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Indian Mythology Mahabharat

When Vishwamitra and Vasistha used Brahmastra weapon

Brahmastra (a weapon) used by sages

Here is  another story, related to Brahmastra from Indian mythology. Two great sages fought between them. Vishwamitra, who was king Kaushika, had stayed with his army at sage Vasishtha’s ashram (hermitage).  Vasishtha fed everyone and out of curiosity, Vishwamitra asked him – “How have you managed this?”

Vasistha said that – Sabala (or Nandini) , the daughter of Kamdhenu, has provided all the food. Kaushika thought that this would be very useful for him and asked for the cow. Vasishtha politely refused him. Vishwamitra became angry and asked his army to capture the cow with force.

The cow helped Vasishtha and Vishwamitra was defeated. Seeing this, Vishwamitra started penance of Lord Shiva. Due to his severe penance, Lord Shiva granted him the knowledge of all celestial weapons.

Armed with the knowledge of these celestial weapons, Vishwamitra came back to Vasistha’s ashram and in attempt to destroy his ashram and sage Vasishtha, he uses those weapons.

Vishwamitra and Vasistha – using Brahmastra

Vasistha became angry, as his ashram has been destroyed, but able to counter all the weapons used by Vishwamitra. Vishwamitra eventually summoned the Brahmastra. Vasishtha neutralized this by Brahmadanda. Out of anger, Vasishtha wanted to use Brahmastra. But moved by the prayers of humankind, he retracted this deadly weapon.

Vishwamitra again lost everything he had, and went on to do the penance again. After doing again severe penance, he attained the status of rajarshi. Here, we see, that out of anger and revenge, a king and then a sage, lost everything, which he obtained through severe penance. This is another story related to revenges in Indian mythology.

Note: Interesting here is that both these sages were associated of seventh avatar of Vishnu Dashavatar, Lord Rama.

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Indian Mythology Mahabharat Weapon

Weapons used in the time of Mahabharata – 2

Mahabharata – Important weapons from Indian Mythology

Karna’s weapons

Karna had the knowledge of Brahmastra, but his teacher Parshurama has cursed him that he could not use it when he requires it most. He had kavach and kundal from Sun, which would made him invulnerable, but Indra asked those in alms.

Karna born with Kavach and Kundal

But he had given him Vasavi Shakti or Amoghastra, which could be used only once, to him. Karna saved that for Arjuna,  but upon the insistence of Duryodhana, he had to use this on Ghatotkacha. Ghatotkacha was Bheema’s son, who was single handedly decimating the kaurava’s army. He was called by Shri Krishna to fight from his father’s side. Another master stroke from the seventh avatar of lord Vishnu.

Karna – Mahabharat

Arjuna’s weapons

Arjuna seems to have the blessings of gods when it came to astras and shastras. You name the weapon and he had it. He has done severe penance to obtain divyastras for the battle of Mahabharat. Shiva has bestowed his blessings on Arjuna that his quivers will be inexhaustible. Shiva has also given him the Pashupata, which had the powers to destroy anything. Arjuna also had Yamaraj’s mace, Naagpashas from varuna and Antardhana from Kuber at his disposal. Indra also presented him a weapon before Mahabharat war.  Gandiva was also given to him Lord Shiva. These gods have armed Arjuna to fight the evil forces. Arjuna and Shri Krishna are also known  as Nara(Arjuna) and Narayana (Shri Krishna).

Lord Shiva giving weapons to Arjuna
Lord Shiva giving Pashupata astra to Arjuna – Mahabharat

Shri Krishna’s weapons

Shri Krishna’s bow was Sharngadhanu, with which he has once countered Shiva’s weapons. He also used Brahmastra to counter a Brahmastra invoked by Shiva. Shri Krishna also had Narayanastra with which he has counterd pashupatastraWhen fighting Banasura and Lord Shiva, Shri Krishna used his weapon Narayanjvara to counter Shivajara. No discussion is complete on weapons of Shri Krishna, if we do not mention the Sudarshan Chakra. He used this in the war of Mahabharat for a different purpose – to make sun disappear. This led to killing of Jayadrath.

Another notable use of this Sudarshan Chakra was in killing of Shishupala, the king of Chedi, who was also a relative of Shri Krishna.

Sudarshan Chakra – Vishnu – Dashavatar – Shri – Krishna’s weapon

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Indian Mythology Mahabharat Weapon

Weapons used in the time of Mahabharat – 1

Weapon used in Mahabharat

We are continuing on from the weapons used in the times of The Ramayana. Brahmastra has been mentioned quite frequently in ancient texts and Mahabharat is no exception here.

Brahmastra

As described in the sastra, a Brahmastra is an astra. This is created by Lord Brahma. It is sometimes known as the Brahma Astra (astra referring to ‘missile weapon’). As described in a number of the Puranas, Brahmastra is considered to be the very deadliest of weapons. When a Brahmastra is discharged, neither a counterattack nor a defense of any kind can stop it.  This weapon can only be neutralized by Brahmadanda (stick of Brahma).  Karna has the knowledge of this potent astra. Though he was not able to use this because of the curse of Parshurama. Vishwamitra used this against Vasistha. Vasistha neutralized this weapon and defeated Vishwamitra. The whole story is narrated here.

Vasishtha – Vishwamitra – Brahmastra – Indian – mythology – weapon

Brahmashira

There was another powerful weapon called Brahmashira.  Brahmashira was never used in war. It had four times more power than the Brahmastra, i.e fourth power square. This was because Brahma has four heads, thus the name. Only Arjuna and Ashwatthama possessed the knowledge to summon the Brahmashira. Arjuna has the knowledge to retract this, but Ashwatthama did not. After Ashwatthama killed uppandavas, a fight ensued between him and Arjuna. During the fight, Ashwatthama invoked the extremely powerful Brahmashira, against Arjuna.  Arjuna in response invoked the same astra. Fearing the destruction of the world, the sages advised both to take back their weapons. While Arjuna could do so, Ashwatthama (presumably having less skill) could not, and was given the option of choosing any single target to destroy. Out of spite, Ashwatthama directed the weapon to the wombs of Pandava women. Among them was Uttara, Arjuna’s daughter-in-law. Shri Krishna saved the unborn Parikshit, but cursed Ashwatthama for his cowardly act.

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