Indian concept of matter – Part I
The most decisive discovery in India is that of matter, molecule, atoms and their creation out of a sort of unseen energy. The creation of matter and atom has revolutionized the concept of an elementary particle.
A study of Indian concepts of matter reveals that Prakṛti of the Sāṅkhya school represents Matrix or Primordial Matter among many successive change as ever and all-pervading, while the view of the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika is that when newer and newer effects like material substance, etc. get produced, then atom as the basis of these effects exists as absolutely permanent without any kind of change. Jaina philosophy maintains the view that an atom is the basis of newer and newer material effects. Nevertheless, atoms are not by any means different and independent from the effects, like those of the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika. These three schools of thought agree in one point that self-identity of the fundamental substance as substratum is to remain as non-divisible.
Rūpa of Buddhist philosophy represents matter, signifying all the primary and secondary elements of matter which can be apprehended by the sense- perception. The Buddhist tradition also is an advocate of atomism like the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika and Jaina systems of thought. Nevertheless, its postulation appears to be distinct from the concept of Prakṛti of the Sāṅkhya on the one hand and that of eternal and infinite atoms of the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika and Jaina schools of thought on the other.
Indian Journal of History of Science, Vol. 14, no. 2 (1979).