CHAPTER – 13
VIEWS OF A COMBAT PILOT:
No study on a subject of aviation will be complete without the views
of an Aviator going into it. It was with this intent that the study
team referred a few chapters of
Shastra to a modern combat
pilot. Group captain Matheeswaran V.M. is an accomplished fighter
pilot of the Indian Air Force and a Test Pilot as well. Presently he
is engaged on a research assignment at Chennai. His views on the
concepts underlying the precepts of the work are interesting. His
valuable views validating the substance in the text are produced
herewith. Though brief, his views are concise and to the point. We
are grateful to him for responding to our request. He has found the
textual content of the work revealing and has expressed his keenness
to study other chapters of the treatise in the coming months.
His Views :
The treatise Vymanika Shastra is very interesting, considering the
fact that it has been written many centuries before modern
aero planes began to fly. It is worth studying in great detail so as
to establish the scientific basis of this treatise. It is very
important to note that many centuries ago Indian scholars have
written expositions on aviation. When we consider the fact that
India had great astronomers such as Aryabhatta, Varahamihira, and
Bhaskara who analyzed various aspects of the universe in the early
centuries of the Christian era, it is a pity that appropriate
recognition of them in the scientific world has not been given.
primary reason for this anomaly lies with Indian researchers who
have not done the interpretations in a modern scientific manner. The
world of modern science is largely dominated by western scholars.
This explains why Galileo, Keppler, and Copernicus are credited with
discovering the truths of the universe, while indications of this
was actually given 1000 years earlier by Aryabhatta. It is,
therefore, very important for Indian researchers to analyze ancient
scripts with an open mind and not close any possibilities of
inventions by ascribing reasons of farfetched literary imaginations.
It is in this light that the above treatise on aviation must be
analyzed. According to the modern world, Leonardo da Vinci is
credited with being the first man to have seriously studied the
science of flight on a scientific basis. This was 500 years ago. The
Vymaanika Shastra, on the other hand, is far older. It, therefore,
deserves to be analyzed in great detail and interpreted positively
and with an open mind.
There is considerable clarity in the definitions. What is surprising
is the fact that the definitions could be easily seen in terms of
today’s environment and understanding. The definition of Vimana is
one example. The explanatory definition of a pilot is very
interesting. Fundamentally the entire description can be converted
in today’s relevance as one of physical and mental alertness, quick
reaction, ability to grasp and understand complex issues rapidly,
and, more importantly, the ability to build situational awareness
all the time.
On page 7 and 8, the atmosphere has been described briefly as
falling into five divisions. Could these be studied in terms of the
divisions as we know, that is stratosphere, ionosphere etc. More
information in other chapters will have to be searched. Similarly
the treatise talks about various types of vimanas that can operate
in various layers. If we remove the frills and legends from the
text, we may be able to discern some facts about the awareness that
existed on the need for different platforms that were required in
lower atmospheric layers and higher layers, eventually stepping into
Similarly, in the paragraph that describes various whirlpools, an
interpretation towards understanding of wind shears and its effects
could be discerned.
Location of Vimana components:
Most of the parts descriptions need to be interpreted with more
technical help. However, there are a few very interesting parts
described. For example the solar power attractor is probably one of
the crucial power generators of the platform. The logic of locating
it on the top of the Vimana goes well with established scientific
procedures. In all the document lists 31 components crucial in the
This is an important section. Relevance of temperature conditions
are well described. The document describes the special treatment
that is required to be carried out for the material of pilot’s
clothing. When compared to modern aviation clothing, this aspect is
absolutely in line. The objective is to ensure that the clothing is
fire resistant, light-weight, and provide adequate protection from
effects of temperature.
The composition of prescribed food appears to be well balanced in
terms of proteins, carbohydrates and lot of liquids. This part
needs to be studied with the help of medical experts.
An important observation is the recommendation that
take food five times a day. The fact that modern flying,
particularly fighter flying, is a heavy energy draining exercise is
established. In fact, doctors advise frequent replenishment of food
in small quantities during flying activity as against standard three
meals a day. This is particularly important when a pilot starts his
first sortie in the morning. It is a taboo to fly on empty stomach.
This is again an important section as it describes the various types
of metals used for making Vimanas. The characteristics of metals
described in terms of heat-absorbing, non-conducting etc need to be
studied in depth.
Thirty two Secrets:
The document describes
thirty two secrets that form essential
knowledge for a pilot. This could be interpreted as the need for a
pilot to be knowledgeable about the profession, be a skilled flier,
and be a good strategist and tactician. Only then can he exploit the
aerial weapon system.
The thirty two secrets described can be seen or interpreted to
signify various techniques and technologies such as radar, stealth,
combat maneuvers, basic flying, awareness about weather hazards
For example ‘Antaraala’ may be interpreted as indicating the dangers
to the safety of the aircraft while encountering wind shears, down
drafts on the leeward side of the hills, thunder clouds etc. For
example if the pilot cannot recognize a building, cumulonimbus cloud
and enters it he may lose control of the aircraft, or in extreme
cases the aircraft may even break up.
The description of ‘Drishya’ can be seen in terms methods used to
‘boost’ or ‘reduce’ radar signature of the aircraft.
the other hand, relates to a technique akin to ‘stealth’ technology.
‘Paroksha’ describes a technique which can be related to today’s
‘Electronic Warfare’, wherein the enemy aircraft’s systems are
paralyzed through jamming.
‘Aporoksha’ talks about a ‘Rohini’ beam of light that makes targets
in front visible. This is similar to the radar technology, wherein
radio waves are used to detect the targets in front.
‘Sankoch’ describes a variable sweep technology.
‘Vimukha’ appear to be some sort of beam weapons. Modern aerospace
technology is already talking about the use of beam weapons in the
‘Saarpa-gamana’ describes aircraft maneuvering in rapid fashion,
that is today achieved through use of vectored thrust.
the description of ‘Sarvatomukha’.
A lot of technology in terms of radio, electronics, and guidance are
‘Parashabda Graahaka’ describes essentially voice
communication and signal intelligence.
television view inside the aircraft.
‘Dikpradarshana’ can be
interpreted as target information provided on the radar.
‘Aakaashkaara’ describes the technique of achieving ‘stealth’.
This analysis pertains to the first chapter of the ‘Vymaanika Shastra.’ Most of the details are short and appear to be
introductory descriptions. I presume greater details will be
available in subsequent chapters. These need to be analyzed in depth
and arrive at a logical conclusion. The concepts of the author
should be deduced while disregarding superfluous literary
descriptions. This will throw a more balanced light on the whole
document and lead to a very productive conclusions.