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
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.]

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