The Vimana Epics: Flight in Ancient Texts

India is a land of ancient wonder and timeless legends. “It possesses examples of virtually every known type of societal division; six major religions- Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism; two major language families- Aryan and Dravidian, with 18 official languages and innumerable dialects and tribal languages; three racial strains- Aryan, Dravidian, and proto-Australoid; and over 4000 castes, hierarchically ranked, endogamous, and occupational.”[1]

One of the most fascinating topics spawning from India’s past is the story of ancient flying machines known as vimanas. This article is presented as a cursory review of the ancient texts and their mention of vimanas. The information presented is couched in the context of Ancient Astronaut Theory and its argument that vimanas were real and the references to them in ancient texts are actual accounts. The author will also present the counter arguments often associated with this component of Ancient Astronaut Theory. As should be the case always, the reader is encouraged to make up his or her own mind.

Sanskrit vimana (vi-māna) literally means “measuring out, traversing” or “having been measured out”. It can refer to:[2]

• The palace of an emperor or supreme monarch
• The adytum of a Rama temple, or of any other temple
• A temple or shrine of a particular form
• A god’s palace
• Pushpaka or Dandumonara; the flying palace of king Rāvana of Lanka.
• A chariot of the gods, any mythical self-moving aerial car (sometimes serving as a seat or throne, sometimes self-moving and carrying its occupant through the air; other descriptions make the Vimana more like a house or palace, and one kind is said to be seven stories high).
• Any chariot or vehicle (especially a bier)
• In some modern Indian languages like Hindi, vimāna or vimān means “aircraft”[3]

Ancient Origins

[18th to 12th century BCE] The Vedas are considered the earliest literary record of Indo-Aryan civilization, and the most sacred books of India. They are the original scriptures of Hindu teachings, and contain spiritual knowledge encompassing all aspects of life. Vedic literature is the highest religious authority for all sections of Hindus in particular and for mankind in general.[4] In Vedic literature, one finds the predecessors of the flying vimanas of the Sanskrit epics. Vimanas were the flying chariots employed by various gods.

[5th to 4th century BCE] “The Ramayana is one of the two epic Hindu poems, the other being the Mahabharata. The Ramayana describes a love story between Rama, an ancient King, and Sita, who is captured by Ravan, the King of Ceylon. Rama lays siege to Ceylon and wins back Sita.”[5] In the Ramayana, the pushpaka (“flowery”) vimana of Ravana is described as follows:

“The Pushpaka Vimana that resembles the Sun and belongs to my brother was brought by the powerful Ravana; that aerial and excellent Vimana going everywhere at will … that chariot resembling a bright cloud in the sky … and the King [Rama] got in, and the excellent chariot at the command of the Raghira, rose up into the higher atmosphere.”[6] It is the first flying vimana mentioned in existing Hindu mythology texts.

[5th to 3rd century BCE] The Mahabharata is the other major Sanskrit epic of ancient India. The Mahabharata is an important source of information on the development of Hinduism. It is regarded by Hindus as both a text about dharma (Hindu moral law) and a history (itihasa, literally “that’s what happened”).[7] It is worth noting that the core Mahabharata actually does not contain mention of vimanas, however there is a wealth of description in the additions thereafter. A large quantity of these descriptions are in the context of wars between gods. Incredibly, there are detailed descriptions of advanced technologies beyond simple flying machines; spanning from cloaking devices to nuclear weaponry. These conflicts will be addressed in a later section. For now, here are a few examples of references to vimanas in the epic:

