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In ancient Sanskrit writings, a Brahmastra (IAST: Brahmāstra, sanskrit: ब्रह्‍मास्‍त्र) is a weapon created by Brahma. It is sometimes known as the Brahma Astra (Astra means 'weapon'). As described in a number of the Puranas, it is considered the deadliest weapon. It is said that when a Brahmastra is discharged, there is neither a counter attack nor a defense that may stop it. It is believed that the Brahmastra never misses its mark and must be used with very specific intent against an individual enemy or army, as the target will face complete annihilation. It is believed to be obtained by meditating on the Creator in Vedic mythology, Lord Brahma, and used only once in a lifetime. The user would have to display immense amounts of mental concentration. Since Brahma is considered the Creator in Sanatana Dharma, it is believed that Brahmastra was created by him for the purpose of upholding Dharma and Satya, to be used by anyone who wished to destroy an enemy who would also happen to be a part of his (Brahma's) creation. The target, when hit by Brahmastra, would be utterly destroyed.

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.

The weapon also causes severe environmental damage. The land where the weapon is used becomes barren for eons and all life in and around that area ceases to exist. Women and men become infertile. There is severe decrease in rainfall and the land develops cracks like in a drought. There are various descriptions of weapons created by Hindu deities such as Agneyastra, Brahmastra, Chakram, Garudastra, Kaumodaki, Narayanastra, Pashupatastra, Shiva Dhanush, Sudarshana Chakra, Trishul, Vaishnavastra, Varunastra, and Vayavastra; the weapons of god (trishul, chakram, bramahstarm) are the most powerful. These mythological weapons are at times compared to similar Greek mythological weapons such as the arrows of Apollo as well as our modern nuclear weapons.

There are numerous instances within Sanskrit scriptures where the Brahmastra is used or use is threatened, including:

  • The confrontation of Arjuna and Ashwatthama in Mahabharata, where Arjuna retracts his weapon as ordered, but Ashwatthama, unable to do so, instead sends it to attack Arjuna's unborn grandson, Parikshit, who is subsequently saved by Krishna. Ashwatthama did not have his bow and arrow near him when he was confronted by Arjuna. So he took a piece of straw and after silently invoking the phrase he threw the straw at Arjuna, which carried the power of the Brahmastra.In response,Arjuna also invoked his Bramhastra to counter the other. But the collision of two Bramhastras would have destroyed the universe.so, Vyasdev came between the two Bramhastras & stopped it from collision.Arjuna called back his Bramhastra,but Aswathama did not know this art.So, he wished to change the target & chrged Parikshit, the unborn grand-child of Arjuna.
  • Similarly, in the Ramayana a Brahmastra is used by Rama as the "final blow" against Rakshasa Ravana during their battle in Lanka. and also Indrajeet used Brahmastra against Hanuman when he was destroying tha Ashok Vatika after meeting Sita

Lakshman (Shri Ram's younger brother) also tried to use it with Meghnath in the same battle, but Ram stopped him from using that saying "the use of Brahamastra for this cause is not justified and is not beneficial for mankind"

See also

  • List of Sanskrit-related articles
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