Vymanika Shastra, Part Three


May 01, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — The Vedic science of flight – a study in several parts.



Vymanika Shastra projects the pilot as a special craftsman whose training and qualitative requirements are specific. He is referred to as ‘Rhahasyagnodhikari', implying that he is the authorized custodian of the secrets of the vimana and its systems. The qualitative requirements of training and skills mentioned in the work have strikingly analogous to those prescribed for modern combat pilots.

The features of the vimana are referred to as secrets, possibly used in a generic sense. The correct interpretation should be that the pilot is the skilled operator who alone is entitled for the full knowledge of the features provided on the vimana. Thirty-two such secrets or features have been mentioned. Very high levels of proficiency and learning have been prescribed for him. Specific reference to the structural knowledge of the vimana, flying skills including combat maneuvers and aerobatics are noticed. Vymanika shastra quotes the work Rahasya Lahari and other work by Lallacharya and others.

Special observations:

Stringent training and operational standards stipulated are in consonance with similar standards prescribed for modern aviators.

It is to be noted that spectacular feats performed by the pilot are included in his skill expectations. Evidently combat maneuvers are being talked about at the time of verbal narration of the text (before 1918 AD), when the contemporary military aviation (corresponding to the end of I-world war) was yet to conceive aerobatics and combat maneuvers.

The pilot talked about in the text is a full-fledged combat pilot capable of engagement in military roles. Rahasya lahari and other works by Lallacharya are quoted in this context. While this work talks of the pilot as a master aviator, Vedas, Epics and Samarangana suthradhara of Bhoja Raja have looked at him in an identical manner. Arthashastra of Kautilya (3rd century BC), essentially dealing with political economics, also refers to the pilot as ‘Saubhika', a term derived from Soubha Vimana featuring at several occasions in Mahabharata and Bhagawata. The pilot is also referred to, more appropriately, as ‘Aakaasha Yodhah', a warrior in the sky. He is even called a 'fighter in the sky'. Mahabharata stipulates at least ten types of aerobatic movements for combatants.



One of the most distinct and attractive essence of Vymanika Shastra is its explanation of certain special operational features provided on vimanas. Later in this presentation, the features and systems provided to operate the devices are discussed under ‘Yantraadhikaranam'

The secrets or features are:





Narration of specific features (32 features) deserves special attention. Hence this part of the report is dedicated specially to these features of the vimanas. Original text is placed under quotes and comments/observations of the team are noted below each item.

1. Mantrika:

"As prescribed in ‘Mantradhikaranam', by invoking the mantras of chhinna masta, Bhairavi, Veginee, Siddanatha, acquire the powers of ghutikaa, paadukaa, visible and invisible and other mantras with potent herbs and efficacious oils, and Bhuvaneshwaree mantra which confers spiritual and mesmeric powers, to construct aeroplanes, which don't break, cannot be cut, cannot be burnt, and cannot be destroyed."

By invoking certain identified mantras to obtain spiritual and mesmeric powers to construct flying machines that cannot be destroyed by any means.

2. Tantrika:

"By acquiring Mahaamaaya, shambara, and other taantric powers, to endow the plane with those powers."

By invoking specific tantric powers to endow the vimana with some special powers. Note: The above two categories as clarified in the later part of Vymanika Shastra have no relevance in the current Yuga (a scale to measure the cluster of years representing certain generations of mankind). They are ascribed to the earlier yugas. For this reason as well as lack of literature on these disciplines the study team keeps them out of its scope in this present report.

3. Kritaka:

"By study of architects like Viswakarma, Chaayaapurusha, Manu, Maya and others, to construct planes of various patterns."

Definition is suggestive of real hardware, without intervention of super natural or extraordinary powers. Applicability of this type of vimana to the current Kaliyuga is dwelt upon later in the work. Quoted authorities on this architectural sciences are noted personalities of epic era.

