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A CRITICAL STUDY OF THE WORK

“VYMANIKA SHASTRA”
by

H.S. MUKUNDA§, S.M. DESHPANDE§, H.R. NAGENDRA§§,


A. PRABHU§, AND S.P. GOVINDARAJU§
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012 (Karnataka)

SUMMARY – A study of the work “Vymanika Shastra” is presented. First, the historical
aspects and authenticity of the work are discussed. Subsequently, the work is critically
reviewed in respect of its technical content. It appears that his work cannot be dated
earlier than 1904 and contains details which, on the basis of our present knowledge, force
us to conclude the non feasibility of heavier than craft of earlier times. Some peripheral
questions concerning dimensions have also been touched upon.

1. Historical Aspects a fortieth) of “Yantra Sarvaswa” by §ÉrÉ: xMüqpÉÉxÉ: xMüÍpÉiÉÉxÉ AÉUpÉå


sage Bharadwaja, which is devoted ̧ÉlÉ£ü rÉÉjÉÎx§ÉuÉï ÉlÉÉ ÌSuÉÉ || 5 ||
1.1ORIGIN to a summary of the work on G0 AwOû0 1 | A0 3 | uÉaÉïç 4 |
A book titled “Brihad Vimana vimana vigyana by a number of
qÉ0 2 ||
Shastra” by Shri Bramhamuni other sages and is said to be for the
Parivrajaka was published in the benefit of all mankind. ….going from one island to
year 1959 [1]. It contains verses in another with these crafts in three
Sanskrit (describing aircraft) with 1.2 DATING OF THE WORK days and nights….and
their Hindi translation. In his introduction to the
Recently, another book titled “Brihad Vimana Shastra” (hereafter AÉ lÉÉå lÉÉuÉÉ qÉiÉÏlÉÉÇ rÉÉlÉçÇ mÉÉUÉrÉ
“Vymanika Shastra” by Shri G.R. denoted as BVA) the translator has aÉliÉuÉå ........ || 9 || G0 AwOû0 1 |
Josyer has appeared [2], which tried to hind at the Vedic origin of A0 3 | uÉ0 34 | qÉÇ0 2 || M×üwhÉÇ
contains the same Sanskrit verses the text. In support of this he has ÌlÉrÉÉlÉÇ WûUrÉ: xÉÑmÉhÉÉï AÇmÉÉå uÉxÉÉlÉÉ ÌSuÉ
with their English translation. One invoked Maharshi Dayananda qÉÑimÉiÉÎliÉ | iÉ AÉuÉuÉקÉlixÉSlÉ....||10||
notable feature of this English Saraswati’s work entitled
²ÉSzÉ mÉëkÉrÉzcÉ¢üqÉåMü §ÉÏÍhÉ lÉqrÉÉÌlÉ Mü
version is that it contains drawings “Rigaveda Bhashya Bhumika” [3].
of some crafts too, something not Also, some quotations from EiÉΊMåüiÉ | iÉÎxqÉlixÉÉMü ̧ÉzÉiÉÉ lÉ
to be found in the Hindi version. western scholars are given in zÉMüuÉÉå Å ÌmÉiÉÉ bÉÎwOûlÉÇ cÉsÉÉcÉsÉÉxÉ:
Also, the English work by Josyer support of the clain for antiquity. || 11 || G0 AwOû0 2 | A0 3 |
makes no mention whatsoever of According to Maharshi uÉ0 23 | qÉ0 1 | 2 ||
the earlier work in Hindi. Dayananda Saraswati’s
Our main concern in this report commentary (first published in Just an intelligent people
will be with the above two works. 1878 or earlier), there are constructed ships to cross
These books contain verses references to aircraft in the Vedic oceans…..jumping into space
which, according to their texts, are mantras: speedily with a craft using fire and
supposed to form only part (about water…..containing 12 stamghas
§ Departmental of Aeronautical Engineering (pillars), one wheel, three
§§ Department of Mechanical Engineering

