by D. Hatcher Childress

April 11, 2006

from DiscussAnyThing Website

Spanish version



In occult lore, the Nine Unknown Men are a millennia-old secret society founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka c. 270 BCE.


According to the legend, upon his conversion to Buddhism after a massacre during one of his wars, the Emperor founded the society of the Nine to preserve and develop knowledge that would be dangerous to humanity if it fell into the wrong hands.


The Nine were also charged by Asoka with manipulating the culture of India to present an image of a backwards and mystically-oriented people to the outside world in order to conceal the advanced scientific knowledge that was being accumulated within.


Some versions of the story include an additional motivation for the Emperor to conceal scientific knowledge: remnants of the Rama Empire, an Indian version of Atlantis, which according to Hindu scripture was destroyed by advanced weaponry 15000 years ago.

Numerous figures who straddled the line between occultism and science fiction writing, most prominently (and apparently first) Louis Jacolliot, Talbot Mundy, and later Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier in their Morning of the Magicians, propagated the story of The Nine claiming that the society occasionally revealed itself to wise outsiders such as Pope Sylvester II who was said to have received, among other things, training in supernatural powers and a robotic talking head from the group. In more recent times, according to this circle, the Nine assisted humanity by revealing the secret of the Cholera vaccine.

Among conspiracy theorists the Nine Unknown is often cited as one of the oldest and most powerful secret societies in the world. Unusually for the conspiracist subculture, the image of the group is largely though not entirely benign. Theosophists also believe the Nine to be a real organization that is working for the good of the world.

Some modern Indian scientists such as Jagdish Chandra Bose were said to believe in or even to be member of the Nine although documentation on this issue is predictably scant.




The nine books

Each of the Nine is supposedly responsible for guarding and improving a single book. These books each deal with a different branch of potentially hazardous knowledge.


Traditionally, the books are said to cover the following subjects:

  1. Propaganda and Psychological warfare.

  2. Physiology, including instructions on how to perform the "touch of death." One account has Judo being a product of material leaked from this book.

  3. Microbiology, and, according to more recent speculation, Biotechnology. In some versions of the myth, the waters of the Ganges are purified with special microbes designed by the Nine and released into the river at a secret base in the Himalayas.

  4. Alchemy, including the transmutation of metals. In India, there is a persistent rumor that during times of drought or other natural disasters temples and religious organizations receive large quantities of gold from an unknown source.

  5. Communication, including intercourse with extraterrestrials.

  6. Gravitation. Book 6 is said to contain the instructions necessary to build a Vimana, sometimes referred to as the "ancient UFOs of India."

  7. Cosmology

  8. Light

  9. Sociology, including rules concerning the evolution of societies and how to predict their downfall.

According to some interpretations of surviving texts, India’s future it seems happened way back in its past.


Take the case of the Yantra Sarvasva, said to have been written by the sage Maharshi Bhardwaj. This consists of as many as 40 sections of which one, the Vaimanika Prakarana dealing with aeronautics, has eight chapters, a hundred topics and 500 sutras.

Bhardwaj describes vimana, or aerial craft, as being of three classes:

  • those that travel from place to place

  • those that travel from one country to another

  • those that travel between planets

Of special concern among these were the military planes whose functions were delineated in some very considerable detail and which read today like something clean out of science fiction.


For instance they had to be:

  • impregnable, unbreakable, non-combustible and indestructible

  • capable of coming to a dead stop in the twinkling of an eye

  • invisible to enemies

  • capable of listening to the conversations and sounds in hostile planes

  • technically proficient to see and record things, persons, incidents and situations going on inside enemy planes

  • know at every stage the direction of movement of other aircraft in the vicinity

  • capable of rendering the enemy crew into a state of suspended animation, intellectual torpor or complete loss of consciousness

  • capable of destruction

  • manned by pilots and co-travelers who could adapt in accordance with the climate in which they moved

  • temperature regulated inside

  • constructed of very light and heat absorbing metals

  • provided with mechanisms that could enlarge or reduce images and enhance or diminish sounds

Now notwithstanding the fact that such a contraption would resemble a cross between an American state-of-the-art Stealth Fighter and a flying saucer,

does it mean that air and space travel was well known to ancient Indians and airplanes flourished in India when the rest of the world was just about learning the rudiments of agriculture?

Not really [the perception of the absence of proof is no proof of the proof’s absence - Jai Maharaj], for the manufacturing processes described alongside are delightfully diffuse and deliberately vague.


But it does display a breathtaking expanse of imagination which, had it ever been implemented, would have propelled us even further than Star Trek.