Space-time & gravitation

Thu Mar 19 11:58:19 UTC 1998

Among several relevant publications I would definitely recommend to start with
Barend Faddegon's The Vaisesika System: described with the help of the oldest
texts (Amsterdam 1918, reprint: Lichtenstein 1969), and in this work especially
part II chapter 2 entitled "Physics" and chapter 3 entitled "Mathematical
notions (number, time, space, movement)". Chapter 2 also contains a section on
physics in other Indian systems and on the physical notions of the ancient
Of course, Faddegon could not make use of some important Vaisesika-texts which
became accessible after his time, such as Candrananda's commentary and the
corresponding version of the suutras. I am not aware of an English publication
as comprehensive and thorough as that of Faddegon but taking account these
newly available texts.
You may also want to look into the first chapters of the AbhidharmakoZabhASya
for alternative physical (and atomic) theories and criticism of the Vaisesikas.
For Jaina physical theories cf. Dixit's Jaina Ontology, Ahmedabad, 1971, under
the relevant headings (perhaps other List members can suggest here further
Suitable for introductory reading also: A.B. Keith, Indian Logic and Atomism,
Oxford 1921, part II.B on Ontology and the Philosophy of Nature.

On  Wed, 18 Mar 1998 13:53:35 -0400, Girish Kumar Beeharry wrote:

>Dear Indologists,

I would like to know whether ideas/theories about space, time & gravitation
have been
discussed in the Indian peninsula before Newton's time, say. I am not asking for
mathematical theories but whatever discussions there might have been on the
attraction of bodies (eg apples falling or the motion of the Moon) within a
space-time framework. I am more generally interested in what the Chinese,
and civilisations not influenced by the Greek-Roman-'European'* civilisation
have to
say on gravitation. Any reference is most welcome.

Many thanks in advance.

Girish Kumar Beeharry

* I am really asking a Physics question. Please don't misinterpret
Greek-Roman-'European' and start a new mahaabhaarata! :-))

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