‘Vimana’ is Sanskrit for ‘airplane’. Vimana is a compound word made of two parts. ‘Vi’ (वि) means ‘sky’ and ‘mana’ (मान) means ‘measure’. Vimana (विमान) means ‘that which measures the sky as it traverses through’. ‘Mana’ also means ‘dimension’ and ‘height’.

The Pushpak Vimana is the best known of the Vimanas in the Ramayana. However, there are verses in the Ramayana that indicate that there were other Vimanas too, and our ancients knew of the existence of Vimanas other than the Pushpaka.

First of all, the magnificence of the city of Ayodhya is equated to the magnificence of a Vimana. In the First Volume of the Valmiki Ramayana, by the name ‘BalaKanda’, (बालकाण्ड), in Section 5, Verse 19 , Valmiki states, “And the foremost spot of all the earth (Ayodhya) was like a Vimana – Vimanas that are obtained in Heaven by the ‘Siddhas’ through force of ascetic austerities – and, (Ayodhya) was inhabited by the best specimens of humanity”.

Here is the verse in Sanskrit:
विमानम् इव सिद्धानाम् तपस अधिगतम् दिवि |
सु निवेशित वेश्मान्ताम् नरोत्तम समावृताम् ||१-५-१९
‘vimanam eva siddhanam tapasadhigatam divi |
suniveshit aveshmantam narottam-samavritam’ || 1-5-19

Could Valmiki have meant something else by the word ‘vimana’ when he likened Ayodhya to a ‘vimana’. Not if you look at two other verses of Ramayana. Once again not relying on the Pushpak Vimana example, here is a look at the ‘Sunadarkanda’ ( सुन्दर काण्ड ) book, Section 12, verse 25 of Valmiki Ramayana. Verses 1-24 describe Hanuman’s flight over the city of Lanka, as he scans houses and palaces, gardens and galleries, pools and streams from the sky to find Sita. When Hanuman returns after his aerial search for Sita, not yet having been able to trace her, Valmiki states in Verse 25:

अवतीर्य विमानाच् च हनूमान् मारुत आत्मजः |
चिन्ताम् उपजगाम अथ शोक उपहत चेतनः || ५-१२-२५
avatiirya vimaanaac ca hanuumaan maaruta aatmajaH |
cintaam upajagaama atha shoka upahata cetanaH || 5-12-25

‘Descending from the Vimana, Hanuman – the son of the Wind-God, his senses deprived by sorrow was again wrought up with anxiety.’

That Hanuman flies over the city of Lanka cannot be questioned because there are many verses that can be cited to support that. The words ‘descending from the vimana’ in Verse 25 prove that his flight is in a car, that is an ‘airplane’.This is the last verse in Section 12 of the ‘Sunderkand’.

In Section 13, Verse 1, Valmiki continues:
विमानात् तु सुसम्क्रम्य प्राकारम् हरि यूथपः |
हनूमान् वेगवान् आसीद् यथा विद्युद् घन अन्तरे || ५-१३-१
vimaanaat tu susamkramya praakaaram hari yuuthapaH |
hanuumaan vegavaan aasiid yathaa vidyud ghana antare || 5-13-1

‘Alighting from the Vimana, the Lord of the Herd (of Vanaras or the ‘monkeys’), Hanuman walked towards the wall (or rampart), like lightening through the clouds.’

This is proof that Hanuman flies in an aeroplane of some kind when he flies over Lanka to search for Sita, alights from the plane and walks towards what must have been an airport-like building.

The plane that Hanuman descends from is not the Pushpaka, though for some reason many writers assume so. The Pushpak Vimana belonged to Ravana, the King of Lanka, who had acquired it from his wife’s, (Mandodari’s) brother Kubera, also known as the God of Wealth. (It is only after the defeat of Ravana, that Rama has access to the Pushpaka Vimana). 

Later, when Hanuman burns down the city of Lanka, after ‘his tail is set on fire’ – the fire probably is the exhaust emissions of the aeroplane or explosives or bombs that Hanuman drops from his plane something like what we see today, rather than Hanuman’s burning tail.

So what was the name of Hanuman’s aeroplane. And how many aeroplane did Ravan own. More about that later.


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