Brahmāstra - Features / Who Utilized / Who Tried to Utilize

HareKrishna Devotees

Made an attempt to collate all the information about Brahmastra from the Vedabase portal and created this blog post. 

This post covers what is brahmastra, its features, how to invoke and who has done that under which situation, who else have made attempt to use the power of it.

Hope this will be useful to everyone...Thanks for the opportunity.



What is Brahmastra ?


  • Brahma + Astra = Brahmastra
    • Brahma à the Lord for creation
    • Astra à a divine weapon, usually prefixed by the name of the particular god or force which presides over it; e.g. brahmāstra, a weapon presided over by Lord Brahmā
  • It is an arrow (modern day missile)
  • (SB 1.7.27)
    • similar to the modern nuclear weapon manipulated by atomic energy
    • works is the principles of combustibility
    • atomic bomb is a gross type of nuclear weapon, whereas the brahmāstra is a subtle type


Features for Brahmastra :

  • (SB 1.7.27)
    • most deadly & powerful weapon à fierce fireball which blazes up with flames and thunder flashes
  • (SB 1.7.30)
    • flash of a brahmāstra resembles the fire exhibited in the sun globe at the time of cosmic annihilation
    • radiation of atomic energy is very insignificant in comparison to the heat produced by a brahmāstra
    • atomic bomb explosion can at utmost blow up one globe, but the heat produced by the brahmāstra can destroy the whole cosmic situation
  • (SB 1.7.28)
    • the atomic bombs there is no counterweapon to neutralize the effects
    • but by subtle science the action of a brahmāstra can be counteracted
    • expert in the military science in those days could counteract (Arjuna)
  • (SB 1.8.12)
    • it marks out the target and proceeds accordingly without harming the innocent


How to invoke & retract Brahmastra?

  • (SB 1.7.27)
    • brahmāstra is a subtle type of weapon produced by chanting hymns
    • a chanter of hymns (with perfect knowledge) knew how to apply the weapon as well as how to retract it


Who utilized Brahmastra ?

  • Aśvatthāmā (son of Droṇācārya)
  • Arjuna
  • Lord Krishna
  • Lord Siva
  • Indrajit (son of Ravana)
  • Lord Rama





(son of Droācārya)


·       (Mahabharata Part II CHAPTER 28 Massacre by Nigh) on 18th day night of Kurukshetra war, Aswatthma kills all the five children of Pandavas while they were asleep in military camp tents

·       (SB 1.7.15 / 16) Draupadī, the mother of the five children of the Pāṇḍavas, after hearing of the massacre of her sons, began to cry in distress with eyes full of tears. Trying to pacify her in her great loss, Arjuna spoke to her thus: O gentle lady, when I present you with the head of that brāhmaṇa, after beheading him with arrows from my Gāṇḍīva bow, I shall then wipe the tears from your eyes and pacify you. Then, after burning your sons’ bodies, you can take your bath standing on his head.

·       (SB 1.7.17) Arjuna dressed in armor and armed himself with furious weapons, and getting into his chariot, he set out to follow Aśvatthāmā.

·       (SB 1.7.18) Aśvatthāmā seeing from a great distance Arjuna coming at him with great speed, fled in his chariot, panic stricken, just to save his life


·       (SB 1.7.19) Aśvatthāmā horses were tired, he considered that there was no alternative for protection outside of his using the ultimate weapon, the brahmāstra

·       (SB 1.7.20) Since his life was in danger, he touched water in sanctity and concentrated upon the chanting of the hymns for throwing nuclear weapons, although he did not know how to withdraw such weapons

·       (SB 1.7.27) has thrown the hymns of nuclear energy [brahmāstra], He has helplessly done this, being afraid of imminent death



Aśvatthāmā (son of Dronacharya) invoked brahmastra based on above situation

·       (SB 1.7.21 / 26) It was so fierce that Arjuna thought his own life in danger, and so he began to address Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. O Lord of lords, how is it that this dangerous effulgence is spreading all around? Where does it come from? I do not understand it

·       (SB 1.7.27) The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Know from Me that this is the act of the son of Droṇa. He has thrown the hymns of nuclear energy [brahmāstra], and he does not know how to retract the glare. He has helplessly done this, being afraid of imminent death

·       (SB 1.7.28) The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O Arjuna, only another brahmāstra can counteract this weapon. Since you are expert in the military science, subdue this weapon’s glare with the power of your own weapon

·       (SB 1.7.32) seeing the disturbance of the general populace and the imminent destruction of the planets, Arjuna at once retracted both brahmāstra weapons, as Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa desired.

