By Swami Harshananda
Aulukya-darśana literally means Uluka’s (Owl's) philosophy.
The sage Kaṇāda is the founder of the Vaiśeṣika system of philosophy, one of the six systems of philosophy. Since he lived upon the grains picked up from the agricultural fields, (kaṇa = grain, ad = to eat) he came to be known as ‘Kaṇāda.’ It is said that he performed severe austerities to get the grace of Śiva. Pleased with his devotion and faith, Śiva appeared before him in the form of an ‘uluka’ (an owl) and taught him this philosophy. Hence Kaṇāda’s Vaiśeṣika Darśana is also known as ‘Aulukya-darśana,’ the philosophy revealed by Śiva in the form of Uluka or owl. Traditional writers of philosophical systems generally refer to the Vaiśeṣika school as ‘Kaṇāda-darśana’ or ‘Aulukya-darśana.’
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore