Weapons in the period of The Ramayana

Rama and Ravana - The Ramayana

Weapons used in the times of the Ramayana

Long before the advent of nuclear weapons, we heard it many times in Indian mythology and ancient texts that not only powerful weapons existed, but they were also used by various people. Some of these weapons had the power to annihilate the whole universe. This provides us with some fascinating reading, as we can related to these weapons with modern warfare.

Lord Rama and his weapons

Probably the most written and popular is the Brahmastra, which is has found mention in Mahabharat and The Ramayana. This was the most potent and could be used once in the lieftime.  Lord Ram earlier intended to use this against Sagar (Sea god),as he wanted to ocean to give way to Lanka. Sagar was not yielding when Rama requested him, so as the last measure, he resorted to use the Brahmastra. Sagar promplty complied. By this time, the Brahmastra was invoked, so Rama has directed it towards a place, where it could do minimal harm.

When Rama invoked Brahmastra on Sagar (Sea God)
When Rama invoked Brahmastra on Sagar (Sea God)

Ravana’s killing: Lord Rama used prasvapna as the means to evaporate the amrita (nectar) from Ravana, which was the reason Ravana was not dying. This important advice was given by Vibheeshana to him.

Rama using Prasavapan on Ravana
Rama using Prasavapan on Ravana

 

In the war,  he used Gandharvastra to kill 14000 asurs, as this weapon compelled asuras to think that the next person fighting to them is Rama. Thus they fought with each other and killed themselves. Only two people knew to use this weapon, Rama and Ravana, though Ram only had the knowledge to neutralize this.

Earlier, in his student days, Lord Rama used Manava upon Maricha.

Rama and Ravana - The Ramayana
Ravana killing by Lord Rama – The Ramayana

Lakshman and his weapons

Lakshman used various weapons in this war. He has killed Ravana’s son Meghnad. He used Varunaastra which Meghnaad failed. He used Sauryaastra to neutralize Meghnaad’s Aagneyastra . Then Lakshman had to use powerful weapon named Maheshwar to stop Meghnad’s asur weapon. Meghnad was killed when Lakshman used Indrastra. Prior to that Meghnaad used his powerful weapon Shakti, due to which Laskhman was unconscious on battle field. Hanuman brought Sanjeevani to revive him.

Hanuman bringing sanjeevani booti to revive Laxman

Meghnaad managed to imprison Rama and Laxmana in Naagpaash. Hanuman sought the help of Garud to free Rama and Lakshman. This is a very interesting and important incident, where the gods have been rendered helpless and had to seek help of mortals. Thus this mythology story is a teacher which teaches us to be humble, as help is needed by gods too.

 

Meghnaad used naga astra against Ram and Laxman

 

Ram and Laxman in nagpaash - reviced by Garuda
Ram and Laxman in nagpaash – revived by Garuda

 

Meghnaad’s boon and his death – Meghnaad had this boon that he could not be killed after performing a yagya. After completing the yagya, he would have received a rath (chariot) and while sitting on this, he could not be killed. Rama was told by Vibheeshan of this fact and Rama ordered him, Lakshman and Hanuman to go and stop this yagya. There was a precondition that he could not touch any weapon when performing this yagya.

There they disturbed his yagya and did not allow him to complete the yagya. So he had to get up in the middle of the yagya and fought with Lakshman and Hanumaan only with Yagya utensils. He was very angry with Vibheeshan, his uncle. He had saved a Divine Astra, Yamastra, to kill him, so he used it to kill him, but Kuber had already warned Lakshman about it, so Lakshman countered it and saved himself. Meghnaad used his three most fierce Astra (BrahmastraPashupatastra and Vaishnavastra) at Lakshman but to his surprise none of them even touched him; rather Vaishnavaastra circumambulated Lakshman before disappearing.

Meghnaad realized that Lakshman was no ordinary man, so he briefly disappeared from the battle ground and came to his father, told him everything and requested to make peace with Rama. But Ravana rebuked him for being coward, so Meghnaad again came to the battle after bidding good bye to his parents and wife. He fought with Lakshman fiercely and then was killed by Indrastra.

Laxman killing Indrajit

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Interesting birth stories from Indian mythology

Birth of Rama, Pandavas, Jarasandh and others

Indian or hindu mythology talk about interesting stories of  births as well. We find instances where great characters came to earth in different way. One common way is that eating dessert or fruit results in birth of a child.
We find this once in the period of The Ramayana and once in the period of Mahabharata.

Birth of Rama (An incarnation of Vishnu Dashavatar)

Dashrath, the king of Ayodhya, has three queens but he was deprived of children. He resorted to penance and after a dedicated worship and havana, messenger of Brahma offered him divine dessert, which was supposed to give sons to Dasharatha. He distributed the dessert to his queens and they soon became pregnant and later became the proud mothers of Ram, Laxman, Bharat and Shatrughan. This is how, one of the dashavatars of Vishnu, Rama was born.

