Ancient Weapons

By editor - 8.3 2017

Below are a list of weapons which are used in Ramayana/Mahabharata. And its a relief that we lost them now and you can imagine why.

Brahmastra :
As described in a number of the Puranas, it was considered the deadliest weapon. It was said that when the Brahmastra was discharged, there was neither a counter attack nor a defense that could stop it, except by Brahmadanda, a stick also created by Brahma. The Brahmastra never missed its mark and had to be used with very specific intent against an individual enemy or army, as the target would face complete annihilation. It was believed to be obtained by meditating on the Lord Brahma; it could only be used once in a lifetime. The user would have to display immense amounts of mental concentration. According to ancient Sanskrit writings, the Brahmastra is invoked by a key phrase or invocation that is bestowed upon the user when given this weapon. Through this invocation the user can call upon the weapon and use it via a medium against his adversary.
Presiding Deity: Brahma, the creator
Weapon’s Effect: Total annihilation
Warriors:Arjuna, karna, Drona, Bhishma, Ashwatthama, Bhima, Satyaki, Yudhishthira, Dristidyumna, Rama, Ravana, Inderjeet Megnadh, Laxmana

Brahmashira :
Brahma had created a weapon even more powerful than the Brahmastra, called the Brahmashira. The Brahmashira was never used in war, as it had four times more power than the Brahmastra, i.e. Fourth power square, as the name suggests, since Brahma has Four Heads. Only Arjuna and Ashwatthama possessed the knowledge to summon the Brahmashira
Presiding Deity: Brahma, the creator
Weapon’s Effect: Total annihilation
Warriors: Drona, Arjuna and Ashwatthama.

Bhargvastra :
Parsurama is owner of this astra and he provided this powerful weapon to Karna.
Presiding Deity : Parsurama
Weapon’s effect : Total annihilation
Warriors- Parsurama, Karna

Aindra astra:
Presiding Deity: Indra, the god of weather
Weapon’s Effect: Would bring about a shower of arrows from the sky.

Vasvi astra: A deadly weapon like Pasupata.
Warrior: Karna

Vajra: Indra’s favorite weapon.
Warrior: Arjuna.

Indrastra- A powerful missile used to scatter the opposing army.
Warrior s- Arjuna, Drona, Ashwatthama, Yudhishthira.

Agneya astra:
Presiding Deity: Agni, the god of fire
Weapon’s Effect: The weapon discharged would emit flames inextinguishable through normal means.

Varuna astra: Presiding Deity: Varuna, the god of water
Weapon’s Effect: The weapon discharged would release torrential volumes of water. This weapon is commonly mentioned as used to counter the Agneyastra.

Naga astra:
Presiding Deity: The Nagas
Weapon’s Effect: The weapon would have an un-erring aim and take on the form of a snake, proving deadly upon impact.

Naga paasha:
Presiding Deity: The Nagas
Weapon’s Effect: Upon impact, this weapon would bind the target in coils of living venomous snakes. In the Ramayana, it was used against Lord Rama and Lakshmana by Indrajit.

Vayu astra:
Presiding Deity: Vayu, the god of wind
Weapon’s Effect: Bring about a gale capable of lifting armies off the ground.

Surya astra:
Presiding Deity: Surya, the sun god
Weapon’s Effect: Create a dazzling light that would dispel any darkness about.

Vajra astra:
Presiding Deity: Indra
Weapon’s Effect: Target would be struck with bolts of lightning (vajra referring to Indra’s thunderbolt).

Mohini astra:
Presiding Deity: Mohini, Visnu avatar
Weapon’s Effect: Dispel any form of maya or sorcery in the vicinity.

Twashtar astra:
Presiding Deity: Twashtri, the heavenly builder
Weapon’s Effect: When used against a group of opponents (such as an army), would cause them to mistake each other for enemies and fight each other.

Sammohana/ Pramohana astra:
Presiding Deity:
Weapon’s Effect: Would cause entire hosts/armies to collapse in a trance.

