Ancient Indian Weapons

Only available on StudyMode
  • Topic: Vishnu, Deva, Indra
  • Pages : 1 (294 words )
  • Download(s) : 519
  • Published : September 13, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
Apart from the traditional human weapons like swords, daggers, spears, clubs, shields, bows, arrows and maces, and the weapons used by the gods (such as Indra's thunderbolt Vajrayudha), the texts mention the utilization of various divine weapons by various heroes, each associated with a certain god or deity. These weapons are most often gifted to semi-divine beings, human beings or the rakshasas by the gods, sometimes as a result of penance.

There are several weapons which were believed to be used by the gods of the Hindu theology, some of which are Agneyastra, Brahmastra, Chakram, Garudastra, Kaumodaki, Narayanastra, Pashupata, Shiva Dhanush, Sudarshana Chakra, Trishul, Vaishnavastra, Varunastra, and Vayavastra.

Some of these weapons are explicitly classified ( for example, the Shiva Dhanush is a bow, the Sudharshan Chakra is a discus and the Trishul is a trident), but many other weapons appear to be weapons specially blessed by the gods. For example, the Brahmastra, Agneyastra (Sanskrit: Astra = weapon, especially, one thrown at an opponent) and the other astras appear to be single use weapons requiring an intricate knowledge of use, often depicted in art, literature and adapted filmography as divinely blessed arrows.

Sometimes the astra is descriptive of the function, or of the force of nature which it invokes. The Mahabharata cites instances when the Nagastra (Sanskrit: Nag=snake) was used, and thousands of snakes came pouring down from the skies on unsuspecting enemies. Similarly, the Agneyastra (Agni) is used for setting the enemy ablaze, as the Varunastra (Varuna) is used for extinguishing flames, or for invoking floods. Some weapons like the Brahmastra can only be used (lethally) against a single individual.

Apart from the astras, other instances of divine or mythological weaponry include armor (Kavacha), crowns and helmets, staffs and jewellery (Kundala).
tracking img