Dashrath performing yagna and receiving prasad from Agni god
Dashrath performing yagna and receiving prasad from Agni god

 

Birth of Jarasandh

Jarasandha was the king of Magadha.  Jarasandh’s father has done severe penance to get a son.  His father got a Magical mango from a sage. It was told that the his queen will get pregnant upon eating the fruit. He distributed the fruit in two halves and gave each half to his two wives. Both delivered a half of a baby , born dead.The king ordered the two halves to be thrown. A demon called Jara was wandering nearby and she noticed the pieces and joined them into one. The baby came alive. It was named as Jarasandh in the honour of the rakshasi. The boy became a very strong man. He defeated and captured 86 kings and kept them prisoner, intending to execute all of them in a sacrifice, once the number reached hundred. This will make him invincible and the ruler of world. For the success of Rajasooya yagya, Krishna, Arjuna and Bheema, went to him disguised as Brahmins and asked him to choose one of them to fight him. He rejected Shri Krishna saying that he was of inferior birth. He also denied Arjuna for a fight because he thought he was a child. He chose Bheema as he appeared suitable for a fight. The fight lasted a long time, thirteen days. Finally, acting upon Krishna’s advise, Bheema tore Jarasandha into two pieces, and tossed the pieces (cut lengthwise) facing opposite directions. This is how Jarasandha was killed in the same way he was born. Thus, as a result of killing of ruler of Magadh, Jarasandh, the path of
Rajsooya yagya was cleared. Yudhishthira later completed the Rajsooya yagya. This story is from the times of Mahabharata.

 

Birth of Drona

Drona was born in a vessel. Sage Bhardwaj produced reproductive fluid after seeing an apsara Ghritachi. He preserved this is a vessel (droon). Drona was thus developed from this fluid. Drona would later boast that he had sprung from Bharadwaja without ever having been in a womb. Even Drona’s wife, Kripi, was gestated outside a womb. Kripi and her brother Kripacharya were the children of the great archer, Shardwan. Indra felt threatened by him and sent an apsara to lose his control over his brahmacharya, thus saving his throne. This story is again from the times of Mahabharata.

Dhrishtdyumna-killing-drona-indian-mythology-mahabharat
Drona and Dhrishtdyumna – Mahabharat

 

Birth of Kauravas

Few people know that Kauravas birth was unnatural as well. Gandhari longed for hundred sons, and Vyasa granted her a boon that she would have these. She was unable to have any children for a long time and she eventually became pregnant, but did not deliver for two years, after which she gave birth to a lump of flesh. Vyasa cut this lump into a
hundred and one pieces, and these eventually developed into a hundred boys and one girl, Dushala.

birth-kaurava-gandhari-mahabharat-indian-mythology
Gandhari and Kauravas – birth – Mahabharat – Indian Mythology

 

Birth of Karna and Pandavas

Kunti was the mother of first three pandavas. When she was young, the sage Durvasa told her a mantra with which Kunti could summon any deva and have a child by him. When Kunti asked why he gave her this mantra, he told her that it would be useful to her later in life. Kunti, out of curiosity tried the mantra before her marriage and became the mother of  Karna. She had to let her son go and he was brought up by Adhirath.

Birth of Karna and Kunti letting him go away
Birth of Karna and Kunti letting him go away

Later, after marriage, she bore three more sons and shared the mantra with Madri, who became the mother of Nakula and Sahdev.

pandavas-draupadi-mahabaharat-indian-mythology
Pandavas and Draupadi

Love stories from Mahabharata – Indian mythology

Interesting love stories from Mahabharat

Mahabharat is full of love stories. It was not only about battle between good and evil.  Mahabharat was lot more than this. We find examples of revenges as well. But you might get surprised seeing the incidents of love. Yes, you heard me right. There are numerous incidents of love as in the great epic of Mahabharat .  Read on.

Ganga and Shantanu – King Shantanu was the emperor of Hastinapur, a descendent of King Bharat. He was a powerful monarch and ruled his people with truth, justice and love. In his realm none were sick or poor or without food. All were employed.  One day, Shantanu was riding his chariot along the banks of the Ganga river when he chanced to see a stunningly beautiful maiden sitting on the riverbank. She was dressed in white silk robes and had lustrous black hair and creamy skin. Her eyes were dark and liquid and fathomless. He was fallen in love with her immediately and proposed for an union. Ganga accepted on one condition and that condition proved to be a heart wrenching one for Shantanu. Bhishma Pitamah was born out of this wedlock.

ganga-shantanu-mahabharat-indian-mythology-story
Ganga and Shantanu – Mahabharat – Indian mythology

Shri Krishna and his 16,108 wives  Out of 16,108 16000 waited not many years but they reincarnated to get married to Shri Krishna. The Supreme Lord can make everyone happy because he is the only one with the power to love everyone in the way they want to be loved. Others may tell us that they love us but we never really believe them. But Krishna, who we cannot see with our material eyes, loves us and we know it, even if he never tells us. That’s the power of the love of Krishna.