Parvata astra:
Presiding Deity:
Weapon’s Effect: Would cause a Parvata/mountain to fall on the target from the skies.

Narayana astra:
Presiding Deity: Visnu, the Preserver
Weapon’s Effect: Would create showers of arrows and discs. The astra’s power would increase with the resistance offered to it. This weapon had to be obtained from Vishnu directly, and could be used only once.

Vaishnava astra:
Presiding Deity: Visnu, the Preserver
Weapon’s Effect: Would destroy target completely, irrespective of target’s nature. Infallible. This weapon had to be obtained from Vishnu directly.

Pashupata astra:
It is the crescent-shaped irresistible and most destructive personal weapon of Kali and Shiva, discharged by the mind, the eyes, words, or a bow. It was used in the Mahabharata war by Arjuna to kill Jayadratha. It was used against Lakshmana by Meghanada. According to Kurma Puran, in the battle between the Purusha and demonic forces, Narasimha avatar escapes a powerful weapon called Pashupata. It is returned without causing any harm since it can be used only to uphold Dharma.
Presiding Deity: Shiva, the Destroyer
Weapon’s Effect: Would destroy target completely, irrespective of target’s nature. Infallible. This weapon had to be obtained from Shiva directly.

 

Top Powerful Spiritual & Physical Weapons from Ancient Hindu Texts

 

Brahma’s Arrow

There are many examples of symbolism and descriptions of weapons in Hinduism scriptures. Here is a list of the weapons/astras that are mentioned in various hindu texts and epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata. A few of these weapons in modern day are just used for religious symbols, but some have evolved and can be connected to other similar weapons used all around the world.

 Brahma’s Arrow

In the Ramayana, Lord Rama faced Ravana where he shot arrows and knocked off each of Ravana’s ten heads, but they  grew back immediately. The new heads doubled Ravana’s strength so Lord Rama fired the arrow of Brahma that had been imparted to him by Agastya, a sage and heavenly historian, while Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana were exiled in Dandaka Forest. The arrow of Brahma burst Ravana’s chest, passed through his body, and returned to Rama’s quiver. Ravana was destroyed and Rama was able to return home in victory. The arrow of Brahma that Rama shot had feathers of winds. The points were sun and flames. The shaft was Mount Meru, the hub of the universe and where Brahma lived.

Asi 

A legend concerning the sword appears in the Shantiparva section of Mahabharata where a demon-like being sprang from the midst of the sacrificial fires scattering flames all around. His teeth were sharp and terrible, stomach lean and skinny and stature very tall and slim. He was of exceeding energy and power. Simultaneously, the earth started shaking, there were turmoils in the oceans, the forceful winds started howling all around, the trees started falling and being torn apart, and the meteors started blazing through the skies! Brahma declared: The ‘being’ I have conceived is Asi. It shall effect the destruction of the enemies of the gods and restore the Dharma. Upon this, the creature assumed the form of a blazing, sharp-edged sword, glowing like the flames at the end of the Kalpa.

Arjuna Brahmastra & Brahmashira

It is sometimes known as the Brahma Astra. As described in a number of the Puranas, it was considered the deadliest weapon. It was said that when the Brahmastra was discharged, there was neither a counter attack nor a defense that could stop it, except by Brahmadanda, a stick also created by Brahma.  It was believed to be obtained by meditating on the Creator in the Vedas, Lord Brahma; it could only be used once in a lifetime. The user would have to display immense amounts of mental concentration. According to ancient Sanskrit writings, the Brahmastra is invoked by a key phrase or invocation that is bestowed upon the user when given this weapon. Through this invocation the user can call upon the weapon and use it via a medium against his adversary. Since Brahma is considered the Creator in Sanatana Dharma, it is believed by Hindus that Brahmastra was created by him for the purpose of upholding Dharma and Satya, to be used by anyone who wished to destroy an enemy who would also happen to be a part of his (Brahma’s) creation. The target, when hit by Brahmastra, would be utterly destroyed. Brahma had created a weapon even more powerful than the Brahmastra, called the Brahmashira. The Brahmashira was never used in war, as it had four times more power than the Brahmastra, i.e. Fourth power square, as the name suggests, since Brahma has Four Heads. Only Arjuna and Ashwatthama possessed the knowledge to summon the Brahmashira. The Brahmastra was an elite weapon with only a handful of greatest of religious and devoted archers (ref) maheshwarananda, Swami.”the vedic system” having access to it. It could not be acquired by mere training or meditation, it could only be bestowed upon a warrior by Lord Shiva or Lord Brahma. It required great sacrifice and devotion to be granted a Brahmastra, only a few people in the Mahabharata had this weapon at their disposal.

