This wiki article describes Kanada as both a sage and a philosopher. Was he a Rishi or a mere philosopher?

  • According to wikipedia he is sort of philosopher and Inventor or Theoretical Physicist.
    – Yogi
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 19:04
  • @Yogi: As always, I find wiki less trustable by the day :) Commented May 7, 2016 at 6:15

1 Answer 1


Yes. He was indeed a ṛṣi. But what kind of a ṛṣi was He? What was his expertise? From that wiki article you mentioned, it's obvious Kaṇāda pioneered the Vaiśeṣika vāda school, one of the Ṣaḍ Darśanas | 6 major Philosophies in Hinduism. Nevertheless, due to his (exalted) rank he was that of a seer, hence the prefixed title of « Maharṣi » to his name Kaṇāda i.e., He is addressed (and famous) as Maharṣi Kaṇāda.

Now, let me throw some light on the various level of ṛṣis. Ratna Kośa [A] & TriKāṇḍaŚeṣa (now extinct; from the whatever scattered quotes of them we have from the various vedic literatures) list 7 level of Ṛṣis which are being enumerated in their decreasing order of greatness as follows:

Deva-Born (= not of human origin):

① Brahmarṣi i.e., born from Brahmā e.g. Brahmarṣi Vasiṣṭha[B] [C]

② Devarṣi i.e., born out of Deva e.g. Devarṣi Nārada Muni


③ Maharṣi, the greatest of all ṛṣis who are of human race.

④ Paramarṣi, slightly below than Maharṣi

⑤ Kāṇḍarṣi, dealing with a certain Kāṇḍa — Chapter — of a Śāstra or Wing e.g., Jaimini (Mīmāṁsā propounder)

⑥ Śrutarṣi, one of the best preceptors of Śāstra

⑦ Rājarṣi, last and least in merit e. g., Viśvāmitra, Ṛtuparṇa, King Janaka


[A] Ratna Kośa -

sapta brahmarṣi devarṣi maharṣi paramarṣayaḥ ।
kāṇḍarṣiśca śrutarṣiśca rājarṣiśca kramāvarāḥ ॥

[B] Viṣṇu Purāṇa B1: 7.5
[C] Vāyu Purāṇa Vol. 1, 9.62

  • Vishwamitra is a Brahmarshi. Commented May 6, 2016 at 22:09
  • @sv.: I think the argument that he pioneered that Vaisheshika school, one of the Shatdarshanas is solid enough. Did not look at that aspect before. Commented May 7, 2016 at 4:14
  • @vinayasisya: Thanks, that helped. You could add references to support the classification that you mentioned and I will accept the answer. Commented May 7, 2016 at 4:16
  • @sv. Didn't I give the 2 sources where these ṛṣi definition come from? I haven't got hold of these original kośa, which means I don't have access to the original exact sanskrit verses. That's a different thing. But what I have provided is authentic. Commented May 7, 2016 at 5:15
  • Vishwamitra attained the status of Brahmarshi. Commented May 7, 2016 at 5:34

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