Scientific Opinion / 5 1974


machines, 300 pivots, and 60 However, we were able to and had them exhibited there.
instruments. locate Shri G.V. Sharma and Shri Subsequently, the original
These, however, are too vague, Venkatarama Shastry (adopted son manuscript and the drawings were
scanty, and totally inadequate to of Pandit Subbaraya Shastry) with procured and retained by Shri
date their (verses) content to the help from a retired scholor from Josyer. The drawings were not
Vedic period. Further, we are afraid the Tirupati Sanskrit Library, Shri contained in the transcripts which
we may be attributing meaning to Srinivasa Iyengar, who seems t reached the Baroda University
shlokas based on what we know have played some part in Library. That perhaps is why BVS
today. (More on this in Section transactions relating to the lacks the drawings.
1.5). transcripts in question. Discussions
The manuscript from which BVS with both Shri Sharma and Shri 1.4 AUTHOR’S LIFE SKETCH
was prepared as said to have been Venkatarama Shastry cleared up The authorship, as stated
available a the Rajakiya Sanskrit many points concerning the history earlier, has been traced to Shastriji.
Library, Baroda, in 1944. It is also of the documents. It may be worth recording some of
stated in BVS that later another Shri G.V. Sharma was a close his life history to appreciate the
transcript was found in Poona with associate of Pandit Subbaraya situation in a better perspective.
a signature and dates aÉÉå uÉåÇMüOûÉcÉsÉ Shastry (Shastriji from hereon) Following is a brief life sketch of
zÉqÉÉï 9 8 1919 set on it. BVS has during his later years. It appears Shastriji summarized from
that Shastriji, who was supposedly reference [4]. It appears that the
been written on the basis of the
endowed with certain mystical autobiography was written to fulfil
above two transcripts which are
powers, used to spell out shlokas a promise made to Jagdish Chandra
essentially the same. It may be
(verses) whenever he got Bose (the well known scientist) by
noted that in the introduction to
inspiration. These used to be Shastriji, during one of the
BVS gratitude has been expressed
promptly taken down by Shri discussion meetings at Bombay.
to Air Com. Goel who probably has
Sharma. After the full text had Shastriji was born in a small
something to do with the
been so dedicated, copies were village in Hosur Taluk (Madras
procurement of these documents.
made which later found their way State) and got married at the age
to several places, Most of this and of eight. His parents died a few
1.3 AUTHORSHIP
other similar materials were kept in years later and he was forced to
As already stated, the
charge of Shri Venkatrama Shastry support the large family, including
authorship of the work has been
after the death of Shastriji in 1941. brothers and sisters, virtually by
attributed to Maharshi
The existence of the manuscript begging. Subsequently, he went to
Bharadwaja. Whether this
was known in some circles and that stay with his father in law, but
Maharshi is the same as one of the
probably is how Air Com. Goel soon had to leave with his brothers
seven seers (Saptarshis) is by no
came to know of it and had it and sisters, looking for alms at
means substantiated. Thus the
procured from the Baroda other towns. Thereafter, things got
question of authorship remains as
University Library sometime during worse. Sometime later, his sisters
yet unanswered. It is possible,
1944. and one of his three brothers died
however, to throw more light on
Sometime during 1951, Shri of small pox. He himself got such a
the situation.
Josyer established an organization, severe attack that he no longer
In his introductory remarks in
called International Academy of could move or use his own hands.
the book Vymanika Shastra (VS
Sanskrit Research. An exhibition of His brothers perforce had to leave
from hereon) Josyer states that
rare manuscripts was held during him to himself and move away. He
Pandit Subbaraya Shastry of Anekal
the inaugural function. Shri M.C. had to live on grass and other
dictated the verses to Shri G.
Krishnaswamy Iyengar, another leaves, like and animal, for a period
Venkatachala Sharma (G.V. Sharma
associate of Shastriji, (who has of time. He then came to an area
from hereon). No further details of
published the English translation of near Kolar (Karnataka) in a most
the process in which the work
the autobiography of Shastriji [4]) pitiable state. It is stated that there
came into existence have been
took some of the manuscripts, he met a great saint, referred to as
given in VS.
including the “Vymanika Shastra”, Guruji Maharaj in the text. This

