Sunday, November 30, 2014

ANCIENT INDIAN ASTRAS

Photo: THE ASTRAS : 

== The Divine Subtle Weapons Mentioned In Hindu Literature ==

Astra is a general term that refers to celestial weapons in Hindu literature. They are not weapons that are wielded by the hand, but rather weapons that are invoked by chanting a mantra and then directed through a medium such as an arrow. Astras require no physical effort, but intense mental concentration is required to invoke, direct, and withdraw them. Improper use of an astra, such as not knowing all the words in the mantra or attempting to use the weapon on an unworthy foe, can be disastrous or even fatal.

Astras can be both physical and/or illusory. Some astras cause destruction through showers of arrows, fire, or radiation while others can cause mental afflictions such as confusion, unconsciousness or sleep. Each astra has a presiding deity and to obtain the astra one must meditate and conduct severe austeries, and through ascetic merit obtain the sanction of the deity in question. Alternatively, a mantra can be learned from someone who already knows it via word of mouth. However, astras are only passed on to worthy disciples who have the wisdom to use them responsibly. Word of mouth may weaken the potency of the astra as it is passed down over the course of generations. In the Mahabharata, Arjuna had learned many astras from his preceptor Drona (who had in turn learned them from Bharadwaja who had learned them from Bhargava) but he still went in search of the celestial weapons from the source (Shiva and others) because they were more potent when learned directly from the gods.

For the most powerful astras, knowing just the mantra is not enough to invoke the weapon. One must also obtain the sanction of its presiding deity to use the weapon. This is most likely due to the destructive nature of the astra, and the consequence of using it improperly. For instance, the Brahma Astra is said to be powerful enough to destroy the entire universe if not properly directed at an individual or army.

In literature, the most common medium for an astra is an arrow shot from a bow. However, not all astras are invoked in such a way. In the case of Aisika the medium is a grass stalk or reed used because it was the only object available on hand. Spears, maces, and other weapons can also be used and some astras do not require any medium and could be considered a weapon of pure thought.

List of Astras:

Agni Astra
Aindra Astra
Antardhana Astra
Bhauma Astra
Brahma Astra
Brahmasira
Garuda Astra
Mohini Astra
Naga Astra
Narayana Astra
Parjanya Astra
Parvata Astra
Pasupata
Prajna Astra
Sakti
Sammohana Astra
Surya Astra
Vaishnava Astra
Vajra Astra
Varuna Astra
Vayu Astra
Visoshana 

1. 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. It has been used multiple times in Ramayana,Indrajit used it against hanuman, Lakshmana asked permission to use it against Indrajit,which lord Rama declined,lakshmana used it to kill atikaya,lord Rama used it as final arrow to kill Ravana.
Presiding Deity: Brahma
Weapon’s Effect: Total annihilation
Warriors:Arjuna, karna, Drona, Bhishma, Ashwatthama, Bhima, Satyaki, Yudhishthira, Dristidyumna, Rama, Ravana, Inderjeet Megnadh, Laxmana

2. 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
Weapon’s Effect: Total annihilation
Warriors: Drona, Arjuna and Ashwatthama.

3. Bhargav astra :

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

4. Aindra astra:

Presiding Deity: Indra
Weapon’s Effect: Would bring about a shower of arrows from the sky.

5. Vasavi astra: A deadly weapon like Pasupata, the magical dart weapon of Indra, unfailing at executing its target. Indra granted it to Karna during the Kurukshetra war,first used by Indrajit against lakshmana in Ramayana, in Mahabharata it was used by karna to kill ghatotkacha.
Warrior: Karna

6. Vajra astra: 

Indra’s favorite weapon. This weapon was made from the bones of sage dadhichi and it was used by Indra to slay demon called vritra. 
Weapon’s Effect: Target would be struck with bolts of lightning (vajra referring to Indra’s thunderbolt).
Warrior: Arjuna.

7. Indrastra- A powerful missile used to scatter the opposing army.
Warriors- Arjuna,Drona, Ashwatthama, Yudhishthira.

8. Agneya astra:

Presiding Deity: Agni
Weapon’s Effect: The weapon discharged would emit flames inextinguishable through normal means.

9. Varuna astra: 

Presiding Deity: Varuna
Weapon’s Effect: The weapon discharged would release torrential volumes of water. This weapon is commonly mentioned as used to counter the Agneyastra.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. Vayu astra:

Presiding Deity: Vayu
Weapon’s Effect: Bring about a gale capable of lifting armies off the ground.

13. Surya astra:

Presiding Deity: Surya
Weapon’s Effect: Create a dazzling light that would dispel any darkness about.

14. Parjanya astra : 

Presiding Deity : Parjanya 
Weapon Effect : It is a weapon in which can summon clouds, rain, thunder, and obscure the light of the sun. The presiding deity is Parjanya, lord of the rains. In Sanskrit it means "weapon capable of generating rain" (par = related to rain, janya = generating, astra = weapon). It is also referred to as Meghastra (megha = cloud). Arjuna used the Parjanya Astra during a demonstration of skill in the Mahabharata, Adi Parva section 137.

15. Mohini astra:

Presiding Deity: Mohini, Visnu avatar
Weapon’s Effect: Dispel any form of maya or sorcery in the vicinity.

16. Twashtar astra:

Presiding Deity: Twashtr
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.

17. Sammohana/ Pramohana astra:

Weapon’s Effect: Would cause entire hosts/armies to collapse in a trance.

18. Parvata astra:

Weapon’s Effect: Would cause a Parvata/mountain to fall on the target from the skies.

19. Narayana astra:  

Invincible and painful, this astra is unconquerable except by total submission. In Mahabharata ashwathama used it against pandava army to avenge his father's death.

Presiding Deity: Visnu 
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.

20. Vaishnava astra: 

One of the most powerful astras, this cannot be stopped by anyone except its creator, Vishnu,it was used by king bhagdatt against Arjuna, only to be saved by lord krishna,since he is the incarnation of lord Vishnu.

Presiding Deity: Visnu
Weapon’s Effect: Would destroy target completely, irrespective of target’s nature. Infallible. This weapon had to be obtained from Vishnu directly.

21. 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
Weapon’s Effect: Would destroy target completely, irrespective of target’s nature. Infallible. This weapon had to be obtained from Shiva directly. 


"Om Shanti Shanti Shanti"
THE ASTRAS : 

== The Divine Subtle Weapons Mentioned In Hindu Literature ==

Astra is a general term that refers to celestial weapons in Hindu literature. They are not weapons that are wielded by the hand, but rather weapons that are invoked by chanting a mantra and then directed through a medium such as an arrow. Astras require no physical effort, but intense mental concentration is required to invoke, direct, and withdraw them. Improper use of an astra, such as not knowing all the words in the mantra or attempting to use the weapon on an unworthy foe, can be disastrous or even fatal.

Astras can be both physical and/or illusory. Some astras cause destruction through showers of arrows, fire, or radiation while others can cause mental afflictions such as confusion, unconsciousness or sleep. Each astra has a presiding deity and to obtain the astra one must meditate and conduct severe austeries, and through ascetic merit obtain the sanction of the deity in question. Alternatively, a mantra can be learned from someone who already knows it via word of mouth. However, astras are only passed on to worthy disciples who have the wisdom to use them responsibly. Word of mouth may weaken the potency of the astra as it is passed down over the course of generations. In the Mahabharata, Arjuna had learned many astras from his preceptor Drona (who had in turn learned them from Bharadwaja who had learned them from Bhargava) but he still went in search of the celestial weapons from the source (Shiva and others) because they were more potent when learned directly from the gods.

For the most powerful astras, knowing just the mantra is not enough to invoke the weapon. One must also obtain the sanction of its presiding deity to use the weapon. This is most likely due to the destructive nature of the astra, and the consequence of using it improperly. For instance, the Brahma Astra is said to be powerful enough to destroy the entire universe if not properly directed at an individual or army.

In literature, the most common medium for an astra is an arrow shot from a bow. However, not all astras are invoked in such a way. In the case of Aisika the medium is a grass stalk or reed used because it was the only object available on hand. Spears, maces, and other weapons can also be used and some astras do not require any medium and could be considered a weapon of pure thought.