4. Antaraala:

"In the wind swept atmospheric region of the sky, in the clash at the borders of the mighty currents, an inadvertent plane is likely to be smashed to pieces. But by getting warned of the approach of such danger spots, the plane could be halted and steered with care."

Danger faced by the flying machine in certain cross sections of the atmosphere is referred to. Advance-warning to the pilot on such zones is discussed. Avoidance action through a detour of such zone forms the special feature. Knowledge of atmosphere and danger zones therein was evidently available leading to the concept of an avoidance technique. Primarily an advance weather warning feature as an on-board system to assist the pilot is under discussion. Perhaps, analogues to weather-warning radar as a flight safety device.

5. Goodha:
"As explained in Vayutatva prakarana, by harnessing the powers, yaasaa, prayaasa in the eighth atmospheric layer covering the earth to attract the dark content of the solar ray, and use it to hide the vimana from the enemy."

Concept is one of concealment of vimana from vision. Vayutatwa-Prakarana is quoted as the reference text. Principle of achieving invisibility or camouflaging of aircraft from enemy is clear. Notably enemy may include enemy aircraft or ground forces. Strategic and tactical roles of the vimana are distinctly conceived. ‘Harnessing the dark content of solar rays' as a feature is significant. Concept of concealing aircraft from enemy's vision was evolved in modern military aviation only in the latter part of twentieth century. Invisibility technique spans from simple camouflaging methods to stealth features to circumvent radar detection. Here the principle is beyond conventional camouflaging.

6. Drishya:

"By collision of the electric power and wind power in the atmosphere, a glow is created, whose reflection is to be caught in the vishwa kriya darpana or mirror at the front of the vimana, and by its manipulation to produce a maaya-vimana or camouflaged vimana."

Primarily a concept of decoy and/or diversionary technique. Using refection of a glow generated by electrical and wind energies in the atmosphere and manipulating the reflection of the vimana through viswa kriya darpana in creating a decoy Vimana is hinted. Obviously suggests use in course of vimana performing strategic and tactical roles to mislead enemy's air and ground attacks. Could be a concept of creating mirage of vimana as a decoy.

7. Adrishya:

"According to Shakti tantra, by means of the Vymarathya Vikarana and other powers in the heart centre of the solar mass, attract the force of the etherial flow in the sky, and mingle it with Balaahaavikarana shakti in the aerial globe, producing thereby a white cover which will make the vimana invisible."

By definition, to produce the effect of a white glow around the vimana by attraction of ethereal flow in the atmosphere and mixing it with the energy in the aerial globe. A cocooning technique to achieve invisibility. Harnessing energy sources in atmosphere for on-board use is interesting. Evidently, strategic and tactical applications in aerial warfare. Refers to specific work, Shakthi tantra.

8. Paroksha:

"According to Meghotpatti prakarana, or the science of the birth of clouds, by entering the second of the summer cloud layers, and attracting the power therein with the shaktyaakarshana darpana or force attraction mirror in the vimana, and applying it to the parivesha or halo of the Vimana a paralyzing force is generated, and opposing vimanas are paralyzed and put out of action."

Principles of formation of clouds referred to as Meghotpatti-prakarana indicate the possession of knowledge of science of atmosphere. Derivation of energy from clouds through shaktyakarshana yantra eventually to generate paralyzing force and directing this energy against enemy planes. A lethal measure in combat flying in strategic attacks. Could be both in strategic or tactical roles of mission. Used in the event of multiple air attack. Distinctly can be categorized under the concept of Biological Warfare.

9. Aparoksha:

"According to Shakti-tantra, by projection of the Rohinee beam of light, things in front of the vimana are made visible."

Shakti tantra is referred on the principle underlying this on-board feature. To achieve a kind of visibility in front of the vimana using Rohinee Beam. This may be a special optical beam employed for flying during darkness for the purpose of sighting or landing/take off. Possibilities of this beam not being a conventional light source, but for other applications like radar beam cannot be over ruled.