Scientific Opinion / 6 1974


saint cured him of his terrible Dr. Talpade (of Bombay) tried to within the realm of science and is
disease, initiated him into make models under the guidance beyond the scope of this paper.
spirituality and revealed to him of Shastriji, but that he was not Thus it appears to us from
secrets of many shastras like successful in making any of then internal and related evidence that
Vimana Shastra, Bhautik Kala Nidhi, fly. the work VS is of recent origin.
Jala Tantra, etc. in a cave. Despite these and other facts
Later on, Shastriji came back to 1.5 DISCUSSION mentioned earlier Shri Josyer
Anekal and settled down with his The dating of the work VS may states in the introduction to his
wife to a quiet life. Circumstances be approached from other angles: book [2] that the work is several
forced him to adopt Shri (a) The kind of Sanskrit used in the thousand years old; the book in
Venkatarama Shastry as his son. text may indicate whether or not Hindi [1] tends to hint at the vedic
Because of innate spirituality and the text is of Vedic origin. origin of the text.
mysticism, he came to influence The text contains Shlokas set to What we feel unfortunate in
many people, some wise, some AlÉÑwOÒûmÉ metre and its language is history is that some people tend
rich, and some both. He then made quite simple and modern. Again, in to eulogise and glorify whatever
several trips to Bombay and its introduction, BVS mentions that they can find about our past, even
dictated Parts of Vimana Shastra a few words did have a structure without valid evidence. In the
there. He had the drawings (of similar to that of the Vedic Sanskrit. absence of any evidence, efforts
aircraft) made sometime between The number of such words being will be made to produce part of
1900 and 1919 by someone called very small, and their usage being the evidence in favour of
Ellappa who was a draughtsman in incidental, it appears appropriate antiquity. The above two works
a local engineering college at the to conclude that the Sanskrit used are by no means exceptions to
time. in the text is modern. (b) Another this, in particular the recently
Shastriji had no formal training significant point is the almost published book. In fact the
(for schooling) of any kind. He complete absence of any mention introduction to Reference [2] is
learnt to read and write Telugu and of use of aircraft in the least scholarly by any standards.
Kannada scripts only when he came innumerable Sanskrit texts of the We feel that the people connected
back after meeting Guruji Maharaj. post Vedic age. One text, namely with publication – directly or
His early boyhood and youth were “Samarangana Sutradhara”, by indirectly – are solely to blame
spent in braving some of the worst Bhoja deals with some description either for distorting or hiding the
calamities that can befall a man. of aircraft, but does not quote any history of the manuscripts.
What appears strange in the earlier work. What is more, Bhoja
whole matter is that Pandit states that detailed description of 1.6 CONCLUSIONS
Subbaraya Shastry, who apparently their construction and other Thus the work “Vymanika
was not a ‘pnadit’ in anyordinary features will not be given lest the Shastra” was brought into
sense, dictated a work and same be used for evil purpose by existence sometime between 1900
nowhere in it did his name appear. people? (We are tempted to and 1922 by Pandit Subbaraya
Also, it was written as though remark that he did not know!) Shastry by techniques unclear to us
Maharshi Bhadadwaja were its The most important of texts like at the moment. The only evidence
author. Any possible fraud in the Ramayana and Mahabharata make in favour of Maharshi Bhardwaja
matter, in our opinion, is out of no mention of the use of aircraft being the author is the textual
the question sine Shastriji was for travel, military, or war statement and nothing more.
known for his utter simplicity, purposes. The ‘Pushpak Vimana’
humble and un[pretentious nature. of Ramayana, as described 2. Technical Survey And
It is also stated in his therein, has no flying qualities Criticism
autobiography that he was unsure except possibly by invocation of
of the practicality of the ideas ‘mantras’ or ‘tantras’. Of course, a 2.1 GENERAL
propounded in Vymanika Shastra. discussion of whether these A general treatise on any
(The theory itself is highly unsound existed at all is undecideable subject, particularly as complex as
in our view). Also stated one late aeronautics, starts off with an