Lord Krishna


Lord Siva

·       (SB 10.63.1 / 5) When Aniruddha did not return from Śoṇitapura, His family and friends passed the four months of the rainy season in extreme distress. When they finally heard from Nārada Muni how Aniruddha had been captured by Bāṇāsura. After hearing from Nārada the news of Aniruddha’s deeds and His capture, the Vṛṣṇis, who worshiped Lord Kṛṣṇa as their personal Deity, went to Śoṇitapura. Lord Siva and his troops were supporting Banasura.

Krishna neutralized all these weapons with appropriate counterweapons.

·       (SB 10.63.10 /11 /12 / 13/)

With sharp-pointed arrows discharged from His bow Śārṅga, Lord Kṛṣṇa drove away the various followers of Lord Śiva — Bhūtas, Pramathas, Guhyakas, Ḍākinīs, Yātudhānas, Vetālas, Vināyakas, Pretas, Mātās, Piśācas, Kuṣmāṇḍas and Brahma-rākṣasas.

Lord Śiva, wielder of the trident, shot various weapons at Lord Kṛṣṇa, wielder of Śārṅga. But Lord Kṛṣṇa was not in the least perplexed: He neutralized all these weapons with appropriate counterweapons.

·       Lord Kṛṣṇa counteracted a brahmāstra with another brahmāstra, a wind weapon with a mountain weapon, a fire weapon with a rain weapon, and Lord Śiva’s personal pāśupatāstra weapon with His own personal weapon, the nārāyaṇāstra


(son of Droācārya)


·       (SB 1.8.5/6/8/10/11) Duryodhana and his party cunningly usurped the kingdom of Yudhiṣṭhira, who had no enemy. By the grace of the Lord, the recovery was executed, and the unscrupulous kings who joined with Duryodhana were killed by Him. Others also died, their duration of life having decreased for their rough handling of the hair of Queen Draupadī

·       Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa caused three well-performed aśvamedha-yajñas [horse sacrifices] to be conducted by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira and thus caused his virtuous fame to be glorified in all directions, like that of Indra, who had performed one hundred such sacrifices. & prepared for return to Dwaraka

·       As soon as He seated Himself on the chariot to start for Dvārakā, He saw Uttarā hurrying toward Him in fear.

·       O my Lord, You are all-powerful. A fiery iron arrow is coming towards me fast. My Lord, let it burn me personally, if You so desire, but please do not let it burn and abort my embryo. Please do me this favor, my Lord.

·       Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is always very affectionate to His devotees, could at once understand that Aśvatthāmā, the son of Droṇācārya, had thrown the brahmāstra to finish the last life in the Pāṇḍava family

·       (SB 1.8.11) Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is always very affectionate to His devotees, could at once understand that Aśvatthāmā, the son of Droṇācārya, had thrown the brahmāstra to finish the last life in the Pāṇḍava family

·       Uttara’s embryo had Pariksit Maharaja


(SB 1.8.13/14)

The almighty Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, having observed that a great danger was befalling His unalloyed devotees, who were fully surrendered souls, at once took up His Sudarśana disc to protect them. He covered the embryo of Uttarā by His personal energy


(son of Ravana)

Ramayan / Part 2 / Chapter 14 – Sita was Found

When Hanuman met Sita in Lanka

·       Hanumān asked if Sītā had any message for Rāma. The princess replied, “You should report to Rāma My wretched condition. Although I have the invincible Rāma as My protector, I now appear like one forlorn. He should lose no time in rescuing Me. He is capable of advancing against the entire host of gods and demons united together, what to speak of Rāvaṇa.”

·       Sītā took from Her cloth a brilliant celestial gem which She had used to decorate Her hair. Handing the yellow jewel to Hanumān She said, “Give this gem to Rāma and say to Him, ‘Even as Viṣṇu rescued the Goddess Earth from the depths of the ocean, You should descend into the midst of the Rākṣasas and save Me.’ O monkey, deliver this message to My lord.”

