By Charumini de Silva
Sri Lanka’s effort to establish the origin of aviation through King Ravana’s legend has drawn over 100 submissions, whilst the deadline is on 31 July.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) last week called on the public to contact it directly if they are willing to share any documents or books related to King Ravana’s expedition.
The initiative is led by the CAA’s Environment, Research and Project Section, which last year kicked off a research project on ‘King Ravana and The Lost Heritage of Aviation Dominance’.
“We are overwhelmed by the tremendous response received so far from the general public. Over 100 submissions have been made and continuing,” a CAASL spokesperson said.
King Ravana ruled Sri Lanka around 2517 BC. Many in Sri Lanka believe that Ravana was a benevolent king, a great scholar, well-versed in mathematics and urban design, who ruled his kingdom. Some Indian scriptures also describe him as ‘Maha Brahmana’, which means a great Brahmin or a great scholar. As per mythology, Ravana is the villain of the great Hindu epic Ramayana, and was the ruler of Sri Lanka during Lord Rama’s time. Though viewed as a demon by the Hindus in India, Ravana is considered a great king and a pioneering aviator by Sri Lankans.
The CAASL spokesperson said public responses received so far were from a range of experts such as historians, civil aviation, archaeologists, scientists, and geologists, while volunteers with spiritual experiences within religious communities have also expressed their willingness to contribute to the findings of the research.
It was pointed out that the project commenced in July 2019, followed by a panel discussion with experts comprising historians, civil aviation experts, archaeologists, scientists and geologists at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake.
“This is a major investigation, and we want to conduct an in-depth research on this subject to find out the aviation origins in Sri Lanka. This will be conducted in phases and right now we are in the primary stage of gathering literature,” the spokesperson added.
The next step of the project is to review the literature and compare it with the physical evidence and sites. Depending on the information gathered, CAASL with the assistance from the Archaeology Department will visit the historical sites and compare them with the literature evidence.
The spokesperson also said that the CAASL has already written to the Foreign Ministry requesting to gather relevant information from the UK.
The British Museum has a statue of 10-headed Ravana (18th century carving from Southern India); when intact this figurine was meant to be holding a different weapon in each hand.
CAASL said the ultimate goal is to find the scientific evidence of how the Peacock Machine or Dandu Monara Yanthraya or Pushpaka Vimana was operated.
It was pointed out that despite having much evidence to prove the existence of the Peacock Machine, they were yet to find the ultimate method of how King Ravana flew it.
“This was also a topic which the forum last year argued about as to why Indian historians never talk about the Peacock Machine or Dandu Monara Yanthraya. However, prominent university professors of geography were firm in their opinion that Sri Lankans flew 5,000 years ago thanks to Ravana, and that adequate scientific detail could be found. If we can find this out, we will try to re-create the machine to prove the world that Sri Lanka’s King Ravana was the first to fly,” the spokesperson said.