Tuesday, 30 July 2013

CELESTIAL WEAPONS (ASTRAS)

In Hinduism, an astra  was a supernatural weapon, presided over by a specific deity. To summon or use an astra required knowledge of a specific incantation/invocation, when armed. The deity invoked would then endow the weapon, making it impossible to counter through regular means. Specific conditions existed involving the usage of astras, the violation of which could be fatal. Because of the power involved, the knowledge involving an astra was passed from a teacher to a pupil by word of mouth alone, and only following the establishment of the student's character. Certain astras had to be handed down from the deity involved directly, knowledge of the incantation being insufficient.

Astras come into importance mainly in the Ramayana and Mahabharata, where they are used in the great battles described in each epic. They are depicted as used by archers such as Rama, Lakshman, Meghnad, Karna, Bheeshma etc. The astras were generally invoked into arrows, although they could potentially be used with anything—Ashwatthama invoked an astra using a blade of grass as his weapon.



1. Narayanaastra     

     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. If  the user were to attempt invoking it a second  time, it would rebound on him, and possibly, his  troops.


2.Vaishnavaastra     

   Would destroy target completely, irrespective of  target's nature. Infallible. This weapon had to
    be obtained from Vishnu directly.

3.Maheshwarastra    

   Contains the power of Shiva's third eye. Shoots a  really fast fiery beam which can turn even
   celestial beings to complete ashes. Infallible.


4.Pashupatastra     

  Would destroy target completely, irrespective of target's nature. Infallible. When released, the
  weapon summons several monsters and a huge   spirit which personifies the weapon. Sometimes  it can cause a catastrophic explosion similar to  a hydrogen bomb. Each time the weapon is summoned, its head is never the same This weapon had to be obtained from Shiva directly.


5.Indraastra

 Would bring about a 'shower' of arrows from the sky.

 
6. Aagneyaastra    

     The weapon discharged would emit flames  inextinguishable through normal means.


7.Varunaastra 

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

8.Devastra

  equivalent(some believe to be real and even  in this modern age, Attainable).of modern military
  missiles.


9.Asurastra   

 Mythical equivalent( that some believe to be real and even in this modern age, Attainable).of modern biological missiles.


10.Manavastra ( Manu (Hinduism), father )

  of the human race  Could overcome supernatural protections and carry the  target hundreds of miles away. Can inspire humane  traits in an evil being.  


11.Varunapasha    

  A powerful noose which not even other gods can escape from.




12.Bhaumastra  

The weapon could create tunnels deep into the earth and summon jewels.



13.Parvataastra                         

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



14.Bhargavaastra

Parashurama gave this astra to Karna. It caused  great damage to Pandavas army. This astra possesses  Parashurama's skill in archery. It could bring a  shower of much more powerful weapons than the  Indrastra and could smash any military formation and  cut through all enemy defenses.


15.Nagaastra 

The weapon would have an inerring aim and take on  the form of a snake, proving deadly upon impact.

16.Nagapaasha  

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)


17.Vayvayaastra

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



18.Suryastra          
Create a dazzling light that would dispel any  darkness about and dry up water bodies.


19.Vajra         

 Target would be struck with bolts of lightning (vajra referring to Indra's thunderbolt).


20.Mohini        

 Dispel any form of maya or sorcery in the vicinity.


21.Twashtar       

When used against a group of opponents (such as an  army), would cause them to mistake each other for enemies and fight each other.


22.Sammohana/Pramohana     

Would cause entire hosts/armies to collapse in a trance.


23.Parvataastra                          

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











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