IN ANCIENT INDIA
We did it first
India is not only a homeland for
culture and tradition but also for science and technology. Many great sages authored vast
literature of which the sage Bharadwajas Vaimaanika Shaastra (Ancient
Indian Aeronautics) is one of the most renowned and relevant even for the current days. There is mention of the
usage of aircraft in the Epics-Ramayana and Mahabharata. According
Indaram Srinivas Rao,
Lecturer in Sanskrit.
to Ramayana, Ravana used
pushpakavimaana, which was captured from Kubera. However, Rama took charge of this
aircraft, after killing Ravana and used it to reach Ayodhya along with Lakshmana, Seeta
and his others. Gayopakhyaana, in Mahabharata, also talks of using aircraft.
Western science estimates the life
of this aeronautical science to be of about 5000 years. The Indian scientists and critics
have a different opinion about adjudging the number of years. They say that the aircraft
was used extensively during Ramayana and Mahabharata time indicating that the aeronautics
was a much developed branch by that time. This clearly indicates that the aircraft was
developed much before.
Aeronautics or Vaimaanikashastra
is a part of Yantra Sarvasva of Bharadwaja. This is also known as Brihadvimaana
deals about aeronautics, including the design of aircraft, the way they can be used for
transportation and other applications, in detail. The knowledge of aeronautics is
described in sanskrit in 100 sections, eight chapters, 500 principles and 3000 slokas.
Great sage Bharadwaja explained the construction of aircraft and way to fly it in air, on
land, on water and use the same aircraft like a sub-marine. He also described the
construction of war planes and fighter aircraft.
Vaimaanikashastra explains the
metals and alloys and other required material, which can be make an aircraft imperishable
in any condition.
Bharadwaja, in Brihadvimaana
Shastra, mentions Narayanamuni, the author of Vimanachandrika, Shaunaka, the author of
Vyomayana Tantra, Garga, the author of Yantra Kalpa, Vachaspati, the author of Yana Vindu,
Chaakraayani, the author of Kheta Yaana Pradeepika, Dundi Natha, the author of
Vyomayaanarka Prakasha and Lalla, the author of Yantra Kalpataru as the aeronautical
scientists of ancient India.
The first principle of
Vaimaanikashastra defines an aircraft.
Andajaanaam,which means Vimaana is the one which can fly in air like a bird.
Subsequent principles explain the requirements for being a Vimaanaadhikari or pilot.
According to Bharadwaja, there are
32 secret techniques to fly an aircraft. They are Maantrika, Taantrika, Kritaka,
Antaraala, Gooda, Drishya, Adrishya, Paroksha, Aparoksha, Sankocha, Vistrita,
Viroopakarana, Roopantara, Suroopa, Jyotirbhava, Tamomaya, Pralaya, Vimukha, Taara,
Mahashabda vimochana, Langhana, Saarpagamana, Chaapala, Sarvatomukha, Parashabda graahaka,
Roopaakarshana, Kriyaa rahasya grahana, Dikpradarshana, Aakaashaakara rachana, Jaladaruja,
Stabdaka and Karshana.
In jatyadhikarana, which
classified aircraft says, Jaatitrividyam Yugabhedath Vimaanaanaam
The aircraft is classified in to
three types- Mantrika, Tantrika and Kritaka, to suit different yugas or
In kritayuga, it is said,
Dharma was well established. The people of that time had the devinity to reach any place
using their Ashtasiddhis.
The aircraft used in Tretayuga
are called Mantrikavimana, flown by the power of Hymns(mantras). Twenty-five
varieties of aircraft including Pushpakavimana belong to this era.
The aircraft used in Dwaparayuga
were called Tantrikavimana, flown by the power of tantras. Fiftysix varieties
of aircraft including Bhairava and Nandaka belong to this era.
The aircraft used in Kaliyuga,
the on-going yuga, are called Kritakavimana, flown by the power of engines.
Twenty-five varieties of aircraft including Shakuna, Sundara and Rukmavimana belong
to this era.
According to Bharadwaja,
Angaanyekaatrimshat, which means there were thirty one instruments
to fly an aircraft, including Vishwakriyaadarpana, to see the surroundings from the
aircraft and Shaktyaa karshanadarpana , to absorb Solar energy. Manufacture of
different types of instruments and putting them together to form an aircraft are also
the chapter describing the dress and other wear required while flying, talks in detail
about the wear for both the pilot and the passenger separately.
Ahaaraadhikarana is yet
another section exclusively dealing with the food habits of a pilot. This has a variety of
guidelines for pilots to keep their health through strict diet.
According to the available
historical evidences, Shivashankara Bapuji Tatpade designed the first aircraft. He
designed an aircraft called Marutsaki in 1895, completely following the Vedic
concept and flown it at Chaupati Maidan in Mumbai. Evan Koshtka, a historian, described Tatpade
as the first creator of an aircraft in Times Weekly. The chronology clearly
says Tatpade developed the aircraft much before Wright brothers could do it.
Vaimanikashaastra is not as popular as Vaastu or Ayurveda due to various reasons.
Vaimaanikashastra was never considered to be of much use in day to day life during ancient
days and experimenting with the concepts was difficult due to the technicality and
scientific nature. It was also considered that the Vaimaanikashastra would be misused if
it was put to common mans knowledge. Historians also quote yet another interesting
reason of theft of the shaastra during invasions.
Today it is difficult to lay hands
on the complete text of Bharadwajas work. However, this author could procure a
part of the shastra in the form of a book, from which the above material has been
G R Josyar, director of the
International Academy of Sanskrit Research, Mysore brought a part of the Shastra in the
form of book. Subbaraya Shastri helped him in propounding the available Shastra to
make it more understandable. Every Indian and believer of ancient literature should be
thankful to both of them.
(The author can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)
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