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Encyclopedia > Vaimanika Shastra
Title page of the English translation of Vaimanika Shastra published in 1973

The Vaimanika Shastra ("Science of Aeronautics"[1]; also Vimanika, Vymanika) is a Sanskrit text on aeronautics, discussing construction of vimānas, the "chariots of the gods", mythical self-moving aerial cars in the Sanskrit epics. The Sanskrit language ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... Indian epic poetry is the epic poetry written in the Indian subcontinent. ...

The existence of the text was revealed in 1952 by G. R. Josyer, according to whom it is due to one Pandit Subbaraya Shastry, who dictated it in 1918-1923. A Hindi translation was published in 1959, the Sanskrit text with an English translation in 1973. It has 3000 shlokas in 8 chapters and is was attributed by Shastry to Maharishi Bharadvaja,[2] which makes it of purportedly "ancient" origin, and hence it has a certain notability in ancient astronaut theories. Maharishi is a Rishi who has mastered many arts and is just before the stage of becoming a Brahmarishi. ... In Hinduism, Bharadwaja was one of the great sages(rishi) who lived in ancient India. ... Paintings from Val Camonica, Italy, c. ...


Origin and publication

Subbaraya Shastry was a mystic from Anekal, who was reputed to speak out verses (slokas) whenever he got inspiration, described by Josyer as "a walking lexicon gifted with occult perception". According to Josyer, he dictated the the text to G. Venkatachala Sharma in the early 1900s (completing it in 1923). Anekal is a taluka of Bangalore district. ... A Shloka (also spelt sloka) is a form of hindu prayer, verse, phrase, proverb or hymn of praise, usually composed in a specified meter. ...

Subbaraya Shastry died in 1941, and Venkatachala took his manuscripts into keeping. The Vaimanika Shastra manuscript appeared at Rajakiya Sanskrit Library, Baroda by 1944.[3] The text was published in Hindi in 1959[4] and later in English by G.R. Josyer, titled Vymanika Shastra. Josyer's edition, also added illustrations drawn by T. K. Ellappa, a draughtsman at a local engineering college in Bangalore, under the direction of Shastry, which had been missed in the 1959 edition.[5] Vadodara, also known as Baroda, is the third-most populated town in Gujarat after Ahmedabad and Surat (the three towns with a population of over 1 million in Gujarat). ... Hindi ( , Devanagari: or , IAST: , IPA: ), an Indo-European language spoken mainly in northern and central India, is one of the two official languages of India, the other being English. ... For other uses, see Bangalore (disambiguation). ...

Its existence was first announced publicly in a 1952 press release by G.R. Josyer, who had founded his "International Academy of Sanskrit Research" in Mysore the year before. In the foreword to the 1973 publication that contained the full Sanskrit text with English translation, Josyer quotes a 1952 press release of his which was "published in all the leading dailies of India, and was taken up by Reuter and other World Press News Services":[6] , For other uses, see Mysore (disambiguation). ...

Mr. G. R. Josyer, Director of the International Academy of Sanskrit Research in Mysore, in the course of an interview recently, showed some very ancient manuscripts which the Academy had collected. He claimed that the manuscripts were several thousands of years old, compiled by ancient rishis, Bharadwaja, Narada and others, dealing, not with the mysticism of ancient Hindu philosophy of Atman or Brahman, but with more mundane things vital for the existence of man and progress of nations both in times of peace and war. [...] One manuscript dealt with Aeronautics, construction of various types of aircraft for civil aviation and for warfare. [...] Mr. Josyer showed some types of designs and drawing of a helicopter-type cargo-loading plane, specially meant for carrying combustibles and ammunition, passenger aircraft carrying 400 to 500 persons, double and treble-decked aircraft. Each of these types had been fully described.

Josyer then tells how he was visited by "Miss Jean Lyon, journalist of Toronto and New York" for an interveiw, and how Lyon in her Just Half a World Away (1954) concluded that he was "guilty of a rabid nationalism, seeking to wipe out everything since the Vedas".

A critical review pronounced Josyer's introduction to be "least scholarly by any standards." and said that "the people connected with publication – directly or indirectly – are solely to blame either for distorting or hiding the history of the manuscripts." perhaps in an attempt to "eulogise and glorify whatever they can find about our past, even without valid evidence." By tracing the provenance of the manuscript, interviewing associates of S. Shastry (including G. V. Sharma to whom the text was originally dictated), and based on the linguistic analysis of the text, the review concluded that it came into existence sometime between 1900 and 1922.[7]

Structure and content

An illustration of the Shakuna Vimana that is supposed to fly like a bird with hinged wings and tail.[8]

Unlike modern treatises on aeronautics that begin by discussing the general principles of flight before detailing concepts of aircraft design, the Vaimanika Shastra straightaway gets into quantitative description, as though a particular aircraft is being described. The topics covered include, "definition of an airplane, a pilot, aerial routes, food, clothing, metals, metal production, mirrors and their uses in wars, varieties of machinery and yantras, planes like ‘mantrik’, ‘tantrik’, and ‘kritak’" and four planes called Shakuna, Sundara, Rukma, and Tripura are described in greater detail. The extant text is claimed to be only a small, (one-fortieth) part of a larger work Yantra Sarvaswa ("All about machines"[9]) composed by Maharishi Bharadwaj and other sages for the "benefit of all mankind".[10]

In 1991, the English portion and the illustrations from the Josyer book were reprinted by David Hatcher Childress in Vimana Aircraft of Ancient India & Atlantis as part of the Lost Science Series. According to Childress, the 8 chapters treat the following: David Hatcher Childress (b. ...