·       Hanumān took the jewel and bowed low to Sītā. It was time to leave. But he wanted first to test the Rākṣasas’ strength. Now that he had actually penetrated into Lanka he saw his opportunity. If he could incite the Rākṣasas to fight with him, it would give him some idea of their force and power. And besides that, Hanumān wanted to do some damage to the demon forces before he left.

·       Thinking in this way, Hanumān, still in a vast form, began ripping up the trees and bushes in the gardens. He tore down the walls and archways and hurled them into the ponds. Moving like a tempest and roaring all the while, the Vanara created havoc in the grove. He took up a huge iron bar and stood at the entrance to the garden, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Rākṣasa troops.

·       Hanuman killed many Rakshasa & Aksha

·       Rāvaṇa was filled with grief and rage. He turned to his eldest son, Indrajit. This prince had earned his name, ‘the conqueror of Indra,’ by once taking captive the mighty king of the gods. He had command of all the mystic missiles, including even the infallible brahmāstra, presided over by Brahmā himself. Rāvaṇa extolled his son at length. He ordered him to go out and take Hanumān captive. The Rākṣasa king felt confident that Indrajit would succeed and he watched with affection as the obedient prince marched out for combat.

·       The Rākṣasa realized that Hanumān was formidable. But if he was a created being then he would surely succumb to the might of the creator’s weapon, the brahmāstra. Indrajit fitted to his bow the special arrow he reserved for the brahmāstra. He chanted the mantras sacred to Brahmā and released the missile. Hanumān, instantly bound by the divine force of the irresistible weapon, fell to the earth with his limbs stunned. He understood that the brahmāstra had overpowered him and considered the situation.

·       Hanumān had been given a boon by Brahmā that the brahmāstra would only be effective upon him for a short while. He knew he would soon be released. But this was an opportunity for him to be taken before Rāvaṇa himself. That would be useful. He could deliver a stern ultimatum to the Rākṣasa on Rāma’s behalf and then make his escape.


(son of Ravana)

Ramayan / Part 3 / Chapter 10 – Rama & Laksman Laid Low

·       As the Rākṣasas reached the battlefield, Indrajit halted them and had them surround him. He dismounted from his chariot and lit a fire. While reciting Vedic mantras the demon worshipped the sacred fire. He poured oblations of ghee into the fire and made offerings of lances, spears and swords in place of the traditional reeds and grasses. Clasping the neck of a dark-hued goat, the demon slit its throat and placed it on the fire.


·       As the fire burst into flames, the fire-god appeared in person. Shining like refined gold he personally accepted the offerings. Indrajit then climbed back aboard his chariot. He sat in meditation and invoked the brahmāstra. While the Rākṣasa was charging all his weapons and his chariot with the force of that celestial missile, the heavens seemed to quake in fear.


·       Indrajit then sought out Rāma and Lakṣman, covering Them with torrents of arrows. Not minding the arrows any more than a mountain would mind a shower of rain, Rāma said to His brother, “This demon Indrajit has engaged the invincible weapon of Brahmā. Behold, our entire army has been virtually overpowered. We too will have to succumb to Brahmā’s weapon, I fear.”

·       Rāma knew that no being in the universe could resist the brahmāstra, except by invoking the same weapon to counter it. But the meeting of two brahmāstras was highly dangerous. It could bring about the destruction of the whole cosmos and would likely cause the death of millions of innocent creatures. Rāma did not want that to happen. He and Lakṣman sent hundreds and thousands of powerful shafts toward the Rākṣasa, but Indrajit shrugged off Their arrows and continued aiming his weapons at the two brothers.

·       The demon again and again recited the incantations sacred to Brahmā and sent fierce arrows at Rāma and Lakṣman. The princes were completely covered by Indrajit’s arrows. They bled all over and appeared like a couple of kinshuka trees covered in red blossoms. Grievously wounded by Indrajit’s assault, They both fell to the ground and dropped Their bows.