Vishnu’s Sudarshan Chakra

The Sudarshana Chakra is a spinning, disk-like super weapon with 108 serrated edges used by Lord Vishnu. Its shape is of a circle with a sharp outer edge. Earliest references to the chakram come from the Indian epics Mahabharata and Ramayana where the Sudarshana Chakra is the weapon of the god Vishnu.  The use of Sudarshana Chakra is occasionally mentioned in the Hindu texts of Rigveda, Yajurveda and Puranas, as an ultimate weapon to eliminate the enemy of law, order and preservation. Such enemies are enumerated variously as rakshasas, asura, and vikrutatma. In one such instance, as scribed in the stanzas of the Mahabharat, Lord Shri Krishna, the Avatar of Lord Vishnu, beheads Shishupala with the use of the Sudarshana Chakra, for his rapacious behaviour (committing 100 mistakes each worthy of death) at the Rajsuya yagna celebration of Emperor Yudhishthira.

Chentu

A chentu is a horse whip which looks like a crooked stick, and is a typical attribute of  Lord Ayyanar, Krishna in his aspect as Rajagopala, and Shiva with Nandi. The attribute of chentu, which is etymologically derived from a Tamil word, generally appears in Southern India, especially in Hindu images of Tamil Nadu state, India.

 Ganesha’s Ankusa

The elephant/hathi goad or Ankusa (Sanskrit) is a tool employed in the handling and training of elephants. It consists of a hook (usually bronze or steel) which is attached to a handle. The hook is inserted into the elephant’s sensitive skin, either slightly or more deeply, to cause pain and induce the elephant to behave in a certain manner. A relief at Sanchi and a fresco at the Ajanta Caves depict a three person crew on the war elephant, the driver with an elephant goad, what appears to be a noble warrior behind the driver and another attendant on the posterior of the elephant. 2 elephant goads, perfectly preserved were recovered from an archaeological site at Taxila and are dated from 3rd century BCE to the 1st century CE.

 Arjuna uses Gandiva

Gandiva is a holy bow created by Brahman of old, not to be confused with Brahma, the Creator. Brahma held it first for a thousand years. The bow was worshiped by Devas, Gandharvas and Danavas. Arjuna used it in Kurukshetra war and he was invincible. It is said that beside Lord Krishna no one except Arjuna could wield the bow in the mortal world. The bow, when twanged made the sound of thunder. Gandiva is parallel in its fame to its famous wielder. The name of Arjuna and Gandiva are spoken in single breath.

Khatvanga

Khatvanga is a long, club or staff originally created to be used as a weapon. It is a divine weapon of polysemic significance and accoutrement of chthonic deities and ‘left-handed path’ (Sanskrit: vamamarga) holy people in Dharmic Traditions such as Shaivism. The Khatvanga was adopted by some lineages of historical Tantra though it preceded such traditions. Lord Shiva as well as Lord Rudra carried the Khatwang as a staff.

