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Space Heroes of Old India  

The Ramayana telling in magic imagery the quest of Rama for his stolen wife Sita, has thrilled the people of India for thousands of years; generations of wandering story-tellers have recited its 24,000 verses to marveling audiences captivated by this brilliant panorama of the fantastic past, the passions of heroic love, tragedies of dark revenge, aerial battles between Gods and Demons waged with nuclear bombs; the glory of noble deeds; the thrilling poetry of life, the philosophy of destiny and death.  

Some descriptions of the war:  

In his wonderful translation of the ‘Ramayana’ Romesh Chunder Dutt describes Rama’s father, King Dasartatha, as ‘sprung of ancient Solar Race’, a descendant of Kings of the Sun, Spacebeings, who ruled India ..  

Ravan speeding on his chariot and Rama on the heavenly car fought an epic duel in long and wild fury, the winds were hushed in voiceless terror and the livid sun turned pale. Rama dueled with Ravana in celestial cars fighting in the sky and destroyed him with annihilating missiles to win back Sita. After rescuing Sita, Rama took her home by aerial car, an enormous, beautifully painted two-storied car, furnished with windows adorned with flags and colors, and several apartments for passengers and crew; the vehicle emitted a melodious sound heard on the ground.  

The happy pair, reunited flew from Sri Lanka across India over the Ganges , home to Ayodhya, as Rama gave a colorful description of the historic landscape of hills and rivers gliding swiftly below.  

Sailing o’er the cloudless ether Rama’s Pushpa chariot came
And ten thousand jocund voices shouted Rama’s joyous name.
Silver swans by Rama’s bidding soft descended from the air
And on earth the chariot lighted – car of flowers divinely fair.’  

(Note: To marveling mortals spaceships gleaming in the sun shine would resemble silver swans).  

The Drona Parva p. 171, rejoices that when Rama ruled his kingdom, the Rishis, Gods and men, all lived together on the Earth; the world became extremely beautiful. Rama (and presumably his descendants) reigned in his kingdom for eleven thousand years. In this Golden Age Celestials from other planets trod our Earth as mentioned in the Egyptian and Greek texts.  

(Note: Abduction of Sita by Ravana in the Epic of Ramayana. This wonderful epic of the ‘Ramayana’ the inspiration of the world’s great classic literature, intrigues us most today by its frequent allusions to aerial vehicles and annihilating bombs, which we consider to be inventions of our own 20th century impossible in the far past. Students of Sanskrit literature soon revise their preconceived ideas and find that the heroes of Ancient India were apparently equipped with aircraft and missiles more sophisticated than those we boast today.  

This wonderful epic of the ‘Ramayana’ the inspiration of the world’s great classic literature, intrigues us most today by its frequent allusions to aerial vehicles and annihilating bombs, which we consider to be inventions of our own 20th century impossible in the far past. Students of Sanskrit literature soon revise their preconceived ideas and find that the heroes of Ancient India were apparently equipped with aircraft and missiles more sophisticated than those we boast today.  

The 31st chapter of the Samaranganasutradhara, ascribed to King Bhojadira in the 11th century, contains descriptions of remarkable flying ships such as the elephant-machine, wooden-bird-machine traveling in the sky, wooden-vimana-machine flying in the air, door-keeper-machine, soldier-machine, etc. denoting different type of craft for different purposes. The poet had persons not initiated in art of building machines will cause trouble. Surely the understatement of the century!  

Ramachandra Dikshitar (1896 - 1953) in his fascinating War in Ancient India translates the Samar as saying that these flying machines could attack visible and invisible objects, ascending, cruising thousands of miles in different directions in the atmosphere, even mounting to the solar and stellar regions. ‘The aerial cars are made of light wood looking like a great bird with a durable and well-formed body having mercury inside and fire at the bottom. It has two resplendent wings and is propelled by air. It flies in the atmospheric regions for a great distance and carries several persons in it. The inside construction resembles heaven created by Brahma himself. Iron, copper, lead and other metals are also used for these machines. Despite their apparent simplicity the Samar stresses that these vimanas were costly to make and were the exclusive privilege of the aristocrats, who fought celestial duels. Today we associate such craft with Spacemen.  

The Mahabharata

The most fascinating tales of war in the air waged with fantastic weapons transcending our own science-fiction-today are narrated in the ‘Mahabharata’, a wonderful poem of 200,000 lines, eight times as long as the ‘Iliad’ and ‘Odyssey’ combined, a veritable world in literature. This epic concerning the great Bharata War in Northern India fought about 1400 BC paints in glorious color a great and noble civilization, where kings and priests, princes and philosophers, warriors and fair women, mingled in a brilliant society, perhaps the most glittering period in all history. The brilliant characterization of the noble prince Arjuna, his peerless bride, Draupadi, the God, Krishna, the host of Celestials and warrior-knights, transcend the bucolic creations of Homer and the colorful pageant is studded with human personages, whose fallings from sublimity to despair are revealed with an insight unsurpassed by genius in our Western world. Transmuting the martial adventures and exquisite passions brood the sublime teachings of the Bhagavad Gita with their incalculable influence on the Greek philosophers and the great Thinkers of the West. We today are more intrigued by the aerial craft and wonder weapons suggesting some secret science inspired by Beings from Space.  

