Among many significant contributions of ancient Indian scientists, Vymanika Shastra is notably a towering work dealing with vimanas and allied topics. Aviation as a subject, wrests its own charm over other disciplines even today. This makes the presence of this work even more glamorous. For a casual reader this work may appear to be a fantasy, for a researcher on first reading, curiosity gets kindled. Successive readings see the cream slowly surfacing commensurate with ones ability to comprehend concepts, tolerance to appreciate the depth of basic researches preceding the technologies and systems of aviation science

It is the firm view of many researchers that mere knowledge of Sanskrit or science or both synthesized plays little role in true understanding of such works. The authors were intelligent to use coded terms, symbolic expressions, archaic language to safeguard knowledge falling to unauthorized sources. For right understanding true flair and that much of extra perception to decode and interpret with reference to context plays the decisive role. This is where many with correct approach succeeded while others failed. This logic remains the same be it a scientific work such as this or Indian philosophy. Both form two sides of the same coin, the coin being ‘Knowledge’. As study of philosophy demands faith, perseverance, genuine insight, ancient Indian science is no different

No one ventures into pronouncing a scientific work unless one has something meaningful to convey. The author, whether he was Maharshi Bharadwaja or Mr. X must have known this too.

The work “Vymanika shastra” is not meant for the biased scientist of the day who prefers to believe what he want to believe.

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It all started on a pleasant winter evening of 1998. During a discourse on renowned mythological epic Mahabharata, the eminent scholar sidestepped to make reference to the existence of vimanas in epic era. He further elaborated to aver the existence of ancient Indian treatiseVymanika Shastra” dealing with Aviation science and Technology. He indicated that this work had been ascribed to Maharshi Bharadwaja and conveyed to the world, in Sanskrit narration, through Late Pandit Anekal Subbaraya Shastry in the first decade of twentieth century. Not many in the audience had known this before. At the end of the discourse most of them had appreciated what they had heard, but forgot it as well. There were exceptions too. Musing over the interesting revelations, probing started in right earnest. The scholar delivering the lecture had nothing more to contribute. Nevertheless, he was firm on what he had conveyed.

Perseverance led to location of the work in a primitive library and a solitary bookstall in Bangalore. Cleaning the dust-clad copy of the work was not a pleasant experience. A few copies had reached the curious brains long ago, many of them being foreigners. The rest had found their way to the condemned cellar.

Debut reading of the work conveyed mixed feeling of amazement and skepticism. Patient successive readings generated conviction and added interest. The eerie feeling ‘Is it a wild goose chase? however, lingered on for a while. On gathering more information about the work, it was discovered that we were not alone in our pursuit. We had company. Reportedly many had studied the work. Some liked it and others dumped it. Many others not willing to be bystanders, went skin - deep and wrote derogatory reviews. It was not their cup of tea. They had no clue of understanding such works. They trailed from where others moved ahead. Their success was merely in creating roadblocks to genuine researchers.

Scientists with true resolve carried on with incessant efforts. This group included freelance researchers, science laboratories, and scholars. Dedicated topics were taken up for study as specific projects. While freelancers, with their limited resources, came out with impressive results, science laboratories succeeded in fabricating hardware from the treatise as per prescribed formulae. Scholars and scientists from abroad did not lag behind. “Vymanika Shastra” is quoted by many of them for its relevance in many scientific literatures, particularly in USA. Germans were reported to have bought fifteen copies of the work within few days of its release in 1973.

Just quoting the summarized findings from a report of Birla Science Centre, Hyderabad, relating to researches on three types of alloys developed by them as described in the textual content of this work, they find:

“As these materials were found to be novel in their compositions and preparations patents have been asked for them. The experimental results in BISR laboratory established the originality and textual description of the materials in “Vimana Shastra”. Therefore there is a strong possibility that the large number of descriptions of other new materials described may also yield good experimental results in the laboratory.”

The study team found company and enough company too, inland and foreign. What is sighted at the turn of the century appears to be still the tip of the iceberg. There is more and much more the work “Vymanika Shastra” has to convey, hidden in the potent future

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Special Acknowledgements

The Project Study Team gratefully acknowledges the keen interest evinced by The Aeronautical Society of India, Bangalore and AR & DB, Ministry of Defense (R&D) for sanctioning the study project. We are thankful to Dr. K. Ramchand, Director, The Centre for Airborne Studies, Bangalore and Air Marshal P. Rajkumar, PVSM, AVSM, VM, President AeSI Bangalore, for their valuable support.

1.   Dr. T.N. Prakash, panel coordinator AR & DB.
2.   Wg.Cdr. A.E. Patrawalla, Honorary Secretary, AeSI, Bangalore.
3.   Sri. Bannanje Govindacharya, Eminent Scholar on Indian Philosophy, Bangalore.
4.   Dr. V. Prabhanjanacharya, Professor of Sanskrit and Illustrious scholar on Indian Philosophy.
5.   Dr. P. Ramachandra Rao, Director, NML, Jamshedpur.
6.   Air Cmde. P.S. Subramanian. V.M, Bangalore.
7.   Dr. B.G.Siddarth, Director Birla Science Centre, Hyderabad.
8.   Dr. Maheshwar Sharon, Dept. of Chemistry, IIT, Bombay.
9.   Dr. V.K. Didolkar, Sri. Deepak Deshpande, Sri. M.K. Kawadkar. (Bharatiya Boudhika Sampada) Nagpur.
10. Dr. R. Ganesh, Eminent Scholar on Indian Philosophy, Bangalore.
11. Dr. K.H. Krishna Murthy, Former Professor of Ayurvedic Medicine, Pondichery Medical College, Bangalore.
12. GP. CAPT. M. Matheswaran VM. Indian Air Force.
13. Wg. Cdr. S.S. Yegnaswami, Bangalore
14. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., Bangalore.
15. Sri. N.G. Sheth, Bombay.
16. Oriental Research Libraries, Pune and Baroda.
17. Sri. Shraddhalu Ranade, Aurabindo Ashram, Pondichery.
18. Veda-vignana Parishat, Bangalore.
19. Sri. S. Krishna Murthy, Director, Public Relation, ISRO, Bangalore.
20. Sri. M. Madhu Rao, Bangalore.
21. Dr. Upendra Shenoi, Bangalore.
22. Indian Institute of World Culture, Bangalore.
23. Sri. K. Rajagopal, Bangalore.
24. Sri. Ahobala Shastry, Bangalore
25. Sri. P.V. Ramaprasad, Pune.
26. Mr. M. R. Narendra, Bangalore.
27. Mrs Muktha Badrishprasad, Bangalore.
28. Mrs Sudha P Rao, Bangalore.
29. Mr Satyanand. M. P., Bangalore.
30. Mr B.V. Rajesh, Bangalore.

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