Ancient Vedic Yantra

The word “yantra” is derived from the root yam, to control, and has been freely used in ancient India for any contrivance. Mechanical skills had produced in ancient India many accessories for scientific activities, such as surgical instruments in medicine,
the pakayantras or laboratory equipment in medicine, Rasayana, and the astronomical yantras described in Jyotisa works. These belong to a different category.
In the Mahabharata we hear of the Matsya-yantra or the revolving wheel with a fish which Arjuna had to shoot in order to win Draupadi in the svayamvara.
More interesting references are made by Valmiki to yantras on the field of battle, the continuity of which tradition we see later in the Arthasastra of Kautilya. The fortifications include equipment in the form of yantras.
In Ayodhya Kand 100.53, in the Kaccita-sarga, while enquiring about measures of defense, Rama asks Bharata whether the fort is equipped with yantras.
लंका, as a city built by Maya, is naturally more full of the यंत्र. The city, personified as a lady, is called yantra-agara-stani, informing us of a special chamber filled with यंत्र.

तां रत्नवसनोपेतां कोष्ठागारावतंसकाम्।
यन्त्रागारस्तनीमृद्धां प्रमदामिव भूषिताम्॥(Sundara 3.18)
The Arthasastra of Kautilya is one of the books of culture which throws a flood of light on the particular epochs in which they arose. This work of 300 B.C.E. being a treatise on statecraft, speaks of yantras in connection mainly with battles,
but also with architecture to some extent. An early work, a theoretical treatise and a text of great reputation, the Arthasastra forms our most valuable document on the subject of yantras.
And, as early as the Bhagavad Gita, the machine became an apt simile for man being a tool in the hands of the Almighty that sits in man’s heart and by His mystic power makes man not only move but also delude himself into the notion of his being a free or competent agent.
The following machines are to be made of a metal called Veera. An alloy formed by melting and fusing the three metals Kshwinka, Arjunika and Kanta (magnet), in three, five and nine parts respectively, is called Veeraloha or a metal namely Veera.
When it undergoes shastraic processes, it cannot be destroyed by fire, air, water, electricity, cannon, gun-powder or the like. It will then be very strong, light, and of golden color. The metal is specially meant for Machinesm.
1.) Panchamukha Yantra

A machine of this name contains doors in east, south, west, north and top. Weighs 170 Ratals. Carries one thousand Ratals. By the help of electricity it can travel five Kroshas per hour. It is used as conveyance for men and in wars.
Since the machine is conducted by the power of a spirit called Gaja it is named as Gajaakarshana Panchamukha Ratha.
2.) Chaturmukha Ratha Yantra

This machine has faces or openings on four sides. Weighs 120 Ratals. It can be conducted with any oil, preferably that of coconut shells, or with the help of electricity. Travels six Kroshas per hour. Used for traveling, wars and transporting things.
3.) Simhaasya Ratha Yantra

This machine presents a front of a lion’s appearance. Possesses two doors. 75 Ratals in weight. Carries a weight of 50 Ratals. It can travel both on land and air. It has the quality of expanding and contracting.
4.) Vyaaghraasya Ratha Yantra

This is modeled after a tiger. Possesses wings. Weighs 64 Ratals. Carries 200 Ratals of weight. It travels in air expanding its wings with electric power, but contracting its wings with steam power.
5.) Goodha Gamana Yantra

This machine can accommodate only three persons. Appears like an ordinary tower. Can travel on land as well as air. Its motion is almost invisible. Can travel eight Kroshas per hour with the power of an oil called Sinjurika. Used for secret travels.
6.) Wyrajika Yantra

This is made of glasses of abhraka. There are 16 doors. Appears like a sparking light and as such none can know that it is a machine. Can travel on water as well as on land. With the electric power of solar rays it can travel twelve Kroshas per hour.
7.) Indranee Yantra

This machine cannot be destroyed by fire or water. It is exceedingly light and strong. It can travel 15 Kroshas per hour with the help of wind-worked wheels. Carries 100 Ratals.
8.) Sourambhaka Yantra

This machine has three storey. There are secret seats for 400 people to sit in each of the three storeys. The seats are not ordinarily visible. The storeys can alone be perceived.
9.) Ubhayamukha Yantram

This machine possesses the same symmetry on either side. Contains sixty-four small holes on either side. Contains a fresh water stream inside.Above that stream, there flows another stream of tar. Use for purifying atmosphere whenever n wherever necessary.
10.) Thrikuta Yantram

This machine has two towers, like the peaks of a mountain. Above the towers there are flags and wheels. In front there are instruments to measure the cold. Indicates the weather, wind, sun-light, rain, thunderbolt, fall of stars and other future phenomena.
The above is only a sample, there are lots more similar references.

|| कृण्वन्तो विश्वमार्यम् ||
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