Scientific Opinion / 7 1974


enunciation of the basic principles
involved and subsequently
discusses the integration and
development of these principles
into a technology. This is indeed so
with any of the treaties on modern
science or technology. Contrary to
this, the Vymanika Shastra gets
down to details right away; even
here there is no expression of any
kind of generality. The different
parts (of aircraft) are quantitatively
described as though a particular
plane were being described.
The science of aeronautics
requires an understanding of a
number of disciplines:
aerodynamics, aeronautical
structures, propulsive devices,
materials, and metallurgy. The
subject works lay uncalled for
emphasis on propulsive devices
and structures, but little or no
emphasis on aerodynamics. It is [Note: The accompanying aircraft 2.2b Principles – A few lines have
worth pointing out that the history diagrams are given merely to aid been devoted to the function of
of aeronautics (western) in regard visualization and are not to scale.] wings and tail and they appear to
to production of heavier than air be incorrect. From what is given in
craft is studded with initial failures, the following verses:
significantly traceable to a non 2.2 SHAKUNA VIMANA
understanding of aerodynamics [5]. 2.2a General – As the name iÉjÉæuÉ uÉÉiÉmÉÉrÉl§ÉÉå ÌSYmÉëSzÉïkuÉeÉxiÉrÉÉ |
The works [1,2] under suggests, this vimana (plane) is like mÉzcÉÉcNûMÑülxrxlÉç§ÉÉ¶É iÉimɤɲrÉqÉåuÉ cÉ ||
discussion contain description and a bird. It is supposed to contain the
ÌuÉqÉÉlÉÉåimÉå¤ÉhÉÉjÉï iÉimÉÑcdpÉÉaÉxiÉrÉæuÉ ÌWû |
details on the definition of an following parts: Peetha (floor
airplane, a pilot, aerial routes, board), hollow mast, three iÉiÉÉå ÌuÉqÉÉlÉxÉgcÉÉUMüÉUhÉÉæwqrÉMürÉl§ÉMü: ||
food, clothing, metals, metal wheeled keelakas (hinges) with
production, mirrors and their uses holes, four heaters, air suction It appears that great importance is
in wars, varieties of machinery and pipes, water jacket, oil tank, given to the tail portion for the
yantras, planes like ‘mantrik’, shakuna yantra, two wings, tail generation of lift. Also the function
‘tantrik’, and ‘kritak’. Details about portion to enable the vimana to fly, of the hinge wings becomes
four planes in the ‘kritak’ category owshyamaka yantra or heat unclear in this context. It may be
– Shakuna, Sundara, Rukma, and engine, etc. noted that it is the wings which
Tripura – are also given. It has several tiers, each one should contribute to the life of the
We will address ourselves containing different yantras craft and the tail portion to its
principally to the above mentioned (machines). The drawings show controllability.
four planes; the discussion will be parts like cylinder, piston worm
on the basis of principles, gear, and pumps which seem 2.2c Geometry – The height and
geometry, materials, chemistry, entirely modern (beyond 18th width of the craft, in our opinion,
and operational data. century). are in such proportion as to put its
stability in serious question. There
are inconsistencies in the
dimensions mentioned in the

Scientific Opinion / 8 1974


verses and those given in the
drawings. For

mÉÏOûÉå¦ÉlrÉÇ ÌuÉiÉxiÉÏlÉÉqÉzÉÏÌiÉËUÌiÉ uÉÍhÉïiÉÇ |


mÉOèmÉgcÉÉzÉ̲iÉxiÉÏlÉÉqÉÉrÉÉqÉÇ cÉ iÉjÉæuÉ ÌWû ||

Here the dimensions are as follows.


The floor board height is 80 feet; its
width and length are 56 feet each.
The latter dimensions are different
in the drawings, being 80 and 25
feet respectively. In the verses,
‘vitasti’ is used as a unit of length
while in the drawings ‘foot’ is
adopted. The value of vitasti varies
from 9 inches to a foot depending
upon the situation in which the
term is used. Here it appears as
though vitasti has been equated to
a foot at all places.

