Finding individuals and ideas who cross paths throughout time and lead to greater understanding is a source of intellectual pleasure. It’s like ripping a thick velvet cloth apart to expose ancient and priceless details due to someone who knows something intriguing.
Enrico Baccarini’s article on the Vimana gave me more knowledge on a subject I had discussed in my autobiography, which he had just published. So, after reading Alicia McDermott’s “request” to talk about this, I reasoned that combining my expertise with his would lead to a greater understanding of a difficult matter. Furthermore, I’d like to point out that the events I detailed in my book Tre Vite in Una (Three Lives in One) – (Enigma Edizioni 2020) – take place in the 1980s, at a period when discussing or writing about Vimana would seem to be a logical insult.
Pushpaka vimana appears three times, once flying over the sky and once crashing to the earth. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)
The Justification vanished into thin air…
When I believe I’m coming close to an explanation—a new understanding—it always disappoints me when it vanishes into thin air. Because my goals are almost always unusual and outlandish in compared to prevailing norms, I’ve had a lot of disappointments.
I felt I was on the brink of a major breakthrough and a new understanding of my device when I met David W. Davenport, co-author of 2000 BC: Atomic Destruction with Ettore Vincenti (first edition 1979 by Sugarco). He was introduced to me by Franco Piccari, an aviation engineer who had told me confidentially that they were working together to construct an aircraft referenced in ancient Sanskrit literature. I reasoned that Davenport could be the only person who could understand how my creation worked, particularly if any of its mechanics reminded him of ancient technology.
Mr. Josyer, director of the International Academy of Sanskrit Research in Mysore, who was in charge of publishing the priceless Vaimnika Shstra, or treatise on aeronautics, composed 4000 years ago. David Davenport (left), Ettore Vincenti (right), and Mr. Josyer, director of the International Academy of Sanskrit Research in Mysore, who was in charge of publishing the priceless Vaimnika Shstra, or treatis ‘2000 BC: Atomic Destruction,’ from the film. (Photo courtesy of the author)
He had the skills and knowledge required. Perhaps something similar to the working of my equipment has been uncovered in his Sanskrit studies. His tragic death, however, stopped him from achieving his goals and ambitions, as well as the goals and dreams of many others, including mine.
His work was exceptional. Davenport, who was born in India to English parents, was an archeologist and oriental language expert. He talked about his investigation comparing the original Sanskrit manuscripts, Rig Veda, Mahbhrata, Rmyaa, and hundreds of other ancient literature after unearthing what seemed to be a “aeronautics manual” in the Indus Valley.
– Aerial Ships, Nuclear Weaponry, and Infinite Universes in Sanskrit Texts
– Ancient India’s Mysterious Secret Society and Ashoka’s Nine Unknown Men
According to Davenport and his co-author, the city of Mohenjo-Daro (located in modern-day Pakistan) was destroyed 4000 years ago by an explosion strong enough to raze the city, incinerate its populace, and vitrify bricks and pottery. After examining their results, an Italian laboratory revealed that samples from Mohenjo-Daro had been exposed to a shockwave of fleeting and extreme heat ranging from hundreds to millions of degrees centigrade. According to our present knowledge of matter, the only force capable of delivering such an impact would have been a nuclear explosion.
Aeronautics Science in an Ancient Text?!
Among the other topics covered in his book, Davenport discussed the possibility of a technical/technological translation of Maharashi Bharadwaja’s ancient aeronautical manual, the Vaimnika Shstra (Science of Aeronautics), which briefly describes the operation of the Vimanas, ancient aircraft that sailed the skies around 4,000 years ago, and the equipment they used. After doing extensive investigation, Davenport came to the opinion that this work should be merged with other Sanskrit texts that are only known in India and have never been translated into English.
The Shakuna Vimana artwork was produced by T.K. Ellappa. ‘2000 BC: Atomic Destruction,’ from the film. (Photo courtesy of the author)
The Vaimnika Shstra, on the other hand, due to its very small length, could not be termed a true treatise on aviation engineering. The entire manuscript is only 124 pages long, with much of it devoted to pilot instructions, such as what to eat and wear, what metals to use to build Vimanas, geological information on where to find these metals, how to prepare metals for construction using furnaces, bellows, and crucibles, a description of the three types of Vimanas and their equipment, electric generators, and electric motors.
