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 Vymanika 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.


The 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 outer space.

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 Vimana.

Pilot’s Clothing:

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.

Diet Recommendation:

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 pilots should 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:

14 (verso). Shakuna Vimana:   Location of Yantras [Caption]


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 etc.

  • 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.

  • Adrishya’, on 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.

  • Pralaya’ and ‘Vimukha’ appear to be some sort of beam weapons. Modern aerospace technology is already talking about the use of beam weapons in the near future.

  • Saarpa-gamana’ describes aircraft maneuvering in rapid fashion, that is today achieved through use of vectored thrust.

  • Similar is the description of ‘Sarvatomukha’.

  • A lot of technology in terms of radio, electronics, and guidance are indicated.

    • Parashabda Graahaka’ describes essentially voice communication and signal intelligence.

    • Roopakarshana’ describes 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.

Go Back