2.2d Operational data – There are


no statements on the capabilities
of this craft.

2.2e Materials – There is mention


of a number of materials. The floor
board is made of ‘raja loha’. This
material, supposedly, is to be made the dynamics of the flight of principles, we have the following:
from ‘prana kshara’ (ammonium heavier than air craft. electricity is generated by some
chloride), Bengal gram, benzoin, means (what appears to be a
mercury borax, mica, silver, and 2.3 SUNDAR VIMANA combination of friction, heat, solar
‘panchamrita’(!), all mixed, heated 2.3a General – This plane meant rays, waterfall etc.) through use of
to 800 ‘kaksha’ (unit of for flight only in the air has five ‘jyotirmukha’ and several other
temperature), and poured out. tires and a number of parts. materials including sixteen ‘drona’
There is a number of other measures of donkey’s urine! The
materials described herein. AÉSÉæ mÉÏPûxiÉiÉÉå kÉÔqÉlÉÉsÉxiÉçÇpÉxiÉjÉuÉ ÌWû | use of 80 ‘link’ of electricity is
mÉzcÉÉSè kÉÔqÉÉåSèaÉqÉrÉl§ÉmÉgcÉMÇü cÉ iÉiÉ: mÉUÇ|| expected to vaporize oil. Also,
2.2f Comments – It must be steam is generated separately. It
pointed out here that the essential These are: ground plate, smoke appears that by operating some
idea of flying like a bird has been chimney, five gas engines, metal switches, these two (oil and
tried by many people (abroad) over pipe wind blower, electricity steam) can be mixed to produce
several centuries right from the generator, four faced heater, and 500 ‘kaksha’ heat. These are then
time of Leonardo da Vinci, but outer cover. passed through a pipe called
without any success whatever. ‘shundala’ (like elephant’s trunk)
Hence the feasibility of a craft of 2.3b Principles – The place has for purposes of propulsion.
the above type is a near been described in considerable Further there is detailed
impossibility. Furthermore, the detail though no basic principles of description of some machinery.
author – whoever he be – shows a operation have been mentioned. Looking into drawings and the text
complete lack of understanding of From what may be salvaged as leads one to conclude that air is

Scientific Opinion / 9 1974


sucked from the bottom, and hot
gases are allowed to exhaust
through pipes toward the top. And
this is expected to produce force
to life the plane up a statement
which is a gross violation of
Newton’s laws. It may be
mentioned that there are verses
which imply such violations
clearly:

LMüSÉ cÉ¢üaÉqÉlÉÉaÉqÉlÉɲåaÉiÉÉå pÉuÉåiÉç |


kÉÔqÉmÉëxÉÉUhÉ rÉÎxqÉlÉç ÌSÍzÉ zÉÑhSÉsÉiÉÉå pÉuÉålÉç||
iÉÎxqÉllÉåuÉ? ÌuÉqÉÉlÉxrÉ aÉqÉlÉ uÉåaÉiÉÉå pÉuÉåiÉç ||
AÉuÉiÉïlÉå cÉÉåkUçuÉqÉÑZÉaÉqÉlÉåÌmÉ iÉjÉæuÉ cÉ ||