  • “When the Daityas were being slaughtered they again took to their vimana and, employing the Danava science, flew up into the sky . . . I (Arjuna) assaulted their vimana . . . Wounded by the flight of deadly-accurate iron missiles, the Asura vimana fell broken to the earth . . . Matali swiftly descended earthward, as in a steep dive, on our divinely effulgent car.”
  • “Karna took up that fierce weapon, which resembled the tongue of the Destroyer or the Sister of Death. That terrible and effulgent dart, Naikartana, was hurled at the Rakshasa. Beholding that excellent and blazing weapon . . . the Rakshasa began to fly away in fear . . . Destroying that blazing illusion of Ghatotkacha and piercing right through his breast that resplendent dart soared aloft in the night . . . Ghatotkacha, then uttering diverse roars, fell, deprived of life by the dart of Sakra.”
  • “The vimana had all necessary equipment. It could not be conquered by the gods or demons. And it radiated light and reverberated with a deep rumbling sound. Its beauty captivated the minds of all who beheld it. Visvakarma, the lord of its design and construction, had created it by the power of his austerities, and its outline, like that of the sun, could not be easily delineated.”
  • “And he also gave [unto Arjuna] a car furnished with celestial weapons whose banner bore a large ape . . . And its splendour, like that of the Sun, was so great that no one could gaze at it. It was the very car riding upon which the lord Soma had vanquished the Danavas. Resplendent with beauty, it looked like an evening cloud reflecting the effulgence of the setting Sun.”
  • “Bhima flew along in his car, resplendent as the sun and loud as thunder . . . The flying chariot shone like a flame in the night sky of summer . . . it swept by like a comet . . . It was if two suns were shining. Then the chariot rose up and all the heavens brightened.”
    • “And on this sunlike, divine, wonderful chariot the wise disciple of Kuru flew joyously upward. When becoming invisible to the mortals who walk the earth, he saw wondrous airborne chariots by the thousands.”
  • “And the celebrated Arjuna, having passed through successive regions of the heavens, at last beheld the city of Indra. And there he beheld celestial cars by thousands stationed in their respective places [an airport?] and capable of going everywhere at will, and he saw tens of thousands of such cars moving in every direction.”
  • “And having vanquished his foe, Krishna furnished with weapons and unwounded and accompanied by the kings, came out of Girivraja riding on that celestial car . . . upon that car Krishna now came out of the hill-fort. Possessed of the splendour of heated gold, and decked with rows of jingling bells . . . always slaughtering the foe against whom it was driven, it was the very car riding upon which Indra had slain ninety-nine Asuras of old.”
  • “And thereupon that best of cars became still more dazzling with its splendour and was incapable of being looked at by created beings, as the midday sun surrounded by a thousand rays . . . And Achyuta, that tiger among men, riding with the two sons of Pandu upon that celestial car . . . coming out of Girivraja, stopped (for some time) on a level plain outside of town.”
  • “We beheld in the sky what appeared to us to be a mass of scarlet cloud resembling the fierce flames of a blazing fire. From that mass many blazing missiles flashed, and tremendous roars, like the noise of a thousand drums beaten at once. And from it fell many weapons winged with gold and thousands of thunderbolts, with loud explosions, and many hundreds of fiery wheels. Loud became the uproar of falling horses, slain by these missiles, and of mighty elephants struck by the explosions . . . Those terrible Rakshasas had the shape of large mounds stationed in the sky.”[8]
  • [3rd century BCE] Ashoka Maurya (304–232 BCE), also as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from circa 269 BCE to 232 BCE.[9] Ashoka started the “Secret Society of the Nine Unknown Men” comprised of great Indian scientists. According to the French occult author Louis Jacolliot, “Asoka’s scientists experimented with techniques that were supposed to be unknown 2,000 years ago. The society of the Nine studied the liberation of energy, sterilization by radiation and psychological warfare, all subjects that our modern civilization have ‘discovered’ just recently.”[10]

Each of the nine members possessed a book that was constantly rewritten, updated and contained detailed accounts of a certain scientific subject. Book Six focused on the secrets of gravitation. Although it is rumored that Book Six details instructions for the construction of vimanas, no conclusive evidence has been uncovered. Moreover, this book is often associated with the Vaimanika Shastra in print and digital references. It is the opinion of the author that this is incorrect and this point of view will be clarified in the section on Vaimanika Shastra below.

[11th century CE] Samarangana Sutradhara is a work on classical Indian architecture and warfare written by Paramara King Bhoja of Dhar. English translations of this particular work seem to have purposely omitted some of the most detailed references to vimanas. R. Cedric Leonard PhD has offered up the following fascinating translation:

SAMARANGANA SUTRADHARA “Battlefield Commander” Translated from the Sanskrit By R. Cedric Leonard

“Strong and durable must the yantra’s body be made, of light material and having wings joined smoothly with invisible seams. It can carry passengers, it can be made small and compact, it can move in silence. If sound is to be used successfully, there must be great flexibility in the driving mechanism, and all must be put together flawlessly. In order for it to accomplish its intended purpose, it must be extremely durable, it must be well covered in . . . it must not become too hot, too stiff, nor too soft, and its sharp-pointed battering ram must also be indestructible. Indeed, the machine’s main qualities, which are remembered by one and all, include unending motion—which is to say perpetual motion. Smoothness is one of the machines supreme qualities; thus, the workings of the machine must be versatile, complete, not given to expansion, never complaining, and always applicable to the task.”