Narayanastra

The personal missile of lord Vishnu in his Narayan form. This astra in turn fires millions of deadly missiles simultaneously. The intensity of the shower increases with increase in resistance. The only way of defense towards this missile, is to show total submission before the missiles hit. This in turn will cause this weapon to stop and spare the target. Ashwathama, a Kuru warrior-hero in the epic Mahabharata unleashes this weapon on the Pandava forces. Lord Krishna, who is an Avatar of Vishnu tells the Pandavas and their warriors to drop their weapons and lie down on the ground, so that they all surrender completely to the power of the weapon. This secret of nullifying the power of this weapon by this method was known only to three warriors namely Drona, Aswathama, and Krishna. Even Arjuna was not aware of this secret. It was also said that this weapon can be used only once in a war and if one tries to use it twice, then it would devour the user’s own army.

Parshurama’s Parashu

The parashu is an Indian battle-axe. It is generally wielded with two hands but could also be used with only one. The parashu was the choice weapon of Lord Parashurama, sixth Avatar of Vishnu. Parashurama was the guru of Dronacharya, the guru who instructed the Pandavas in the epic of the Mahabharata. Bhishma and Karna, half brother of Pandava also took instruction in weaponry from Parashurama, a disciple of lord Shiva, and was known to have terrible temper having lost his father to the evil Asura. Parashurama’s parashu had supernatural powers. It had four cutting edges, one on each end of the blade head and one on each end of the shaft.

Shiva’s Pashupata

The Pashupatastra is the most destructive personal weapon of Lord Shiva, discharged by the mind, the eyes, words, or a bow. Never to be used against lesser enemies or by lesser warriors, the Pashupatastra is capable of destroying creation and vanquishing all beings. It was used in the Mahabharata war by Arjuna to kill Jayadratha. It was used against Lakshmana by Meghanada. It is returned without causing any harm since it can be used only to uphold Dharma.

 Shiva’s Trishul

A trishula  is a type of Indian trident but also found in Southeast Asia. It is commonly used as a Hindu & Buddhist religious symbol. The word means “3 spear” in Sanskrit and Pali. The trishula is wielded by Lord  Shiva and is said to have been used to sever the original head of Lord Ganesh. Durga also holds trishula, as one of her many weapons. There are many other gods and deities, who hold the weapon trishula. The three points have various meanings and significance, and, common to Hindu religion, have many stories behind them. They are commonly said to represent various trinities—creation, maintenance and destruction, past, present and future, the three guna. When looked upon as a weapon of Shiva, the trishula is said to destroy the three worlds: the physical world, the world of the forefathers (representing culture drawn from the past) and the world of the mind (representing the processes of sensing and acting). The three worlds are supposed to be destroyed by Shiva into a single non-dual plane of existence, that is bliss alone. The trisula’s central point represents Shushmana, and that is why it is longer than the other two, representing ida and pingala.

Indra’s Vajra

The vajra is believed to represent firmness of spirit and spiritual power. As a material device, the vajra is a ritual object, a short metal weapon, originally used as a kind of fist iron. The earliest mention of the Vajra is in the Rigveda, believed to have been composed between 1700 and 1100 BCE. It is described as the weapon of Indra. Indra is described as using the Vajra to kill sinners. The Rigveda states that the weapon was made for Indra by Tvastar, the maker of divine instruments. It is similar to the Japanese weapon called Yawara

Murugan’s Vel

The Vel is the divine javelin (spear) of the Lord Murugan. Goddess Parvati presented the Vel to Murugan as an emobodiment of Her shakti or power in order to vanquish the evil asura Soorapadman. According to the Skanda Purana , Murugan used His Vel to defeat all the evil forces of Soorapadman. Murugan, too keen for the deception, hurled his Vel and split the mango tree in to two halves, one becoming Seval (a rooster) and the other Mayil (a peacock). Murugan, henceforth, had the peacock as His vahanam and the rooster became the emblem on His battle flag. The Vel became the symbol of valour, and of the triumph of good over evil. The spear used by ancient Tamils in warfare is also commonly known by this name.

Hanuman’s Gada

A Gada (also known as a mace) is a blunt weapon, a type of club or virge—that uses a round and very heavy head on the end of a handle to deliver powerful blows. The usage of gadas in warfare was very prevalent in the Indian epics of Ramayana and Mahabarata. The gada is also carried in the right hand of Lord Hanuman, where is can symbolize self-sovereinty, the authority of governance and the power to rule.

