Throughout history there have been many common myths and legends of flying machines or devices—the familiar flying carpets of ancient Arabia; Biblical figures such as Ezekiel and Solomon flying from place to place and the “magical chariots,” or Vimanas, of ancient India and China.
There are many Chinese legends of flight, including a legendary flying chariot belonging to an ancient Chinese prince and the more recent Wan Hooof the 15th century A.D. or so. He allegedly built a sturdy wooden framework around a comfortable chair and attached 47 skyrockets to the back of the seat. Atop it he fastened two large kites. After strapping himself to the chair, he raised his hand and servants carrying blazing torches advanced toward the vehicle and ignited the skyrockets. A moment later there was a mighty blast, followed by an impressive cloud of black smoke. Wan Hoo vanished, leaving nothing behind but a legend.
Among the more famous ancient texts that mention aerial cars (vimanas) are the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Other lesser-known texts include the Samarangana Sutradhara, the Yuktikalpataru of Bhoja (12th century A.D.) the Mayamatam (attributed to the architect Maya celebrated in the Mahabharata), the Rig Veda, the Yajurveda and the Ataharvaveda.
According to the Indian historian Ramachandra Dikshitar who wrote the still classic text on ancient Indian warfare, other texts which mention aerial vehicles and travels are the Satapathya Brahmanas; the Rig Veda Samhita; the Harivamsa; the Makandeya Purana; the Visnu Purana; the Vikramaurvasiya; the Uttararamacarita; the Harsacarita; the Tamil text Jivakocintamani; and the Samaranganasutradhara.
In the Manusa, the most elaborate details for building aerial machines are set down. The Samarangana Sutradhara says that they were made of light material, with a strong, well-shaped body. Iron, copper, mercury and lead were used in their construction. They could fly to great distances and were propelled through air by motors. The Samarangana Sutradhara text devotes 230 stanzas to the building of these machines, and their uses in peace and war:
“Strong and durable must the body be made, like a great flying bird, of light material. Inside it one must place the Mercuryengine with its iron heating apparatus beneath. By means of the power latent in the mercury which sets the driving whirlwind in motion, a man sitting inside may travel a great distance in the sky in a most marvelous manner.
“Similarly by using the prescribed processes one can build a vimana as large as the temple of the Godinmotion. Four strong mercury containers must be built into the interior structure. When these have been heated by controlled fire from iron containers, the vimana develops thunderpower through the mercury. And at once it becomes a pearl in the sky.
“Moreover, if this iron engine with properly welded joints be filled with mercury, and the fire be conducted to the upper part, it develops power with the roar of a lion.”
The Ramayana describes a vimana as a doubledeck, circular (cylindrical) aircraft with portholes and a dome. It flew with the “speed of the wind” and gave forth a “melodious sound” (a humming noise?). Ancient Indian texts on vimanas are so numerous it would take several books to relate what they have to say. The ancient Indians themselves wrote entire flight manuals on the control of various types of vimanas, of which there were basically four: the Shakuna Vimana, the Sundara Vimana, the Rukma Vimana and the Tripura Vimana.
The Vaimanika Sastra is perhaps the most important ancient text on vimanas known to exist. It was first reported to have been found in 1918 in the Baroda Royal Sanskrit Library. Baroda is located north of Bombay and south of Ahmedabad in Gujerat. No earlier copies have been reported, however, Swami Dayananda Saraswati in his comprehensive treatise on the Rig Veda dated 1875, references the Vaimanaik Sastra in his commentary, as well as other manuscripts on Vimanas.
The Vaimanika Sastra refers to 97 past works and authorities, of which at least 20 works deal with the mechanism of aerial flying machines, but none of these works are now traceable. Says Sanskrit literature professor Dileep Kumar Kanjilal, Ph.D., of the West Bengal Senior Educational Service, “Since the transcripts of the work date from the early 20th century, the authenticity of the Vail Sastra may be pertinently questioned. On careful analysis it has been found that the work retained some antique features pertaining to an old Sastra. Like the Sutras of Panini the rules have been laid down in an aphoristic style with the explanation couched in Vrittis and Karikas. The Sutra style is to be found in the earliest works on grammar, Smrti and Philosophy, while the use of Karikas is as old as Batsyayana, Kautilya and others of the early Christian era. Bharadwaja, the author of a Srauta Satra and Smrti work, is wellknown and a sage. Bharadwaja as the seer of the 6th mandala of the Rig Veda is also wellknown. Panini also referred to him in VII. II.63. Kautilya had also shown that Bharadwaja was an ancient author on politics. The Mbh. (Mahabharata, Santiparva Ch. 58.3) refers to Bharadwaja as an author on politics. Authors on politics have very often been found to have written on the technical sciences also. The genuineness, therefore, of any treatise on technical sciences composed by Bharadwaja cannot be ignored.