At this point the text becomes most interesting . . . but also the most difficult. It is evident that essential elements in the propulsion system are deliberately vague—or completely left out. The reason for this is explained later in the text. I can see why the following has never appeared in any of the current English translations.

“At the critical time the beam of fire must be released, which will make the action possible. The time-beam expands, accompanied by the thunder of the expanding medium. This resultant expansion performs work like an elephant in an endless cycle.”

Further along in the text is a paragraph which mentions using wood as a potential building material in the construction of one of these amazing machines (a yantra); then it immediately launches into a description of a propulsion system using a combustible fuel similar to gasoline.

“The manufacturing of a conquering yantra is greatly to be desired . . . using light-weight wood to build a great air-going machine of a strong-bodied type. In the central container is the liquid consumed by the engine, which gradually burns away during complete combustion.”

Immediately following is a list of the possible motions and maneuvers available to the pilot. Several of these would have been deemed incredible by modern aircraft engineers until the introduction of the “hovercraft” and the more recent British aircraft commonly known as the Harrier (see further below).

“Fully renown are the techniques for mastering the following motions: vertical ascent; vertical descent; forwards; backwards; normal ascent; normal descent; slanting; progressing over long distances through proper adjustment of the working parts . . . its air-rending sound and roaring thunder can easily drown out the trumpeting of an elephant in panic—but it can also be moved by musical tones.

“Shining in every direction, their machine (yantra) could travel wherever the imagination dictated. From their great height they saw stimulating dances, drama plays, and pristine ritualistic ceremonies. Their yantra gained renown among Royal dynasties and various nations. In such a manner the High-Souled ones flew, while the lower classes walked. All those friends succeeded in their much-deserved acquisition of a yantra, by means of which human beings can fly in the air, and non-earthling, Celestial Beings, can come down to mortals when visiting the Earth.”
Certain of the aircraft described seem to be winged like a modern aeroplane; but such a craft could not go backwards, nor could it ascend or descend vertically. The term “dual-winged” without doubt appears in the following text in conjunction with some sort of air, or jet, propulsion.

“. . . Thus, inside one must place the Mercury-engine; and properly mounted beneath it, the iron heating apparatus. Men thusly set the dual-winged, driving whirlwind in motion; and the concealed pilot, by means of the mercury-power, may travel a great distance in the sky.”

Then what follows is the description of a much larger, more complex vimana, which is powered by four mercury-engines. (Note: this is the only place the term “vimana” is used in the Sanskrit passages translated on this page.)
“An extremely swift and nimble vimana can be built, as large as the temple of the God-in-motion. Into the interior structure four strong mercury containers must be installed. When these have been heated by a controlled fire from iron containers, the flying machine develops thunder-power through the mercury, becoming a highly desirable yantra. Moreover, if this iron engine with properly welded joints be filled with fluid [mercury?], when ascending or descending over land it generates power with the roar of a lion.

“The machine’s construction and operating details are not publicly disclosed. For if their motivative power be made known publicly to others—giving out results described elsewhere—elements of these machines could be wrongly used.”

My apologies to Sanskrit experts for any deficiencies in the rendering of Bhoja’s text. The script is difficult, and the frequent use of ligatures (combining several characters into one) complicates the task for all but the experts. I have been as faithful to the original text as my ability allows. Should I learn of ways to improve the translation, I will be prompt in making the desired changes. (R.C.L.)[11]

Shivkar Bāpuji Talpade and the MarutSakha
There exists at least one account of a modern vimana. Shivkar Bāpuji Talpade was born in 1864 in Mumbai. Some have argued that he constructed and flew India’s first airplane named the MarutSakha in the year 1895.[12] It was reported at the time that he obtained the designs from his Guru Subbaraya Shastry who had compiled Maharishi Bharadwaja’s Vaimanika Shastra (more on this below). The event was corroborated only twice. Excerpts from the two news articles are referenced below:

KRN Swamy of Deccan Herald states –
One day in June 1895 (unfortunately the actual date is not mentioned in the Kesari newspaper of Pune which covered the event) before an curious scholarly audience headed by the famous Indian judge Mahadeva Govinda Ranade and H H Sayaji Rao Gaekwad, Talpade had the good fortune to see his unmanned aircraft named as ‘Marutsaktha’ take off, fly to a height of 1500 feet and then fall down to earth.

