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Viman Vidya and Shivkar Bapuji Talpade

Pandit Shivkar Bapuji Talpade

Viman Vidya and Shivkar Bapuji Talpade 

Author : Vijay Upadyaya


According to Bhāratiya knowledge heritage, Veda is the source of all knowledge. Our scholars and seers have derived all knowledge from this only. But after the Mahabhārat war with the decline in the Vedic ethics, scientific deciphering tradition of Veda was also vanished gradually.

But in the 19th century it was again brought into practiced by Swāmi Dayānand Saraswati and he started the scientific deciphering process of the Vedas. He had brought into light the forgotten Vimāna Vidyā existed during the Vedic period and explained the various technologies present in the Vedas in his book titled ‘Rig-Vedādic-Bhāshya-Bhumikā’ published in 1877.

In the ‘Nau-Vimāna Vidyā’ chapter of this book he explained the fundamental principles of Vimāna and Ship from the eleven Mantras of the Rig-Veda. Also in his commentaries on the Vedas name as ‘Yajur-Veda and Rig-Veda Bhāshya’ he deciphered and explained the fundamental principles of Vimāna Vidyā present in the Veda Mantras. Pandit Shivkar Bapuji Talpade came to know about from these and constructed and flew the first unmanned aircraft after taking inspiration from these texts.



Shivkar Bapuji Talpade was born in 1864 in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He was belonged to the Pathare Prabhu Community. During his study in Sir J. J. School of Art, Mumbai he came to know about ancient Indian Aeronautics through his teacher Chiranjilal Verma. He guided Talpade to read Swami Dayanand Saraswati works related to ancient aeronautics viz. ‘Rigvedādic Bhāshya Bhumikā’ and ‘Rigved and Yajurveda Bhāshya’. Inspired from these texts he decided to construct Vedic Vimāna described in the Vedas and started learning Vedic Sanskrit language.

Shivkar used the scientific method of decoding Veda Mantras prescribed by Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Following Dayānand’s method, he studied the fundamental principles of Vimana from the Veda Mantras. To carry out the experimental and observational analysis of the Veda Mantras, he set up a laboratory in 1892. Based on his findings, he was the first man to claim that the shape of a Vimana is like that of a bird. Initially he built a prototype and later constructed a 6×4 feet aircraft and placed the ‘Shanku-Yantra’ in the centre.

Research in Vedic Aeronautics by Pandit Shivkar Bāpuji Talpade

Shivkar carried out experimental and observational analysis of the Veda Mantras containing the fundamental principles of Vimāna. Based on these Mantras, he manufactured the first aircraft of the modern era. His research work on Vedic Vimāna is explained below.

  1. Shape & Utilization of Vedic Vimāna

Shivkar studied and deciphered the following two Mantras of Rigved and described the shape and utilization of Vimāna. These are

तुग्रो ह भुज्युमश्विनोदमेघे रयिं न कश्चिन्ममृवाँ अवाहाः । तमूहथुर्नौभिरात्मन्वतीभिरन्तरिक्षप्रुद्भिरपोदकाभिः ॥१॥

तिस्रः क्षपस्त्रिरहातिव्रजद्भिर्नासत्या भुज्युमूहथुः पतंगैः । समुद्रस्य धन्वन्नार्द्रस्य पारे त्रिभी रथैः शतपद्भिः षळश्वैः ॥२॥


In these two Mantras he focused on some words and after comprehending that he got the knowledge of the shape and use of the vimāna. These words are –

i.        (अन्तरिक्षप्रुद्भिः) – That which can be used to move in the sky and which is known by the name of Vimāna.

ii.        (पतंगैः) – Similar to a kite or a bird and as fast as horse.

iii.        (र्नौभि) – Ship which is used to move in ocean at comfort.

From these words he concluded that Vimāna can be used to travel in sky and Ship can be used in water. There shape is like that of a bird.


  1. Machines used in Vimāna

He got to know about the machines required to make the Vimāna fly after deciphering the following Mantra.

द्वादश प्रधयश्चक्रमेकं त्रीणि नभ्यानि क उ तच्चिकेत । तस्मिन्त्साकं त्रिशता न शङ्कवोऽर्पिताः षष्टिर्न चलाचलासः ॥

In this Mantra the word which indicates the machine to be used in the Vimāna is (शङ्कवोऽर्पिताः). This means a machine having the shape of a cone has to be placed in the Vimāna. This machine should have six openings. While moving up, orifice present below should be opened up and upper orifice should be closed. While moving down, upper orifice should be opened up and other one should be closed. Like wise if the aircraft has to be moved to east, the west one should be opened up and vice-versa. In a similar manner it is to be executed for the north and south directions.



This unmanned plane was flown in December of 1895 at Girgaum Chaupati beach in front of audience. It is said that the plane rose to a certain height and then came down on the ground. But this event wasn’t recorded officially by the British Govt. He also exhibited this Vedic Vimāna in an exhibition at town hall in Mumbai organised by the Bombay Art Society.

Literary Works

                        Shivkar was short of funds and didn’t receive any support from the then British government.  As a result he could not expand his research further but he decided to pass on his work and published a Marathi book titled ‘Prāchina Vimāna Kalechā Shodha’ in 1907. Later in 1909 he published ‘Rig-Veda – Prathama Sukta Evam Tyāchā Artha’ explaining the scientific method of deciphering the Vedas.

