Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science ► 05 ► [5.1] Atomic Theory And Paramanuvada - Historical Development Of Atomic Theory

Posted: 01.04.2008

In the West, Greek philosophy and science were together at the beginning of the 6th century B.C. with the first Milesian philosopher Thales. As we have seen, the idea of the smallest indivisible ultimate building blocks of matter came in connection with the elaboration of the concepts of being and becoming which characterised the first epoch of Greek philosophy. But atomic theory of matter was propounded much later by Democritus about 420 B.C.

The Jain doctrine of paramanu is undoubtedly much more ancient than the Greek atomists. Bhagawan Parsvanath (B.C. 877-777) and Bhagavan Mahavira (B.C. 599-527) propounded the paramanu as the ultimate indivisible origin of matter and the Jain canons Vidhapannattī (Bhagavati Sutra) and Thananga Sutra contain elaborate and detailed discussions on the nature, structure and behaviour of matter in general and paramanu in particular.

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