08 May Vimana Shastra and Aviation in Ancient India
Though it is not historically substantiated, the vimānas (Vimana is that which can fly through the air from one place to another) mentioned in ancient Sanskrit epics were advanced aerodynamic flying vehicles much before 2000 BC.
India has a tradition of mythical fights and battles in the distant past, mostly gods and heroes fighting in the skies, not through dragons or birds but using Vimanas which are piloted aerial devices. Many ancient Indian texts like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata mention these mysterious airships. Even the RigVeda mentions aerial cars.
Evidences have been found of three kinds of metals named somaka, soundalika and mourthwika. By mixing them, 16 kinds of heat-absorbing metals could be created. Definite mining and melting instructions including need for 407 different crucibles are also given.
Lord Davenport in his book on Vymanika Shastra has discussed ancient Indian knowledge of airships stating that seven kinds of powers were required by the Vimana which were produced by seven motors installed with the help of wires, springs and wheels. Seven kinds of mirrors were also installed abroad.
Vimana Yantra Sarvaswa has eight chapters of diagrams. It is mentioned in great detail how to make a plane motionless, how to make it invisible, how to change over to ether (akasha) power from solar power in inter planetary travels, distant radar monitoring of other aircrafts, how to listen to sounds inside other planes and underwater craft ( as Vimanas go under water too ), faster than light communications – secrets of constructing planes which cannot be monitored or destroyed, with planetary gearing silent systems.
Vaimaanika Shastra explains in detail , the metals and alloys and other required material, which can make an aircraft imperishable in any condition. Planes which will not break (abhedya), or catch fire (adaahya) and which cannot be cut (achchedya) have been described. Along with the treatise there are diagrams of three types of aeroplanes – “Sundara”, “Shukana” and “Rukma”.
The so called “Pinjula Mirror” offered a visual shield to the pilot to protect his eyeballs from injury.
According to the Dronaparva, part of the 6000 year old Mahabarata, and the Ramayana, one Vimana described was shaped like a sphere and born along at great speed on a mighty wind generated by mercury.
Vatsyayana referred to this phenomenon as rasmiparavartana, and the concept was adapted to explain the occurrence of shadows and the opacity of materials.
Refraction was understood to be caused by the ability of light to penetrate inner spaces of translucent or transparent materials and Uddyotakara drew a comparison with fluids moving through porous objects.