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In the Vedic texts and the Upaniṣads, ākāśa is used to convey the idea of world-space, i.e. the expanse in which everything lives and operates (that which allows space); in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad this space is equated, among other things, with brahman (neut.). There was, however, a shift in meaning, so that by the Epic period, ākāśa was taken to represent one of the five elements, namely, ether. In Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika ontology, ākāśa, as ether, is characterized as one of the five material or atomic substances (dravyas). As the unperceivable, infinite and all-pervading substratum of the quality of sound, it is clearly differentiated from the immaterial substance, space (dik).

Subjects: Hinduism — Buddhism.

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