Vymanika Shastra, Part Eight


May 16, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — The last of a serial study on the Vedic science of flight.

What follows are the final chapters of this study of Vymanika-sastra by the Aeronautical Society of India, undertaken on behalf of the government's Aeronautics Research and Development Board in New Delhi.

Having previously submitted their detailed findings on the sastric origins, publications, translations and commentaries of Vymanika-sastra, and the technical data contained therein, we close this series with the study's own closing comments on the views of foreign researchers regarding this material, anomalies and questioned raised by the translations and references contained therein, and recommendations for future study.

Those who have carefully followed this series will likely understand our interest in publishing it. We now have a clearer understanding of the many references found in the Vedic epics to flying machines. And, although related to aeronautics, there are many valuable references in the material that have potential benefit for those working in the areas of varnasrama and Ayurveda, to name a few.

Suggestions on the manufacture of various goods from natural materials, production and use of energy systems, etc. could all have practical application for the devotees, if not today, then in the future. In the meantime, we can be sure that modern scientists and businessmen are looking for ways to exploit the Vedic science of vimanas for material gain.



It is interesting that researchers abroad have perceived Vymanika-sastra in a positive and meaningful manner. Their Interpretation and analyses reflect commitment and open mind. Their focus seems to be on yantras, metals and materials of vimanas. They are attracted by the contents of the text that specify use of mercury, copper, magnets, electricity, crystals, gyros and acids. Mercury in particular is identified as a high energy-potent element. They interpret that the text talks of Mercury Vortex Engine for propulsion system. In the Coating Scientific Encyclopedia they point-out that mercury was known for its utility even by 500 BC. Mercury Vapour Turbine Engines are reported to use liquid mercury, recycled in a closed circuit system, consumption therefore being negligible. The other distinct properties are, it is a conductor of electricity and amplifies sound waves.

Samarangana sootradhara of King Bhojaraja unveils the use of mercury in engines for aviation use very distinctly. Briefly explaining the operation of this type of engine, western researchers, quoting this treatise, mention this as a heating device placed underneath to cause ignition, triggering the potent energy in mercury to drive the whirlwind in motion. This produces highly intense impulse catapulting the flying machine into the air instantaneously.

Use of liquid mercury in gyroscopic applications makes it even more versatile. The characteristic features of liquid mercury are:

    Heavy Protons found in mercury atom are highly stable
    Gyroscopes of this kind do not need any warm-up
    they are vibration and shock-proof
    these gyroscopes have no moving parts and can run forever
    In addition they offer compactness and weight reduction advantages so vital in aviation use

Researchers abroad point out that crystals, manis and mirrors stated in this work have potential not yet explored by modern science. Crystals today, though sparingly used in technology, still play a dominant role in digital gTechnology.

Some western researchers strongly feel that ancient Indian aviation included propulsion system from Electromagnetic Lift and Repulsion principles and vortex propulsion. Many experiments have been reported from these experimenters, working on modeling vimanas with these principles inbuilt. Such trials are predominantly after the 1950s. It appears from the results of these experiments that though the methods look unconventional as compared to established technology, they are not opposed to them from the point of basic principles of science. Famous experiments on small flying crafts known as searls craft have added credence to applications of these theories in aviation.

This topic on views of foreign researchers has been briefly introduced just to give a glimpse of happenings outside the country on principles of ancient aviation science. There have been a number of books published by several authors in the recent years. We believe that researches on ancient aviation sciences will receive far higher impetus in the coming decades.



Vymanika-sastra, known to be one of the forty chapters of the Yantra Sarvasva, is available at some study centers, while the mother work itself is mysteriously untraceable. It could be a matter of conjecture that this Encyclopedia on machines might have accompanied Vedic Sciences into Western countries.

English translation of the work features six chapters, while the preface talks only of three chapters. This anomaly is to be reconciled.

The treatise narrates sophisticated features of flying machines. Basic features of aeroplanes such as main planes, rudder, elevator, fuselage, cockpit layout, flight controls, landing gear and related systems find sporadic mention.