10. Sankocha or Contraction:

"As prescribed in the Yantraangopasamhaara section, when the vimana is flying at a speed with fully extended wings and there is danger ahead, turning the seventh switch in the vimana, its parts can be made to contract."

Contraction of the wings of the Vimana while flying at high speed. Yantraangopasamhaara quoted as the guide containing this principle of operation. Evidently a mechanical contrivance provided as an on-board control feature. Could be to gain add-on speed by constricting the profile. Concept of variable geometry swing-wing/flapping-wing configuration is evident.

11. Vistrita:

"According to Akaashatantra, when the vimana is in the central air flood in the third and first regions of the sky, by turning the switch in the eleventh section of the plane, it becomes expanded suitably according to Vaalmeeki Ganita."

An inverse function of Sankocha, again with variable geometry configuration of the structure Employed for expansion of wings while flying through certain atmospheric zone as a flight protection measure. Akaasha tantra quoted as the guiding text. Vaalmiki ganitha is quoted possibly in relation to variable geometry principle.

12. Viroopa karana:

"As stated in Dhooma prakarana, by producing the thirty second kind of smoke through the mechanism and charging it with light of the heat waves in the sky and projecting it through the padmaka chakra tube to the bhyravee oil-smeared vyroopya-darpana at the top of the vimana, and whirling with 130 second type of speed, a very fierce and terrifying shape of the vimana will emerge, causing utter fright to onlookers."

By definition means change of appearance. With combined use of specified smoke and light of the heat wave in the atmosphere, and projecting through Padmaka chakra tube on oil-smeared vyroopya darpana, creating artificial fierce shapes of the vimana. Causing fright among the enemy forces aimed at through this on board system. Dhooma Prakarana is the guiding text. Partially a Biological Warfare concept to psyche viewers. Use of this feature in strategic and tactical air warfare roles. Fierce shapes produced could as well be to convey coded signals, each shape denoting a signal.

13. Roopaantara:

"As stated in Tylaprakarana, by preparing griddhrajihwaa, kumbhinee, and kaakajangha oils and anointing the distorting mirror in the vimana with them, applying to it the nineteenth kind of smoke and charging with the kuntinee shakti in the vimana, shapes like lion, tiger, rhinoceros, serpent, mountain, river will appear and amaze observers and confuse them."

By definition means ‘conveying varied appearances'. Guiding text is Tylaprakaranam. Application of mixture of specified oils on distorting mirror in the vimana, applying specified smoke and charging with Kuntinee shakthi appearance of special shapes is effected. Changes in the looks of vimana might be aimed at for use as coded signals to convey particular status of operation, or may even convey specific messages to ones own ground forces in the form of operational communication. Though not mentioned as a means to tackle enemy forces, this technique could also be to psyche them with scary shapes and divert their attention. It could also be to escape pinpoint sighting and targeting of the vimana itself by opponent forces. Hence it seems to include both evasive and communicational roles. Technique is on the lines of colour emission producing aesthetic effects in air shows in modern aviation

14. Suroopa:

"By attracting the thirteen kind of karaka force mentioned in Karaka prakarana, applying snow-surcharged air and projecting it on the right side of the vimana and focusing on it the suragha beam, a heavenly damsel bedecked with flowers and jewels will appear to onlookers of the vimana."

Projecting the appearance of a damsel adorned with jewels and flowers. Use of Karaka force and snow charged air, projecting it to Pushpinee-pinjuala mirror and focusing a special beam results in creation of such shape. Karaka Prakaranam is a treatise dealing with this technique. Concept possibly intended to convey aesthetically pleasing look on the onlookers (obviously not for enemy's consumption). Concept is on the lines of Roopantara but appears for employment in friendly territory on tactical role. Interesting interpretation of a damsel bedecked with flowers may be intended to announce victory or a favourable status. Could be a mode of entertaining own forces. The technique is similar to modern air displays.

