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

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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Comments

  1. 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.
    Warriors- 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.

  2. Arjun Rao says:

    They Used Bhramshira Weapon