The work ‘Vymanika Shastra’ has been ascribed to the great sage of ancient India, Maharshi Bharadwaja. From the data available, references related to the work have transited through earlier times of known history. It is also claimed that the work is among forty topics of ‘Yantra Sarwaswa’ that dealt with ‘All about machines’. It is not a matter of dispute that basic work for translated variants of Vymanika Shastra (English & Hindi) published in the country was originated from Sanskrit manuscript dictated by Pundit Anekal Subbaraya Shastry to a Sanskrit scholar, Sri G Venkatachala Sharma.

There have been doubts and controversies raised in some earlier reviews regarding the authorship and dating. Treatises of this nature where documented records of the past are not available due to various reasons naturally attract such issues. This aspect needs careful and logical scrutiny. This is especially so in the face of some critics having made generalized statements that Indians have a habit of eulogizing the authors and works of such genesis.

Many scientists today look at Mythology with skepticism and accept only recorded history as gospel truth even if recorded history itself has suffered distortions. They are antagonistic to the belief that Mythology preceded history in civilizations the world over. This is primarily because the links between history and mythology are loose and not conclusively established. Periods of vacuum between mythology and history have compounded the problems in the efforts to bridge the gap. Repeated invasions before and during the Mogul rule, colonial rule under the British put together spanning nearly ten centuries (with occasional breathers of domestic supremacy) contributed a great deal towards suppression and hibernation of ancient Indian works, Scientific, Spiritual and literary.

It is in the backdrop of such observations that this study exercise has probed into the subject of authorship and dating. It is for this reason alone that ‘Background of the work’ conforming to recorded data from the genesis of Sanskrit manuscripts conveyed by Pundit Sri Subbaraya Shastry has been separately dealt with in earlier discussion.



Several natural questions do come up in this context.

  • Who was Maharshi Bharadwaja, ascribed to be the author of this work ‘Vymanika Shastra’, supposedly a part of ‘Yantra sarwaswa’?

  • Is this work of Vedic origin? Is it in Vedic language? If not, why so?

  • Who is Bodhananda that has written ‘Vritti’ or ‘commentary’ on this?

  • Why did he have to write commentary? What is his role?

  • What are the scholastic credentials of seer Bharadwaja for being ascribed with the authorship?

  • Did the textual content culled out from Vedic origin all by himself or others also featured?

Collection of answers to questions of this nature brought out interesting answers both from Mythology and History.

Regarding Maharshi Bharadwaja:

He is known to be a towering scholar both in science, philosophy and warfare. His is an august name in the pantheon of Hindu sages who recorded knowledge in the spiritual, intellectual and scientific fields. During his period, knowledge was transmitted from mouth to mouth and ear to ear.

Maharshi Bharadwaja, according to some scholars, belonged to Thretha Yuga and to Dwapara Yuga to some others, linking him with Dronacharya’s ancestry. He is known to belong to sixth mandala of Rigveda. He has also authored Srauta shastra and smriti work. He figures in the genealogy of Bruhaspati, the principal preceptor of all Hindu deities and his son being seer Bharadwaja. Bharadwaja’s son Dronacharya, again was the preceptor of Pandavas and Kauravas during Mahabharata era. It should be no surprise that a seer with this background of generation possessed a vast variety of knowledge to author a work such as ‘Yantra Sarwaswa’. In this connection, discussions on the subject with a well-known scholar of Bangalore Dr.V.Prabhanjanacharya spotlight the subject. This is enclosed as an appendix to this chapter, which clarifies many doubts.

Maharshi Bharadwaja transcended from one Yuga to another. He is among the seven prime seers of Mythological era. Whether there were other seers by his name is not known. It is possible that seers succeeding him in his Gothra could have been known by the same name. Nevertheless, he is the only Bharadwaja referred to as one among Maharshis. He has also authored ‘Anshu Bodhini’ dealing with cosmology, few sections of which are still available. Its reference is made to several topics in ‘Vymanika Shastra’. It again features commentary from Bodhananda. The style of Sanskrit in ‘Vymanika shastra’ and ‘Anshu Bodhini’ have been studied by Sanskrit scholars for a possible commonality of authorship. Their opinion confirms common authorship.

The introductory part of the subject work clearly avers as follows. Maharshi Bharadwaja’s ‘Vymanika shastra’ or ‘Science of Aeronautics’ is a part of his unknown work ‘Yantra sarwaswa’ or ‘all about machines’. Here we see no reason why anyone should be attributing the work to him without any gain for himself. No one else down the line has claimed the authorship nor has anyone disputed.

Deliberating on the dating aspect of the work, the data gathered by the study team explains certain crucial issues. The work itself is not a part of Vedas as is misunderstood by many. Nowhere it is claimed so either. It is claimed to be the essence and offshoot from the principles of Vedic knowledge. It is necessary to understand that Vedas are ‘Anaadi’ or ‘from-time-immemorial’, they had no relationship with time cycle.

The basic structure of Vedas has remained unaltered, interpretations however could be different. Nevertheless, essence could have been communicated by preceptors at many points of time, in any style of Sanskrit, which could be even in a contemporary structure of the language. It could even be in a different language conveyed to someone distant in any part of the world. Hence, going into the exercise of verifying the number of Vedic Sanskrit words Vis-a-Vis medieval or modern Sanskrit language is a tangential approach and serves no useful purpose. In fact, Sri.G.R.Josyer who was himself an eminent Sanskrit scholar has paid tributes to the high fidelity of Sanskrit language of the text.

Despite being one of the most knowledgeable seers himself, Maharshi Bharadwaja has chosen to quote lucid definitions, rules or soothras of other sages and preceptors. Bodhananda’s commentaries have referred to expressions from these sages and Acharyas and works on related ancient sciences. Brief descriptions of other scientific guides / works in this book have been given in another work of Sri. Madhusudhana Saraswati, ‘Prasthana Thraya’.

Discussing the dating of the work, all that can be said with a fair degree of certainty is that the work, being a part of ‘Yantra Sarwaswa’ featured at several points of time in known History. Science of aeronautics was in existence even earlier than Bodhananda. Bodhananda chose to write ‘Vritti’ or commentary or explanatory notes on the seer’s pronouncements for ease of understanding by the users. This was a traditional treatment given to very many works of philosophy as well. Bodhananda was known to be in 10th century AD according to some research sources.

Confirmation on references to the textual content of the work during the 19th century is discovered by an observation in which Maharshi Dayananda saraswati had given clarification on the direction of thrust of propulsive devices of Vimanas quoting Rig-Bhashya Bhumika. This was dated to be in 1875. As we notice from that text of ‘Vymanika Shastra’ it is a work based on many disciplines of science and technology, described by core researchers of several fields. Each ‘sootra’ or ‘rule’ contains references to several topics of science or technology. Under the given conditions, there is adequate logic to accept that ‘Yantra Sarwaswa’ was an offshoot of Vedic knowledge. The Vymanika Shastra came into being in manuscript form between 1903 to 1918 as revelations by Mystic scholar Anekal Subbaraya Shastry.

While this much of discussion is devoted for protagonists of Vedas, mythology, the seers and the like, let us turn to the antagonistic scholars and scientists who prefer to view the subject of authorship and dating under their self-imposed scientific frame work. If it is appropriate and tenable to go by recorded history and ignore the mythological relationship, let us go by the validation of textual content and correlate with modern science wherever possible. Let not such critics be concerned with Bharadwajas of the distant past.

Life-sketch of Sri Anekal Subbaraya Shastri:

In the chain of relating the work to Pundit Anekal Subbaraya Shastry’s revelations, propriety demands deliberations on his life sketch as well as linking his work up to the stage it was printed and published in 1973. This data has been collected from his biographical sketch, his descendants, younger associates of his time and other detailed inquiries during the probe of the study.

An autobiography of Sri Anekal Subraya Shastry was published by Sri M.C. Krishna Swamy Iyengar and Sri Venkatachala Sharma on 12th March 1972. This was an English version; translated by Sri G.V. Sharma based on the narration of Sri Shastriji in his vernacular. From this autobiographic sketch it is evident that Sri Shastriji had committed to Dr Jagdeesh Chandra Bose, an eminent scientist of the yester years, that he would send his biographic script. This has been addressed separately to both Dr. J.C. Bose and Sri Babubhai Iswardas Ichcharam whom Sri Shastriji had met at Bombay and had close interaction. Sri Ichcharam, besides being his ardent disciple had supported him financially too. This biographic sketch, though in minute detail, has an abrupt ending. It covers his life story up to the year 1918. Curiously, this sketch does not include a significant part of a special message conveyed by his godfather Sri Guruji Maharaj. This special message, however, features in another Biographic sketch (a much-abridged version) also brought out by Sri Krishna Swamy Iyengar.

According to his autobiography Sri Shastriji was born in 1866 AD in a village called Togare Agraharam in Hosur Taluk, Dharmapuri Dist of Tamil Nadu. He was born as the eldest son in a large orthodox Brahmin family. His father was a learned and benevolent individual who supported many students at home. As his own family grew in size, he found it increasingly difficult to maintain. Eventually he became penniless even when children were still urchins. Sri Shastriji lost his parents early in life and had to bear the brunt of supporting all his younger ones. From then onwards, it is a story of misery and poverty. Soon he had to take up begging. Compounding his travails was his marriage with an eight-year-old girl, his own age being twelve. Fortunately his infant wife had not yet joined him to undergo suffering. It did not take very long for the lot of children to choose the pavements for their living. As though this was not enough, cholera and small pox broke out in the district, killing people in hundreds. Sri Shastriji’s family was not spared. All but two brothers fell prey to the deadly epidemic. Eventually it was his turn to invite infection. His body became a home of infectious blisters, puss oozing out. His sight was abhorring. People drove him out. He survived on tender leaves and vegetation around. In short he felt that the world just discarded him. Left with no option, he sent his brothers away to fend for themselves.

Then came the ultimate decision to call it a day from this world. He kept walking for days and reached a forest near a place called Avani in Kolar Dist. He lived in the wild, visited often by snakes and tigers. He wondered how he survived in this deadly company, living on vegetation and water for many years.

There is an end for everything and possibly, for his travails too. One day, while he was roaming in the forest, he entered a cave and after some distance he found a vast under-ground enclosure. There, he came across a woman whom he recalls as his dead mother. He was consoled and taken care of for some time and she vanished as mysteriously as she had appeared.

According to Sri Shastriji’s life sketch it was in this underground cave that he sighted Sri.Guruji Maharaj who bore super human features. Sri Guruji played a significant role in the rest of his life. He took care of him and cured his obnoxious disease with one healing touch. The young lad recovered his normal health.

During this unspecified period of association with Sri Guruji, he learnt a number of rituals, physical sciences or Bhoutika Shastras. Sri Guruji, while precepting Bhautika Shastras had put a stringent condition that his disciple should assure him of protecting these shastras from use on for destructive purposes. He had even imposed total restraint on his participation in debates, social gatherings, associations with political parties etc., Thereafter, Sri. Guruji administered a brilliant light on him, which touched his ‘Saraswati-Nadi’. He started making utterances in Sanskrit, involuntarily.

Then Sri Guruji wrote something on his tongue with a twig. This consummated the process of Divine Enlightenment. This was followed by teaching of Bhoutika shastras. On completion of these rituals, Sri Shastriji felt that Bhautika Shastras were visible and accessible to him. At this juncture, he honestly expresses that till that point of enlightenment in life, he was an illiterate, not having gone to any school nor learnt any language. He was amazed to discover in himself not only the knowledge of – Sanskrit but also to convey Bhoutika Shastras through that medium. In his own admission he reveals that he learnt the alphabets of Kannada and Telugu after his return to his village during the post-enlightenment period. There ended the divine association of Sri. Shastriji and Sri Guruji Maharaj in the wild forest. He was sent back after serene blessings to return to his village and continue his mission in pursuit of propagation of knowledge of Bhautika shastras. Though unwilling to part from the company of Sri. Guruji, he returned to his village with a heavy heart, but with a mission ahead. Strangely, a native Brahmin of a village Malavalli had a premonition that a young lad of a particular description would appear in the village and he should take care of him for two months and let him proceed on his mission.

On completion of his sojourn with the noble Brahmin at Malavalli, Sri. Shastriji left that village again to face the wide world, under more positive circumstances this time. Feeling physically fit, psychologically sound, he decided to go to Hosur. There, he met his surviving brother. A little latter he joined his wife at Anekal and started a family life. Sri Shastriji spent subsequent twenty-five years at Anekal. During this period he had three sons and three daughters. All his sons and one daughter died very young. He moved to Bangalore and stayed in a locality called Cottenpet in the midst of the old city. For some time he remained an unknown individual, but not for long.


The news of his potent knowledge of Bhoutika Shastras had reached many intellectuals. Visitors streamed in to discuss with him. His recitations and pronouncements from Bhautika Shastras impressed many.

The breakthrough in his life came with a visitor from Bombay, Sri. Poonjilal Giridhar, a noted industrialist of Bombay and Ahemdabad. He had come at the instance of one Sri. Babubhai Iswardas Ichcharam, who invited Sri. Shastriji to go over to Bombay. On acceptance of their invitation, elaborate arrangements for a sizeable retinue of Sri Shastriji was made. He received a rousing welcome and was their guest for several months.

A significant meeting at Bombay was with Dr. Talpade who had conducted experiments on constructing aeroplanes. Dr. Talpade consulted him in this matter. It was here that Sri. Shastriji first referred to Sri. Maharshi Bhardwaja’s Vymanika Shastra, which he explained it to Dr. Talpade. The latter continued his experiments but suffered a serious set back in the progress due to ill health. The project came to a halt on his demise. By then he had conveyed that vimanas were not toys of someone’s fancy nor were objects of mythology. Possibly this is the first attempt of construction of aeroplane around 1900AD by an Indian. Unconfirmed reports have talked of Dr. Talpade’s successful flying of aeroplane over Chowpati beach, Mumbai in the last decade of the nineteenth century

The visitors at Sri Shastriji’s flat at Bombay multiplied day by day. They included Philosophers, Scientists, Rulers of erstwhile princely states of India and the elite of Bombay and outside. He thanks Sri Guruji Maharaj for his guidance in answering questions of his visitors and discussions with them. His audience was spell bound by his mystic knowledge. Some called him a walking lexicon, a genius and a super human.

A number of Sri.Shastriji’s followers met at Bombay to decide that the treasure of spoken knowledge of “Bhoutika Shastras” should be scripted by him and published. Sri Babubhai agreed with this proposal and offered to fund the activity. Sri Shastriji agreed to undertake this request but not before he got the consent from his Guru. It is thus seen in his life that before taking any major decisions Sri. Guruji had guided him all along. He agreed to do so on his return to Bangalore.

Sri Shastriji returned to Bangalore after an emotional farewell from a host of his admirers. In the next three years not much of progress could be made in writing of Bhoutika Shastras for various reasons. All through this period Sri Bhabubhai had been regularly funding him.

This is where the autobiography being conveyed to Dr. J. C. Bose ends abruptly. In the concluding paragraphs Sri Shastriji recalls his meetings with Dr. Bose at Bombay. From his life sketch it becomes evident that he was a honest and unassuming person. All along he maintained that he was a mere conveyer of the Shastras pronounced through him by divine source.

As an appendage to his biographic sketch, Sri G.V. Sharma had made some interesting remarks. As per this the former had been specially chosen for his Sanskrit knowledge to transcript dictations of the latter’s revelations and he associated with him all through his life. Even later he was a joint custodian of his works. Sri Sharma refers to a brief life sketch brought out in January 1911 as a part of ‘Bouthika Kala Nidhi’ published by Sri B. Suryanarayana Rao, a noted astrologer and a staunch admirer of the pandit. Sri Sharma has also given a list of published works of the pandit which include ‘Anshu Bodhinee’, ‘Prasthana Thraya’, ‘Bruhad Madhusudana Smriti’ ‘Raja Bhakti’, Desha Bhakti’, ‘Panchagavya Shastra’, ‘Jala Tatwa Prakashika’, ‘Maha Sankalpa Vichara’ etc., espounded by Sri Guruji through the pandit.

Drawing curtains on Sri Shastriji’s life- sketch a few observations seem to be appropriate. Even though he had set forth on a mission to convey Bouthika Shastra for the benefit of mankind, he had an innate feeling of a lost mission. The contemporary political situation in the country must have had adverse impact on propagation of such native scientific knowledge.

The latter part of Sri Shastriji’s life found him to be a dejected and disappointed person with an unfulfilled mission. Freedom struggle in the country barricaded his routes to the elite. This legendary person left behind him a treasure of works with his adopted son Sri Venkatrama Shastri. The surviving members of the family living in an innocuous house in Bangalore hardly know what their illustrious ancestor had left for the intellectual world. It is ironical that his life story makes a pensive reading. He did not live long to see his contribution freezing in cold storage for many decades. It would have been even more agonizing had he stayed long enough to see his work hibernating.

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