Space, time and anu in Vaiseshika
This article summarizes the main ideas related to space, time, and the fundamental particle (anu) in Vaisheshika, the ancient Indian tradition of physics. In particular, the conception of anu, the fundamental particle of this tradition, is examined at length. Kanada used his framework of defining observables (matter) through the effect of motion in a very consistent manner. When the universe ceases to be at the end of the cosmic cycle, matter is not annihilated. Rather, the collection of anu (atoms) reaches a quiescent state where they do not undergo any motion and thus become invisible to observation. The anu in itself is not observable, and is thus an abstraction. Kanada’s framework defies the usual categories of realist versus idealist, since for him matter in itself is a result of motion. In this framework, time and space arise out of the motion that anu obtains due to its interactions. To this extent, the observer is central to Kanada’s scheme.