Chapter 16, The Art of Building Ships and Aircrafts, etc.

The following mantras deal with mechanical arts and sciences.

“A man desirous of possessing and enjoying wealth, riches, necessaries of life, comforts and victory should fulfill his desires with the help of physical sciences. By constructing ships of wood, iron, etc., and by using fire and water (for generating steam for propulsion) he may make voyages on the seas backwards and forwards and in this way he may amass wealth. Such a man never dies in want and without assets, for he has labored as a man. Men should, therefore, spend all their efforts in building ships and boats for

* I have, however, translated these texts without reference to the vernacular explanation, except in the case of the last two verses, viz., ri VIII 2-1.1 and Yaju XXXII 10 where I have given a free translation of the vernacular explanation
going and coming from one country to another by water. The ships are to be constructed with metals such as iron, copper, silver or with wood, etc., and by the use of heat and light producing fire. These substances when properly used enable men to go from one country to anther with ease and comfort.

In ships which carry men on their forward and return voyages on the sea should be strong and able to remain steady (on the waters). The officers of State and the merchants should voyage by means of ships whenever the exigencies of business might require it.”

It is clear from this that conveyances of many other kinds such as aerial cars, etc., can be constructed with the same materials and means. Men should acquire highest renown and splendor by constructing cars for traveling in the upper regions.

Ships and boats should be made so smooth and polished that they become waterproof and water does not enter into them from outside. In this way let men travel in the three regions, i.e., on land by means of land vehicles, on water by means of water conveyances and in the air by means
of aerial cars. Rigveda I. 8:8-3.

[The word Tugra is derived from the root Tuji to kill, strengthen, accept, live in a house by adding the Aunadik rak to it.

In Uhathus the second person is used for the third.

Our intepretation of the word Ashvinau is supported by Nirukta.

‘Among the devas of the bright firmament the first rank in rank are the two Ashvins which affect all thins by ashva, i.e., by their juice or light or currents. This is the opinion of Aurnavabha. Hence some say that they are the bright and the opaque substances, others, that they are the sun and the moon. Nirukta XII. 1.
[The Ashvins are Jarbhari or agents of protection or Turphari – agents of destruction or shock and impact. They are like ocean-born jewels. Nirukta. III. 5]

These quotations prove that the three kinds of cars can be made by mechanical skill with such materials as gases, fire, water and other earth-born substances.

‘The three kinds of cars, the ships, etc., should be provided with means of comfort and they should be able to move at such a great speed that they may cross the watery ocean, the land, the upper region in three days and three nights, rushing on their course as if they were provided with innumerable feet. They should have six mechanisms, fire chambers for securing swift motion.

Let man travel comfortably in the three regions.

These cars are to be made with the help of the above mentioned Ashvins. they alone can move the cars properly and they also are the
principal means and helps in building such cars.

Men can enjoy the best comforts by acting in this way but not otherwise.’ Rigveda 1.8-8-4.

[In Uhathus by the anomalous use of the person the second person has been used for the third as is obvious. The Ashtadyayi III. 1. says ‘Anomalies are optionally used.’ On this the author of the Mahabhashya says: ‘The author wishes to say that there are anomalies in the use of case, number, gender, person, tense, etc. This anomalous use of cases, etc., is optional.]

‘Ye men! In the ocean full of eater and in the upper region where there is no means of support for hand, where none can stand you should travel, for success in your undertakings,
by building ships and aerial cars in the way described above. Such cars when moved by the properly yoked Ashvins bring success to the undertakings. As to what kinds of ships, etc., should be launched in the ocean (of water or of air) 9we are told that) there should be a hundred iron ‘aritras -oars’ (i.e., apparatus) for supporting the cars on land, on water and in the air and keeping them steady and for taking the bearings.