The India Times article states-
In 1895 an Indian pioneer flew what is said to be the first Indian plane in the air. The centenary year of the first successful flight, by the Wright brothers, was celebrated from December 17, 2003. But our own pioneer from Mumbai, Shivkar Bapuji Talpade, made an aircraft and had flown it eight years earlier. One of Talpade’s students, P Satwelkar, has chronicled that his craft called ‘Marutsakha'(Friend of the Winds) flew unmanned for a few minutes and came down.[13]

Unfortunately, there is not much evidence to support this event. But, more problematic is Talpade’s association with Shastry. As we will see below, discreditation by association seems to be Talpade’s ultimate fate in the annals of history.

Vaimanika Shastra (A critical analysis of Vimana debunking)
Now we arrive at the most controversial portion of the subject of vimanas. This section will explain a work entitled Vaimanika Shastra and its role in the Ancient Astronaut Theory. We will focus on the proponents’ point of view detailed mainly by the work of David Hatcher Childress. And we will also take a close look at the criticisms of the Vaimanika Shastra. Finally, we will address the debunking arguments against vimanas in general and the role that this particular work possesses as the crux of such debunking.

The Vaimanika Shastra is a Sanskrit text on aerospace technology. It makes the claim that the vimanas mentioned in ancient Sanskrit epics were advanced aerodynamic flying vehicles, similar to a rocket. In a project study conducted by Cdr. M.P.Rao, of Aeronautical Society of India on behalf of Aerospace Information Panel of Aeronautics Research and Development Board, Rao gives a thorough explanation of the background of the Vaimanika Shastra:

The work “Vymanika Shastra” has appeared in twentieth century in Sanskrit transcript form and subsequently translated versions in Hindi and English have been derived. There are different versions with different titles leading to possible confusion among the readers and research scholars. We have therefore devoted some effort to place the facts in the right perspective.

In this process, it is appropriate to commence this topic with the narration front-lined on G.R. Josyer’s publication, which reads as follows.

“Maharshi Bharadwaja’s ‘Vymanika Shastra’ or ‘Science of Aeronautics’ as revealed to venerable Subbaraya Shastry and recorded in hand written Sanskrit script form, translated to English by G.R. Josyer. M.A [hons] FRES, MRSE.
Four variants with different titles are as follows:

A] Vymanika prakaranam B] Vymanika shastra C] Vimana shastra D] Bruhad Vimana Shastra

We clarify here that the base work for all the four versions are common-sourced from the Sanskrit transcript of Pandit Subbaraya Shastry’s revelations and recorded by his close associate and Sanskrit scholar Sri. G. Venkatachala sharma. They were recorded in 23 exercise books during the period 1903 to1918. Manuscript copies of this were sent as Vymanika Prakaranam to two Oriental Institutes in India. One was sent to Oriental Library at Baroda on 3rd June 1919 and the second sent to Oriental Research Institute, Poona on 19th August 1919. Hence the work has been referred to by many as Vymanika Prakaranam even though only Sanskrit parts of the published versions carry this title. These exercise books suffered long hibernation. A work called “Vymanika shastra” in Sanskrit alone seems to have come out from Dayanand Bhavan, Delhi in 1943. This is the second variant.

The third variant is based on the copy of “Vymanika prakaranam” sent to Baroda Oriental Library. A Hindi translated version of this book titled ‘Brihad Vimana Shastra’ was edited by Swami Brahma Muni Parivrajak Gurukul Kangdi, Hardwar and published by Sarvadeshika Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Dayanand Bhavan, New Delhi in the year 1959. In the publication of this Hindi version, the initiative taken by Air commodore S. N. Goyal of the Indian Air force has been particularly appreciated. ‘Bruhad Vimana Shastra’ became the reference work for many researchers in North India.