The discourse between the hero, Arjuna and the Lord Krishna, as the warrior hesitates to fight his own kinsfolk form the lofty Bhagavad Gita, The Song of the Lord, where in Krishna reveals the meaning of the universe, the wisdom of Brahman and the duty of men expounding the religion of the Hindus.  

The battle between Arjuna and the giant Rakshasas soared from the plains of India to the skies. The Samsaptakabadha Parva p. 58, describes Arjuna and Krishna borne in a car,  

“….exceedingly resplendent like a celestial car, O king, in the battle between the Gods and the Asuras in the days of old, it displayed a circular, forward, backward and diverse other kinds of motion….The Son of Pandu blew his prodigious conch call, Devadotta. And then he shot the weapon called Tashtva, that is capable of slaying large bodies of foes together.”  

References in the ‘Mahabharata’ to fantastic weapons no longer evoke ridicule but becomes of intense interest to our 20th century minds haunted by nuclear bombs. The Bhisma Parva, p. 44, describing the conflict between Arjuna and Bhisma states the enemy invoked a celestial weapon resembling fire in effulgence and energy, Chandra Roy in his masterly translation notes, “The Brahma-danda, meaning Brahma’s Rod, is infinitely more powerful than even Indra’s bolt. The latter can strike only once, but the former can smite whole countries and entire races from generation to generation.”  For thousands of years scholars assumed this to be a figment of the Poet’s imagination; we at once are struck by the ominous resemblance to our hydrogen-bomb, whose radiations mutate generations unborn.  

Arjuna and his contemporaries appeared to possess an arsenal of diverse, sophisticated nuclear weapons, equal to, perhaps surpassing, the missiles of the Americans and Russians today. The Badha Parva, p. 97, mentions the Vaishnava weapon conferring invisibility, able to destroy all the Gods in all the worlds. The Drona Parva, p. 283, refers to an annihilating mace or missile.  

‘Encompassed by them (bowmen), O Bharata, Bhisma smiting the while and uttering a leonine roar, took up and hurled at them with great force a fierce mace of destruction of hostile ranks. That mace of adamantine strength, hurled like Indra’s thunder by Indra himself, crushed, O King, thy soldiers in battle. And it seemed to fill, O King, the whole Earth with a loud noise. And blazing forth in splendor, that fierce mace of impetuous course and endowed with lightning flashes coursing towards them, thy warriors fled away uttering frightful cries. And at the unbelievable found, O Sire, of that fierce mace, many men fell down where they stood, and many car-warriors also fell down from their cars.’  

Atomic warfare with defenders vainly launching anti-missiles to counter nuclear rockets startles us by its uncanny resemblance to future wars, when our Earth’s capital may be blasted with bombs of anti-matter launched from space-satellites. The Drona Parva, p. 592, describes:  

Selective missiles like the Narayana weapons, called ‘scorcher of foes’ were probably utilized against troops on the battlefield. The ultimate weapon was the Agneya, reminiscent of the Atlantean mash-mak, said to utilize some sidereal force, mercifully undiscovered by us today. The Drona Parva, p. 677, holds us spell bound.  

‘The valiant Ashwathaman, then staying resolutely on his car touched water and invoked the Agneya weapon, incapable of being resisted by the very Gods. Aiming at all his visible and invisible foes, the preceptor’s son, that Slayer of hostile heroes, inspired with mantras a blazing shaft of the effulgence of a smokeless fire and let it off on all sides, filled with rage. Dense showers of arrows then issued from it in the welkin. Endued with fiery flames those arrows compassed Partha on all sides. Meteors flashed down from the firmament. A thick gloom suddenly shrouded the Pandava host. All points of the compass also were enveloped by that darkness. Rakshashas and Vicochas crowding together uttered fierce cries. Inauspicious winds began to blow. The Sun himself no longer gave any heat. Ravens fiercely croaked on all sides. Clouds roared in the welkin, showering blood. Birds and beasts and kine and Munis of high vows and souls under complete control became exceedingly uneasy. The very elements seemed to be perturbed. The Sun seemed to turn round. The universe scorched with heats seemed to be in a fever. The elephants and other creatures of the land scorched by the energy of that weapon, ran in fright, breathing heavily and desirous of protection against that terrible force. The very water being heated, the creatures residing in that element, O Bharata, became exceedingly uneasy and seemed to burn. From all points of the compass, cardinal and subsidiary, from the firmament and the very Earth, showers of sharp and fierce arrows fell and issued with the impetuosity of Garuda on the wind. Struck and burnt by those shafts of Ashothaman that were all endued with the impetuosity of the thunder, the hostile warriors fell down like trees burnt down by a raging fire.  

