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Krishna and Rukmini as Groom and Bride in a Celestial Chariot

Controversy as evidence for ancient Indian Aviation Technology to be examined at Science Congress

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The Indian Science Congress hosted at Mumbai University on January 3, which includes six Nobel laureates and four recipients of prestigious scientific prizes in its roster of speakers, will include a lecture examining ancient aviation technology in the Vedas, leading some scientists to argue that it undermines the empirical evidence on which the congress was founded.

The lecture will be presented by Captain Anand J Bodas, a retired principal of a pilot training facility, and Ameya Jadhav, a lecturer at the Swami Vivekananda International School and Junior College in Mumbai, who will draw upon the ancient Vedic texts to support the view that there was flying technology in ancient India. 

"The Vedic or rather ancient Indian definition of an aeroplane was a vehicle which travels through the air from one country to another country, from one continent to another continent, from one planet to another planet," Captain Anand J Bodas told the Mumbai Mirror . "In those days aeroplanes were huge in size, and could move left, right, as well as backwards, unlike modern planes which only fly forward."

Captain Anand J Bodas draws upon the ancient Vedas for evidence of aviation technology

Captain Anand J Bodas draws upon the ancient Vedas for evidence of aviation technology

The Vedas are a large collection of Sanskrit texts originating in ancient India and constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. Some of the collection, such as the Samhitas, are known to date back to at least 1700 BC, although it is believed that many go back much further.

The subject of ‘flying machines’ has been a popular subject among ancient astronaut theorists, who argue that some extracts are evidence of extra-terrestrial visitations:

“The Pushpaka (flowery vimana) chariot that resembles the Sun and belongs to my brother was brought by the powerful Ravana; that aerial and excellent chariot 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.” (Ramayana)

However, Captain Bodas said that ancient Indians invented the technology and that it was later forgotten because of the passage of time, foreign rulers and things being stolen from the country.

The Mumbai Mirror says that the lecture is “inconsistent with the tradition of scientific method, testable methods and primacy of empirical evidence on which the 102-year-old was founded.

Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) is a premier scientific organisation of India with a membership strength of more than 30,000 scientists. It was founded in 1914 with the objective to “advance and promote the cause of science in India”.

Valedictory Session of the 100th Indian Science Congress in Kolkata

Valedictory Session of the 100th Indian Science Congress in Kolkata ( Wikimedia Commons )

The decision to include the lecture in the program has stirred up anger among some scientists. Former Director of National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Prof Roddam Narasimha, told the Mumbai Mirror, "There is no credible account of aviation in ancient India… The book Vaimanika Prakaranam or Vimanika Shastra has been studied in great detail and the accepted view in the scientific community is that the descriptions given in it are not scientifically correct."

However, Captain Bodas is not without his supporters.

"If we had chosen Sanskrit professors to talk about the references to aviation technology in Sanskrit literature, which includes information on how to make planes, the dress code and diet of pilots, the seven types of fuel used, people would have dismissed us,” said Professor Gauri Mahulikar, head of Mumbai University’s Sanskrit Department and coordinator for the session “but Captain Bodas is himself a pilot, and his co-presenter, Ameya Jadhav, holds an MTech degree besides an MA in Sanskrit.”

Dr S D Sharma, Professor of Aerospace Engineering at IIT-B, also supported the decision to include the lecture in the program for the Science Congress. "I would not dismiss the topic out of hand," he told Mumbai Mirror. "A purely mythological lecture comparing aeroplanes in Sanskrit texts to contemporary ones could be very interesting. However, there should not be any kind of story telling that is not backed by evidence."

Featured image: Krishna and Rukmini as Groom and Bride in a Celestial Chariot ( Wikimedia Commons )

By April Holloway

Comments

Roberto Peron's picture

Frankly, I have often wondered if India might not be the REAL Cradle of Civlization considering there are civilizations there dated 4000 years early than anything involving the Sumerians in modern Iraq.  If memory serves me correctly the Vedas also give instructions for building one of these Vimana flying machines.  So that provides the blue print for building one which, some have suggested, the US military has already done as did Hitler.  If one of the ancient Vimanas were ever found it would likely not be revealed to the world as it would be a prized military secret I am sure.  

As for the Congress, of course they want no discussion on this subject because it might upset their tunnel vision about the way things used to be and then they might have to rewrite human history, God forbid!  Fact is we seriously need to get beyond our own egotism and stop seeing all those who came before us as idiot primitives because they weren't.  Contrary to our popular self misconception we are NOT the pinnacle of human civilization IMO.  And, frankly, looking around at the state of the world and the MAJORITY of humanity today I really question just how "civilized" we are as a species anymore.  

REAL science follows the evidence WHEREVER it may lead.  Build one of these machines and see if it will even fly and then we can take this discussion from there.

 

For everyone who is telling to build one refer Shivkar Bapuji Talpade and his history if not BIASED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This makes me shake my head in wonder. The Vedas are full of poetic metaphors, as is much of Hindu and Buddhist writing. To take the term "flying" literally is probably a great error. Furthermore, if the ancient Vedic people had aircraft, the evidence would be found all over the subcontinent and elsewhere in the form of the remains of such craft.

But I am of the same opinion as David SG above: let them build one if they are so certain that they existed.

The least the scientists attending this conference could do is wait to hear the lecture before complaining about it. The essence of science is an open mind...test then prove or discredit but don't dismiss conjecture before even hearing the case or seeing evidence.

Camilla, there is movie footage of the Wright Brothers flight. What they did is beyond dispute. Is there any documentation of your student's flight? I am neutral as to whether it happened or not (I'd be rather thrilled if there were something to these legends), but without hard evidence you are selling short the intellect and magnificense of the modern Indian people and expecting them to accept a big claim without evidence.

The only evidence that will fly is a machine that flies.

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