“……….The fast movement of the


plane takes place in the same
direction in which the jet gets out
of shundala..”
zÉÑhQûÉsÉæ É iÉjÉÉ MüÐsÉMüÉÌSÍpÉ, mÉëåËUiÉMüqÉÉiÉç | 2.4 RUKMA VIMANA
bÉÌOûMüÉuÉÎcNûllÉMüÉsÉå rÉÉåeÉlÉÉlÉÉ cÉiÉÑzziÉqÉç || 2.4a General – This plane has a
The shloka has been set with a
five tier structure, with passenger
question mark in BVS. However, in
Four hundred yojanas are covered cabins on the third tier. The plane
VS Shri Josyer seems to have edited
in one ghatika. is meant for flight only in the air.
the relevant part of the verse into
... xuÉrÉqÉåuÉ ÌuÉqÉÉlÉxrÉ aÉqÉlÉqÉç ...
Ghatika has a standard implication 2.4b Principles – This aircraft is the
Because of this editing, meanings one which some of us thought
of the verses don’t tie in properly. of 24 minutes. Yojana has an
implication of about 8 to 10 miles meaningful quite some time back
In fact, this editing was totally while studying BVS. AT that time VS
uncalled for and should not have (some interpret yojana to mean
more). Even with the smaller (containing the drawings) was not
been done. If it was to be available. From BVS we conclude
performed, it should have been figure the craft speed amounts to
8000 mph – fantastic figure by any that there were long vertical ducts
indicated as such. containing fans at the top. The
standards. It may be noted that no
aircraft of today has attained such direction of airflow was not
2.3c Geometry & operational data indicated in the text. We
– It has the shape of a cone speed inside the atmosphere.
presumed, therefore, that upward
cylinder combination, with a base flight would be feasible by running
diameter of 32 feet, cylinder 2.3d Chemistry & materials – One
of the vessels used for production the fans to suck air from the top
height of 20 feet, and cone height and send it down the ducts,
of 29 feet. The whole geometry of electricity is expected to be
filled with apamarga, sampasya, generating a lift in the process,
appears to be one of a mobile essentially like a vertical takeoff
factory, if anything, and much less and ayaskanta soaked in
elephant’s urine mixed with and landing craft (VTOL).
of an aircraft. The speed of smoke
from the gas engine (dhoomodga mercury. Another vessel is to be
filled with cow’s urine, and so on. In the text it is stated that lift is
yantra) is said to be 2113 ‘link’.
There are several other generated by the beating of
Wind speed from ‘nala stambha’ is ‘ayahpinda’ wheels against the
said to be 600 ‘link’. Speed of the descriptions in a similar vein
without any possible sense. floor board. Electrical tube wheels
craft is given in:

Scientific Opinion / 10 1974


are supposed to aid flight in a
manner not discussed at all. The
purpose of fans has not been
indicated in the text, whereas in
the figure they have been
captioned as “lifting fans”. Further,
like in other crafts, the static
stability is in some doubt.

2.4c Geometry – The geometry is


again a cylinder cone combination
with a base diameter of 100 feet,
height of 20 feet, and cone height
of 80 feet. The text mentions a
dimension of 1000 feet for the 2.5b Principles – No mention of any None of the planes has properties
base. principles of operation has been or capabilities of being flown; the
made. Power is said to be geometries are unimaginably
mÉÏPû ÂYqÉÌuÉqÉÉlÉxrÉ MÔüqÉÉïMüÉUÇ mÉMüsmÉrÉåiÉç | generated from the generator from horrendous from the point of view
ÌuÉiÉÎxiÉWûxÉÉrÉÉqÉÇ aÉɧÉqÉãMüÌuÉiÉÎxiÉMüqÉç || the generator at the top using of flying; and the principles of
sun’s rays and some acids in a propulsion make then resist rather
However, the drawing shows only manner not described. The general than assist flying.
100 feet. This is a geometrical description and the diagrams seem
contradiction. to indicate the use of electric The text and the drawings do not
motors which were known only in correlate with each other even
2.4d Operational data – The the 19th century. thematically. The drawings
Description mentions a speed of definitely point to a knowledge of
105 kroshas per ghatika 2.5c Geometry & operational data modern machinery. This can be
amounting to a speed of 625 mph – It is oval shaped in plan with a explained on the basis of the fact
(compared to the speed of sound length of 100 feet and maximum that Shri Ellappa who made the
of about 760 mph). This is an width of 24 feet. The height of the drawings was in a local engineering
incredible speed even for a sleek craft is 30 feet. No operational data college and was thus familiar with
aircraft and just impossible for the have been given. names and details of some
kind of geometry used. machinery. Of course the text
2.5d Materials – In order to retains a structure in language and
2.4e Materials – A number of prevent water from seeping into content from which its ‘recent
materials is mentioned principal the craft, when it is moving over nature’ cannot be asserted. We
among which is ‘raja loha’. water, it is said to be covered with must hasten to point out that this
a cloth known as milk cloth (¤ÉÏUmÉOû). does not imply an oriental nature
2.4f Comments – If the craft is Also the description of an alloy has of the text at all. All that may be
taken to mean what the drawings been given which is supposed to be said is that thematically the
and the text say, it can be stated light and fire resistant. drawings ought to be ruled out of
that the craft is a decided discussion. And the text, as it
impossibility. 3. General Comments and stands, is incomplete and
Conclusions ambiguous by itself and incorrect
2.5 TRIPURA VIMANA Any reader by now would have at many places.
2.5a General – This plane is concluded the obvious – that the
supposed to fly in air, and move planes described above are the A large number of verses has been
water and land. When moving over best poor concoctions, rather than devoted to the metallurgical and
water the wheels are to be expressions of something real. material aspects, as stated earlier.
retracted.

