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Padartha means literally the meaning of' a word. But here it denotes a substance discussed in philosophy. A Padartha is an object, which can be thought (Artha) and named (Pada). All things, which exist, which can be perceived and named, all objects of experience, are Padarthas. Compound substances are dependent and transitory. Simple are eternal and independent.
The Padarthas of the Vaiseshika are the following: - (i) Substance (Dravya), (ii) Qualiy or property (Guna), (iii) Action (Karma), (iv) Generalitv of properties (Samanya) (V) Particularity (Visesha) (VI) Co-inherence or perpetual intimate relation (Samavaya), and (vii) Non-existence or negation of existence (Abhava). The first three categories of substance, quality and action have a real objective existence. The next three, viz, generality, particularity and inherence are logical categories. They are Products of intellectual discrimination. Kanada enumerated only six categories, the seventh was added by later writers.
Earth,water, fire, air, ether, time, space, soul and mind are the nine Dravyas or substances. The first four of these and the last are held to be atomic. The first four are both eternal and non-eternal, non-eternal in their various compounds and eternal in their ultimate atoms to which they must be traced back.
Mind is an eternal substance. It does not pervade everywhere like the soul. It is atomic. It can admit only one thought at a time.
There are seventeen qualities inherent in the nine substances, viz., colour (Rupa), taste (Risa), smell (Gandha), touch (Sparsa), numbers (Sankhyaa), measures (Paramanana), separateness or individuality (Prithaktvam), conjunction and disconjunction (Samyoga-vibhagam), priority and posterity (Paratva-aparatva), intellection or understanding (Buddhayah), pleasure and pain (Sukha-duhkha), desire and a version (Ichha-dvesha), and voliations (Prayatnah). Seven others are viz., gravity, fluidity, viscidity faculty, merit, demerit and sound-making twentyfour in all. Sixteen of these qualities belong to material substances. The other eight, viz., understanding, voliation, desire, aversion, pleasure, pain, merit and demerit are the properties of the soul.
The third category, Karma or action consists of five kinds of acts, viz., elevation or throwing upwards, depression or throwing downwards, contraction, expansion and motion.
The fourth category, Samanya or generality of properties is twofold. Viz, ( i )higher and lowerr generality and (ii) that of genus, and species.
The fifth, category, Visesha or particularity belongs to the nine eternal substances of the first category, all of which have in eternal ultimate difference distinguishing each from the others. Therefore, the system is called Vaiseshika.
The sixth category, Samavaya or co-inherence is of only one kind. It is the co-inherence between a substance, and its qualities, between a genus or species and its individuals, between any object and the general idea connected with it and is thought to be a real entity.
There are four kinds of Abhava, the seventh category, viz., antecedent non-existence, cessation of existence, mutual non-existence and absolute non-existence.