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The Pushpaka vimana flying in the sky.
Vim?na are the flying palaces or chariots described in Hindu texts and Sanskrit epics. The Pushpaka Vimana of the king Ravana (who took it from Lord Kubera; Rama returned it to Kubera) is the most quoted example of a vimana. Vimanas are also mentioned in Jain texts.
Sculpture of the Pushpaka vimana, as a temple flying in the sky.
The Sanskrit word vi-m?na () literally means "measuring out, traversing" or "having been measured out". Monier Monier-Williams defines Vimana as "a car or a chariot of the gods, any self-moving aerial car sometimes serving as a seat or throne, sometimes self-moving and carrying its occupant through the air; other descriptions make the Vimana more like a house or palace, and one kind is said to be seven stories high", and quotes the Pushpaka Vimana of Ravana as an example. It may denote any car or vehicle, especially a bier or a ship as well as a palace of an emperor, especially with seven stories. In some modern Indian languages like Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, and Hindi, vimana or vimanam means "aircraft", for example in the town name Vimanapura (a suburb of Bangalore) and Vimannagar, a town in Pune. In another context, Vimana is a feature in Hindu temple architecture.
Pushpaka vimana depicted three times, twice flying in the sky and once landed on the ground.
The predecessors of the flying vimanas of the Sanskrit epics are the flying chariots employed by various gods in the Vedas: the Sun (see Sun chariot) and Indra and several other Vedic deities are transported by flying wheeled chariots pulled by animals, usually horses.
The existing Rigveda versions do not mention Vimanas, but verses RV 1.164.47-48 have been taken as evidence for the idea of "mechanical birds":[by whom?]
"jumping into space speedily with a craft using fire and water ... containing twelve stamghas (pillars), one wheel, three machines, 300 pivots, and 60 instruments."
although more likely the 12 fellies are the 12 months in a year, and the 360 spokes are the days (actually 365) in a year.
Ravana rides his Vimana, Pushpaka.
In the Ramayana, the pushpaka ("flowery") vimana of Ravana is described as follows:
"The Pushpaka Vimana that resembles the Sun and belongs to my brother was brought by the powerful Ravana; that aerial and excellent Vimana going everywhere at will ... that chariot resembling a bright cloud in the sky ... and the King [Rama] got in, and the excellent chariot at the command of the Raghira, rose up into the higher atmosphere.'"
It is the first flying vimana mentioned in existing Hindu texts (as distinct from the gods' flying horse-drawn chariots).
Pushpaka was originally made by Vishwakarma for Brahma, the Hindu god of creation; later Brahma gave it to Kubera, the God of wealth; but it was later stolen, along with Lanka, by his half-brother, king Ravana.
Vim?na-v?sin ('dweller in vim?na') is a class of deities who served the t?rtha?kara Mah?-v?ra. These Vaim?nika deities dwell in the ?rdhva Loka heavens.
According to the Kalpa S?tra of Bhadra-b?hu, the 24th t?rtha?kara Mah?-v?ra himself emerged from the great vim?na Pu?pa-uttara; whereas the 22nd t?rtha?kara Aria-nemi emerged from the great vim?na Aparijita.
The t?rtha?kara-s Abhinandana (4th) and Sumati-n?tha (5th) both traveled through the sky in the "Jayanta-vim?na", namely the great vim?na Sarva-artha-siddhi, which was owned by the Jayanta deities; whereas the t?rtha?kara Dharma-n?tha (15th) traveled through the sky in the "Vijaya-vim?na". A vim?na may be seen in a dream, such as the nalin?-gulma.
An illustration of the Shakuna Vimana that is supposed to fly like a bird with hinged wings and tail.
The Vaim?nika Sh?stra is an early 20th-century Sanskrit text on aeronautics, obtained allegedly by mental channeling, about the construction of vim?nas, the "chariots of the Gods". The existence of the text was revealed in 1952 by G. R. Josyer, according to whom it was written by one Pandit Subbaraya Shastry, who dictated it in 1918-1923. A Hindi translation was published in 1959, the Sanskrit text with an English translation in 1973. It has 3000 shlokas in 8 chapters. Subbaraya Shastry allegedly stated that the content was dictated to him by MaharishiBharadvaja. 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" and that the author showed a complete lack of understanding of aeronautics.
Pushpak Vimana, meaning "an aeroplane with flowers", is a mythical aeroplane found in Ayyavazhi mythology. Akilattirattu Ammanai, the religious book of Ayyavazhi, says that the Pushpak Vimana was sent to carry Ayya Vaikundar to Vaikundam.
A similar reference is found in regards of Saint Tukaram, Maharashtra, India. Lord Vishnu was so impressed by the devotion and singing of Saint Tukaram that when his time came, a Pushpak Viman (a heavenly aircraft shaped as an eagle) came to take him to heaven. Though it is believed that every other human being can go to Heaven without body, Saint Tukaram went to heaven with body (Sadeha Swarga Prapti).
In popular culture
Vimanas have appeared in books, films, internet and games including: