory that basic particles mix together as the building blocks for all matter. Two, three, four, or more of these elements would combine, just as we conceive of atoms doing. The Greeks would not stumble on this concept for another century."
"In India, we see the beginning of theoretical speculation of the size and nature of the earth. Some one thousand years before Aristotle, the Vedic Aryans asserted that the earth was round and circled the sun. A translation of the Rig Veda goes: "In the prescribed daily prayers to the Sun we find..the Sun is at the center of the solar system. ..The student ask, "What is the nature of the entity that holds the Earth? The teacher answers, "Rishi Vatsa holds the view that the Earth is held in space by the Sun."
"Two thousand years before Pythagoras, philosophers in northern India had understood that gravitation held the solar system together, and that therefore the sun, the most massive object, had to be at its center."
"Twenty-four centuries before Isaac Newton, the Hindu Rig-Veda asserted that gravitation held the universe together. The Sanskrit-speaking Aryans subscribed to the idea of a spherical earth in an era when the Greeks believed in a flat one. The Indians of the fifth century A.D. calculated the age of the earth as 4.3 billion years; scientists in 19th century England were convinced it was 100 million years."
(source: Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science - By Dick Teresi p. 159 and 174 -212). For more refer to chapter Hindu Cosmology).
T R. R. Iyengar in Hinduism and Scientific Quest: Atoms and Rishi Kanada wrote:
In the realm of physics, remarkable contributions have been made by Indian scientists. Kanada, the founder of the Vaisesika system of philosophy, expounded that the entire matter in this world consists of atoms as many in kind as the various elements. Kanada's atom would then correspond to the modern atom. Some Jain thinkers went a step further. They thought that all atoms are the same kind and variety emerged because they entered into different combinations. Kanada taught that light and heat are variations of the same reality. Vacaspati interpreted light as composed of minute particles emitted by substances and striking the eyes. This is a clear anticipation of the corpuscular theory of light, which was proposed by Newton but rejected till the discovery of the proton."
(source: Hinduism and Scientific Quest - By T R. R. Iyengar p. 153-154 South Asia Books ASIN 8124600775).