by D. Hatcher Childress
In occult lore, the Nine Unknown Men are a
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
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
Nine to be a real organization that is working for the good of the
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:
Propaganda and Psychological warfare.
Physiology, including instructions on how to perform the "touch
of death." One account has Judo being a product of material leaked
from this book.
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.
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.
Communication, including intercourse with extraterrestrials.
Gravitation. Book 6 is said to contain the instructions necessary
to build a
Vimana, sometimes referred to as the "ancient UFOs of
Sociology, including rules concerning the evolution of societies
and how to predict their downfall.
According to some interpretations of surviving texts, Indias 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 sootr.
Bhardwaj describes vimana, or aerial craft, as being of three
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.
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
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
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 aeroplanes 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 proofs 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