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Abhava – Non-Being In Vaisheshika Philosophy In Hindu Religion

Non-being, or abhava, is part of Vaisheshika philosophy in Hindu religion. It is generally admitted by the scholars of Hindu philosophy that Kanada did not admit non-being or non-existence as an independent category.

Non-being as an independent category is said to have been added later. Shivaditya in his Saptapadarthi explicitly admitted it. However, Kanada in the ninth book of Vaisheshika Sutra describes non-being as that to which neither activity nor quality can be predicated. Moreover, he asserts that non-being can be perceptually cognized through the help of the memory. Besides, he pays attention to the different cases of non-being.

The doctrine of categories enunciated in Vaisheshika Sutra is essentially a logical description of the universe which is not intelligible without the concept of non-being. This sort of description is not a simple empirical classification of things;it is concerned with padarthas or predicables. So it was but natural for Vaiseshikas to make a place for the category of non-being, sooner or later.