Real-Astras-Brahmastra

In Valmiki Ramayan, sage Vishwamitra transfers various lethal Astras to Lord Ram after killing demons like Tadaka and Subahu. All those astras were invoked through mantras. While talking about astras, we need to understand the difference between Astra (अस्त्र) and Shastra (शस्त्र). Astras are weapons invoked by mantras. Thus even a blade of grass can become an Astra. Shastras, on the other hand, are conventional weapons like swords, maces, javelins, etc.

Vishwamitra takes Ram and Laxman with him to the jungle to kill the demons that are creating havoc there. On the way, the sage first imparts two special Mantras to the brothers that are called Balaa and Atibalaa. The power of these Mantras is such that the receiver becomes immune to fatigue, disease, and old age. No enemy can attack a person while in sleep and in an unattentive state. The powers of these Mantras are such that the person acquiring them cannot be defeated in any kind of debate, and will be all knowledgable, witty, and fully fortunate. 

After the killing of demoness Tadka, Vishwamitra gives various Astras and Shastras to Ram. Here is the list of 100 Astras given by Vishwamitra to Lord Ram:

तानि दिव्यानि भद्रं ते ददाम्यस्त्राणि सर्वशः ॥

दण्डचक्र महद दिव्यं तव दास्यामि राघव ॥ 

धर्मचक्रं ततो वीर कालचक्रतं तथैव च॥

विष्णुचक्रं तथात्युग्रमैन्द्रं चक्रं तथैव च ॥ 

Raghunandan! today, I am giving you all those divine weapons. O brave one! I will give you the divine and great Dandachakra, Dharmachakra, Kalachakra, Vishnuchakra, and the most dreadful Indrachakra.

वज्रमस्त्र नरश्रेष्ठ शैवं शूलवरं तथा।

अस्त्र ब्रह्मशिरश्चैव ऐषीकमपि राघव ॥ 

ददामि ते महाबाहो ब्राह्ममस्त्रमनुत्तमम्।

Raghav! I will also give Indra’s Vajrastra, Shiva’s trident, and Brahma’s weapon named Brahmashir. Along with this, I also give you the Aishikastra and the ultimate Brahmastra.

गदे द्वे चैव काकुत्स्थ मोदकीशिखरी शुभे ॥ 

प्रदीप्ते नरशार्दूल प्रयच्छामि नृपात्मज।

धर्मपाशामहं राम कालपाशं तथैव च ॥

वारुणं पाशमस्त्रं च ददाम्यहमनुत्तमम्।

Apart from these, I also offer you two very bright and beautiful maces whose names are Modaki and Shikhari. O, Prince Ram! Dharmapasha, Kalpasha, and Varunpasha are also very good weapons. I also dedicate these to you today

अशनी द्रे प्रयच्छामि शुष्कार्द्र रघुनन्दन ॥

ददामि चास्त्र पैनाकमस्त्र नारायण तथा।

Raghunandan! I am giving you two types of fire, dry and wet, and also Pinaka and Narayanastra.

आग्रेयमस्त्रं दयितं शिखरं नाम नामतः ॥

वायव्यं प्रथम नाम ददामि तव चानघ।

I offer to you the dear weapon of Agnidev the Aagney-astra also known as Shikharastra. Ram! I am also giving you the Vaayavyastra (weapon of Vayu) which is the chief among the weapons.

अस्त्रं हयशिरो नाम क्रौञ्चमस्त्रं तथैव च ॥

शतिद्वयं च काकुत्स्थ ददामि तव राघव। 

I also give you the weapons named Hayashira, kraunchmastra, and two powers.

कङ्काल मुसलं घोरें कापालमथ किङ्गिणीम् ॥

वधार्थ रक्षसां यानि ददाम्येतानि सर्वशः। 

I am giving you all the weapons like Kankal, a pestle named Ghor, Kapal, and Kinkini, etc., which are useful in killing the demons.

वैद्याधरं महास्त्रं च नन्दनं नाम नामतः ॥

असिरत्र महाबाहो ददामि नृवरात्मज।

Ram! I also offer to you the great weapon and the sword of the famous scholar by the name of Nandan.

गान्धर्वमस्त्रं दयितं मोहनं नाम नामतः ॥

प्रस्वापन प्रशमन ददिा सौम्यं च राघव।

I also give you the chief weapons of the Gandharvs called Sammohan (hypnosis), Praswaapan, Prashaman, and Saumya-astra. 

वर्षणां शोषणां चैव संतापनविलापने ॥ 

मादनं चैव दुर्धर्ष कन्दर्पदयितं तथा। 

गान्धर्वमस्त्रं दयितं मानवं नाम नामतः ॥

पैशाचमस्त्रं दयितं मोहनं नाम नामतः ॥ 

प्रतीच्छ नरशार्दुल राजपुत्र महायशः ॥

O, dear Prince! Receive from me the weapons of rain, exploitation, wrath, lamentation, and Kamadeva’s favorite formidable weapon, Maadan, and Maanavastra of the Gandhavas and the Mohanastra of the demons.

तामसं नरशार्दूल सौमनं च महाबलम्।

संवर्तं चैव दुर्धर्षं मौसलं च नृपात्मज ॥ 

सत्यमस्त्र महाबाहो तथा मायामयं परम्। 

सौरं तेजःप्रभं नाम परतेजोऽपकर्षणम् ॥ 

I also dedicate the Tamas, Mahabaliastra, and the brightness of the Sun god to you. 

सोमास्त्रं शिशिरं नाम त्वाष्ट्रमस्त्रं सुदारुणम्। 

दारुणं च भगस्यापि शीतेषुमथ मानवम् ॥ 

I give you the weapon of Soma devata named Shishir, the most severe weapon of Twashta (Vishvakarma), the fiercest weapon of Bhagdevata, and also the weapon named Manuka Shiteshu.

After that Vishwamitra said, “Raghukulanandan Ram! You are worthy of receiving weapons, therefore, accept the following weapons also – Satyavaan Satyakirti, Dhushta, Rabhas, Pratihaaratar, Pramukha, Avanmukha, Lakshya, Alakshaya, Dridnaabha, Sunaabh, Dashaaksha, Shatavakra, Dashashirsha, Shatodar, Padhmanaabha, Mahaanabha, Dundunaabha, Swanaabh, Jyotish, Shakun, Nairaasya, Vimal, Daitya-naashak, Yougandhar, and Vinidra, Shuchibahu, Mahabahu, Nishkali, Virucha, Sarchimali, Dhutirmali, Vrittiman, Ruchir, Pitrya, Saumanas, Vidhoot, Makar, Parveer, Rati, Dhan, Dhaanya, Kaamrupa, Kaamruchi, Moha, Avaran, Jumbhak, Sarpnath, Panthan and Varuna – all these are the sons of Prajapati Krishaswa. They take the form as desired and are supremely brilliant.“

All these Astra and Shastra were accumulated by Vishwamitra through Tapasya. Since the Supreme Lord took a human form and descended down on Earth as Ram to free the planet of the demons, Vishwamitra gave these weapons back to him. Such is the Divine actions of God and Sages- incomprehensive to our material intellect. It could be understood only through the grace of a Guru and God.

Source: Valmiki Ramayan
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