Says the Vaimanika Sastra about itself: “In this book are described in 8 pregnant and captivating chapters, the arts of manufacturing various types of Aeroplanes of smooth and comfortable travel in the sky, as a unifying force for the Universe, contributive to the wellbeing of mankind.
“That which can go by its own force, like a bird, on earth, or water, or air, is called ‘Vimana.’
“That which can travel in the sky, from place to place, land to land, or globe to globe, is called ‘Vimana’ by scientists in Aeronautics.” The ancient manuscript claims to give: “The secret of constructing aeroplanes, which will not break, which cannot be cut, will not catch fire, and cannot be destroyed.
“The secret of making planes motionless.
“The secret of making planes invisible.
“The secret of hearing conversations and other sounds in enemy planes.
“The secret of receiving photographs of the interior of enemy planes.
“The secret of ascertaining the direction of enemy planes’ approach.
“The secret of making persons in enemy planes lose consciousness.
“The secret of destroying enemy planes.”
The India of 15,000 years ago is sometimes known as the Rama Empire, a land that was contemporary with Atlantis. A huge wealth of texts still extant in India testify to the extremely advanced civilization that is said by these texts to go back over 26,000 years. Terrible wars and subsequent earth changes destroyed these civilizations, leaving only isolated pockets of civilization.
The devastating wars of the Ramayana and particularly of the Mahabharata are said to have been the culmination of the terrible wars of the last Kali Yuga. The dating process is difficult, in that there is no exact way to date the yugas because there are cycles within cycles and yugas within yugas. A greater yuga cycle is said to last 6000 years, while a smaller yuga cycle is only 360 years in the theory expounded by Dr. Kunwarlal Jain Vyas. His papers said that Rama belongs to the twenty-fourth small yuga cycle and that there is an interval of 71 cycles between Manu and Mahabharata period, which comes out to be 26,000 years.
The legacy of Atlantis, the ancient Rama Empire and vimanas reaches up to us today. The mysterious airship wave of the 1890s may well have been a sighting of ancient craft, still in working order, meandering slowly over the preflight world of late 19th century America.
In the late years of the last century, a number of unusual airship sightings were made which may well have been of vimana craft. In 1873 at Bonham, Texas, workers in a cotton field suddenly saw a shiny, silver object that came streaking down from the sky at them. Terrified, they ran away, while the “great silvery serpent,” as some people described it, swung around and dived at them again. A team of horses ran away, the driver was thrown beneath the wheels of the wagon and killed. A few hours later that same day in Fort Riley, Kansas, a similar “airship” swooped down out of the skies at a cavalry parade and terrorized the horses to such an extent that the cavalry drill ended in a tumult.
The great “Airship Flap of 1897” actually started in November, 1896 in San Francisco, California when hundreds of residents saw a large, elongated, dark object that used brilliant searchlights and moved against the wind, traveling northwest across Oakland. A few hours later reports came from other northern California cities; Santa Rosa, Chico, Sacramento and Red Bluff, all describing what appeared to be the same airship, a cigar-shaped craft. It is quite possible that this craft was heading for Mount Shasta in northern California.
The airship moved very slowly and majestically, flying low at times, and at night, shining its powerful searchlight on the ground. It is worth noting here, as Jacques Vallee did in his book Dimensions, that the airship could do exactly as it cared to, because unlike today, it ran no risk of being pursued. There were no jet squadrons to be scrambled after the aerial intruder, nor antiaircraft guns or surface-to-air missiles to shoot down this trespassing craft in the sky.
A question sometimes asked by vimana researchers is whether the ancient Indians and Atlanteans ever went to our moon or to Mars? If mankind had such craft in ancient times, would they have created bases on the moon and Mars just as we are planning to do today? If they had set up permanent bases, would they still be occupying them today?
This article has been excerpted for Atlantis Rising by the author from his book “Vimana Aircraft of Ancient India & Atlantis.” Available from Adventures Unlimited Press.