By Atul Tripathi

Weapons used in Indian Epics


Research found: Ever wondered how our mythological heroes operated the deadly weapons mentioned in our epics. Few years ago a manuscript was found from the colllection of Ashtavaidyan Vaidyamadham Cheriya Narayanan Namboodri, who passed away recently. It is beleived that the manuscript written in sanskrit language covers the detail to unlock the principle, features and direction to use the weapons which were mentioned in the Mahabharata epic. The 63-folio manuscript written in Palm leaves, beleived to be re-written about 120 years ago. It is the only manuscript retrieved so far in the country which have the detailed explanation of how to use all the deadly weapon mentioned in Mahabharata.


Some of the most deadliest weapons are

Brahmastra: It is one of the most deadliest weapon described in ancient Indian text. Nothing can counter attack or defence it except Brahamdanda weapon (discuss it later). We can compare the impact of Brahmastra to modern day Nuclear attack. We can now imagine how fierceful this astra was.

Historians beleive that nuclear weapons were used in the Mahabharata war. In present day, there are certain places where the radioactive radiation are much more higher than other normal places which is very similar to the places which faced the nuclear attack(Hiroshima and Nagasaki). At one site, Soviet scholars found a skeleton which had a radioactive level 50 times greater than normal. One more such example is the Thar Desert, the site of the radioactive ash was found at west of Jodhpur. A heavy layer of radioactive ash in Rajasthan, India, covers a three-square mile area, ten miles west of Jodhpur. Scientists are investigating the site. The level of radiation found was so high that the Indian government ordered to cordoned off the region.


Nagastra: According to Mahabharata,this weapon have an un-erroring aim and it take a form of snake. Karna used it against Arjuna. In modern day, this technology could be compared to the guided cruise missile systems. It can sense the path of the enemy and can hit them by doing a dog fight.


Narayanastra: It is the weapon used by lord Vishnu. This weapon can fire the thousands of arms/arrow in a single blow. The only method to defence this astra is "Total Submission". In the epic, Ashwathama once used it unsuccessfully. It can be used once in a lifetime by a user. If we compare it to the modern days weapon system this could the Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher-Pinaka.


Brahmadanda Astra: It is beleived among the sages that this astra was capable of destroying the entire solar system. Once this weapon invoked can't be altered and it can cause the worst nightmare one can not imagine. The creator of this astra was the group of seven sages known as Saptarishi. They developed this weapon to counter any type of weapon. Even it can counter Brahmastra and Brahmashira. Nothing can stop or escape from it. From our ancient text, it is beleived that once Brahmarishi Vashistha used it in defence to counter the divine attack of Rishi Vishwamitra.


Brahmashirsha Astra: Brahmashirsha was the advanced derivative of Brahmastra. Historians say that it was 4 time stronger than the Brahmastra. In Mahabharata, Ashwathama and Arjuna used this weapon. And In Ramayana, The son of Ravana, Indrajit used it to kill the millions of Vanaras(army of lord Ram) by using only this astra(weapon). If we compare this technology to modern day technology, we can say that it was similar to the Hydrogen Bomb or Thermonuclear Bomb.


Sudarshan Chakra: As its name suggests, it was a spinning disc-like weapon which can be seen on the index finger of lord Vishnu. Accoding to ancient Indian text, this astra was given by lord Shiva to Vishnu. And it was made by the architect of Gods-Vishwakarma. This astra was re-usable and it can be operated through mind and words. According to Shiva Puran (one of ancient Indian text), Sudarshan Chakra was used to cut the corpse of Maa Sati into 51 pieces after she gave up her life by throwing herself in a Yagna. Only this weapon has the capabillity to do so. The 51 parts of the goddes body were then tossed about in different parts of the Indian continent and it become the "Shakti-Peeth."


Vajra: Vajra was a electrifying weapon. It was used by Lord Indra. It can release bolts of powerful lightening and heat, making it one of the most powerful weapon. The creator of this weapon was Maharishi Dadhichi. He made a sacrifice of his skeleton to build this astra(weapon) to defeat asura(monster) was known as Rakshas Vritra. This weapon was used by Indra to reclaim his place as the king of Devloka.


Pashupatastra: It was one of the most powerful weapon after the weapons of lord Shiva and lord Vishnu. It can be operated through mind, eyes, words or a bow. It is belived that Arjuna received this weapon from lord Shiva but never used it in war because it can devast the entire location including his own well wishers. Apart from Arjuna no other warrior posses this weapon. According to sages this weapon was sealed by lord Shiva to prevent the misuse of this astra in Kaliyug(present time).


Teen Baan: One of the most fascinating weapon which I admire personally is this Teen Baan astra. The owner of this astra was Barbarik. He was the son of Ghatotkaksha. He received this astra from Devi Parvati. According to the ancient text, It is beleived that Barbarika was so powerful that he can finish the battle of Mahabharata within seconds with a single blow by using Teen Baan. As the name suggest, this weapon has selective features it can identify its friend or foe and work accordingly. This advanced system of weaponary use three arrows, one to select the target, other one to save the target and the third one to destroy all the thing except target which need to be saved.


Author: Atul Tripathi