The four “Vedas” (literally, “knowledge”) are the main sacred writings of this religion. However, Hinduism also has a host of other sacred texts, such as the “Smiriti” (“the remembered, the triad”). The Ramayana, an epic tale of the god-king Rama, and the Mahabharata, an epic poem, are two of the latter that we will focus on. There are two texts where the Vimanas and Astras are extensively discussed, mainly in the Ramayana.
Vimanas: The flying ships of ancient India
The Vimanas, which were shaped like spheres and floated in the air, generated a powerful wind. Because the driver of the Vimana could fly up and down, forward or backward at will, the men on board could travel great distances in a surprisingly short period of time.
These “flying machines” were built from a variety of materials, including metal, wood, mirrors, copper, and magnets. They would have mercury vortex engines or a variant of them. The flying island of “Laputa” is an illustration of a Vimana that is much more modern and unrelated to Hindu culture. In “Gulliver’s Travels,” a fictional book by Jonathan Swift, the island of Laputa is described as being man-made and having the incredible ability to fly. Laputa was suspended in the air by a massive magnet and had a base made of diamonds. Its inhabitants could control this organic device in any way.
The four main classes of Vimanas, rukma, tripura, sakuna and sundara, are described in early Indian writings. These were then separated into 113 additional subclasses. Indestructible flying machines with night vision technology, invisibility capabilities, and the ability to record the sounds and images of other enemy aircraft are mentioned in ancient Hindu literature. We can also find instructions on how to maneuver them and how to use their fuel correctly in the Samarangana-Sutradhara as well as information on their speeds, technical specifications and designs. In contrast, The Ramayana continues:
You can build a temple-sized vimana using these techniques. Inside there should be four mercury tanks. The vimana acquires thunder power by means of mercury when heated with a controlled fire. When mercury is added to this iron engine with properly welded joints and the fire is directed upwards, it quickly becomes a pearl in the sky and acquires tremendous power, roaring like a lion. The body should be made of a lightweight material so that it is strong and durable, like a large flying bird. The mercury engine and its iron heating element must be placed indoors. A man sitting inside the whirlwind can travel a great distance in the sky in the most amazing way thanks to the hidden power in the mercury that spins the whirlwind’s impeller. ”.
The Astras: The Gods’ Weapons of Mass Destruction
The astras were divine weapons wielded by a particular deity. It needed an invocation or mantra to be invoked or used, although for some Astras, just knowing the mantra was not enough; one had to receive the gift from the deity who gave it to him. Each Astra had specific usage guidelines, and breaking them could be fatal. Their knowledge was transmitted exclusively orally from teacher to disciple due to the great power of these weapons.
The Astras are used in epic battles by archers like Rama, Karna and Bhisma in both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata where they play an important role. Actually, Rama used the Brahmastra to kill Ravana. There is the possibility that some Astra, such as the Vimanas, were powered by “mercury reservoirs” or very similar liquids that circulated by spinning almost as fast as light.
According to their “modus operandi” and individual traits, there are several dozen different Astras. Each main god had an Astra that was endowed with a specific ability. For example, the Devastra, used by the Devas, represented the mythical equivalent of contemporary conventional missiles, while the Asurastra, used by the Asuras, represented the mythical equivalent of contemporary biological missiles. Also mentioned is the mythical counterpart to contemporary nuclear weapons, the terrifying and destructive Brahmastra, a gift from Brahma (the Creator). The Brahmastra was able to end the entire world by himself, as mentioned in the Indian epic sagas.
The battle between the warrior Arjuna, a great hero, and the legions of Asuras is described as follows in the Mahabharata (Vanaparvan, chapters 168-173).
Indra, the lord of heaven, ordered Arjuna to exterminate the entire army of Asura. Fortresses in the depths of the ocean were home to these thirty million demons. Indra, the lord of heaven, gave Arjuna control of his own vimana to accomplish this, with the help of Matali, his skilled attendant. The Asuras caused diluvial rains during the ensuing bitter battle, but Arjuna defeated them with a divine weapon that was able to completely dry up all the water. Arjuna unleashed a deadly missile, smashing the city into a thousand pieces and scattering the pieces on the ground.
The narrative spends a significant amount of time describing the individual battles of the various heroes on both sides, their military formations, the diplomatic aspects of the war, the meetings and speeches between the heroes and the commanders, as well as the weapons they use. and the fighting styles they use. use.