Many different ideas are crammed into much too few pages, and the book tragically lacks the detailed instructions needed to construct the gadgets today. Above all, the book suggests a style of scientific summary designed to provide non-scientists a thorough knowledge of the topic.
The following is one of the translated passages of the Vaimnika Shstra that Davenport discusses in 2000 BC Atomic Destruction:
“Take, for example, the electric motor. This is how it’s explained:
“The electric motor is made out of a thin metal wire twisted in turns with a thin wire cage in the center.” Current is transported from the generator to the engine through a glass tube. The wire cage is connected to the generator’s spinning mechanism or the pinion shaft with appropriate wheels.”
In 2000 BC, Davenport states, “Whoever authored these sentences,
“certainly knew the electric motor, because he correctly cited the three fundamental elements: the winding (or “solenoid” to use more technical language); the central rotating part (it’s interesting to note that in modern three-phase motors, this rotating part is called “squirrel cage”), and the insulator (“glass,” says the text, and we immediately think of the tubes used today, but nothing prevents the use of actual glass, which is excellent insulation but little used ), The moveable section is also said to be coupled to a generating pole on one side and a pinion on the other, which conveys the movement to the machine in question.
However, it merely makes fuzzy allusions to fundamental physical principles and is bewildered by the connections. As a consequence, the reader must have a thorough knowledge of electrical engineering in order to comprehend what is presented; otherwise, even with the best of intentions, all he will get is a “proto-motor”: a device that looks like an electric motor but does not run. It’s a description that matches our perception of scientific vulgarization. It looks to be more analogous to how an electrical expert may explain how an engine works to a layman in very general terms.”
The Shakuna Vimana Technical Scheme, according to data acquired from the Vaimnika Shstra. ‘2000 BC: Atomic Destruction,’ from the film. (Photo courtesy of the author)
Communication and Language Issues
We are once again faced with linguistic issues and the difficulty of conveying complex concepts. Davenport also had to deal with the challenge of translating from a foreign, antique language to modern technical jargon. The original translation of the Vaimnika Shstra, from which Davenport worked, was finished by G.R. Josyer, the director of the International Academy of Sanskrit Research in Mysore.
Mr. Josyer was a renowned Sanskritist and an authority on ancient Indian culture, but he was not a scientist and lacked the vocabulary for today’s aeronautical, electronic, chemical, and metallurgical techniques, which would have allowed Davenport to develop a more complete scientific understanding of the craft described in the text.
Davenport analogizes the problem of communication in this excerpt:
“A scholar in our civilization may struggle to comprehend what a tiger’s eye necklace would be in the far future.” Everyone knows it’s a necklace composed of a certain kind of iridescent rough stone that’s yellow and brown. If, on the other hand, a hypothetical researcher came across the same sentence and translated it to the letter, and by “tiger’s eyes” we meant the enormous cat’s eyeballs, he would surely have strange ideas about twentieth-century women’s habits.”
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Alternatively, he could have trouble figuring out what the “gooseneck” is (the jointed shaft that transmits movement to the pistons). Alternatively, interpret the “whiskers,” which are extraordinarily long and thin crystals made in the lab and used as non-metallic aircraft components owing to their exceptional heat and stress resistance. The name “Whiskers” has been given to these carbon crystals (cat whiskers). The scholar will not be able to understand why our aircraft are fitted with cat whiskers if they interpret the term to the letter.
Hundreds of expressions in today’s lexicon can only be understood if we live in the historical period in which they are used.
Is the terminology used to describe flying vimanas still correct today? (DeviantArt/Gustavoc)
I utilize terminology and knowledge that I am acquainted with while describing the construction of my device. My answer always comes across as “pizza” to the scientist, according to a Roman aerospace engineer friend. Similarly, what would we first grasp if a future scholar presented something “technical” to us, something that operated on principles different from what we know today? I don’t have a lot of faith.