  1. The secrets of constructing aeroplanes, which will not break, which cannot be cut, will not catch fire, and cannot be destroyed.
  2. The secret of making planes motionless.
  3. The secret of making planes invisible.
  4. The secret of hearing conversations and other sounds in enemy places.
  5. The secret of retrieving photographs of the interior of enemy planes
  6. The secret of ascertaining the direction of enemy planes approach.
  7. The secret of making persons in enemy planes lose consciousness.
  8. The secret of destroying enemy planes.

The propulsion of the vimanas according to Kanjilal (1985) is by a "Mercury Vortex Engines"[11], apparently a concept similar to electric propulsion. Childress finds evidence for this "mercury vortex engine" in the Samarangana Sutradhara, an 11th century treatise on architecture. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Samarangana Sutradhara is an encyclopedic work on classical Indian architecture (shilpa) written by Paramara King Bhoja of Dhar (1000-1055 AD). ...

J. B. Hare of the Internet Sacred Text Archive in 2005 compiled an online edition of Josyer's 1973 book, in the site's "UFOs" section. In his introduction, Hare writes The Internet Sacred Text Archive (ISTA) is a website dedicated to the preservation of electronic public domain texts, specifically those with significant cultural value. ...

The Vymanika Shastra was first committed to writing between 1918 and 1923, and nobody is claiming that it came from some mysterious antique manuscript. The fact is, there are no manuscripts of this text prior to 1918, and nobody is claiming that there are. So on one level, this is not a hoax. You just have to buy into the assumption that 'channeling' works. ... there is no exposition of the theory of aviation (let alone antigravity). In plain terms, the VS never directly explains how vimanas get up in the air. The text is top-heavy with long lists of often bizarre ingredients used to construct various subsystems. ... There is nothing here which Jules Verne couldn't have dreamed up, no mention of exotic elements or advanced construction techniques. The 1923 technical illustration based on the text ... are absurdly un-aerodynamic. They look like brutalist wedding cakes, with minarets, huge ornithopter wings and dinky propellers. In other words, they look like typical early 20th century fantasy flying machines with an Indian twist.

A 1974 study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore found that the heavier-than-air aircrafts that the Vaimanika Shastra described were aeronautically infeasible. The authors remarked that the discussion of the principles of flight in the text were largely perfunctory and incorrect, in some cases violating Newton's laws of motion. The study concluded:[12] The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is one of the premier post-graduate institutions of research and higher learning located in Bangalore, India. ... Newtons First and Second laws, in Latin, from the original 1687 edition of the Principia Mathematica. ...

Any reader by now would have concluded the obvious – that the planes described above are the best poor concoctions, rather than expressions of something real. None of the planes has properties or capabilities of being flown; the geometries are unimaginably horrendous from the point of view of flying; and the principles of propulsion make then resist rather than assist flying. The text and the drawings do not correlate with each other even thematically. he drawings definitely point to a knowledge of modern machinery. This can be explained on the basis of the fact that Shri Ellappa who made the drawings was in a local engineering college and was thus familiar with names and details of some machinery. Of course the text retains a structure in language and content from which its ‘recent nature’ cannot be asserted. We must hasten to point out that this does not imply an oriental nature of the text at all. All that may be said is that thematically the drawings ought to be ruled out of discussion. And the text, as it stands, is incomplete and ambiguous by itself and incorrect at many places.

See also

This page deals with the flying chariots of Hindu mythology. ... According to the available historical evidences, Shivashankara Bapuji Tatpade designed the first aircraft. ... Book cover for Chariots of the Gods? Chariots of the Gods?: Unsolved Mysteries of the Past is a controversial book written in 1968 by Erich von Däniken. ...


  1. ^ lit. "shastra on the topic of vimanas"; Shastry & Josyer 1973
  2. ^ Childress (1991), p. 109
  3. ^ Mukunda 1974, p. 2.
  4. ^ Swami Brahmamuni Parivrajaka, Brihad Vimana Shastra, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha. Dayanand Bhavan, New Delhi, 1959.
  5. ^ Mukunda 1974
  6. ^ Shastry & Josyer 1973
  7. ^ Mukunda 1974
  8. ^ Mukunda 1974
  9. ^ Shastry & Josyer 1973
  10. ^ Mukunda 1974
  11. ^ Childress (1991), p. 249
  12. ^ Mukunda 1974

Shastra is a Sanskrit word used (to be pronoucned (shaastra) to denote education/knowledge in a general sense. ... This page deals with the flying chariots of Hindu mythology. ...


  • Mukunda, H.S.; Deshpande, S.M., Nagendra, H.R., Prabhu, A. and Govindraju, S.P. (1974). "A critical study of the work "Vyamanika Shastra"". Scientific Opinion: 5-12. Retrieved on 2007-09-03. 
  • A.S. Shastry, G.R. Josyer, Vymanika Shastra - Pronouncements of Maharshi Bhradwaja (1973) [1][2]
  • Dileep Kumar Kanjilal, Vimana in Ancient India : Aeroplanes Or Flying Machines in Ancient India, Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar (1985).
  • David Hatcher Childress, Vimana Aircraft of Ancient India, Adventures Unlimited Press (1991), ISBN 0932813127

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 246th day of the year (247th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... David Hatcher Childress (b. ...

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