15. Jyothirbhaava:

"As stated in Amshubodhinee, out of Samgnaana and other sixteen digits of the solar glow, by attracting the twelveth to the sixteenth digits and focusing them on the air force in the Mayookha section in the fourth pathway in the sky and similarly by attracting the force of the ethereal glow and mingling it with the glow in the seventh layer of air mass and then by projecting both these forces through the five tubes in the vimana on to the section of the guhaa-garbha mirror, a rich glow like the morning glow of the sun will be produced."

Meaning refers to rich glow of rising sun. Effect derived from a combination of specified digit of solar glow energy and air mass of specified sections of atmosphere, ethereal glow coupled with Guha garba mirror. Guiding work quoted is Amshubodhini. This work also ascribed to Maharshi Bharadwaja, deals all about solar rays and energy harnessing from these rays. This text is referred to many a time in Vymaanika Shastra. Possibly employed as a ‘time-diversionary' tactic during night aerial battles. Creating such an effect could be very useful in confusing enemy ground forces and upset their operational movement plans. Employment in strategic role is useful.

16. Tamomaya:

"As described in Darpana Prakarana, by means of the dark force mirror, capture the force of darkness, pass it through the Thamo Yantra in the north-west side of the vimana and by turning a switch produce at noon-day the utter darkness of the night of the new-moon."

‘Tama' basically means darkness. Tamomaya means illusory darkness. Employing dark force creating mirror, capture darkness energy and using Tamo yantra to produce total darkness at the brightest part of the day. Darpanaprakarana is the guiding text and Tamoyantra is the contraption effecting it. Instant confusion is created in enemy forces, movement of troops could be hampered. Sighting of the vimana instantly affected, thus helping a quick escape, possibly one of the best methods of self concealment for a vimana. A very useful tool in strategic attacks during daytime. A clever deception tactic in a situation when trapped in the midst of enemy forces and while the vimana is caught in crisis situation.

17. Pralaya:

"As described in the magic book of destruction, attract the five kinds of smoke through the tube of the contracting machine in the front part of the vimana and merge it in the cloud-smoke mentioned in Shadgarbha Viveka. Pushing it by electric force through the five limbed aerial tube, destroy everything as in a catacyclism."

Total anhilation concept. Using five kinds of smoke, merging it with cloud smoke and directing electrical energy to push through five on board naalas create massive destruction of enemy forces. Evidently the most lethal strategic weapon discussed so far. In strategic role, could be even meant as a suicidal action in a desperate situation. In a way, can be termed as a biological weapon. Guiding text, Shadgarbha-viveka.

18. Vimukha:

"As mentioned in Rig-hridaya, by projecting the force of Kubera, Vimukha and Vyshawaanara poison powder through the third tube of the roudree mirror and turning the switch of the air mechanism, produce wholesale insensibility and coma."

Using prescribed substances including poisonous materials in conjunction with Roudree mirror bringing about insensibility in enemy forces. Guide quoted is Righridaya. Unmistakably a biological weapon. Confirms conceptualization and knowledge of biological weaponry. Deployment of similar weapons like Sanmohanaastra to cause such effects as mentioned at a number of occasions in epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayana War episodes. Full strategic role of Vimana to be noted.

19. Taara:

"By mixing with ethereal force ten parts of air force, seven parts of water force and sixteen parts of solar glow and projecting it by means of the star-faced mirror through the frontal tube of the vimana, the appearance of a star-spangled sky is created."

In combination of ethereal energy, air and water forces and sunglow projecting the resultant light through star faced mirror to obtain the effect. Creation of such effects in combat flying during nights can be useful in both strategic and tactical roles. In strategic role it could be to generate a night sky where artificial dispositions of stars generated could mislead the enemy forces on navigation and movements. In tactical role, the effect is either to create an aesthetic effect or conveying coded signals to friendly troops.

