CHAPTER – 9
THE ATMOSPHERE (AERIAL ROUTES) - AAVARTAAS
Knowledge on atmosphere is an integral part of aviation science.
This need has evidently been felt by ancient Indian scientists of
Vimaana Shastra. An exclusive section, though brief, has been
dedicated for discussion on aerial routes and ‘Whirl Pool’ or ‘Aavartaas’.
Seer shownaka’s classification of five layers of atmosphere is:
Knowledge of this branch of science was mandatory in the training of
the pilot of vimaana.
Air routes at each atmospheric zone running into lakhs of routes and
suitability of vimaanas of different lokaas for flight compatibility
in atmospheric zones have been covered under the topic. However it
is not very clear as to what are being called aerial routes
numbering into several lakhs under each zone mean. Mention of seven
lokas or world is noticed. As a ground rule, study team has chosen
only aspects relating to earth (Bhooloka) and related matters and
kept others out of scope of the study.
Dhundinatha and ‘Valmeeki Ganita’ are quoted in support of aerial
routes in five zones of atmosphere.
Interesting feature on aavarthas or whir-pools is the correlation
stated between the zones of atmosphere and the zones of energy.
Rekha pathaa : Shaktyaavarta or whirlpool of
Mandala pathha : Vaataavarta whirl pool of winds.
Kakshya patha : Kiranavarta whirl pool from
Shakti patha : Shaktyaavarta or whirl pool of
Kendra patha : Gharshanaavartha or whirl pool
Here it is relevant to bring in interesting analyses made by
Kawadkar, a researcher with incisive interpretational skills. This
is taken from his article in Bharatiya Bouddika Sampada, a quarterly
journal from Nagpur. The exclusive efforts being contributed by
their team is laudable. Considering the yeoman service being
rendered by their group in the field of unraveling the veil around
ancient scriptures, we prefer to reproduce the entire report
concerning this topic.
Description of Atmospheric layers in ancient Indian Vimana shastra
It may be mentioned here that original text of Bharadwaj Muni on
Viman Shastra contained 500 rules in eight chapters and 100
adhikaranas. The currently available copy of the book contains only
40 rules in three chapters and 17 adhikaranas. This shows the extent
of loss of literature. I have selected only one topic for the
present study i.e., knowledge of air routes (Description of
Atmospheric layers) in ancient Indian Viman Shastra.
Maharshi Bharadwaj summarizes this subject in a keyword
‘Panchadnyasch’ and ‘avartashek’ i.e., one must know the five parts
of the sky to be able to pilot a flying machine into the skies and
turbulence in it.
The secret science as stated in earlier verse is provided here.
In this text the five eddies are stated
With the knowledge of these sciences the technological expertise is
For the proof two verses are quoted
The five eddy concept is as per ‘Shounak’
The Rekha and other five routes are described here
The five routes are:
I sequentially state the air routes, Rekha, Mandal , Kaksha,
Shakti, Kendra each one contains different powerful currents. As a
winged projectile gets stalled vertically up words (Baman
avashtombhya) it is from 41 @ Horizon to 51 lacks, 9 thousand, 8
hundred by numerical measurement. This area contains all the routes
in which seven types of viman (aircraft) fly Viz., Bhuviman and
Five different routes are stated here. The statements of ‘Dhudinath’
are stated here. ‘Rekha Marga’ is seven crores, three lacks, eight
hundred units. ‘Mandal Marg’ is twenty crores eight lacks and two
hundred units. ‘Kaksha Marg’ is two crores, nine lacks, three
hundred units, ‘Shakti Path’ is ten crores, one lack, three hundred
units, ‘Kendra Mandal’ is thirty lacks, eight thousand, two hundred
units. Thus, from Rekha to Kendra mandals have been stated serially
as per ‘Valmiki’s Ganita’ (maths) in these verses.
Now the air traffic practices are stated. Summary = There are six
types of Aeroplanes as for 1] Bhuvaloka. 2] Suvarloka. 3] Maholoka.
