Vimāna Śastra: University of California, Irvine test proves aerodynamic fitness of models

Whenever anybody anywhere talks of the glory of ancient Bharatiya sciences, an army of naysayers and virulent critics descend on them and their supporters like the evil Orcs of Sauron in the Lord of the Rings. The spiteful critiques fired at them include a dismissal of many historical facts; they range from an ignorant yet haughty mockery of India’s preeminence in plastic surgery over two millennia ago to the validity of Vimāna Śastra to the very existence of the Ram Sethu structures. Now, let us review the evidence for these succinctly while elaborating on the newer developments around the Vimāna Śastra controversy.


Bailey and Love’s Short Practice of Surgery, a gold standard British undergraduate surgery textbook regards Sushruta as “the father of modern surgery” and states that he “lived in the Indian city of Kashi (now called Banaras) in 600BC (while the exact period is unclear, most scholars maintain that he practised between 600 and 1000BC).” Additionally, the British textbook observed that a “large part of” Sushruta’s practice was “plastic surgery”. That makes modern surgery, and importantly plastic surgery, Indian in origin of at least 2400 years old by the West’s own admission. (1)

Yet, when any pro-Bharat leader claims the same he/she is ridiculed by the Left, without them even knowing the name of Suśrutha. The level of cultural literacy and the pride they take in it is shameful to the say the least. In fact, British archival records collected and published by the Gandhian, Dharampal, undeniably shows that the British learnt surgery from the barber-surgeons of India and took it to Britain, which was later re-exported to India. (2)

Bailey & Love’s Short Practice of Surgery: The Collectors edition


To mock one’s own ancestors and hold them as degraded is a sure sign of a need for psychological counselling for a clinically unhealthy self-esteem.

Yet, there is no dearth of such self-proclaimed intellectuals in India, and sadly cutting across the political spectrum. Now moving on to the topic of the title of this article in 2015, two reporters called a DRDO proposal to research the Vedic sciences as an attempt to investigate “loony theories.” They could not contain their disdain for ancient Indian that the phrase was part of the title (headline) of the article. (3) They are obviously unaware of Śulbasutras, part of the ancient Vedic literature, that has one of the best applied-geometry theories propounded in it even by modern standards. (4)

To be ignorant is one’s own absolute right, but to be arrogantly proud about one’s own shameless state, and “screaming” to impose it on others, needs a new word in the dictionary, or perhaps even a new diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

They perhaps believed that they are licensed to be abusive against the DRDO and the Vedas because the exalted Indian Institute of Science (IISc) they thought was on their side. Alas, they did not know that science has no “last word.” Is it the turn of the Hindus to pay back in kind? Should not the IISc scientists, now possibly retired, pick their own conscience?

What emboldened the loonies was a set of statements by some IISc scientists with regards to the much disputed Vymanika Śastra (Vimana Śastra). They wrote, presumptively, “Any reader by now would have concluded the obvious – that the planes described above are the best poor concoctions, rather than expressions of something real. None of the planes has properties or capabilities of being flown; the geometries are unimaginably horrendous from the point of view of flying, and the principles of propulsion make them resist rather than assist flying.” All of this without doing a single experiment or even a theoretical analysis of any kind, just based on their interpretation of the text and an “assessment” of some purported (line) drawings of the aircraft described therein. So much for scientific experimentation at one of the premier institutes of science in India. This was published in a journal called Scientific Opinion in 1974. (5)

The further and equally important controversy about Vimāna Śastra is the dating and more the origins of the text itself and a consequent claim that it is a “concoction.” Assuming the worst, that is a very late text and it is indeed a “concoction” it is still dated to at least 1919, by the statements of IISc scientists themselves: “He had the drawings (of aircraft) made sometime between 1900 and 1919 by someone called Ellappa who was a draughtsman in a local engineering college at the time.” Since the same “scientific” opinion also claims that Dr Talpade had made models under the guidance of the text’s scribe, it is very likely the text was known even earlier than 1919 and again at least by the 1890s. (5)

However, let us assume the same dates as the IISc scientists did: “Thus the work “Vymanika Shastra” was brought into existence sometime between 1900 and 1922 by Pandit Subbaraya Shastry by techniques unclear to us at the moment. The only evidence in favour of Maharshi Bhardwaja being the author is the textual statement and nothing more.” (5)

It will be prudent to note that if oral transmission of knowledge is completely excluded from the considerations for dating we will indeed end up in many such conclusions, which might be outright absurd even by the most orthodox of Western academic standards used for Indian history. Let us still go by the IISc scientists words for argument’s sake.

Clearly, by the standards of a 1974 opinion of the so-called scientists, a Hindu text dated 1922 talks about aircrafts (vimānas) but which are considered as having “geometries” that “are unimaginably horrendous from the point of view of flying” and they “resist rather than assist flying.” From the “modern” current day principles of aerodynamics, the scientists would have come to the same conclusions even today.  (5)

So if these “scientists” are disproved and the aircrafts described therein can indeed pass the aerodynamic tests in a wind tunnel, what are the conclusions that can be drawn from it?