These apparatus should be fixed to the land conveyances, ships and aerial cars. These three kinds of cars should be constructed with a hundred mechanical devices, fastenings, appliances for making them steady. Such cars secure permanent and abiding enjoyments. Rigveda I.8-8-9

[The words Uhathus, Ashvinau, Bhujyuh are to be interpreted as before.]

“all men should exert themselves in this way, because it helps to secure enjoyments.
These cars mentioned above are to be constructed by the use of the white steam which the scientific men generate by properly employing the aforesaidAshvins, water and fire, for the purpose of swift locomotion. These conveyances are always a source of comfort,. Thus power of the Ashvins to move the cars should be utilized by men.

This power of the Ashvins is fit to be bestowed as a gift and a sit is conducive to happiness, it is invigorating. It is full of great capabilities and most praiseworthy. It is productive of excellent good to others. This fire is a swift horse which causes these cars to move rapidly on their track. We should employ this fire, the cause of swift locomotion, to our use. The merchants should use it in particular.” Rig. !.8.8.1.

[The Vam there is the anomalous use of the person.]

The word Kirtenyam is formed by adding
the suffix kenya to give the sense of activity.

In Bhut the past tense is used for the present.

The Nighantu I.14 gives Paidva as one of the names of ashva.

An [aphorism of Panini says the Arya is the name of Vaishya (merchant) and master.]

‘For the production of smooth, graceful motion in a car and for swift locomotion there should be attached three sets of strong wheels and mechanical appliances and the artisans should construct three supports to make it firm and steady and to keep the various mechanical parts in their place.

The learned mechanics know that these cars lead to peace and comfort and the realization of desires. They should construct these cars with the help of theAshvins because their use alone they
can obtain success in building such cars as will traverse the greatest distances within three days and three nights.” Rig. !.3.4.1

Now as to what kind of car for traveling upon land, water or in the air should be made.

It should be made of one of the three metals, iron, copper or silver. It should be such that the Ashvins, air, fire (gases, heat, electricity) may by means of mechanical devices move it forwards and backwards as swiftly as the move of the mind and the soul.” Rig !.3-5-7.

“It should be provided with the apparatus for keeping it steady, retaining its balance and stopping it. It should be of spacious dimensions. Such a craft, when the horse, i.e., fire, is harnessed to it, is able to cross the great oceans with great speed.
of ears should be property yoked water, that is, steam so that they move at the greatest speed. Rig I. 3-34.8

[Indu is a name for water in Nighantu. It is formed from Undi by changing its initial letter u and i according to an aphorism of the first Pada of Unadikosha.]

“O men! Properly employ in the three kinds of cars mentioned above, the air, etc., whose velocity is as great as that if the mind by means of locomotive machinery. These air, fire ,etc., in conjunction with water generate steam which imparts swift motion to them.” Rig I. 6-9.4

“Cars should be constructed for traversing distances upon land, water and in the upper
region. May our ships be as good as t hose of the wise who live by making sea voyages. May we employ water and fire in our cars as the wise do in theirs. All men should endeavor to construct such cars for crossing and re-crossing the oceans, etc.” Rig. I, 3-34-7.

[Matayah occurs among the names of the wise in the 15th Khanda of the Nighantu.]

“O men when the swift moving horses, i.e. fires are lighted, under vessels containing water, with fuel, wood, etc., and are able to move the machinery then they make the cars made of earthly substances leap up into the bright firmament. I.e., carry then up. (When they get up full steam and move rapidly they produce happiness just as the land irrigated by water produces various objects for the enjoyment of men. Rig. II. 32-17.
“These cars should have twelve supports for the mechanical parts and there should be one (fly) wheel for moving the whole machinery. There must be three contrivances in the center to keep the whole machinery in working order. The machinery is to consist of three hundred parts which are meant for moving the cars and there must be sixty other parts meant for stopping them. All the ears should be constructed in this way. All men do not know how to build them.” Rig II. 3-23-48.

There are many mantras in the Vedas dealing with this subject, but we do not quote all of them here for this is not the proper place for doing so.

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