4] Janoloka. 5] Tapoloka and 6] Brahmaloka. In Rekha Patha from type
one to type four can fly in Kakshya Patha from type two to type five
can fly in Shakti patha from type one to type six can fly in Kendra
patha, from type three to type eleven can fly. There are air routes
stated by experts of Valmiki Ganit and other mathematicians.
These verses are incomplete because nothing has been said about
There is some distortion about “Ekadashantam”.
These sets of verses have ample room for different interpretation.
That the six lokas are above five paths making it total eleven. I
leave it to the readers.
Thus five air routes have been stated serially. Now is stated the
decision of eddies. There are many types of eddies, depending upon
the path, however, only the five which are important for air routes
Whenever two currents meet each other the eddies are produced. Now
they are stated serially. In Rekha path there are eddies which cause
power loss, in Mandla there are air turbulence, in kakshya there are
radiation eddies, in shakti path there are cold turbulence and in
kendra path there are frictional or impact turbulence. Thus there
are five types of turbulences. The Brahman Granth also confirms that
the turbulances are five in number (This Brahman Granth is supposed
to lost ) The aeroplanes called as Brahmaloka vimana.
In the transit zones the high and low temperatures can be erratic.
And these can cause heavy turbulence. The turbulences are named as
Shakti, Vata, Anshu, Shaitya and Gharshana. It is necessary to know
these specifically, because they are obstructions in the air routes.
Relevant abstracts from
A chart showing the comparison between the modern concept of
atmosphere and viman shastra of Maharshi Bharadwaj, is shown below:
Chart showing comparative heights of Atmospheric layers
between Vimana Shastra and today’s science
Total void Great sink
Van Allen belts
Van Allen belt
Stratosphere Clear air
Min Speed =
Troposphere High air
It can be seen from the comparison chart that there is a good amount
of agreement between the two. It may be noted that in the modern
distribution there are five divisions viz.,
5. Van Allen belts
and the ancient distribution is also in five belts
The lowermost Rekha patha matches very well with the
along with the Tropopause and the uppermost kendramandal matches
very well with the Van Allen belts (lower). The distribution
Shaktipatha matches very well with thermosphere. Kakshapatha with
mesosphere and mandal with stratosphere, differ in their heights.
This is possible because there is a difference of about 2500 years
in between and the philosophical segregation also might be
different. It is also likely that the atmosphere itself has under
gone a change over this period.
Viman shastra has mentioned ‘Avarta’ as ‘Avarthascha’ which means
various currents in the five subdivisions of the atmosphere, which a
pilot must know.
The names of various currents in the five belts are:
1. Rekha patha – Shaktyavarta
2. Mandal – Vatavarta
3. Kaksha – Kiranavarta
4. Shaktipatha –Shaityavarta
5. Kendramandal – Gharshanavarta
It is said explicitly that these currents are injurious to the
flying machines and can damage and destroy it (shounaka). The
shaktyavarta of rekha patha is probably synonymous with high air
density requiring a great amount of power for propulsion. The
vatavarta of mandal are clearly synonymous with the clear air
turbulence (CAT) of the stratosphere. There is some ambiguity about
the kiranvarta of kaksha. The shaityavarta of shaktipatha matches
very well with the extreme cold zone of the mesosphere. The
gharshanavarta of kendramandal is supposed to be synonymous with
extreme heat of the Thermosphere and if kiranavarta is taken with
the radiation belt of the Allen’s then everything matches very well.
The corrected sequence will appear as under.
Rekha patha Stratosphere High air density Shaktyavarta
Mandalpatha Stratosphere Clear Air Turbulence Vatavarta.
Kendra patha Mesosphere Extreme cold Shaitya varta.
Shaktipatha Thermosphere Extreme Heat Gharshanavarta.
Kakshapatha Van Allen belt Radiation hazards Kiranavarta.
