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Representational Image. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

August 31, 2016: A man born in Prabhas Kshetra in the year 600 BC, went around the streets of Pragya, a pilgrimage destination by collecting grains and flowers, offered to the temple, littered by the devotees.

A surprised and intrigued crowd inquired the reason behind Kashyap’s actions; to which the man replied- An individual grain may seem worthless, but a collection of grains make up a person’s meal, and a collection of many meals can feed an entire family, and what is mankind but a collection of many families .Thus even a single grain is as valuable as all the riches in the world.


This man thus earned the title of Kanad , which means ’kan’ in Sanskrit and when translated in English means- “The smallest particle”. Acharya Kanad’s real name was Kashyap.

Kanad was always known to be extremely observant of his surroundings, and often developed and understood the most complex of ideas through the simplest of means. He developed his own theory ‘Anu’ , the atom when he noticed that he wasn’t able to physically disintegrate a piece of food item beyond a limit. He conceptualised the Idea that objects can be disintegrated into smaller particles up to a point where further splitting was impossible. He named this indivisible particle as Anu or parmanu, both of which means the atom.

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He also proposed the idea of the combination of atoms to form a bigger substance, which exhibited properties of the parent atoms, which became visible to the human eye after the combination had enough atoms involved, which resulted in increased size. He named the resultant substance as Dwinuka (Binary molecule). Evidence in History claimed that kanad said, ”Every object of creation is made of atoms which in turn connect with each other to form molecules.”

Kanad is believed to proactively note down his theories and concepts and also used to make his work available for the common population and therefore this genius earned the title of ‘Acharya,’ the Sanskrit translation of ‘Teacher’.

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Acharya Kanad was the founder of Vaisheshika School of Philosophy where he used to teach adn share his ideas about the atom as well as the nature of the universe. Acharya wrote a book too on his research– Vaisheshik Darshan, and hence he came to be known as ‘The Father of Atomic Theory’.

However, there are claims of ambiguity in regards to the origin of the Idea of the Atom. The origin is credited to the early Greeks by some, while others attributed the origin of the concept to the Indians.

– by Usman Zafar of NewsGram. Twitter: @HalkiSiChuban

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