  1. A Hindu text, especially one that had been so far ridiculed, is actually valid and has been dismissed only out of hubris.
  2. The science and technology in the text is more advanced than the current “modern day” understandings in the science of aerodynamics by about 100 years.

To be noted here is that if the text’s models had not been proved, it is anybody’s guess how long it would have taken the western science of aerodynamics to rediscover this. Perhaps another 100 years, if humanity and planet survive the environmental degradation wrought by the West and its science?


Fast forward to 2017, an aeronautical engineer, Ms Kavya Vaddadi, who had decided to investigate the truth, about 10 years ago, had a new opportunity to test the models of the aircraft described in the much maligned or ridiculed Vimāna Śastra text. She, an aeronautical engineer (appears to be not a doctorate either) had done what the scientists with doctorates should have done. She virtually designed (computer-aided design) the aircraft as described in the text using an aircraft design software on her computer. Then with the help of some volunteers of a team with similar interest, and a collaborator from Italy, she was able to get Dr Travis Taylor (6) to test a 3D model of the design by subjecting it to a wind-tunnel test at the University of California, Irvine. This experiment appears to have been covered by the History Channel and others. (7, 8)

The results of the test that appears to have been broadcast and now available on YouTube as well shows that the model of the aircraft (based on the Tripura Vimana) demonstrated a “lift” as an aircraft would do and remained stable at the tested high wind speeds. This indicates that indeed the “ancient” aircraft can fly and remain stable in air. (7, 8) So much for “geometries” that “are unimaginably horrendous from the point of view of flying” as dismissively described by the IISc scientists.

Another interesting but equally melancholic issue related to this is the supposed flight of an unmanned aircraft designed by Shri Talpade about a decade before the Wright Brothers, which has been as well dismissed as “not probable” by the same cabal of loonies. (9) Interestingly, the claim, though with only incomplete records, is not that easily dismissable, especially now, as the aircraft is claimed to have been designed based on one of the many models as the ones used by the aeronautical engineer whose success appears to have been wind-tunnel-test confirmed now.

Now, will the IISc scientists offer an apology for their hasty conclusions? And, will the loonies stop their circus with an appropriate apology tendered as well?

Regarding the mechanics of the propulsion itself, such as the fuel, engines, etc. no claim has been proved so far. That does not negate what has been achieved so far and what these achievements have exposed as the intellectual hubris and dishonesty of the mainstream media and the mentally colonised scientists.


By the way, we should not forget the Discovery Channel posted an online promotion for its then-upcoming documentary about the Ram Setu in December 2017. It was claimed in that how the bridge (Setu) is very likely a man-made structure because the top layer of the bridge, made of stones was older than the supporting sand structure underneath. This is only possible, logically, if on top of a natural or an artificial sand formation the stones are laid by an artificial process, such as being man-made. Otherwise, it leads to the ridiculous situation of the stones forming first and floating without any support and remaining there without drifting, while some unknown natural force selectively deposits the relatively younger sand underneath them on a later date. However, the loonies and logic rarely go together. So no surprises here.

Yet there were commentaries and opinions all over the loony press over how the Discovery Channel must have got it all wrong, and the so-called experts interviewed in the documentary were questionable, etc. Now nearly a year after the online promotion the documentary seems to have vanished even before being broadcast.

Is it not highly suspicious to say the least? Think, for who is attacked is you, not Hinduism or Indic civilisation and its achievements. You can save your skin and honour, now, before it is too late by raising your voice or go the Yezidi, native American or native Australian way like the now extinct Dodo bird of Mauritius. The choice is yours.

(Many thanks to Sudarshan T Nadathur and Ashish Dhar for reviewing the draft)


  1. Williams N, Ronan O’Connell P, McCaskie A (2018) Bailey & Love’s Short Practice of Surgery: The Collectors edition(CRC Press) Available at
  2. Dharampal (1971) Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century: Some Contemporary European Accounts (Impex India) Available at:
  3. Mudur N, Pavan P (2015) DRDO will work with Tirupati trust to prove loony theories. Bangalore Mirror. Available at:[Accessed September 5, 2018].
  4. Neelakandan A Ancient Aircraft to Pythagoras. Available at:[Accessed September 6, 2018].
  5. Mukunda HS, Deshpande SM, Nagendra HR, Prabhu A, Govindaraju SP (1974) A critical study of the work “Vymanika Shastra.” Scientific Opinion5:12.
  6. Wikipedia contributors (2018) Travis S. Taylor. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Available at:[Accessed September 6, 2018].
  7. Vaddadi Kavya (2017) Ancient Aliens S10 E11: Voices of the gods, Vimana Design by Kavya Vaddadi(Youtube) Available at[Accessed September 5, 2018].
  8. PSLV TV Channel (2018) Young Indian researcher Decoding Sanskrit scriptures to make Vedic vimans a reality | PSLV TV(Youtube) Available at[Accessed September 6, 2018].
  9. Bhutia LG THE MYTH OF THE INDIAN AVIATOR. OPEN Magazine. Available at:[Accessed February 22, 2018].

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SatyaVijayi.