Hanuman brought the Sanjivi by taking advise from Jambavan to rescue Rama & Lakshmana

Lord Rama

Ramayan / Part 3 / Chapter 3 – Rama Confronts the Ocean


·       Rāma sat with a concentrated mind at the edge of the sea. He meditated on the sea-god Samudra and waited patiently for him to appear. Three days and nights passed as Rāma sat motionless on the beach, but still the ocean deity did not come. Rāma became enraged and He spoke to Lakṣman. “Just see the vanity of this god. Although I have sat here humbly beseeching his audience, he has not appeared. Alas, forbearance, gentleness and politeness of speech are construed as weaknesses by the wicked. The world regards with respect only those who are arrogant, harsh and given to meting out strong punishments. O Lakṣman, neither fame, nor victory, nor even popularity can be won by conciliation. I shall therefore stand with My bow and flaming arrows. I shall dry up the ocean this very day. The monkeys may go on foot to Lanka. Watch now as I exhibit My prowess.”

·       He placed upon His bow a large golden arrow and began thinking of the mantras to invoke the brahmāstra. Stretching His bow with vehemence He gazed furiously at the raging sea. Suddenly the heavens were enveloped by darkness and fierce winds blew. Large bolts of lightning were seen and the earth itself shook. The ocean surged back a distance of ten miles and rose up to a tremendous height. Rāma stood immovable with his arrow trained on the waters.

·       Then suddenly before everyone’s sight, Samudra appeared. Rising up from the ocean, he seemed like the bright sun at dawn. He shone like a glossy black gem and was adorned with brilliant gold ornaments. Clad in red robes with a garland of red flowers, he had eyes like large lotuses. A wreath of celestial flowers crowned his head. On his chest was a prominent jewel which shed a white luster all around. Surrounded by many river goddesses he came before Rāma and placed before Him a large heap of shining jewels taken from the ocean depths. He spoke in a sonorous voice.

·       “Every element has its natural state, O Rāma. My nature is to be fathomless and unaffordable. I did not wish to deviate from my constitutional position, neither from infatuation nor from fear. Nevertheless, I shall tell You the means by which I may be crossed by Your army. The monkey named Nala is a son of Viśvakarmā, the heavenly architect. He can construct a bridge over me which I will sustain.”

·       Samudra assured Rāma that He would be able to cross him without fear. The deity would ensure that the fierce creatures inhabiting his depths would not be aggressive. Rāma still stood with His arrow at the ready on His bow. However, He was now pleased with the sea-god and He said, “This unfailing shaft must be released. Tell Me, O abode of Varuṇa, where I should send this arrow?”

·       Samudra asked Rāma to fire the arrow upon a part of his waters to the north. There were numerous sinful demons inhabiting that region and Samudra did not like his waters being polluted by this touch. Rāma assented and shot His fiery arrow to the north, drying up that whole section of the ocean. Samudra then disappeared from view.


Who tried to utilized Brahmastra / Imbuing it with the power of the Brahmastra?

  • Lakshmana
  • Lord Rama






Ramayan / Part 3 / Chapter 11 – Lakshmana Battles Indrajit


The Rākṣasa prince used his powers of sorcery to create a thick blanket of darkness. Rising into the sky, he rushed toward the Vanara army, who were thrown into confusion. He rained down steel arrows in the hundreds of thousands. Again he targeted Rāma and Lakṣman. The two princes were enraged by his treacherous attack. Rāma blazed up like a huge fire fed with volumes of ghee. He bent His great bow into a full circle and released deadly golden shafts that went toward Indrajit in the sky. Using the Shabda-astra, which sought out an invisible opponent, Rāma grievously pierced the demon. He saw His arrows fall to the ground, soaked in the demon’s blood.

·       Indrajit drove away from the princes, sending arrows at the monkeys and killing thousands. Seeing this, Lakṣman lost all patience. He fitted an arrow to His bow and spoke to Rāma. “I shall now release the brahmāstra, charging it with the power to kill all the Rākṣasas at once. We need tolerate their insolence no longer.”


Rāma reached out and checked His brother. “We should not slay innocent creatures unnecessarily,” He told Him. “The Rākṣasas in Lanka have been sufficiently punished by our assault on their city. Let Us now simply annihilate the remaining warriors. I shall myself immediately kill this Indrajit if he remains on the battlefield for even a moment.”


Ramayan / Part 3 / Chapter 8 – The Colossal Demon

Killing Kumbakarna

·       Rāma at once released arrows which flew with the speed of lightning and struck the Rākṣasa’s body. Those arrows, which had formerly pierced seven sal trees and the very earth itself, did not even shake the demon. The Rākṣasa took up a massive club and whirled it about, knocking down Rāma’s arrows as they flew. Laughing again and again, Kumbhakarna stood with his great club uplifted.

