The discovery of atomism is universally considered historic discovery by the western greek & scientific thought.this post will suggest that knowledge of atoms , their role in creation of the world was recognized in indian philosophy. there will also be comparison between indian & greek atomism
atomism is discussed mainly by two schools: jain and vaisheshika. jain considers the four elements: Earth,fire,water,air in atomic form. they’re inferred by their qualities- earth by smell, water by taste, air by touch, fire by color. these combine in space under efficient cause ( not god). thus, the effect is the world. vaisheshika considers 4 elements atoms as the material cause. the interesting point is that these toms differ qualitatively too like air: touch, fire: color+taste+touch etc. god uses these toms to make the world in space & time. the world is for the happiness of beings.
vaisheshika atomism differs from Greek atomism. western thought considers is purely materialistic. it doesn’t consider role of god or soul. atoms are only quantitatively different. vaisheshika gives importance to materialism & spiritualism. god is efficient cause & moral judge. karma theory works for mortality .atoms have qualitative difference.
Beginnings of scientific thought were there in east; but rigidity of orthodox religion curbed intellectual progress severely. colonial rule did bring changed mindsets but by giving up the indigenous knowledge. the present day intellectuals trying to revive ancient scientific discoveries, mostly by distorting it.