Kanada was a Hindu sage and philosopher. He probably lived around the 2nd century BCE, while other sources claim he lived in the 6th Century BCE. It is believed that Kanada originated the concept of atom. An interesting story states that this theory occurred to him while he was walking with food in his hand. As he nibbled at the food in his hand, throwing away the small particles, it occurred to him that he could not divide the food into further parts and thus the idea of a matter which cannot be divided further came into existence. He called that indivisible matter as 'Anu' .i.e. atom. Adherents of the school of philosophy founded by Kanada considered the atom to be indestructible, and hence eternal. They believed atoms to be minute objects invisible to the naked eye which come into being and vanish in an instant. This Indian concept of the atom was developed independently and possibly prior (depending on which dates one accepts for the life of Kanada) to the development of the idea in the Greco-Roman world. Indian theories about the atom are greatly abstract and enmeshed in philosophy as they were based on logic and not on personal experience or experimentation.


Katyayana (c. 3rd century BCE) was a Sanskrit grammarian, mathematician and Vedic priest who lived in ancient India.He is known for two works:

•   The Varttika, an elaboration on Panini grammar. Along with the Mahabhasya of Patańjali, this text became a core part of the vyakarana (grammar) canon. This was one of the six Vedangas, and constituted compulsory education for students in the following twelve centuries.

•   He also composed one of the later Sulba Sutras, a series of nine texts on the geometry of altar constructions, dealing with rectangles, right-sided triangles, rhombuses, etc.

In the tradition of scholars like Pingala, Katyayana was also interested in mathematics. Here his text on the Sulba Sutras dealt with geometry, and extended the treatment of the Pythagorean Theorem as first presented in 800 BC by Baudhayana.