The variant referred to as ‘Vymanika Shastra’ published in Sanskrit- English languages had its base on the copies sent to Oriental Libraries in 1919 and something more. The work remained in manuscript form till 1923 and even later. But between 1919 and 1923 there is evidence of ‘add on’ textual content to the work in the form of description and diagrams of four types of representative vimanas — Sundara, Shakuna, Rukma andTripura vimana. The work of making drawings was entrusted to a draughtsman T.K. Ellappa working in an engineering school. The drawings were prepared by him and appended as approved by Sri Subbaraya Shastryon 2nd December 1923. This is the last occasion that any material went into the Sanskrit transcript. The transcripts remained in exercise-book-form for the next three decades under the joint custody of Sri Shastriji’s adopted son and Sri Venkatachala Sharma. It was in 1952 that the books found the light of the day when they were brought into an exhibition of antique works conducted by International Academy of Sanskrit Research, Mysore. Mr. G. R. Josyer, being the Honorary Director of the Academy showed tremendous initiative. Translation work took a long time and eventually “Vymanika Shastra” was published on 15th March 1973.[14]

It should be noted that the reason a significant amount of detail and reference is being presented within this section is because this particular work is relied upon heavily by certain proponents of the Ancient Astronaut Theory to argue the case for it. One of the most prolific proponents of this work is David Hatcher Childress, author of Vimana Aircraft of Ancient India and Atlantis. Of course Childress cites numerous references in his book and his argument does not solely hinge on this work. But the Vaimanika Shastra is highlighted in great detail by Childress, which in turn introduces an opportunity for the skeptics (and even worse debunkers) to make a valid counter argument. As a proponent of the Ancient Astronaut Theory, the author of this article would like to make it clear that I am not trying to discredit Mr. Childress in any way. It is simply the purpose of this section to inform the students of this theory where the strongest points for the existence of vimanas lie and more importantly where they do not. The following excerpt is from Vimana Aircraft of Ancient India and Atlantis:

The Vaimanika Shastra, perhaps the most important ancient text on Vimana 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 Rg Veda dated 1875 references the Vaimanika Sastra in his commentary, as well as other manuscripts on Vimanas.

The Vaimanika Shastra 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 West Bengal Senior Educational Service, “Since the transcripts of the work date from the early 20th century the authenticity of the Vai. 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 as the author of a Srauta Satra and Smrti work is well-known and a sage Bharadwaja as the seer of the 6th Mandala of the Rg Veda is also well-known. Panini also referred to him in VII. II63. 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.”

With the authenticity of the Vaimanika Shastra verified, Professor Kanjilal then struggles to ascertain the date in which Bharadwaja assembled the manuscript from earlier sources. According to Kanjilal, only four out of the 97 works and treatises quoted in the Vaimanika Sastra are still extant. Says he: “It appears that most of these works were very old and are now lost.”

…Therefore, it can be concluded that the Vaimanika Shastra was written at the very least in the 10th century A.D. and apparently at the very earliest, in the 4th century B.C.[15]

So what exactly is the problem you may ask? Well, let’s start with the accurate facts about the Vaimanika Shastra. It was not written in the 10th century A.D. or any date earlier. It has been unequivocally proven to be written in the early twentieth century. (Review the Cdr. M.P.Rao excerpt above.) And, more disconcerting is the fact that it is written by Pandit Subbaraya Shastry as a result of “channeling” and “automatic writing.” Now enter the skeptics and debunkers.
There is one debunker in particular that I do bother to point out on this topic. His name is Chris White and the following will be a lesson in how a debunker argues. Ironically; most debunkers use a number of fallacies in their arguments to make their case which in turn allows themselves to be easily debunked.

Vimanas and Ancient Wars
As referenced above, the ancient texts are replete with descriptions of battles and wars involving the use vimanas.

The Mahabharata in particular describes such conflicts in great detail:

  • “Wounded by the flight of deadly-accurate iron missiles, the Asura vimana fell broken to the earth . . . Matali swiftly descended earthward, as in a steep dive, on our divinely effulgent car.”
  • “Destroying that blazing illusion of Ghatotkacha and piercing right through his breast that resplendent dart soared aloft in the night.”
  • “And having vanquished his foe, Krishna furnished with weapons and unwounded and accompanied by the kings, came out of Girivraja riding on that celestial car . . . upon that car Krishna now came out of the hill-fort. Possessed of the splendour of heated gold, and decked with rows of jingling bells . . . always slaughtering the foe against whom it was driven, it was the very car riding upon which Indra had slain ninety-nine Asuras of old.”
  • “We beheld in the sky what appeared to us to be a mass of scarlet cloud resembling the fierce flames of a blazing fire. From that mass many blazing missiles flashed, and tremendous roars, like the noise of a thousand drums beaten at once. And from it fell many weapons winged with gold and thousands of thunderbolts, with loud explosions, and many hundreds of fiery wheels. Loud became the uproar of falling horses, slain by these missiles, and of mighty elephants struck by the explosions . . . Those terrible Rakshasas had the shape of large mounds stationed in the sky.”[16]
  • In lieu of recreating the wheel so to speak with the description of the Bhagavata Purana, below I have included an excellent translation as presented on
    The Bhagavata Purana is all about the activities of the Hindu god Vishnu in his various incarnations (avatars), and particularly as Krishna. It includes an account of a war between the evil King Salva and his attempt to destroy the city of Krishna called Dwarka. In the process it describes weapons which have all the earmarks of modern rocketry and aerial vehicles which have capabilities far beyond conventional aircraft. It is common for most modern Hindu translators to render the Sanskrit vimana as “airplane”. But since the aerial vehicles described in this document move through the air using neither wings nor conventional engines, I prefer to leave the Sanskrit term intact so the reader will know that these are not ordinary aircraft. Likewise, the Sanskrit term usually translated “arrow”. From the descriptions given within the text, it is easily seen that such, on occasion, are some sort of high-tech missile; therefore, I consider the use of the term “shaft” or “missile” to be more applicable. Lord Krishna’s home base is the legendary city known as Dwarka. His mortal enemy, King Salva, has requested an extremely high-tech aerial vehicle (i.e., a vimana) by which he might destroy the city of Dwarka and kill his hated enemy, Lord Krishna. The accomplished architect/engineer Maya Danava fulfills Salva’s request. The details can be found in the Sanskrit Bhavagata Purana: “Salva chose a vimana that could not be destroyed by Devas, Asuras, humans, Gandharvas, Uragas nor Rakshasas, that could travel anywhere he wished to go, and that would terrify the Varishnis.”
  • “Lord Siva said, ‘So be it.’ On his order, Maya Danava, who conquers his enemies’ cities, constructed a flying vehicle made of iron named Saubha, and presented it to Salva.”
  • “Delighted with his new wonderful and powerful airship, the wicked King Salva gathers his army about him and heads for the city of Krishna to do battle.”
  • “This unassailable vehicle was filled with darkness and could go anywhere. Upon obtaining it, Salva, remembering the Varishnis’ enmity toward him, proceeded to the city of Dwarka. Salva besieged the city with a large army, O best of the Bharatas, decimating the outlying parks and gardens, the mansions along with their observatories, towering gateways and surrouding walls, and also the public recreational areas. However fortunes turn, and in short order King Salva’s forces are decimated. Infuriated, King Salva makes use of his newly acquired aerial contrivance to attack the city with every means at his disposal.”
  • “From his excellent vimana he threw down a torrent of projectiles . . . A fierce vortex arose and blanketed the entire area with billowing dust.”—Bhavagata Purana (10.76)

Lord Krishna suddenly appears in his shining chariot to confront King Salva in battle. When Salva saw Krishna’s chariot on the battlefield, he thereupon released a great and powerful weapon which “flew through the sky with a roaring sound like a great meteor”. The text describes it as being so bright that it literally “lit up the entire sky”. This sounds a lot like a blazing rocket! As Krishna began his counterattack, Salva engages the special powers of his vimana in an all-out effort to avoid destruction. A modern translator provides us with the graphic details:

“The airplane occupied by Salva was very mysterious. It was so extraordinary that sometimes many airplanes would appear to be in the sky, and sometimes there were apparently none. Sometimes the plane was visible and sometimes not visible, and the warriors of the Yadu dynasty were puzzled about the whereabouts of the peculiar airplane. Sometimes they would see the airplane on the ground, sometimes flying in the sky, sometimes resting on the peak of a hill, and sometimes floating on the water. The wonderful airplane flew in the sky like a whirling firebrand—it was not steady even for a moment.” (Bhaktivedanta, 1986)

[The last sentence, containing the statement of Salva’s celestial vehicle looking like a “whirling firebrand,” should cause one to look twice at the so-called “wheels” of Ezekiel as described in the Hebrew Bible. The similarities are striking. Did Ezekiel encounter four ancient vimanas on several occasions during his captivity in Babylonia? For a complete exegetical analysis of this possibility, click on “Ezekiel’s Wheels”.]