Ground systems to support aviation such as control tower, communication and navigation aids, runways or airstrips do not appear in the text.

Even though both Vymanika shastra and Samarangana sootradhara describe flying machines, strangely both the treatises make no reference to each other.

Out of four vimanas mentioned in the work, Tripura Vimana does not find a place in the list of vimanas prescribed for the current Yuga. Similarly, Soubha Vimana, referred to several times in Mahabharata, does not appear in the list of 56 vimanas of Dwapara Yuga.

The last few sections of the closing chapter dealing with four types of representative vimanas lacks clarity. It looks as though a need was felt by the author to short-close the work in a hurry. Customary manner of conclusion and closing frills are conspicuous by their absence.



Vymanika-sastra is a work of ancient Indian origin, an offshoot of Vedic science. There is enough logic and supporting evidence to indicate that the great seer Maharshi Bharadwaja authored this work.

Bodhananda's commentary and Swami Dayananda Saraswathi's references to textual content of this work indicate that the subject work featured in the earlier periods of known history.

The work manifested for the first time in manuscript form during the end of 19th century and first two decades of 20th century. This was through revelations of Pandit Anekal Subbaraya Shastry and transcripted by Sri. G. Venkatachala Sharma. The last occasion any textual material got into the transcript was not later than 1923.

The transcript did not find recognition till the end of British rule in India. Follow up studies started only later. Studies on literary aspect of the work by several researchers continue even now.

Foreign researchers did not show inclination till the late seventies. In fact, they had shown disdain at the mention of the work. Post–1985 period saw tremendous spurt in their interest.

Approach to the study of works of this nature should be altogether different. It needs faith, open mind, genuine interest, decoding ability and interpretational skills.

Military, Aviation and weaponry:

‘Flying', as a craft, had been perceived by ancient Indian scientists. Other civilizations such as China, Greece, Egypt also had the knowledge of aviation technology.

Concept and development of aviation technology was quite advanced. A variety of flying machines with application-specific on-board systems had been conceived and developed. In fact, they stretched into full-fledged military applications more than mere mundane air transportation.

The concept of ‘pilot' as a specialist was clear to ancient preceptors. His role as a warrior in the sky reinforces the visualization of a combat pilot. Focus on his stringent training shows the right direction of thinking. Specific dietary and clothing prescriptions further validate the scientific lines on which ancient aviation support was based.

Natural vegetation has been harnessed fully for food processing meant for military sector.

Besides sage Bharadwaja, other seers of name and fame such as Goutama, Shounaka, Vashista, Agastya, Atri, Narayana, Lallacharya and many others made in-depth contribution.

While some vimanas were role-specific, others were multipurpose

The aviation environment relating to support systems such as aerodromes, runways, communication and navigational aids, air traffic control etc., seem to be distinctly different from those of modern days. The concept is seen to be on the lines of self-contained flying machines capable of flying independent of ground support aids.

Use of energy sources in the environment and on-board to achieve defensive and offensive modes are noticeable.

Use of explosives and their detection technology is unmistakably distinct. This indicates the existence of a full-scale technology on explosives.

Biological warfare in aerial-combat features at several places.

Evasion tactics from enemy aeroplanes, avoidance-options and concealment from enemy-detection constituted special features of air-defense techniques.

Offensive strike devices even to the extent of causing catacyclic effects have been discussed.

Aerial displays of flying machines, Manoeouvres, Aesthetic and Dominating effects discussed in the text have striking resemblance with modern flight-displays. The year 1918 AD is an interesting benchmark. Coincidentally, this year saw the exit of the First World War and it also heralded the completion of the work Vymanika Shastra in written form. The levels of military aviation technologies between the contemporary technology and the textual substance of this work show that ancient Indian science was far ahead of times.