The weapons used in Mahabharata were a combination of ancient earthly weapons and the highly powerful and advanced futuristic weapons provided by the Aliens. Especially the various types of "Asthras" (missiles) and various types of "Dhanush" (launchers) of Mahabaratha are all provided by the Aliens. The description of these weapons clearly makes us to believe that their production requires large scale industrial infrastructure involving complex technology and development. To manufacture such advanced weapons, thousand of years of research and development should have taken place. Therefore it is conclusive that these weapons were received from the Aliens and not manufactured in this planet. Mahabharata also provides detailed descriptions of these weapons received from Aliens. From a scientific view descriptions of gods and demigods described in Mahabharatha are Aliens far more advanced  in science (in light years) than us. 

The Aliens provided the Asthras and the Manthras or passwords to Invoke it. Before launching the Athras the invoker chants a Mantra [click here to go to the concepts page to learn what is Mantra, Asthra, Rishi etc] with utmost concentration. This may be some sort of telepathic communication to the provider of the weapon (Alien) or his control unit. This in turn results in a remote method invocation (as we use in software ). Then the Asthra is navigated and controlled from distant planets or galaxies.

Some Asthras returns back to the person who launches it. Eg.Karna's Nagaasthara and Krishna's Sudharsana chakra. This may be similar to the reusable missiles which the Indian Space Research Organisation is working on.

What about practical control issues? How can the Asthra be controlled from an extreme distance if the controller has no idea where it's going and what it's doing?  It is possible, if we can use Global Positioning System (GPS) aided mapping for the world, then why not Aliens with very advanced knowledge use a mapping for our entire galaxy (milky way) or even larger area with an advanced science associated with it.  The person through telepathy uses the Mantra (password) logs in and then communicates the object to be reached to the controller and it takes control. The controller need not be a person ie. an Alien but a highly futuristic advanced navigational system. All missiles are not guided and navigated, most of the missiles are aim and shoot and depends on the precision of the warrior. Some travel very long distance and that is possible only if some sort of navigational system prevails. The technology might have been much more advanced that even an inbuilt navigational system was available within the missiles. There may also be an biological address (as like an IP address in pc) for each living being which may be far advanced for us to perceive.

Moreover the function of an Asthra is not just similar to a missile.  Also its working principles may not be in similar lines with modern day missiles. It may be much more advanced and varied including variants like high powered lasers and other unknown rays. Asthras of Mahabharata probably might have also used technologies of emitting most dangerous rays like Gamma rays etc., which have exceptional power to penetrate.  Modern scientists say because of their energies gamma rays can do a lot of damage and can dissociate a whole flow of chemical bonds as it passes through a human body and then can come right out the other side with no difficulty.

Asthras are used both for offensive and defensive purposes. In cases of defensive purpose it may be similar to a "Tesla shield" which invokes an incredible shield that could destroy hundreds of incoming asthras making them impossible to penetrate. The modern "Tesla shield" conceptualized  discharges electrical energy and any incoming physical object which hits the shell receives an enormous discharge of that energy and instantly vaporized.

Nuclear weapons in Mahabharatha 

In the Mahabharata the total death toll amounts to around 1.6 billion in a matter of 18 days. How could this be possible unless and otherwise there is an involvement of weapons of mass destruction. Modern archeological surveys have slowly started to provide us valuable clues of the war.  The vast amount of devastation found at the site of Mohenjo Daro corresponds exactly to Nagasaki, declared Davenport, who published his startling findings in an amazing book, "Atomic Destruction in 2000 B.C.", Milan, Italy, 1979. There was an epicenter about 50 yards wide where everything was crystallized, fused or melted, he said. Sixty yards from the center the bricks are melted on one side indicating a blast 4,000 years ago. All the skeletons were flattened to the ground. For example, a father, mother and child were found flattened in the street, facedown and still holding hands. Interestingly, the ancient texts refer repeatedly to the Vimanas, or the flying cars, which fly under their own power, he added. Davenport's intriguing theory has met with intense interest in the scientific community. Nationally known expert William Sturm said, "the melting of bricks at Mohenjo Daro could not have been caused by a normal fire". Professor Antonio Castellani, a space engineer in Rome commented "it's possible that what happened at Mohenjo Daro was not a natural phenomenon"

In the Mahabharatha various categories of weapons were used.

For examples this weapon used in the Musala Parva of the Mahabharatha is very similar to the modern day nuclear bomb. The description itself is terrifying. "Flying a swift and powerful vimana (fast aircraft) hurled a single projectile Charged with all the power of the Universe. An incandescent column of smoke and flame as bright as ten thousand Suns rose in all its splendor....it was an unknown weapon, an iron thunderbolt, a gigantic messenger of death, Which reduced to ashes. The Entire race of the Vrishnis and thr Andhakas....the corpses were so burned as to be unrecognizable. Their hair and nails fell out, pottery broke without apparent cause and the birds turned white. After a few hours all foodstuffs were infected. To escape from this fire, the soldiers threw themselves in streams to wash themselves and their equipment"

Brahmasthira - The ultimate weapon


This powerful form of weapon is used by great warriors at many stages of war. This weapon is invoked by mantras where an object like bows or even a blade of grass can be transformed into a mighty Brahmasthira. Brahmasthra is of different varieties, an advanced version being Brahmashira. The energy of the Brahmasthira is based on the capacity of the launcher and the type of mantra he utters. For instance Karna uses Brahmasthira which was baffled by Arjuna belong to less powerful category.

KARNA PARVA 91, Karna, invoking the brahmastra, "showered his shafts uponDhananjaya, and once more made an effort to extricate his car. Partha also, by the aid of the brahmastra, poured arrowy downpours upon Karna".

While the one used by Ashwathama and baffled by Arjuna belongs to a highly powerful variety. Where the total atmosphere trembles and ved Vyas and sage Narada appear immediately for mediation.

We can understand the difference from the description itself. The mighty Pasuputa asthra given by Shiva to Arjuna also belongs to a variety of Brahamasthira. " Arjuna said, 'O illustrious god having the bull for thy sign, if thou wilt grant me my desire, I ask of thee, O lord that fierce celestial weapon wielded by thee and called Brahmasira--that weapon of terrific prowess which destroyeth, at the end of the Yuga the entire universe--
Shiva replied, 'O powerful one. I will give to thee that favourite weapon of mine called the Pasuputa. O son of Pandu, thou art capable of holding, hurling, and withdrawing it. Neither the chief himself of the gods, nor Yama, nor the king of the Yakshas, nor Varuna, nor Vayu, knoweth it. How could men know anything of it? But, O son of Pritha, this weapon should not be hurled without adequate cause;"

Containing a brahmasthira

During the war of Mahabharatha weapons powerful enough  to modern day nuclear bomb were not only used but also neutralised. There were technology to rapidly neutralise the power of nuclear spread. The following is description on the encounter between Ashwathama and Arjuna. Ashwathama's uses brahmasthira by inspiring a blade of grass with proper mantras and converts it into that powerful celestial weapon. A fire then was born in that blade of grass, which seemed capable of consuming the worlds.

Arjuna immediately uses a weapon to neutralise it blazed up with fierce flames like the all-destroying fire that appears at the end of the yuga (world). Similarly, the weapon that had been shot by Ashwathama blazed up with terrible flames within a huge sphere of fire. Numerous peals of thunder were heard; thousands of meteors fell; and all living creatures became inspired with great dread. The whole world seemed to be filled with noise and assumed a terrible aspect with those flames of fire. The whole earth with her mountains and waters and trees, trembled.

In the words of rishi (enlightened Saint) Vyasa, "The region where the weapon called brahmashira is baffled by another high weapon suffers a drought for twelve years, for the clouds do not pour a drop of water there for this period".