Continued from part1
The Mahabharata also tells of the awesome destructiveness of the war:
"... (the weapon was) a single projectile charged with all the power of the Universe. An incandescent column of smoke and flame as bright as the thousand suns rose in all its splendour... An iron thunderbolt, a gigantic messenger of death, which reduced to ashes the entire race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas.... the corpses were so burned as to be unrecognizable.
The hair and nails fell out; pottery broke without apparent cause, and the birds turned white.... after a few hours all foodstuffs were infected.... to escape from this fire, the soldiers threw themselves in streams to wash themselves and their equipment..." Some say that the Mahabharata is describing an atomic war. References like this one are not isolated.
In fact, battles, using a fantastic array of weapons and aerial vehicles are common in all the epic Indian books. One even describes a Vimana-Vailix battle on the Moon! The above section very accurately describes what an atomic explosion would look like and the effects of the radioactivity on the population. Jumping into water is the only respite.
In the Sanskrit Samarangana Sutradhara which literally meant, "Controller of the battlefield", it has been written:
"Strong and durable must the body of the Vimana be made, like a great flying bird of light material. Inside one must put the mercury engine with its iron heating apparatus underneath. By means of the power latent in the mercury which sets the driving whirlwind in motion, a man sitting inside may travel a great distance in the sky."
The movements of the Vimana can vertically ascend, vertically descend, and move slanting forwards and backwards. With the help of the machines human beings can fly in the air and heavenly beings can come down to earth."
On the other hand, as per the Mesopotamian sources -- The Hakatha or the Laws of the Babylonians quite unambiguously stated:
"The privilege of operating a flying machine is great. The knowledge of flight is among the most ancient of our inheritances. A gift from 'those from upon high'. We received it from them as a means of saving many lives."
The ancient Chaldean work, The Sifrala, contains more fantastic information. This book contains information over one hundred pages of technical details on building a flying machine. It contains words which translate as graphite rod, copper coils, crystal indicator, vibrating spheres, stable angles, etc.
The predecessors of the flying vimanas of the Sanskrit epics were the flying chariots employed by various gods in the Vedas. These included the Sun, Indra and several other Vedic deities transported by flying wheeled chariots pulled by animals. These animals were usually horses though the Vedic god Pusan's chariot was pulled by goats.
Pushpaka was originally made by Vishwakarma for Kubera who was the God of wealth. However, it was later stolen, along with Lanka, by his half-brother, the demon king Ravana.
According to the Kalpa Sutra of Bhadra-bahu, the 24th tirthankar Mahavira himself emerged out of the great vimana Pu?pa-uttara. However, the 22nd tirthankara Ari??a-nemi emerged out of the great vimana Aparijita. The subsequent tirthankars Abhinandana (4th) and Sumati-natha (5th) respectively both traveled through the sky in the "Jayanta-vimana." This was namely the great vimana Sarva-artha-siddhi, owned by the Jayanta deities; whereas the tirthankars Dharma-natha (15th) traveled through the sky in the "Vijaya-vimana".
A vimana could also be visualised in a dream, such as the nalini-gulma.
The Vaimanika Shastra was an early 20th century Sanskrit text on aeronautics. This work claimed to be obtained by mental channeling, about construction of vimanas, the "chariots of the Gods." The existence of the text was revealed in 1952 by G. R. Josyer.
A Hindi translation was published in 1959, while the Sanskrit text with an English translation in 1973. It has 3000 shlokas in 8 chapters. It was attributed by Shastry to Maharishi Bharadvaja. This makes it of purportedly "ancient" origin. Hence, it has a certain notability in ancient astronaut theories.
A study by aeronautical and mechanical engineering at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1974 concluded that the aircraft described in the text were "poor concoctions." Additionally, the author showed complete lack of understanding of aeronautics.