It is revealing to compare the levels of aviation technologies that existed at the time of completion of Vymanika Shastra and the First World War, November 1918. Combat aeroplanes were used in sizeable number. All the same, the maximum level of technology in combat aviation can be gauged from the prevailing art of war machinery. Fighter planes with piston engines and propellers flying below 15,000 ft. having twin-gun firing capability were pressed into operation. Speed of the aircraft was just over 150 mph. Aircraft with long range capability were used for photo-recci and deep strikes. On the other side, German aviation technology constituted bi-plane bombers of large size, 90 ft. wing span, twin engines of 200 H.P., bomb loads of 2000 pounds and operating range of 200 miles constituted the front line up.


Only after 1952 did research relating to the technical content commence. The number of groups working on this aspect increased appreciably after 1985. Foreign researchers have focused on topics like mercury vapour propulsion, anti-gravity material development, and mercury as a source of energy and multipurpose application.

Knowledge on atmosphere was advanced.

Deep knowledge of geological science relating to formation of core metallic ores suitable for aviation application did exist.

Many materials and alloys discussed in the text were for exclusive applications. It would be an interesting study to find out whether modern technology offers equivalents.

Barring a couple of oblique references, physical and archeological evidence discovered so far, there is no direct evidence to throw light on the existence of vimanas in ancient civilizations the world over. However science and technology discussed in this work amply hints that vimanas did exist. Some of the features and concepts talked about in the text do not appear mere theoretical. They could not have got generated purely by imaginary perceptions.

Extrapolating the contents in the work over the untraced mother work (Yantra Sarvasva – ascribed to be an encyclopedia on machines), one has to appreciate the enormity of knowledge-base.

Over forty scientific texts on various disciplines including aviation, metallurgy, atmosphere, yantras, and manis feature in this work. This qualifies the impression that broad-based scientific research in these fields both in pure and applied sciences must have preceded. Successful development of many materials contained in this work at science laboratories in India vindicates the textual substance.

From the references made to Kriyasaara in this work, it is evident that this treatise dealt with Dynamics of Machinery.

Taking into account successful laboratory development of many materials as a means to validate the text, there seems to be enormous potential both for pure and applied sciences in the areas of Physics (particularly Optics), Chemistry (Organic, in Organic and Bio), Geology, Meteorology, etc., to go deep in to the precepts and descriptions featuring in this book.

References to a variety of texts like Loha tantra, Loha kalpa, etc., make it evident that a comprehensive knowledge on geology, mineralogy, mining and manufacturing processes of metals and alloys existed. The researches conducted so far have been promising and in the right direction. However laboratory experiment conducted till now indicate that only such material involving few ingredients in their composition have been attempted. Other materials involving many ingredients are yet to be taken up. Strange composition in the recipes such as urines of animal origin, snake's slough, eagle's eye-balls etc., needs deep research to establish relevance and their role in the manufacturing process. Metals like Thrinetra Loha, Kundodhara Loha should be of great challenge to metallurgists of the day.

A grey area needing immediate attention and deep study is regarding units of measurements relating to Length, Temperature, Force, Weight and Volumes. Their modern equivalents need to be established for correct understanding as aid to researchers.

Some of the units are:

    Weight Linka, Mushti, Kankusta and Pala (equal to four tolas)
    Volume Drona
    Electrical current Linka
    Length Krosha, Danda, Vitasti, Yojana
    Temperature Kaksya Interpretational equivalence
    Varies from 2.5° C to 4° C
    Speed Prenkhana, Linka
    Time Ghatika (24 minutes)

The drawings and diagrams of the vimana need careful study. Possibilities of errors having crept in due to human imagination exist.

Laboratory developments have been undertaken by units under CSIR, Birla Science Centre and IIT Mumbai. R&D Laboratories under Ministry of Defense are yet to react.


To explore their intrinsic scientific value, Vymanika Shastra and Anshubhodhini should be taken up for indepth study for the benefit of Defense, Industrial and Commercial applications.

Efforts are required to trace and locate texts and guides in this treatise. Yantra Sarvasva, missing parts of Anshubodhini a series of guides on lohas, darpanas, crystals, dravas should be traced.