Lord Krishna first destroyed King Salva’s “great weapon,” by discharging his own missile, described as being “bright as the sun in the sky”. (These sound more like hi-tech missiles and anti-missiles rather than what we think of as ordinary “arrows”!) He then disabled Salva’s vimana completely by releasing an overwhelming shower of destructive missiles; and eventually “Salva’s wondrous vimana burst into pieces and fell into the sea”.

Salva miraculously escapes the doomed vimana at the last minute, and on foot, rushes vehemently at his hated enemy. The latter, “shining like the sun rising over the mountains,” ushers forth the final blow by utilizing a “brilliant discus”. Thus, after a tremendously high-tech battle, the evil King Salva and his flying machine are finally brought to an ignominious end.[17]

Regarding the theory of ancient nuclear wars as associated with the topic of vimanas, the following reference from the “The Extinction Protocol” website provides very interesting insights:

Historian Kisari Mohan Ganguli says that Indian sacred writings are full of such descriptions, which sound like an atomic blast as experienced in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He says references mention fighting sky chariots and final weapons. An ancient battle is described in the Drona Parva, a section of the Mahabharata. “The passage tells of combat where explosions of final weapons decimate entire armies, causing crowds of warriors with steeds and elephants and weapons to be carried away as if they were dry leaves of trees,” says Ganguli.

Consider these verses from the ancient Mahabharata: …a single projectile charged with all the power of the Universe. An incandescent column of smoke and flame As bright as the thousand suns Rose in all its splendour… a perpendicular explosion with its billowing smoke clouds… …the cloud of smoke rising after its first explosion formed into expanding round circles like the opening of giant parasols… was an unknown weapon, an iron thunderbolt, a gigantic messenger of death, which reduced to ashes The entire race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas. …The corpses were so burned as to be unrecognizable. The hair and nails fell out; Pottery broke without apparent cause, And the birds turned white. After a few hours All foodstuffs were infected… …to escape from this fire, the soldiers threw themselves in streams to wash themselves and their equipment. Until the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, modern mankind could not imagine any weapon as horrible and devastating as those described in the ancient Indian texts. Yet, they very accurately described the effects of an atomic explosion. Radioactive poisoning will make hair and nails fall out. Immersing oneself in water gives some respite, though it is not a cure.

When excavations of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro reached the street level, they discovered skeletons scattered about the cities, many holding hands and sprawling in the streets as if some instant, horrible doom had taken place. People were just lying, unburied, in the streets of the city. Excavations down to the street level revealed 44 scattered skeletons, as if doom had come so suddenly they could not get to their houses. All the skeletons were flattened to the ground. A father, mother and child were found flattened in the street, face down and still holding hands. And these skeletons are thousands of years old, even by traditional archaeological standards. What could cause such a thing? Why did the bodies not decay or get eaten by wild animals? Furthermore, there is no apparent cause of a physically violent death. These skeletons are among the most radioactive ever found, on par with those at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At one site, Soviet scholars found a skeleton which had a radioactive level 50 times greater than normal. Other cities have been found in northern India that show indications of explosions of great magnitude. One such city, found between the Ganges and the mountains of Rajmahal, seems to have been subjected to intense heat. Huge masses of walls and foundations of the ancient city are fused together, literally vitrified! And since there is no indication of a volcanic eruption at Mohenjo-Daro or at the other cities, the intense heat to melt clay vessels can only be explained by an atomic blast or some other unknown weapon. The cities were wiped out entirely.

There is evidence that the Rama empire (now India) was devastated by nuclear war. The Indus valley is now the Thar Desert, and the site of the radioactive ash found west of Jodhpur is around there. A heavy layer of radioactive ash in Rajasthan, India, covers a three-square mile area, ten miles west of Jodhpur. Scientists are investigating the site, where a housing development was being built. For some time it has been established that there is a very high rate of birth defects and cancer in the area under construction. The levels of radiation there have registered so high on investigators’ gauges that the Indian government has now cordoned off the region. Scientists have unearthed an ancient city where evidence shows an atomic blast dating back thousands of years, from 8,000 to 12,000 years, destroyed most of the buildings and probably a half-million people. One researcher estimates that the nuclear bomb used was about the size of the ones dropped on Japan in 1945. Another curious sign of an ancient nuclear war in India is a giant crater near Bombay. The nearly circular 2,154-metre-diameter Lonar crater, located 400 kilometres northeast of Mumbai and aged at less than 50,000 years old, could be related to nuclear warfare of antiquity. No trace of any meteoric material, etc., has been found at the site or in the vicinity, and this is the world’s only known “impact” crater in basalt. Indications of great shock (from a pressure exceeding 600,000 atmospheres) and intense, abrupt heat (indicated by basalt glass spherules) can be ascertained from the site.[18]

