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  • Reena Menon THE ASTRAS [ARROWS] used in the wars of earlier time and their significance: Astra is a general term that refers to celestial weapons. They are not weapons that are wielded by the hand, but rather weapons that are invoked by chanting a mantra and then directed through a medium such as an arrow. Astras require no physical effort, but intense mental concentration is required to invoke, direct, and withdraw them. Improper use of an astra, such as not knowing all the words in the mantra or attempting to use the weapon on an unworthy foe, can be disastrous or even fatal. Astras can be both physical and/or illusory. Some astras cause destruction through showers of arrows, fire, or radiation while others can cause mental afflictions such as confusion, unconsciousness or sleep. Each astra has a presiding deity and to obtain the astra one must meditate and conduct severe austeries, and through ascetic merit obtain the sanction of the deity in question. Alternatively, a mantra can be learned from someone who already knows it via word of mouth. However, astras are only passed on to worthy disciples who have the wisdom to use them responsibly. Word of mouth may weaken the potency of the astra as it is passed down over the course of generations. In the Mahabharata, Arjuna had learned many astras from his preceptor Drona (who had in turn learned them from Bharadwaja who had learned them from Bhargava) but he still went in search of the celestial weapons from the source (Shiva and others) because they were more potent when learned directly from the gods. For the most powerful astras, knowing just the mantra is not enough to invoke the weapon. One must also obtain the sanction of its presiding deity to use the weapon. This is most likely due to the destructive nature of the astra, and the consequence of using it improperly. For instance, the Brahma Astra is said to be powerful enough to destroy the entire universe if not properly directed at an individual or army. In literature, the most common medium for an astra is an arrow shot from a bow. However, not all astras are invoked in such a way. In the case of Aisika the medium is a grass stalk or reed used because it was the only object available on hand. Spears, maces, and other weapons can also be used and some astras do not require any medium and could be considered a weapon of pure thought. List of Astras: Agni Astra Aindra Astra Antardhana Astra Bhauma Astra Brahma Astra Brahmasira Garuda Astra Mohini Astra Naga Astra Narayana Astra Parjanya Astra Parvata Astra Pasupata Prajna Astra Sakti Sammohana Astra Surya Astra Vaishnava Astra Vajra Astra Varuna Astra Vayu Astra Visoshana 1. Brahmastra : As described in a number of the Puranas, it was considered the deadliest weapon. It was said that when the Brahmastra was discharged, there was neither a counter attack nor a defense that could stop it, except by Brahmadanda, a stick also created by Brahma. The Brahmastra never missed its mark and had to be used with very specific intent against an individual enemy or army, as the target would face complete annihilation. It was believed to be obtained by meditating on the Lord Brahma; it could only be used once in a lifetime. The user would have to display immense amounts of mental concentration. 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. It has been used multiple times in Ramayana,Indrajit used it against hanuman, Lakshmana asked permission to use it against Indrajit,which lord Rama declined,lakshmana used it to kill atikaya,lord Rama used it as final arrow to kill Ravana. Presiding Deity: Brahma Weapon’s Effect: Total annihilation Warriors:Arjuna, karna, Drona, Bhishma, Ashwatthama, Bhima, Satyaki, Yudhishthira, Dristidyumna, Rama, Ravana, Inderjeet Megnadh, Laxmana 2. Brahmashira : Brahma had created a weapon even more powerful than the Brahmastra, called the Brahmashira. The Brahmashira was never used in war, as it had four times more power than the Brahmastra, i.e. Fourth power square, as the name suggests , since Brahma has Four Heads. Only Arjuna and Ashwatthama possessed the knowledge to summon the Brahmashira Presiding Deity: Brahma Weapon’s Effect: Total annihilation Warriors: Drona, Arjuna and Ashwatthama. 3. Bhargav astra : Parsurama is owner of this astra and he provided this powerful weapon to Karna. Presiding Deity : Parsurama Weapon’s effect : Total annihilation Warriors- Parsurama, Karna 4. Aindra astra: Presiding Deity: Indra Weapon’s Effect: Would bring about a shower of arrows from the sky. 5. Vasavi astra: A deadly weapon like Pasupata, the magical dart weapon of Indra, unfailing at executing its target. Indra granted it to Karna during the Kurukshetra war,first used by Indrajit against lakshmana in Ramayana, in Mahabharata it was used by karna to kill ghatotkacha. Warrior: Karna 6. Vajra astra: Indra’s favorite weapon. This weapon was made from the bones of sage dadhichi and it was used by Indra to slay demon called vritra. Weapon’s Effect: Target would be struck with bolts of lightning (vajra referring to Indra’s thunderbolt). Warrior: Arjuna. 7. Indrastra- A powerful missile used to scatter the opposing army. Warriors- Arjuna,Drona, Ashwatthama, Yudhishthira. 8. Agneya astra: Presiding Deity: Agni Weapon’s Effect: The weapon discharged would emit flames inextinguishable through normal means. 9. Varuna astra: Presiding Deity: Varuna Weapon’s Effect: The weapon discharged would release torrential volumes of water. This weapon is commonly mentioned as used to counter the Agneyastra. 10. Naga astra: Presiding Deity: The Nagas Weapon’s Effect: The weapon would have an un-erring aim and take on the form of a snake, proving deadly upon impact. 