20. Mahaashabda Vimochana:

"By concentrating the air force in the seven tubes of the vimana and turning the switch, produce, as stated in Shabda Prakaashikaa a crescendo of thunderous din, which stuns people and makes them quake with fear and become insensible."

Using the Air force through multiple naalas of Vimana to produce a thunder sound to unnerve the forces. Analogous to the technique of domination over the enemy troop-locations and causing insensitivity to put them out of action. Biological warfare in strategic application.

21. Langhana:

"As stated in Vaayu tattva prakarana, when crossing from one air stream into another, the vimana faces the baadaba glow of the sun and catches fire. In order to prevent that, the electric force and air force in the vimana should be conjoined and centred in the life-centre of the vimana, and by turning the switch, the vimana will leap into safety."

Avoidance of Badabda glow of Sun while negotiating from one atmospheric zone to another and using air and electric energy (captive in the vimana) to provide a leaping force. Essentially a measure to achieve safe flying in specified atmospheric zone. Use of captive energy is interesting. Indications that knowledge of danger zones in atmosphere existed. Guiding text, Vayutatvaprakarana.

22. Sarpa-Gamana:

"By attracting the Dandavaktra and other seven forces of air and joining with solar rays, passing it through the zig-zagging centre of the vimana and turning the switch, the vimana will have a zig-zag motion like a serpent."

By combining the use of Dandavaktra and other seven forces of air and solar energy and passing the resultant in zig-zag manner. Clearly an evasion technique to thwart attempts to pinpoint sighting of the Vimana. To evade enemy sighting on detection systems like Dishampati yantra (discussed later). An evasive tactic while on strategic role.

23. Chaapala:

"On sighting an enemy plane, by turning the switch in the force centre in the middle section of the vimana, a 4,087 revolutions an hour atmospheric wave speed will be generated and shake up the enemy plane."

Using on board energy to impinge shock waves on enemy plane. From the manner explained this is used as a specific weapon to counter enemy plane to cause damage or destruction. Can be in strategic or tactical role. Partly a Biological weapon since shock waves cause serious impact on opponent air crew. Could be a useful weapon in close attack roles and in crisis situations.

24. Sarvatomukha:

"When a formation of enemy planes comes to attack one's vimana, by turning the switch at the crown of the vimana, make it revolve with agility and face all sides."

To achieve Omni-directional view as enemy planes attack from multiple directions. Essentially a detection system. Concept of multiple aircraft attack in formation is interesting. In the mode of Sarvathomukha, the pilot knows his own disposition and status of safety and combat capacity with reference to each attack plane. This will enable him to decide the course of action and type of attack/defense. In combination with sarpagamana, chaapala, sankocha, a useful on-board device.

25. Parashabda Grahaka:

"As explained in Sowdaaminee kalaa or science of electronics, by means of the sound capturing yantra in the vimana, to hear the talks and sounds in enemy planes flying in the sky."

Using the sound sensing yantra, to intercept intra crew communications from enemy aircraft. Guiding principle is Soudaminee Kala (of Anshubodhinee). Clearly a frequency interception technique. Shabdakarsha Yantra, later discussed among Yantras, is one such yantra though for a different purpose. Concept of devices on the lines of electronic counter measures did exist. Advanced knowledge of communication-interception of frequencies must have prevailed. As a prelude, basic transmitter and receiver devices must have existed.

26. Roopakarshana:

"By means of the photographic yantra in the vimana to obtain a television view of things inside an enemy plane."

Obtaining view of actions inside an enemy plane. Clearly a counter measure concept in reconnaissance/surveillance role. Means more than mere photography of inside of vimana. To be useful, has to be relaying pictures penetrating the body of the vimana. Simple aerial photographic systems in reconnaissance role must have preceded this technique.

27. Kriyaagrahana:

"By turning the key at the bottom of the vimana, a white cloth is made to appear. By electrifying the three acids in the north-east part of the vimana and subjecting them to the seven kinds of solar rays and passing the resultant force into the tube of the Thrisheersha mirror and making the cloth screen face the mirror and switching on the upper key, all the activities going on down below on the ground, will be projected on the screen."

