Acharya Kanada was an ancient philosopher and natural scientist. Acharya Kanada is also known as Kashyapa. 2500 years before John Dalton’s discovery. He formulated the theory of atoms. Vaisheshika school of Indian philosophy was founded by him. It incorporated the earliest Indian physics. He used this to elaborate the creation and existence of the universe by presenting an atomistic theory. His school is one of the earliest known realist ontology in history. He applied realism and logic together.
He was born in 600 BC in Prabhas Kshetra in Gujarat. This place is in Eastern India. Once he was on a holy expedition to Prayag. He saw something peculiar, thousands of devotees were throwing flowers and rice grains in reverence to the temple and god. He was fascinated by the broken grains of rice and thereby he started collecting them.
People saw the act and asked him why he was collecting the broken grains which can not be even used for eating. He replied that an individual grain may not have any worth but a collection of hundreds of them can feed a person and a collection of such meals can feed an entire family. He said even a single particle is very important. People were impressed by his explanation and started calling him ‘Kannada’. ‘Kan’ is a Sanskrit word which basically means the smallest particle.
According to a legend he would spend his entire day in meditation and studies and would eat only once at night. As he walked, he was breaking food into further smaller pieces to a point where he could not break it anymore. From this he developed the idea of a particle that cannot be divided anymore. He named the indivisible matter atom or parmanu. He also cited that atoms are not visible to the naked human eye. He wrote a book known as Vaisheshik Darshan. His book is famously known as Kannada sutras. In his book he captured his atomic theory.