The guests were shown all the rare collections of Sanskrit scriptures and literature, painstakingly gathered from various sources. It was indeed an impressive collection. But there was one small handwritten note book which surprised them the most. What were the contents of that book? The title of the book was Vaimanika Shastra of Maharishi Bharadhwaj. Ancient Indian Vimana; Image source: aloneworld.
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While many ancient Indian scriptures mention vimanas and give elaborate descriptions of their workings, this is a more recent text that describes the ancient flying machines in detail. Or, at least, it is supposed to be by an ancient author, but comes to us through a modern medium.
An Indian mystic Pandit Subbaraya Shastry claimed he had received the book as a divinity from the ancient sage Maharshi Bharadwaja and he then dictated it to his associate Shri G.
Venkatachala Sharma. The dictation and transcription of the book lasted from to It was translated into Hindi in and into English in The Vaimanika Shastra Vaimanika Shastra means the science of aeronautics.
To understand aeronautics, we need to understand aerodynamics, propulsive devices, materials, and metallurgy. In Vaimanika Shastra, there is much about propulsive devices, but next to nothing about aerodynamics. According to the Vaimanika Shastra, these vimanas were not flights of fantasy of the ancient authors, but actual and aerodynamically viable flying machines.
The ancient Indians not only knew how to fly, they also flew in highly sophisticated machines with many capabilities. Using mercury vortex engines, these vimanas could become motionless in mid-air and could make themselves invisible.
When used in war, they could render the enemy forces unconscious and spy into the insides of enemy crafts. The text includes information about piloting these vimanas and the aerial routes that could be taken. It mentions the food that could be eaten and the clothes that could be worn aboard the vimanas. It states the metals that were used to manufacture the vimanas and explains how these metals were produced.
It describes mirrors fitted on the vimanas and their use in wars. It talks about different airplane machineries as well as different plant categories like mantrik, tantrik, and kritak. It also lists four planes — Shakuna, Sundara, Rukma, and Tripura — from the kritak category. Origins of the Vaimanika Shastra According to Pandit Subbaraya Shastry, Maharshi Bharadwaja is the real author of the work; it is indeed written as such. Apparently, Panditji was only the conduit for presenting the book to humankind.
The verses would come to him in sudden flashes of inspiration and his associate Shri G. Venkatachala Sharma would then immediately transcribe them. This continued over a long period until the entire book was written.
Sometime between and , Panditji asked Ellappa , a draughtsman from an engineering college, to illustrate the manuscript with technical drawings of the vimanas. Shri Shivkar Bapuji Talpade , who was a technical instructor at the J.
He was unable to make them fly, however. Incidentally, Talpade was first modern Indian to build a flying machine that he named Marutsakha and flew on the Chowpatty beach in Bombay in In , a certain Shri Josyer founded the International Academy of Sanskrit Research and organized an exhibition of rare Sanskrit manuscripts at its inaugural event.
Shri M. Krishnaswamy Iyengar, who knew Panditji, provided a copy of the Vaimanika Shastra for this exhibition and it generated a good deal of interest.
Shri Josyer then contacted Shri Venkatrama Shastry and acquired the original manuscript. He translated it into English and made it available to the wider public.
He was married by the age of eight, as was the custom in those times, and several years afterwards, his parents died and the responsibility of supporting his many siblings fell upon his young shoulders. The only way he could do this was by begging. For a brief while, his father-in-law took in the family, but then they had to leave and fend for themselves once again.
In these dire circumstances, they contracted smallpox and Panditji lost his sisters and one of his brothers to this disease.
He himself became gravely ill and his surviving brothers abandoned him. He never received any formal schooling, but learned to read and write Telugu and Kannada while he was with Guruji. When he had completed recovered, he went to Anekal and lived there with his wife and the son they adopted some years later. It should be mentioned that Panditji was an individual with an unassuming and unpretentious disposition. Over the years, he developed a wide circle of acquaintances, including the Indian scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose, and none of these people ever cast a doubt on his intrinsic sincerity.
He never took personal credit for the Vaimanika Shastra but insisted all the while that the real author was Maharshi Bharadwaja. He did not claim to understand the shlokas that he was divinely inspired to quote, nor did he claim to understand the practicalities of the flying machines in the Vaimanika Shastra.
The problems with the Vaimanika Shastra While it would be a stretch to call Panditji a trickster or a charlatan — since he never showed any such traits in his entire life and the people who knew him appear to have regarded him with nothing but respect — there are several problems with the Vaimanika Shastra that cannot be disregarded.
In the first place, if it had really been an ancient text, it would have used ancient Sanskrit. The text, however, is in modern Sanskrit with a sprinkling of ancient terms.
According to many aeronautic experts, there are several practical problems with the planes depicted in the Vaimanika Shastra. The latter is apparently essential for lift-off. The exact principles of operation are not mentioned, but the height and width dimensions of the vimana are likely to make it unstable.
Sundara Vimana Section of Sundara Vimana. It has a heater, an electricity generator, and five gas engines. There is also a metal pipe wind blower.
The electricity vaporises oil. The vimana also generates steam. If it manages to fly, however, it can, according to the text, cover yojanas in one ghatika. Rukma Vimana Vertical section of Rukma Vimana. It is made of raja loha and various other materials and has electrical tube wheels and lifting fans.
Its power generator operates on solar power. It can attain a speed of krosha per ghatika. Tripura Vimana Vertical section of Tripura Vimana. It has wheels for land travel and these wheels are retracted when it moves in the water. The text does not provide its exact operational principles, but its power generator utilizes solar energy. It is an oval-shaped vimana, with a foot length, foot width, and foot height. It is made of a light, fire resistant alloy. So, can the Vimanas fly? The researchers from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore , who carried out a study of the Vaimanika Shastra in , expressed scepticism about the flying abilities of these planes.
According to them, the geometries and the propulsion principles of the planes are too bizarre to make flying a possibility. At least, not by any currently known flying methods. Bodas and Ameya Jadhav, a researcher with an M. Tech and an M. Shri Bodas informed the news media that, in Vedic times, huge-sized vimanas could fly in a variety of modes from country to country as well from planet to planet.
Enrico Baccarini , an Italian journalist, has written several articles and books on ancient Indian vimanas. Enjoyed this article? However, things can go wrong.
While many ancient Indian scriptures mention vimanas and give elaborate descriptions of their workings, this is a more recent text that describes the ancient flying machines in detail. Or, at least, it is supposed to be by an ancient author, but comes to us through a modern medium. An Indian mystic Pandit Subbaraya Shastry claimed he had received the book as a divinity from the ancient sage Maharshi Bharadwaja and he then dictated it to his associate Shri G. Venkatachala Sharma. The dictation and transcription of the book lasted from to It was translated into Hindi in and into English in The Vaimanika Shastra Vaimanika Shastra means the science of aeronautics.
Vaimanika Shastra – Treatise on Ancient Indian Flying Machines or Pseudoscience?
According to Josyer, he dictated the text to G. Venkatachala Sharma in the early s completing it in According to the history unearthed by Mukunda et al. His parents died at a young age and he was diseased and in a poor state.