·       Rāma released an arrow imbued with the force of Vāyu. It roared through the air and severed the Rākṣasa’s arm. That arm, still clutching the club, fell to earth and killed a thousand monkeys and Rākṣasas. Kumbhakarna shrieked with pain, making the sky vibrate and the mountains break open. He looked like a mountain whose summit had been cut off with a gigantic sword. With his remaining arm he tore up a large palmyra tree and rushed toward Rāma. With each step the earth vibrated and trees toppled over in distant forests.

·       Rāma released another mystic missile, which cut off the Rākṣasa’s other arm. It fell with an enormous crash, sending Rākṣasas and monkeys scattering in all directions. With blood spurting from the stumps of his arms the Rākṣasa continued to rush at Rāma. He bellowed furiously and the monkeys covered their ears, unable to tolerate the noise. Rāma shot a pair of crescent-headed arrows imbued with the force of Indra’s thunderbolt and they severed the Rākṣasa’s feet.

·       Not deterred, Kumbhakarna still somehow moved swiftly toward the prince. His mouth was wide open and he emitted savage, deafening cries which shook the earth. In an instant Rāma filled his mouth with arrows and the demon was silenced. Rāma then took up an arrow which was encrusted with gems and which shone brilliantly. Empowering it with the force of the brahmāstra, He released it for Kumbhakarna’s destruction

Lord Rama

Ramayan / Part 3 / Chapter 13 – The Final Battle

Killing Ravana

Rāma struck down one hundred heads, but the demon remained standing. Without slowing His attack for even a moment Rāma contemplated this wonderful phenomenon. How was this demon to be killed? No weapon seemed able to take his life. It looked like the fight might go on forever.

·       Vibhishana quickly approached Rāma. He told him that the demon had a boon from Brahmā that his heads and arms could never be destroyed. In Rāvaṇa’s heart was a store of celestial nectar which renewed the life in his body. The only way to kill him was to strike at his heart with a divine weapon that could dry up the nectar.

·       As Rāma considered his next move, all the while raining arrows upon Rāvaṇa, Mātali turned to Rāma and spoke. “O Rāma, the time for this one’s death has come. Recall now the prayer Agastya told You. Agastya also gave You an arrow when You were in the forest. Imbue that arrow with the force of the brahmāstra and kill the demon by piercing his heart.”

Lord Rama

Ramayan / Part 2 / Chapter 14 – Sita was Found

When Hanuman met Sita in Lanka


·       Sītā explained that there were still other reasons why She could not take up Hanumān’s offer. “I have vowed never to touch the body of any man other than Rāma. I am already mortified due to being grasped by the sinful Rāvaṇa. I could not voluntarily touch another man. Nor could I allow anyone other than Rāma to rescue Me, thereby diminishing Rāma’s fame. I therefore prefer to wait for My lord, confident that He will soon arrive.”

·       Hanumān nodded in assent to Sītā’s words. She was right. It would not be possible for Her to cling to him while he flew swiftly back. And he respected Her chastity, which was without comparison in the world. Resuming his normal size he said, “I shall now go back to Rāma. Please give me some token so that He will know that I have actually met with You.”

·       Sītā replied to him in a voice choked with tears. “You may give Him this token in the form of a message. Remind Him of the time when We lived together on the Chitrakuta mountain and how I was once attacked by a crow and Rāma gave Me protection.”

·       Sītā told Hanumān in detail about the incident. The crow in question was Indra’s son and he had wanted to witness Rāma’s prowess. He had attacked Sītā, whereupon Rāma had thrown a blade of grass at him, imbuing it with the power of the brahmāstra. The empowered grass had chased the crow across the universe and finally destroyed one of his eyes. Rāma would remember that incident and know that only Sītā could have recalled it.

Crow = Indra’s Son = Jayanta


Ultimately, he went back to Ram and surrendered and asked for their forgiveness. Ram told him that Brahmastra can not be stopped once it is invoked, but it can be redirected. So Ram redirected it towards Jayanta’s right eye. Ram spared his life but left him half-blind.





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