Aeronautics in Ancient India?

Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at
Fri Jun 27 11:04:02 UTC 1997

On a trip to Gondal a few years ago, I picked up the following pamphlet: bharadvaaja pra.niita ya.mtrasarvasve vimaana
        prakara.nam / sa.m"sodhaka "srii bhuvane"sarii pii.thaadhii"sa
        aacaarya "srii cara.natiirtha mahaaraaja

        muulya 0.75

        "srii bhuvane"svarii prakaa"sana, go.m.da.a-sauraa.s.tra,

Date of publication: Monday 10 aa"svina"sukla, sa.mvat 2008.  Extent:

To the best of my knowledge, most reports of "a work in Sanskrit on
aeroplanes" are inspired by this publication.

There is no Yantrasarvasva listed in Aufrecht's CC under title or under
Bharadvaaja; CESS lists a Bharadvaaja (A4.288b) who is the alleged author
of a Jaambuuyaamalasuutra = Deviiyaamalasuutra, of which a single MS is
listed as being in Trivandrum (but with no author given).

A Bhaaradvaaja is listed in CESS A4.294 as an ancient authority on "sakuna
cited by Varaahamihira and others.  See also CESS A5.253a: an edition of
the Bhaaradvaajasa.mhitaa listed there would be of interest: anyone
seriously interested in this topic should collect copies of those
manuscripts, and prepare a critical edition of the text.  The manuscripts
are not long, though incomplete, and Nandinaagari is pretty easy to read. 

The Gondal pii.thaadhii"sa, Swaami Cara.natiirtha Mahaaraaja, was the
same person as Jiivaraama Kaalidaasa "Saastrii (d. 1978), who worked at
the Nirnayasaagara (I think; in Bombay anyway) press for some time,
collaborating with Trivikramaacaarya Ji, and then published a number
useful editions of rasa"saastra texts from Bombay and later Gondal.  In
his middle to later life he held an appointment as the Raajavaidya to
the Maharaaja of Gondal, Bhagavat Sinh Jee, who published "A history of
Aryan Medical Science", probably ghosted by Jiivaraama. His editions and
compositions are important, but his most lasting contribution is
probably his collection of ca. 8000 manuscripts, which were sold by his
son Ghana"syaamaji to the Gujarat government, and are now deposited in
the library of the Gujarat Ayurvedic University in Jamnagar.  The
catalogue of this collection, published in Gondal 1960, is a rarity.  It
lists neither Yantrasarvasva nor Vimaana prakara.nam. Jiivaraama was,
unfortunately, duped by some Benares pundit into believing that he had a
genuine birch bark manuscript of a "v.rddha" giitaa.  I have examined
this MS, and it is very clearly a modern fabrication. It is hard to
believe that Jiivaraama, who obviously had a lot of experience with MSS,
could have believed it genuine.  However, he gained kudos from
publishing this work, and it continues to be reprinted.

        "srii bhagavad giitaa, 745 verses, bhojapatrii giitaa, Gondal
        giitaa; First edition 1937 -- latest edition 1990; with
        introduction, complete English translation, and various readings
        edited with the help of an ancient birch-leaf manuscript by
        Poojya Acharyashri Charanatirtha Maharaj. Gondal, 1990.

The Bhuvane"svarii Pii..tha in Gondal continues to be a flourishing
religious centre, and Ghana"syaamajii has a popular healing ministry
there.  The attached Rasa"saalaa manufactures metallic and other
medicines which are distributed all over the world.  Ghana"syaamajii's
principle interest outside his pastoral and healing ministry is the
breeding of Gir cows and donkeys.

Best wishes,

Dominik Wujastyk               Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine
email: d.wujastyk at          183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, England
<URL:>                    FAX: 44 171 611 8545

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