Contents of Metallurgical and Material Sciences of the work should be fully explored by Basic and Applied researches through specific project. Successful development of materials at Science Laboratories should serve as pointers to undertake such activities. Development of Lohas such as Thrinetra, Ghantarava, Thamogarbha, Kundodhara, may prove unique in nature. Similarly study on crystals may open up fresh avenues in Digital Technology. Fabrics, glues and any other nonmetallic substances (organic and inorganic) may offer fresh options to modern technology.

Prescribed food varieties and clothing should be taken as guide to undertake further research to develop requirements of aviation at research laboratories of defense R&D, CSIR.

In the light of our findings that conduct of researches done so far are sporadic and disjointed, there is a need to set up an Integrated Centre to coordinate this effort. The participation of Defense (R&D). CSIR. ISRO, DSP, Science Foundations, is vital to activate research under a common name. The study team is willing to take up this task, if assigned.

A host of data related to Ayurveda revealed in this text should be sisted and assigned to scholars in this discipline. Our findings indicate that most of such materials have been confirmed to be available and identifiable even now.

A bank of Sanskrit translators and interpreters should be formed to provide the backbone support to research centers.

Free flow of information on Decoded Data, Development Status, Critical Findings should be arranged amongst such centers.

Principles of Levity, Anti gravity, Mercury Vapour Propulsion etc., need serious study to be translated in to Technologies

AR&DB, Ministry of Defense may respond to study team proposal of a second phase of the project on Vymanika Shastra.


Project study on Vymanika Shastra is a humble attempt to update the views on the work at the turn of the century and is therefore called Vymanika Shastra Rediscovered. We have taken into consideration various views expressed by individuals and group researchers, appreciative as well as adverse. We have made honest effort to bring in reports of literary and scientific studies, interpretations, laboratory tests together with our observations on the topics in the work. We are thankful to all those who contributed into this effort. Their reports form appendages to our main report.

While no direct physical evidence exist today to establish that vimanas did exist in ancient times, literary works and epics aver that they did exist. Nevertheless, there is enough evidence to say that technology of aviation and related sciences did exist. It is not our claim that vimanas can be constructed from the contents of this work. Aeronautics, being a complex subject, demands extensive base work before an aeroplane is developed, even in rudimentary form. What needs to be focused upon are the perceptions, precepts, concepts and the supporting technology discussed in this text. It is possible that interpretation of expressions may vary because of the inherent nature of Sanskrit. At least one of them has to be right. An integrated effort among all research enthusiasts is vital in the process of deriving tangible benefit to the technological field.

Inspired by the thrill in this study, the Study Team has drawn Objectives for a Second Phase of study with a view to go more deeply into technical content and integrate various researches on a common platform. For this exercise we need the support of the organisations interested in this kind of research exercise. Takers may kindly approach us.


1. Vymanika Shastra - Pronouncements of Maharshi Bhradwaja conveyed through Sri. Anekal Subbaraya Shastry, translated into English by Sri. G.R. josyer

2. Sections of Amshu Bodhini by Maharshi Bharadwaja

3. Articles from issues of Bharatiya Boudhika Sampada.

4. Report from Sri. N.G. Sheth, Bombay.

5. Yantras in Ancient India by Dr. V. Raghavan, Indian Institute of Culture 1956.

6. Sections of Samarangana Sootradhara - Translations from King Bhojaraja's work.

7. Prasthanatraya by Swami Madhusoodana Saraswati.

8. Sections of issues from Indian Journal on History of Science published by Indian National Science Academy.

9. Vimana In Ancient India by Professor D.K. Kanjilal.

10. Research reports on Prakasha Stambhana Bhida Loha and Dwantapramapaka Yantra—National Metallurgical Laboratory, Jamshedpur, 1999.

11. Views from GP. CAPT. M. Matheswaran. V.M., M. Phil.

12. Report from Birla Science Centre, Hyderabad.

13. Report from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

14. Report from Dr. K.H. Krishnamurthy.

15. A news report from Deccan Herald -- an address by Italian scientist Dr. Roberto Pinotti, 1988.

16. Critical Review by Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 1974.

17. Tradition, Science and Society by Dr. R. Balachandra Rao, Bangalore.

18. Vimana Aircraft of Ancient India and Atlantis by Mr. David Childress.


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