Rekha Marg – Large number of powerful turbulence are produced due to
very high speed and they damage the aeroplane called as Bhulokaviman.
Mandal Marg – There are many high speed powerful air currents and
they damage the airplanes of three types as Bhuloka, Svarlok and
Kakshya Marg – There are radiation bonds in this region which damage
the Jonolok Viman.
Shakti Marg - Extreme cold zones produce the turbulence in contact
with the tracks and they damage the Kheta Vimana (There is
difference between “Khet” and “Khest” Khet=low grade and Khest=Orbiting
Kendra Marg – There are many turbulences, which strikes the planes
from many directions, and these damage the aircraft.
Bodhananda develops it further and with appropriate reference from
Shounak states that the depth of the sky (with respect to earth’s
surface) is divided into five parts:
(i) Rekha patha
The bottom of Rekha path is
earth’s surface called as ‘Kurma’ and the top of the Kendra is
called ‘Varunanta’ i.e., the end of the atmosphere. Maharshi Sounaka
has provided the measure of ‘Kurma’ and ‘Varunanta’ as 41 lacks and
51,09,800 (measurement units have not been specified.) But since,
this measurement is in connection with earth's surface, it is
reasonable to accept that this is the circumference of earth i.e.,
24,902 miles or 40,900 Km. or about 41,000 Km. approximately.
The kurma of shounaka is one hundred times larger. Therefore the unit
selected by ‘Shounak” appears to be about 10 meters or 32.8 ft. This
is very near to an ancient measure known as ‘Danda’. Hence, the
earth’s diameter = 41,00,000 (Shounaka) divided by pye = 1305070.5 ‘danda’.
For Varunanta, a circumference of 51,09,800 divided by Pye
=1626499.8 ‘danda’ is the diameter of outer atmosphere around the
earth. Therefore, the height of the atmosphere above the earth’s
surface = (1626499.8 – 1305070.5) divided by 2 = 160714.65 ‘danda’
or 1607 km. (shounaka). This corresponds with the upper Van Allen
Belts as per modern science’s estimates. This is probably the
Valmiki Ganit (maths) as referred by Dhundinath.
Now, we can proceed further to evaluate the thickness of various
belts of atmospheres. As stated above the following figures are
mentioned for each of the five sub-divisions of the cross section of
Here we have to draw a circle:
Rekhapath = 70300800
Mandal = 220800200
Kaksha = 20900300
Shaktipath = 10,0100300
Kendra mandal = 30,08200
Observing the above diagram, it appears that the provided measures
are the areas of five air route spaces.
Rekhapath = 7,03,00800 divided by 41,00,000 = 17.15 & cumulative
Mandal = 22,08,00,200 divided by 41,00,000 = 53.85 & cumulative
2,09,00,300 divided by 41,00,000 = 5.09 & cumulative
10,01,00,300 divided by 41,00,000 = 24.39 & cumulative
Kendramandal = 30,08,200 divided by 41,00,000 = 0.73 & cumulative
The circumference of the earth has to be increased progressively as
height increases. However, because last figure 101 is too small with
respect to 41,00,000 and also because of approximation this is
There will be a temptation to take these measures also as ‘Danda’.
However, looking to the fact that the period of Shounaka is about
500 BC. and that of Dhundinath not earlier than 1600 AD. There is a
time gap of about 2100 years. Therefore, it is highly probable that
the units may be totally different. A comparison with the modern
belts of atmospheres shows that these air-routes match very well, if
these measures are taken in kilometers. This is only a matter of
It is note worthy that the kendra means a centre and kaksha means
outermost layer and thus the correction appears to be valid.
For introducing such correction, the other references will have to
be seen (if available). Such a slip is likely to take place within a
span of about 2500 years.
This topic is further elaborated by Lalla. He has suggested that
there are five different types of Vimanas built appropriately for
each type of atmosphere.
