Comprising 3000 shlokas spread across eight chapters, the Vaimanika Shastra is believed by its proponents to have been transmitted to Pandit Subbaraya Shastry by the ancient Hindu sage Bharadvaja. This ancient text has gained favor primarily among advocates of the ancient astronaut theory, as it provides what they see as evidence for the existence of technologically advanced flying machines in antiquity.
Origin of Vaimanika Shastra
The revelation of this text came in 1952 through the efforts of G. R. Josyer, who asserted that it was authored by Pandit Subbaraya Shastry (1866–1940). According to Josyer, Shastry had reportedly received the text through psychic means during the years 1918 to 1923. Subsequently, in 1959, a Hindi translation of the Vaimanika Shastra was published, and in 1973, the Sanskrit text, along with an English translation, became available to the wider public.
Subbaraya Shastry was known for his exceptional knowledge and unique abilities. One such talent was his capacity to spontaneously deliver verses and speak in various languages when inspired. It is within this context that the entire content of the Vaimanika Shastra was transmitted to his close associate, G. Venkatachala Sharma.
The manuscript of the Vaimanika Shastra surfaced within the confines of the Rajakiya Sanskrit Library in Baroda by the year 1944. However, it wasn't until 1959 that the text was made accessible to a wider audience through its publication in Hindi. The English version of the Vaimanika Shastra, titled as such, was later published by G.R. Josyer. In his edition, Josyer included illustrations that had been overlooked in the 1959 version. These illustrations were crafted by T. K. Ellappa, a draughtsman employed at a local engineering college in Bangalore. The work was carried out under the guidance of Subbaraya Shastry himself.
The revelation of the Vaimanika Shastra's existence was first made public through a press release in 1952 by G.R. Josyer. This announcement coincided with the establishment of his "International Academy of Sanskrit Research" in Mysore the year prior. Josyer's press release garnered significant attention, finding its way into leading Indian newspapers and even being picked up by news agencies such as Reuter and other prominent World Press News Services.
Subsequently, the full Sanskrit text of the Vaimanika Shastra, accompanied by an English translation, was published in 1973, further disseminating this intriguing work to a global audience.
Description of Vimans in Vaimanika Shastra
In contrast to contemporary treatises on aeronautics, which typically commence by elucidating the fundamental principles of flight prior to delving into the intricacies of aircraft design, the Vaimanika Shastra adopts a distinct approach. This ancient Sanskrit text initiates its discourse with a meticulous and quantitative portrayal, akin to a detailed description of a specific aircraft. The comprehensive subjects encompassed within its narrative the definition of an airplane, delineation of a pilot's role, establishment of aerial routes, considerations pertaining to sustenance and attire, exploration of various metals and their production, elucidation of mirrors and their tactical applications in warfare, a comprehensive array of machinery and yantras (mechanical contraptions), and categorization of planes such as 'mantrik,' 'tantrik,' and 'kritak.'
Notably, within the Vaimanika Shastra, an elaborate exposition is dedicated to the description of four distinct aircraft models: Shakuna, Sundara, Rukma, and Tripura. These aircraft are presented with meticulous attention to detail, shedding light on their unique features and characteristics.
It is important to note that the extant version of the Vaimanika Shastra is believed to represent only a fraction, specifically one-fortieth, of a more expansive work known as the Yantra Sarvaswa, meaning "All about machines." The Yantra Sarvaswa is attributed to Maharishi Bharadwaj, along with contributions from other revered sages. This extensive body of knowledge is purportedly intended for the greater benefit of all of humanity, encompassing a wide spectrum of mechanical and aeronautical wisdom.
Vaimanika Shastra and Modern Aeronautics
The Vaimanika Shastra, an ancient Sanskrit text, presents an intriguing portrayal of various vimanas, or flying machines, each employing distinctive power sources, including mercury, solar energy, and wind propulsion. Moreover, this text offers comprehensive insights into the materials utilized in the construction of these remarkable machines, encompassing metal alloys, specialized fabrics, and aeronautical glass.
One of the focal points of discussion surrounding the Vaimanika Shastra pertains to the flight capabilities of the described vimanas. According to the text, these aerial vehicles possess the capacity to traverse immense distances and attain remarkable altitudes. Some accounts even suggest that certain vimanas could journey to distant planets and other ethereal realms, evoking a sense of wonder and curiosity.
The significance of the Vaimanika Shastra's assertions stems from the author's claim that the Vimanas, which are also alluded to as mythological castles and wagons in various Jain scriptures, are indeed representations of tangible flying machines. This contention has led some to speculate that references to Vimanas in ancient texts such as the Rigveda and the Ramayana may also allude to genuine flying apparatus.
Notwithstanding the fantastical nature of the Vaimanika Shastra's content, it is important to note that there exists no concrete empirical evidence validating the existence of such flying machines. Some scholars posit that the text may be a work of fiction or perhaps a metaphorical representation of spiritual concepts, rather than a historical account of technologically advanced aircraft.
Nonetheless, the Vaimanika Shastra has consistently captivated the imaginations of many individuals throughout the years, provoking extensive speculation and interpretation. Certain enthusiasts have even embarked on endeavors to construct vimanas based on the textual descriptions, albeit with varying degrees of success and practicality.