Indian Mythology

Weapon catalogue – Indian mythology (2)

Weapon catalogue from Indian mythology

Following on from earlier article, here various weapons used are narrated here.

Name of the weapon

Effect and usage

Associated with

Naga paasha

This weapon is a trap made of million snakes. This would bind the target in coils of living venomous snakes. In the Ramayana, it was used against Lord Rama and Lakshmana by Indrajit. Garud freed the two brothers after Hanuman intervened.

The Nagas

Naga astra

The weapon would have an un-erring aim and take on the form of a snake, proving deadly upon impact.Karna used once in Mahabharat on Arjuna, but it missed its mark. Due to a promise made to Kunti, he did not use this again.

The Nagas

Vajra astra

Target would be struck with bolts of lightning (vajra referring to Indra’s thunderbolt). Indra used this on Hanuman when he wanted to swallow Sun.


Parvata astra

Would cause a Parvata/mountain to fall on the target from the skies.  

Brahma astra

Would destroy entire hosts at once. Could also counter most other astras. Used by Indrajit on Hanuman, but due to a boon from Brahma, Hanuman escaped from this.

Brahma, the Creator

Brahmasirsha astra

Capable of killing devas. Was used by Ashwatthama on Parikshit

Brahma, the Creator

Narayana astra

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.

Vishnu, the Preserver

Amoghastra, Vasavi Shakti

Indra gave this to Karna in before the battle of mahabharat. He was ashamed by Karna’s generosity, when he has given him Kavach and Kundal in alms. Vasavi Shakti: The magical dart weapon of Indra, unfailing at executing its target. Indra granted it to Karna during the Kurukshetra war. The Mahabharata also refers to it as the Amoghastra.  


Indian Mythology

Weapon Catalogue – from Indian mythology (1)

Weapon catalogue from Indian mythology

The range of weapons described in ancient texts is overwhelming. If we see closely, we will find many of the weapons from mythological stories, Mahabharat and The Ramayna, we discover that the warfare technologies were very much advanced.

Name of the weapon

Effect and usage

Associated with

Brahma Danda

It contained the spiritual powers of the 7 greatest sages (Sapta Rishis).. It contained the spiritual power of the 7 greatest sages of Hinduism – Bhrigu, Agastya, Jamadagni, Vasistha, Bharadwaja, Gautama and Kashyapa. This astra is the most powerful weapon of Lord Brahma. Drona used this on 15th day of Mahabharat war and nobody knew to counter this weapon. Pandavas had to resort to other means to counter this great warrior. Sage Vasistha given this weapon to Drona. Drona used Brahmadanda for the first time in the Mahabharat war.

Weapon of Seven Sages, The Sapta Rishis.

Aindra astra or Indra astra

Would bring about a shower of arrows from the sky.

Indra, the god of weather

Agneya astra

The weapon discharged would emit flames inextinguishable through normal means. Shishupala used this against Krishna which he had neutralized with Varun astra.

Agni, the god of fire

Varuna astra

The weapon discharged would release torrential volumes of water. This weapon is commonly mentioned as used to counter the Agneyastra.

Varuna, the god of water

Sammohana/ Pramohana astra

Would cause entire hosts/armies to collapse in a trance. Drona used on fourteenth day of Mahabharat to capture Yudhishthira, but Sahdev saved him.

Twashtar astra

Created illusion so that friends mistake each other for enemies and fight each other. Twashtar or Twashtri, is the architect employed by Indra, who later came to be known as Viswakarma and who built the celestial cities. The use of this weapon is not found. This is similar to Gandharva astra.

Twashtri, the heavenly builder

Mohini astra

Dispel any form of maya or sorcery in the vicinity.

Mohini, Visnu avatar

Surya astra

Create a dazzling light that would dispel any darkness about.

Surya, the sun god

Vayu astra

Bring about a gale capable of lifting armies off the ground.

Vayu, the god of wind


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Indian Mythology Weapon

Weapon catalogue – Indian Mythology (4)

This is the last article describing weapons in Indian mythology. I am really amazed by the range and diversity these provided to the owners. Another noticeable fact is that lot of them can be related to the weapons used in modern warfare.

Following is the list of weapons in weapon series.

Name of the weapon

Effect and usage

Associated with

Sharnga, Nandaki and Kaumodaki

These three are the weapons of lord Vishnu.

Sharnga: The Celestial Bow of Lord Vishnu.

Nandaki: The Sword of Lord Vishnu.

Kaumodaki: The divine mace weapon of Vishnu; invincible and without parallel.

Lord Vishnu.

Pashupata Astra

It is believed in Hindu mythology that Pashupatastra is one of the most devastating weapons, as it is the weapon of the consort of the godhead Mahadeva, i.e. Mahakali. Mahadeva literally means “Highest of all god” and Mahakali means Goddess who is beyond time.

This weapon, granted to Arjuna by Lord Shiva, is one of the most destructive and foreboding weapon. It is said to have the power to change the course of Creation and Destruction. Would destroy target completely, irrespective of target’s nature. Infallible. This weapon had to be obtained from Shiva directly. There are some suggestions that this was used on two occasions as detailed below, but this is not confirmed.

Uses of Pashupata astra: In Mahabharat war by Arjuna to kill Jayadratha.

Against Lakshmana by Meghanada in The Ramayana.

by Lord Shiva on Tripurasuras.

Lord Shiva, Mahakali

Bhargava Astra

Karna used the the deadly Bhargava-astra, given to him by its owner, Parshurama on Pandavas, in mahabharat war. This weapon destroyed all the arrows sent by the Pandava armies. Krishna then encouraged Arjuna to strike with his Brahma astra, which brought an even more potent rain of arrows down on the heads of Karna and his men. Karna returned the arrow fire, as he and Arjuna traded blows with their deadly arsenal of astras.


Naga Astra

Used between the fight of Karna and Arjuna.

Having promised his mother that he would only use the Naga-astra once during the battle, after this failed attempt to kill Arjuna, Karna did not try to deploy the weapon again at Kurukshetra. Repeatedly Karna had broken Arjuna’s Gandiva bowstring, which Arjuna immediately restrung again, eleven times in a row. Arjuna then sent a number of astras after Karna, including the Agni-astra, which Karna met by releasing the Varuna-astra. The Varuna-astra produced rain to put out the firestorm created by Agni-astra. Arjuna then countered the strike by releasing his Vayu-astra, which produced winds that blew away the storm clouds of Varuna-astra.

Naga astra

The Nagas

Following weapons were given to Rama by Vishwamitra during the Balkand when he helped the sage in performing his yagya


Causes rain


Sosana, sucks up moisture from the air, the results of which are obvious.


This weapon generates excessive heat, scalding the enemy forces.


Tear or the weep-inducer, which can be related to the tear-gas of the present days.

Madan Astra

Difficult to overcome


Robs people of their power

Lord Rama was also in possession of an unassailable intoxicator and a dear missile of Manmatha, namely Mohana [The Intoxicator,] and another the fond missile of gandharva-s namely maanava by its name, [The Humane missile,] and a missile dear one to pishaaca-s, monsters, namely paishaca [The Monster missile.]