Scientific Opinion / 11 1974


Also, a number of cross references eastward ones opened; and so on
indicated in BVS belong to the 2. G. R. Josyer, “Vymanika Shastra”, for movements in the north and
subject of materials. (Incidentally, Internaitonal Academy of Sanskrit south directions. And there be no
these references are not to be Research, Mysore 4. mistakes in this. …There are many
found in VS.) This is more verses on the subject (of
understandable since our people 3. Dayananda Saraswati, “Rig veda aircrafts), but the wise will get the
were leaders in this field in earlier Bhashya Bhumika”, Vydika idea from whatever little is given
times. A number of materials made Yantralaya, Ajmer, 1929. here.”
of iron, brass, and bronze, in
existence since times immemorial 4. G. Venkatachala Sharma, The The statements above would
and even till this day, are proofs Autobiography (in English of Pandit appear to indicate complete accord
enough of this feature. Subbaraya Shastry), published by with the Newton’s laws of motion.
M. C. Krishnaswamy Iyengar, and C. Contradictions apparent in the
Yet the description of materials and Venkatachala Sharma. verses and drawings in [1] and [2]
their making in the text do not are quite puzzling, especially when
seem to make much sense from 5. Theodore von Karmen, “The one considers the fact that [3] was
the point of view of making them in Aerodynamics”, McGraw Hill supposedly available when [1] and
actual practice. Company, 1963. [2] were compiled.

Be this as it may, the text raises 6. Editor’s comment – In this ERRATUM


some peripheral questions. One of context, it must be pointed out In the Sanskrit verse given
them concerns the kind of units that Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati under Sub section 2.2c (column 1,
used. The basic text uses ‘vitasti’ (MDS) in his commentary on the page 9) mÉÏPûÉåilÉlrÉÇ should read as
for length, ‘link’ for speed, ‘kaksha’ Rigveda (reference 3 above, mÉÏPûÉåilÉlrÉÇ.
for heat, & ‘link’ again for electrical published first in 1878 or earlier),
force. The units of speed and has also something to say on the
temperature are new and, to the subject of movement of aircraft in
best of our knowledge, do not have different directions.
any easily decipherable meaning. In his comments (on the verses
Some effort was made to given in Sub section 1.2 of this
determine the internal consistency article) MDS says:
of these units, but this did not
prove successful. “……..One of them to halt the craft,
one to make it move forward, and
Also, no data have been given the third to make it move
about the weights of crafts and backwards. …There be 60
their components. This is serious instruments, some working at one
since weight is fundamental to the time and the others at other times.
flying of heavier than air machines. ….In other words, to lift the lane
Moreover, the unit of mass does up, the top openings for steam
not even appear anywhere is the must be closed and to bring the
text. craft down, steam should
appropriately be allowed to
REFERENCES exhaust from the top. Similarly, to
propel the aircraft eastward,
1. Swami Bramhamuni Parivrajaka, eastward steam openings must be
“Brihad Vimana Shastra”, closed and westward ones opened:
Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha. to take the plane in the westward
Dayanand Bhavan, New Delhi, direction, westward steam
1959. openings should be shut and

Scientific Opinion / 12 1974