Ever since childhood we, like hundreds of millions of kids, have read & re-read the Great Epics named Raamayan & Mahaa-Bhaarat and wondered about the detailed stories in them. One such was Bhag-Vaan Shree Ram leading a large army of ancient tree-living men across the strait of ocean between Sri Lanka and the southern tip of India.
1.The Stone Bridge from India to Sri Lanka
The epic tells us that, under the direction of two brother engineers named Nal & Neel, the army collected large stones and laid them across the strait to create a stone bridge the army could cross. This was a feat that had never been seen or heard before that. That is why this story was draped with a God-like or superhuman aura as the epic has been retold for the past thousands of years.
Of course the God-inspired or superhuman labeling subtracted from the credibility of the story and reduced it to a mythical status. Until a recent study by U.S. based geologists & space technicians who analyzed this bridge & called it a real superhuman achievement. Watch & hear their opinions yourselves.
That brings us to the next concept the Great Epics taught us.
2. Astra & Arrow-based delivery
Most now accept that the Sapta-Sindhav civilization emerged from today’s north-western Indian region to spread its influence around the known world. That included eastward into Asia up to today’s Vietnam, north-eastward into today’s Sichuan, north-westward into today’s Xinjiang & westward into Iraq & further.
This is now being slowly revealed via wall-inscriptions & paintings carved into mountain walls in places like Iraq that are judged by archeologists to be 5,000+ years old.
What drove this expansion? A clue emerges from the Rg-Ved, the most ancient text extant.
धन्वना गा धन्वनाजिं जयेम; धन्वना तीव्रा: समदो जयेम;
धनु: शत्रोरपकामं कृणोति; धन्वना सर्वा: प्रदिशो जयेम
With the Bow, we will conquer realms; With powerful Bow everything; The Bow will foil the enemy’s designs; with the Bow we will conquer all regions.
As with nuclear weapons today & with ships & guns earlier, the technology of the Bow spread & was copied by others. That led to the development of the Astra technology.
3. Shastra vs. Astra
The term Shastra simply means a weapon, mainly used in hand-to-hand combat, like a sword, a mace, iron or spear. These were the weapons used personal combats famed in history like Bheem vs. Duryodhan in the Mahaa-Bhaarat or Achilles vs. Hector in the Iliad.
In contrast, the Astra is a far more powerful weapon delivered remotely. In today’s nomenclature, it can be thought of as a warhead that is delivered via a missile or now via a drone. In those days, the ideal delivery mechanism was a powerful arrow designed to travel specific distances when shot by a powerful bow.
These were extraordinarily powerful weapons, designed and developed by specific Rushi or Sages. They were handed to very special pupils who could be trusted for their judgement and valor. But there was a risk of such Astra falling into the wrong hands. So the Astra had to be “armed” in a precise manner.
And that manner was not as crude as today’s passwords or arming codes which could be passed into wrong hands.That was done by specific Mantra to be recited by the specific recipient. This is why giving of an Astra was a major event that involved
- handover of the Astra
- teaching of the specific Mantra in pre-defined intonations &
- locking in the recipient via voice capture.
Step 3 is probably the best identification mechanism even today. US Brokerage firms like Schwab & Fidelity employ this as superior to having customers enter password combinations. Similarly the recitation of the Mantra verified the correct user via speech. And the Mantra system had another advantage.
Any one who has recited a Sanskrut mantra knows that each has a very refined & strict recitation pattern. This gave a further precaution against the misuse of the mantra. Unless the mantra of an Astra was recited absolutely correctly using the pre-captured voice print, the Astra would not be armed, to use today’s nomenclature.
This brings us to the two most commonly described Astra in the Great Epics.
4. Agneya-Astra & Varun-Astra
The best way to describe these two is to quote from one of greatest battles in history – the final battle between Arjun & Karna on day 18 of the Mahaa-Bhaarat war. The Book of Karna from the Clay Sanskrit Library devotes 85 pages to the description of this one-day battle. We urge all interested readers to read summary of this battle described in The Karna-Arjun Battle in The Maha-Bharat – Beyond Adjectives (September 20, 2008).
In that battle Arjun launched the Agneya-Astra or the Fire warhead at Karna, described in the book as
- “Covering the earth, sky, directions and the pathways of the sun, its form began to blaze. Completely encompassed by flames, all the warriors fled from there with their clothes burning. And a horrendous noise detonated there, like when a bamboo grove is consumed by fire in a forest.”
In response Karna launched the Varun-Astra or Rain Warhead, the anti-dote to the Agneya-Astra. When Karna launched the Varun-Astra,
- “a rapidly rolling bank of clouds covered all directions in darkness. Their walls the equal of mountains, they swamped everywhere with water. As a result of their immense force that fire was extinguished despite its ferocity. Indeed the sky and all directions were covered by these clouds.”
We, like many others, did have some doubts about the description these Astra. Specifically about the Varun-Astra. We wondered why such Astra were not used to deliver rain to areas suffering from drought or areas that badly needed rain.
We got the answer this week.
5. Use of Drones to Create Rain
As the Fox clip below shows, Dubai created rain fall this week by flying drones into clouds & using electric charges to “force” water droplets to combine into larger particles. These larger water droplets stand a much better chance not evaporating in that heat & creating rain.Listen to the clip for insight into the technique.
This is still new technology but, to us, it shows promise. And, as we read, this is much cheaper than artificial desalination. And, at least to us, this is a modern implementation of the Varun-Astra described in the Mahaa-Bhaarat.
Like the universe, human history is made up of dark periods in which knowledge & prosperity achieved in prior periods is lost. That seems to have happened to all the technology described in the Great Indian Epics.
With that in mind, we urge all to think how much of today’s knowledge & prosperity would be destroyed in a nuclear war that spans much of the globe.
With that thought, we urge all to listen to what Gregory Hayes of Raytheon Technologies said about their efforts to protect USA in the next war:
- ” … what you have to understand is that the war in the 21st century will first be fought in cyber-space and then in outer space; then on the sea and then in the air; ….. we have talked for the last 30 years about stealth technologies; while stealth is interesting, with the new hypersonics speed will trump stealth; we are very focused on how to defeat hypersonic weapons – be they space-based or land-based; how to hit something cruising along at Mach 5; we are talking about how to defend our forward air bases; how to defend space-based assets; … in the first few minutes of any war, the goal of the other side is going to be to take out satellites … how do you replenish those, how do you protect those … those are the technologies we are focused on”
We ourselves think that, withing a decade, space will be used to attack enemy installations on the ground and even airplanes flying in the sky.
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