Draupadi and Pandavas Draupadi  got married to all five Pandava brothers. She had to maintain commitment towards each of her husband. Not only that, all brothers had to trust Draupadi to do the justice. All six of them went through the adversity of life like living in exile. But, Draupadi always trusted them.

Draupadi could have 14 husbands instead of five

Gandhari and Dhritarashtra – After Vichitravirya’s death, his mother Satyavati sent for her first born, Ved Vyasa. According to his mother’s wishes, he visited both the wives of Vichitravirya to grant them a son with his yogic powers. When Vyasa visited Ambika (Sister of Amba), she saw his dreadful and forbidding appearance with burning eyes. Frightened, she kept her eyes closed. Hence, Dhritarashtra, her son, was born blind. Ved Vyasa was the person, who wrote Mahabharat.

The love story of Gandhari and Dhritarashtra started after their marriage. Gandhari, on meeting him and realizing that he was blind, decided to deny herself the pleasure of sight that her husband could never relish. She blindfolded herself voluntarily for her whole married life.

Arjuna and Uloopi – Uloopi was Naga princess and she abducted Arjuna when she fell in love with him. She later convinced him for an alliance as the rules of celibacy applied to him with a relationship with Draupadi and not with other women. She later gave him a boon that he cannot be harmed in water.

Note: Arjuna was on an exile of one year during when this happened.

Rukmani and  Shri Krishna : Shri Krishna, the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, abducted Rukmani to marry her against the will of her family. Although she was in love with Shri Krishna.

Arjuna and Chitrangada – Chitrangada was the princess of Manipur. It was on the banks of the river Kaveri that Arjuna visited the kingdom of Manipur, whose king was Chitravahana. He had a very beautiful daughter named Chitrangada, with whom Arjuna fell immediately in love. When Arjuna asked for her hand, her father put forth a condition that their child must be brought up in Manipur and should succeed the throne. Arjuna agreed. After their son Babruvahana was born, Arjuna went back to join his brothers at Indraprastha, leaving behind his wife and son.  After the death of Chitravahana, Babruvahana became the ruler of Manipur. Later, after the Mahabharat war, Arjuna was defeated by his son, Babruvahana.

Arjuna and Subhadra – Arjuna and Subhadra’s brother Gada, have taken training together under Drona. During his exile of one year, when Arjuna reached Dwarka, he was invited at Subhadra’s place and both have fallen in love with each other. Arjuna married Subhadra, half sister of Shri Krishna. Shri Krishna has advised Arjuna to abduct Subhadra, and this was an acceptable behaviour of a Kshatriya. Even Shri Krishna did the same with Rukmani. Though Balram was not happy with this, Shri Krishna persuaded him to accept this alliance. When Subhadra reached Draupadi,  she did not disclose the alliance with her. After an hour or so, when Draupadi was comfortable and happy with her, she told her about the marriage and Draupadi accepted her.

Hidimba and Bheema: Bheema was the son of Kunti. Hidimba was the man eater. She fell in love with Bheema and that
changed every thing for her. After marriage they lived together only for limited period of time, then Bheema left as he have to. Hidimba gave birth to the Great Ghatotkacha and takes care of him alone without regretting anything. Later, Ghatotkacha played an important role in Mahabharat war, as Karna had to use the weapon Ekaghni to kill him, thus saving the life of Arjuna.

Satyavati and Rishi Parashar – Parashar was the well known and respected sage who had acquired many yogic powers through devotion. Satyavati, the daughter of a fisherman, Dashraja, used to take people across the river Yamuna in her boat. One day, she was taking Rishi Parashar in the boat. The sage, smitten by her charm, expressed the desire to make love with her. He told her that she was destined to give birth to a great person from this liaison. Satyavati placed three conditions before him:

No one on shore could see what they were doing.  So, Parashar created an artificial mist around them. Her virginity would remain intact. Parashar assured that after she gave birth she would become a virgin again. She wanted the fishy smell that came from her body to be replaced by an intoxicating fragrance. Parashara said that a divine aroma would emanate out of her, which could be sensed for a distance of nine miles. She gave birth to Ved Vyas, the author of Mahabharat.

Satyavati and Shantanu – The fragrance of Satyavati attracted Shantanu to her. He followed it to its source and found Satyavati sitting in her boat. He stepped in and asked Satyavati to row him across the river. When he reached the other bank he asked her to ferry him back. This continued till dusk that day and continued daily for quite some time. Finally Shantanu asked Satyavati to marry him. Satyavati said that she was willing, but would be bound by her father Dashraj’s decision. It turned out that her father has ambitious plans for her and Shantanu was not able to satisfy them. The son of Ganga and Shantanu, made things easier for him and took some vows because of them he was called as Bhsihma.

shantanu-satyavati-mahabharat-indian-mythology
Shantanu and Satyavati – Mahabharat – Indian mythology story

 

Test your knowledge on Mahabharat

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