He has considered ‘Bhuloka Vimana’ for
flying in Rekhaptha or Stratosphere, which are damaged if the speed
increases beyond a critical value.
Janolok Vimana are those which
can go up to the “kaksha”, above which they may be damaged by the
radiation’s or “Kiranavarta” of modern Van Allen’s belts
‘Brahmlok Vimana’ which can go up to ‘Shaktipath’
where it encounters the extreme cold of ‘Shytyavarta’ and the
extreme heat of the ‘Gharshanavarta’ which is mesosphere of the
modern concept and these planes are damaged by extreme cold and
extreme hot conditions alternatively.
It is also stated that all the
three types of planes are damaged by the ‘Vatavarta’ of the Mandalpatha or the CAT currents (modern concept). One more type
stated as ‘Khetayan’ can be damaged in ‘Shaktipatha’ due to
‘Shytyavarta’ i.e., the extreme cold of the mesosphere. One will
have to be very cautious to interpret the work khet as Khet or
As pointed out in the translation of the appropriate verse Khet
means a low quality and Khest may mean any vehicle plying regularly
As a matter of conclusion, it may be said that this study has not
revealed any information not known to modern science. It has only
confirmed that an ancient Indians knew the structure of the
atmosphere to a degree of the precision. This exercise has showed a
necessity of learning such techniques as Valmiki Ganit for the
interpretation of ancient text, which need a very wide search of
source material. This has shown a need to collect the ancient texts
wherever possible. The engine and power section needs such an
enrichment and correction. This may offer an opportunity for such
The metallurgical study of viman shastra also deserves a careful
consideration. This may provide some important clues to the aviation
One more interesting and beneficial study from Vimana Shastra and
the associated literature will be a study of toxicity during air
flights. The total number of toxic forces, which exist in the
atmosphere, is stated as 7,58,00,700 and the same number of
nourishing forces. This is also stated as per Valmiki Ganita system.
This study was not contemplated for this article. However, if some
reader of this article knows about the source “Visha Nirnaya
Adhikara”, he is requested to get in touch with the author.
After the interesting analysis of Sri. M.K. Kawadkar, we resume our
discussion on the same topic.
Possession of a comprehensive knowledge on atmospheric science among
ancient scientists is substantiated from references to the subject
in other ancient works.
Doubts have been expressed in many quarters, whether ancient Indians
did know that the planet earth is spherical and rotates around its
axis. Ancient Greeks and much later Galileo are accredited with this
discovery. Contrary to this belief it is seen that chapter 13 of
“Surya-Siddanta” talks of a model of earth in spherical shape with
an axial rod driven through and the body rotating around a pivot.
Vymanika Shastra itself in its discussion on ore–bearing crest of
the earth, gives the natural conditions of gravitational forces of
rotating earth and even other planets contributing into formation of
different layers of earth.
Rigveda is quoted to deal with discussion on atmospheric phenomenon
such as climate, seasons, rains, clouds, lightening and so on.
Knowledge of different types of cumulus clouds is confirmed to have
existed. Cyclic phenomenon of rain was fully known. Atharvana Veda
cites a particular type of whirlwind as ‘Resma’. Vishnu purana gives
details of lightening in different form. Lightening is also
classified based on its acoustic and electrical characteristics. A
deep knowledge of climatology came from different sources of ancient
works, hinting that even many scientists and works dealt with it.
Briefly narrating knowledge of cloud classification, the cloud not
contributing rain was called ‘Avarta’ to the type providing heavy
rains ‘Samvartaka’ (corresponding to cumulo-nimbus) and that can not
provide little rain was called ‘Puskara’ corresponding to cirrus,
clouds causing rains very helpful to crops called ‘Drona’
Varahamihira gives certain principles formulated by ancient sages
Kashyapa, Garga and others for determination of rain fall in an
area. Disposition of planetary positions in Zodiac guided such
predictions of rainfall. Natural phenomenon such as earth quake,
eclipses and meteorite fall also contributed in this science of