Shivkar practiced the Yoga Vidyā and wrote three books on this namely ‘Pātanjali Yogdarshanātargat Shabdo Kā Bhutārtha Darshan’, ‘Man Aur Uskā Bal’ and ‘Gurumantra Mahimā’. Also he translated the two famous book of Swami Dayanand Saraswati from Hindi to Marathi and edited six other books. He was also the editor of a magazine called ‘Arya Dharma’. Due to his literary contribution, he was awarded with ‘Vidyā-Prakāsha-Pradeepa’ by the Kolhapur Shankarāchārya. Shivkar was the Secretary at the “Vedavidyā Prachārini Pāthashālā’ and member of ‘Veda Dharma Prachārini Sabha’.

Family Details

Shivkar Bapuji Talpade was married to Smt. Laxmi  Bai. They were blessed with two sons and one daughter. Elder son Moreswar was working as a health inspector in the Health Dept. of Bombay Municipality while the younger one Vinayaka was a clerk in the Bank of Bombay. Daughter’s name was Navubai.

Study of Vyamaanika Shastra

In 1916, Pandit Shivkar Bāpuji Talpade studied Maharshi Bhāradwāja’s ‘Yantra-Sarwaswa, Amshubodhini and Aksha-Tantra’ under the guidance of Pandit subrāya Shāstri of Bengaluru. These texts were related to the ancient aeronautics. Maharishi Bhāradwāja classified the Vimānas based on the basis of source of energy used in the Vimāna. The aphorism is

“शक्त्युद्गमोदयष्टौ”                     विमानाधिकरण सू. १ अधि.५४ ।

                        This is explained by sage Bodhāyana as –

शक्त्युद्गमो भूतवाहो धूमयानश्शिखोद्गमः

अंशुवाहस्तारमुखोमणि वाहो मरुत्सखः ।।

इत्यष्टदाधिकरणे वर्गाण्युक्तानि शास्त्रतः ।

                        Based on the construction and energy sources Vedic Vimānas were classified into eight different types. These are –

Types                                    Energy Sources

  1. शक्त्युद्गमवर्गम् ।          Electric Energy.
  2. भूतवाहः वर्गम् ।              Five Elements known as Pacha-Mahābhuta.
  3. धूमयानः वर्गम् ।             Steam.
  4. शिखोद्मः वर्गम् ।           Wax prepared from various plants.
  5. अंशुवाहः वर्गम् ।             Solar Energy.
  6. तारामुखः ।                     Energy extracted from the Extra-terrestrial bodies falling on the earth.
  7. मणिवाहः वर्गम् ।            Heat and Electricity extracted from air.
  8. मरुत्सखाः वर्गम् ।           Energy collected from air after separating its heat and humidity.

Pandit Shivkar Bāpuji Talpade constructed the Marutsakhā type of Vimāna. His first attempt of flying it was not very much successful but he kept on rectifying the defects with the dogged determination and working at it day and night to bring it to perfection. This worsens his health and finally he left his mortal on 17 September 1917.



  1. ऋग्वेदादिकभाष्यभूमिका, स्वामी दयानन्द सरस्वती, १८७७ (पुनः प्रकाशित २०१२) ।
  2. बृहत विमानशास्त्र, स्वामी ब्रह्ममुनि परिव्राजक, १९५८ (पुनः प्रकाशित १९९२) ।
  3. सत्यार्थप्रकाश, स्वामी दयानन्द सरस्वती, १८७५ (पुनः प्रकाशित २०१२) ।
  4. हिन्दीशिल्पशास्त्रसार (मराठी), श्री कृष्णाजी विनायक वझे, १९२९ (पुनः प्रकाशित २०१३) ।
  5. वैदिक वाङ्मय का इतिहास-द्वितीय भाग, पण्डित भगवद्दत्त, १९३१ (पुनः प्रकाशित २००८) ।
  6. ऋषि दयानन्द की वेदभाष्य-शैली, डॉ. धर्मवीर, १९८८ ।
  7. उपदेश मंजरी, स्वामी दयानन्द सरस्वती, १८७५ (पुनः प्रकाशित २०१३) ।
  8. प्राचीन विमान विद्या (पूर्वार्ध), पं. श्रीपाद दामोदर सातवलेकर, केसरी, १० मई १९५३ ।
  9. पाठारे प्रभूंचा इतिहास (मराठी), श्री प्रताप वेलकर, १९९७ ।
  10.  प्रभुमासिक (न्यू सीरीज) (मराठी), अक्टोबर, १९१७ ।
  11.  प्राचीन विमान कलेचा शोध (मराठी), शिवकर बापूजी तलपदे, १९०७ ।
  12.  ऋग्वेद-प्रथम सूक्त व त्याचे अर्थ (मराठी), शिवकर बापूजी तलपदे, १९०९ ।
  13.  गुरुमंत्र महिमा (गुजराती), पण्डित शिवकर बापूजी तलपदे, १९१६ ।
  14.  The Autobiography of Maharshi Pandit T. Subraya Sasthriji, G Venkatachala Sarma, 12 Mar, 1972.