Huge elephants burnt by that weapon, fell down on the Earth all around, uttering fierce cries loud as those of the clouds. Other huge elephants, scorched by that fire, ran hither and thither, roared aloud in fear, as if in the midst of a forest conflagration. The steeds, O King, and the cars also burnt by the energy of that weapon, looked, O Sire, like the tops of trees burnt in a forest fire. Thousands of cars fell down on all sides. Indeed, O Bharata, it seemed that the divine Lord Agni burnt the (Pandava) host in that battle like Somvarta fire destroying everything at the end of the Yuga. (Celestial fire destroying civilization at the end of a world age).  

Could this marvelous description of a nuclear-like blast related by that Indian thousands of years ago be surpassed by our scientific reporters today? Such gripping narrative in homely words reminds us of the eye-witness accounts of the people of Hiroshima . This tale is stamped with the hall marks of truth; it can be no aery-fairy science-fiction, long ago in our world’s tortured history this frightful catastrophe must have happened. Such fantastic warfare must have baffled historian Romesh Chunder Dutt as he translated the Drona Parva in those leisurely days of 1888, when battles were won by cavalry charges and heroes waving banners; today we understand too well the titanic horrors of atomic war. Conventional history denies any high technology to the peoples of antiquity who are believed to have lived in a static culture for thousands of years in agricultural communities waiting for James Watt to wake up one day and invent the steam-engine. Man has suffered other Hiroshimas long ago; humanity always learns enough to make the same sorry mistakes.  

The ‘Ramayana’ and the ‘Mahabharta’ written so many millennia ago show that our remote ancestors were not barbarians but lived and loved in a gay and glittering culture with a spiritual insight into cosmic mysteries transcending our own. Perhaps in that distant past we discern our future. In a few decades our Earth may be graced again by Spacemen, the Gods of Old India.  

While our Western civilization is based on the Greeco-Judaic cultures, it is seldom realized that the Greeks and the Jews derived many of their fundamental concepts from old India especially after the invasion of Alexander in 327 BC.  Kannada and the Gnani Yogis speculated on the atom five hundred years before Democritus, Aryabhatta in the 6th century BC taught the rotation of the Earth, the scientific principles of medicine, botany and chemistry were established as early as 1300 BC in India while Indian astronomy dates from remote Antiquity.  

The Creation in Genesis seems a primitive version of the profound teaching of the Days and Nights of Brahman; the tale of Noah an echo of Vaivasvata warned by Lord Vishnu to build a ship for the coming Flood; the Jewish Kabbala and various events in the Bible can be traced to Hindu scriptures written many centuries earlier.  

To minds conditioned by two thousand years of Christianity, the lives and teachings of Krishna and Buddha throw so much doubt on the historicity of Jesus, that we dare to wonder if the whole Christian Legend is but a plagiarism of Hinduism and Buddhism. Such apparent blasphemy outrages all our feelings, to doubt the reality of Jesus seems mortal sin, yet if we honestly study the teachings of Krishna, Hellenized to Chrestus hence Christ, and compare the fundamental dogma of Virgin Birth, Miracles, Ritual death on a tree or cross, Immortality, we find ourselves speculating whether Jesus was a myth based on the earlier historical Krishna.  Many scholars believe that Old India was the source not only of civilization, the arts and sciences, but also of all the great religions of Antiquity. 

(source: Gods and spacemen in the ancient east - By W Raymond Drake p. 1 – 65).

Today we tend to belittle the past and boast our age as the highest peak in human cultures, despite its sadly apparent short-comings; the common man in the West certainly lives more princely than many a King centuries ago and enjoys marvels of genius which would have amazed the old magicians, yet the literature of Eastern peoples show that the Ancients sometimes surpassed us in the very things of which we are proud of. The Indian lyricize of spaceships faster than light and missiles more violent than H-bombs; their Sanskrit texts describe aircraft apparently with radar and cameras; the wonderful ‘Mahabahrata’ rivals the ‘Ilad’ and the ‘Odyssey’, the ‘Aeneid,’ the plays of Shakespeare and most of our modern fiction all combined. The religions and philosophies of the East distilled a sublimity of thought scarce attained in the West; the wonderful Indian system of Yoga, the Gnani Yoga of Wisdom, Raja Yoga of Mind, Hatha Yoga of Body, Bhakti Yoga of Love, Karma Yoga of Work, developed a discipline millennia ago blending mysticism with daily life, showing Man’s relation to the Universe incarnating ever upwards to perfection to Union with God; this supreme and beneficent teaching now exerting widening influence in our Western world must surely have sprung from civilizations long vanished…”  

(source: Gods and spacemen in the ancient east - By W Raymond Drake p. 226).

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Updated -  October 28, 2008