The epic Mahabharata needs no introduction. Since time immemorial it has kept mythological followers intrigued, curious and excited. So if you are the one amongst them and If you’ve ever read Mahabharata or if you have even seen it then you might be aware that the story revolves around battles , weaponry, armours and prolonged wars.
Here are some of the most powerful weapons used (in descending order) in the epic:
10. (Vasavi Shakti)
Indra’s powerful weapon Vasavi Shakti that was credited for a one-time use to Karna. It was so potent that if used against any target it would be spot on, irrespective of who it was what or where. For this reason Karna preserved it to use it against Arjuna but was forced and outwitted in such a way that he had to use it against Ghatotkacha. This was one of the most powerful weapons that has been illustrated in this epic, and one of the few weapons that seriously could threaten Arjuna.
Another one in Indra’s armory which was prepared out of the spine of Sage Dadhichi and used to kill the demon Vritra. Superlatively powerful so much so that most of the weapons are glorified using this as the adjective.
Considered to be the supreme amongst weapons, indestructible and accurate.
Lord Narayana’s weapon that was reported to split into millions of self guiding missiles, with power of impact directly being proportional to resistance offered. The only known shield was disarmament and complete surrender. Knowledge of this astra was possessed only by Drona, his son and Krishna. Used by Ashwattama against the Pandava armies, but effect was thwarted by Krishna who knew the said trick.
Considered to be the supreme weapon that can be possessed. Very rare. Possessed by many people and used by just one person in the epic. Effects similar to nuclear fallout – areas become barren, people suffer, effect propagates across generations. Use restricted against mortals. Karna planned on using it against Arjuna, but due to several reasons (his mother’s request, his teacher’s curse) could not do so.
Close relative of the Brahmastra. Used by Ashwattama against the Pandavas and by Arjuna in self defence.. Nuclear fallout contained by intervention of Sages Narada and Vyasa, where Arjuna retracted 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.
Indestructible and irresistible weapon of Lord Shiva that contains the power to destroy all creations. Use prohibited against mortals. Possessed by Arjuna who obtained it directly from Shiva. Never used in the epic.
Brahmadanda this powerful weapon was actually used by only one person. That person was King Kaushika (later known as Sage Vishvamitra) in a conflict against Sage Vashishta, and had it swallowed by Bhramhadanda.
3. (Sudarshana Chakra)
As powerful as it can get. This is Lord Vishnu’s weapon that was used by Krishna to kill Sisupala at Yudhistira’s Rajasuya Yagna.
Speaking of destruction, what can be more powerful than the most powerful weapon of the very God of destruction amongst the trinity – Lord Shiva? This trident was used to sever the original head of Ganesha – the remover of obstacles. Enough said.
If you have come so far, you might be wondering what could be more powerful.
Remember how all the weapons above are meant for destroying enemies that are out there (at least superficially). Most of them were quite successful too. However, unfortunately, the most formidable enemies of a person are often not physical entities that can be blown to bits. They are often sneaky ones in the form of sense objects – lust, anger, gluttony etc. and they are often the undoing of the most powerful of warriors, even in the epic. Hence we have
1.(Buddhi, the mind / intelligence / consciousness)
The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.
Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to the material senses, mind and intelligence, O mighty-armed Arjuna, one should steady the mind by deliberate spiritual intelligence and thus — by spiritual strength — conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.
There is no doubt that the person who possessed and used this the most in the war is none other than Krishna (even while keeping his promise of not bearing arms).
No other weapon is stronger than all the above listed ones. Its ways are subtle. Path leading to it is tough. Its power is said to move everything. It was the power that forced the lord of the Universe to break his word. In face it is the source of power for all the other weapons above. And am sure you’d know it:
The Pandavas were fabulous heroes. They had the raw strength of Bheema, the valor and unsurpassed skill of Arjuna and the beauty and brains of the Aswini putras( not to mention the generosity of Karna). Why, they had the constant aid, support and guidance of the Lord himself. Any of them could have been suitable to rule the world in their own right. Yet, they all worked to establish the supremacy and sovereignty of Dharmaputra, who stood for Dharma. There were many other warriors on the other side who were more experienced, skilled, powerful, and had better weapons. Yet they fell, for the weapon of Dharma was wielded by the Pandavas and Krishna.