Use of screen cloth projection, combined use of acids and solar ray, sand using Trisheersha Mirror, all actions going on the ground can be obtained. Trisheersha mirror is possibly to obtain a three dimensional effect. Technique is to obtain a running relay of pictures of ongoing actions on the ground. Clearly a combination of strategic air surveillance possibly to warn the trailing aircraft about ground situation of enemy forces. Kriya Grahana, meaning motion-picture reception could be used for assessing damages inflicted. In a battle role it seems to be for planning attacks on enemy ground forces. Yantras dealt with later explain the translation of this technique.

28. Dikpradarshana:

"Turning the key at the front of the vimana Dishaampati yantra will show the direction from which the enemy plane is approaching."

By using a device named Dishampati yantra the direction of approach of enemy aircraft is indicated. A specific yantra later described under yantras is under discussion. Concept seems to be on the lines of early warning radar. Seems to be in a limited sense of direction-finder and not range-finder. This concept, in modern military aviation came around 1935 and used during second world war.

29. Aakaashaakaara:

"According to Aakaasha-tantra, by mixing black mica solution with neem and bhoonaaga decoctions and smearing the solution on the outer body of the vimana made of mica plates and exposing to solar rays, the plane will look like the sky and becomes indistinguishable."

By applying black mica and decoction of neem etc. over the body of the vimana, obtain an appearance merging with the colour of the sky and become indistinguishable. A stealth technique limited to the extent of escaping visual detection. An effective detection avoidance system. Use of solar ray to achieve this effect is clear. Guide referred to is Aakaasha Tantra. Can be useful only while flying in clear skies. Deception against enemy surveillance.

30. Jalada Roopa:

"Mixing pomegranate juice, bilva or bael oil, copper-salt, kitchen smoke, granthika or gugul liquid, mustard powder and fish scale decoctions and adding sea-shell and rock-salt powder and collecting smoke of the same solution and spreading it with solar heat enveloping the cover, the vimana will have the appearance of a cloud."

Use of botanical preparations and calcium materials and solar rays for application, a cloud like appearance of vimana is obtained. The concept and technique are similar to that of Aakashakaara, except to achieve cloud-like appearance. Intended to be employed against detection while flying through overcast skies. Useful in strategic roles.

31. Stabdhaka:

"By projecting apasmaara poison-fume smoke through the tube on the north side on the vimana and discharging it with stambhana-yantra, people in enemy planes will be made unconscious."

Use of Aapasmara poison fumes and discharging through stambhana yantra to render crew in the enemy planes unconscious. Can be an effective tool both in strategic and tactical roles. Clear bio-weapon. Specifies only in aerial engagements. Aapasmara is one of the deadly poisonous.

32. Karshana:

"When enemy planes come in strength to destroy one's vimana, by setting aflame the Jwaalinee shakti in the Vyswamara naala or pipe located at the navel of the plane, and switching the keys of the two wheels to 87 degrees of heat, the burning shakti will envelope the enemy plane and destroy it."

To set fire to attacking enemy planes approaching in numbers. Use of ‘Jwalinee Shakti' through ‘vyswa maara naala' is implied. An effective defense tool in multiple attack situation. Could be in strategic or tactical roles in crisis situation.

Summary of observations on 32 special features:

Most of the secrets (or features) are based on principle-specific texts, an indication that each principle was broad-based and evolved on scientific perceptions. Strategic, tactical, reconnaissance, communication roles of employment for attack/defense purposes are clear.

Many features are safe-flying requirements, many of them relating to atmospheric zone. A number of advance warning features are enunciated. Many interesting avoidance features are seen. Biological warfare concept is in clear manifestation.

Utilization of energy and properties of sunrays, ethereal flow, air and cloud energy are seen. Read in correlation with system-specific yantras under the yantradhikaranam, the study will be interesting.


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