Vailixi and Nazi Germany

Finally, there are two ancillary topics that are commonly associated with vimanas. The Vailixi are said to be of Atlantean origin:

“Unfortunately, Vimanas, like most scientific discoveries, were ultimately used for war. Atlanteans used their flying machines, “Vailixi,” a similar type of aircraft, to literally try and subjugate the world, it would seem, if Indian texts are to be believed. The Atlanteans, known as “Asvins” in the Indian writings, were apparently even more advanced technologically than the Indians, and certainly of a more war-like temperament.

Although no ancient texts on Atlantean Vailixi are known to exist, some information has come down through esoteric, “occult” sources which describe their flying machines. Similar, if not identical to Vimanas, Vailixi were generally “cigar shaped” and had the capability of maneuvering underwater as well as in the atmosphere or even outer space. Other vehicles, like Vimanas, were saucer shaped, and could apparently also be submerged.”[19]

The second topic is that of Nazi Germany’s link to re-engineering ancient and anti-Diluvial technology, including vimanas. This second topic is rather expansive and is beyond the purview of this article. However, it will be the subject of an upcoming effort and additional information can be viewed on the YouTube playlist provided at the bottom of the page.

This article hopefully provided a concise summary of the topic of vimanas. In the pursuit of adequately informing and teaching the student of Ancient Astronaut Theory, I hope it achieved its purpose. Additionally, the novice and experienced theorists alike have been given a critical analysis of the strong and weak points of the vimana argument. Did ancient flying vehicle exists in reality? The author is of the opinion that based on the myriad of ancient references vimanas were more than legend or mythology. As for what the reader believes, well, that is up to you.


[1] – Retrieved November, 2014
[2] Monier-Williams, Sanskrit-English Dictionary, version 0.1a_12
[3] Vimanas – – Retrieved July, 2014
[4] What are Vedas? – Retrieved November, 2014
[6] Dutt, Manatha Nath (translator), Ramayana, Elysium Press, Calcutta, 1892 and New York, 1910.
[7] Mahabharata –
[8]The Mahabharata in Sanskrit – Parallel Devanagari and Romanization –
[9] Ahir, D. C. (1995). Aśoka the Great. Delhi: B. R. Publishing.
[10] Occult Science in India by Louis Jacolliot[1919] –
[12] Sentinels of the Sky. Air Headquarter, Indian Air Force. 1999. p. 2
[14] A project study conducted by wg. Cdr. M.P.Rao, etc. of Aeronautical Society of India on behalf of Aerospace Information Panel of Aeronautics Research and Development Board Chapter One.
[15] Vimana Aircraft of Ancient India and Atlantis by David Hatcher Childress 37-39
[16]The Mahabharata in Sanskrit – Parallel Devanagari and Romanization –
[17] SALVA’S VIMANA Translated from the Sanskrit text of the Bhagavata Purana – – Bhaktivedanta, Swami Pradhupada, A. C., (translator) in Krsna, The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Los Angeles, 1986. Sundaresh, S. Gaur & Tripati, Sila, “An ancient harbour at Dwarka: Study based on the recent underwater explorations”, Current Science, Indian Academy of Sciences, May 10, 2004. Thompson, Richard L., “Alien Identities,” Goverdhan Hill Publishing, Alachua FA, 1993, pp. 212-219. Witzel, Micheal, Rama’s realm: Indocentric rewritings of early South Asian archaeology and history in Fagan, G. G., ed., Archaeological Fantasies, Routledge Taylor, and Francis Group, New York, 2006.
[18] Ajithkuma – History’s lost lesson: Ancient nuclear war among Indus Valley civilizations reexamined –
[19] Vimana Aircraft of Ancient India and Atlantis by David Hatcher Childress