List of Astras:

Agni Astra
Aindra Astra
Antardhana Astra
Bhauma Astra
Brahma Astra
Brahmasira
Garuda Astra
Mohini Astra
Naga Astra
Narayana Astra
Parjanya Astra
Parvata Astra
Pasupata
Prajna Astra
Sakti
Sammohana Astra
Surya Astra
Vaishnava Astra
Vajra Astra
Varuna Astra
Vayu Astra
Visoshana

1. 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. It has been used multiple times in Ramayana,Indrajit used it against hanuman, Lakshmana asked permission to use it against Indrajit,which lord Rama declined,lakshmana used it to kill atikaya,lord Rama used it as final arrow to kill Ravana.
Presiding Deity: Brahma
Weapon’s Effect: Total annihilation
Warriors:Arjuna, karna, Drona, Bhishma, Ashwatthama, Bhima, Satyaki, Yudhishthira, Dristidyumna, Rama, Ravana, Inderjeet Megnadh, Laxmana

2. 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
Weapon’s Effect: Total annihilation
Warriors: Drona, Arjuna and Ashwatthama.

3. Bhargav astra :

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

4. Aindra astra:

Presiding Deity: Indra
Weapon’s Effect: Would bring about a shower of arrows from the sky.

5. Vasavi astra: A deadly weapon like Pasupata, the magical dart weapon of Indra, unfailing at executing its target. Indra granted it to Karna during the Kurukshetra war,first used by Indrajit against lakshmana in Ramayana, in Mahabharata it was used by karna to kill ghatotkacha.
Warrior: Karna

6. Vajra astra:

Indra’s favorite weapon. This weapon was made from the bones of sage dadhichi and it was used by Indra to slay demon called vritra.
Weapon’s Effect: Target would be struck with bolts of lightning (vajra referring to Indra’s thunderbolt).
Warrior: Arjuna.

7. Indrastra- A powerful missile used to scatter the opposing army.
Warriors- Arjuna,Drona, Ashwatthama, Yudhishthira.

8. Agneya astra:

Presiding Deity: Agni
Weapon’s Effect: The weapon discharged would emit flames inextinguishable through normal means.

9. Varuna astra:

Presiding Deity: Varuna
Weapon’s Effect: The weapon discharged would release torrential volumes of water. This weapon is commonly mentioned as used to counter the Agneyastra.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. Vayu astra:

Presiding Deity: Vayu
Weapon’s Effect: Bring about a gale capable of lifting armies off the ground.

13. Surya astra:

Presiding Deity: Surya
Weapon’s Effect: Create a dazzling light that would dispel any darkness about.

14. Parjanya astra :

Presiding Deity : Parjanya
Weapon Effect : It is a weapon in which can summon clouds, rain, thunder, and obscure the light of the sun. The presiding deity is Parjanya, lord of the rains. In Sanskrit it means "weapon capable of generating rain" (par = related to rain, janya = generating, astra = weapon). It is also referred to as Meghastra (megha = cloud). Arjuna used the Parjanya Astra during a demonstration of skill in the Mahabharata, Adi Parva section 137.

15. Mohini astra:

Presiding Deity: Mohini, Visnu avatar
Weapon’s Effect: Dispel any form of maya or sorcery in the vicinity.

16. Twashtar astra:

Presiding Deity: Twashtr
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.

17. Sammohana/ Pramohana astra:

Weapon’s Effect: Would cause entire hosts/armies to collapse in a trance.

18. Parvata astra:

Weapon’s Effect: Would cause a Parvata/mountain to fall on the target from the skies.

19. Narayana astra:

Invincible and painful, this astra is unconquerable except by total submission. In Mahabharata ashwathama used it against pandava army to avenge his father's death.

Presiding Deity: Visnu
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.

20. Vaishnava astra:

One of the most powerful astras, this cannot be stopped by anyone except its creator, Vishnu,it was used by king bhagdatt against Arjuna, only to be saved by lord krishna,since he is the incarnation of lord Vishnu.

Presiding Deity: Visnu
Weapon’s Effect: Would destroy target completely, irrespective of target’s nature. Infallible. This weapon had to be obtained from Vishnu directly.

21. 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
Weapon’s Effect: Would destroy target completely, irrespective of target’s nature. Infallible. This weapon had to be obtained from Shiva directly.