11. Naga paasha: Presiding Deity: The Nagas Weapon’s Effect: Upon impact, this weapon would bind the target in coils of living venomous snakes. In the Ramayana, it was used against Lord Rama and Lakshmana by Indrajit. 12. Vayu astra: Presiding Deity: Vayu Weapon’s Effect: Bring about a gale capable of lifting armies off the ground. 13. Surya astra: Presiding Deity: Surya Weapon’s Effect: Create a dazzling light that would dispel any darkness about. 14. Parjanya astra : Presiding Deity : Parjanya Weapon Effect : It is a weapon in which can summon clouds, rain, thunder, and obscure the light of the sun. The presiding deity is Parjanya, lord of the rains. In Sanskrit it means "weapon capable of generating rain" (par = related to rain, janya = generating, astra = weapon). It is also referred to as Meghastra (megha = cloud). Arjuna used the Parjanya Astra during a demonstration of skill in the Mahabharata, Adi Parva section 137. 15. Mohini astra: Presiding Deity: Mohini, Visnu avatar Weapon’s Effect: Dispel any form of maya or sorcery in the vicinity. 16. Twashtar astra: Presiding Deity: Twashtr Weapon’s Effect: When used against a group of opponents (such as an army), would cause them to mistake each other for enemies and fight each other. 17. Sammohana/ Pramohana astra: Weapon’s Effect: Would cause entire hosts/armies to collapse in a trance. 18. Parvata astra: Weapon’s Effect: Would cause a Parvata/mountain to fall on the target from the skies. 19. Narayana astra: Invincible and painful, this astra is unconquerable except by total submission. In Mahabharata ashwathama used it against pandava army to avenge his father's death. Presiding Deity: Visnu Weapon’s Effect: Would create showers of arrows and discs. The astra’s power would increase with the resistance offered to it. This weapon had to be obtained from Vishnu directly, and could be used only once. 20. Vaishnava astra: One of the most powerful astras, this cannot be stopped by anyone except its creator, Vishnu,it was used by king bhaagdatta against Arjuna, only to be saved by lord krishna,since he is the incarnation of lord Vishnu. Presiding Deity: Visnu Weapon’s Effect: Would destroy target completely, irrespective of target’s nature. Infallible. This weapon had to be obtained from Vishnu directly. 21. Pashupata astra: It is the crescent-shaped irresistible and most destructive personal weapon of Kali and Shiva, discharged by the mind, the eyes, words, or a bow. It was used in the Mahabharata war by Arjuna to kill Jayadratha. It was used against Lakshmana by Meghanada. According to Kurma Puran, in the battle between the Purusha and demonic forces, Narasimha avatar escapes a powerful weapon called Pashupata. It is returned without causing any harm since it can be used only to uphold Dharma. Presiding Deity: Shiva Weapon’s Effect: Would destroy target completely, irrespective of target’s nature. Infallible. This weapon had to be obtained from lord Shiva directly.
    Feb 7

  • Vishvesh Oswal NAIVEDYAM: WILL GOD EAT OUR OFFERINGS? Here is a very good explanation about Neivedyam to God. Will God come and eat our offerings?Many of us could not get proper explanation from our elders.An attempt is made here. A Guru-Shishya conversation: The sishya who doesn't believe in God, asked his Guru thus: "Does God accept our 'neivedhyam'(offerings)? If God eats away the 'prasadham' then from where can we distribute it to others? Does God really consume the 'prasadham', Guruji?" The Guru did not say anything. Instead, asked the student to prepare for classes. That day, the Guru was teaching his class about the 'upanishads'. He taught them the 'mantra': "poornamadham, poornamidham, ......poornasya poornaadaaya...." and explained that: 'every thing came out from "Poorna or Totality." (of ishavasya upanishad). Later, everyone was instructed to practice the mantra by-heart. So all the boys started praciting. After a while, the Guru came back and asked that very student who had raised his doubt about Neivedyam to recite the mantra without seeing the book, which he did. Now the Guru gave a smile and asked this particular shishya who didn't believe in God: 'Did you really memorize everything as it is in the book? The shishya said: "yes Guruji, I've recited whatever is written as in the book. The Guru asked: "If you have taken every word into your mind then how come the words are still there in the book? He then explained: "The words in your mind are in the SOOKSHMA STHITI (unseen form). The words in the book are there in the STOOLASTHITI (seen). God too is in the 'sooksma sthiti'. The offering made to Him is done in 'stoola sthiti'. Thus, God takes the food in 'sookshmam', in sookshma stithi. Hence the food doesn't become any less in quantity. While GOD takes it in the "sookshma sthiti", we take it as 'prasadam' in 'sthoola sthiti'. Hearing this the sishya felt guilty for his disbelief in God and surrendered himself to his GURU.
    October 22, 2016

  • Hrishikesh Nath Hare Krishna! Srila Prabhupada has told many times that to come to Krishna Consciousness, we have to be either very fortunate or well aware of the science. And we know, most of us have been poisoned by the Mayavadi philosophy at some point of our life. And in my case I know definitely that I was not at all well aware of the science. So the conclusion is I am very very fortunate. But when something is given in wholesale we forget or neglet its importance. We are very very fortunate to come to Krishna Consciousness but so many of us have become fortunate that we don't give much attention to our good fortune. Srila Prabhupada distributed Krishna Consciousness in wholesale to everyone. The position which one in a million self realized soul attain was given by Prabhupada to thousands of his disciples. How can I properly describe the glories of Srila Prabhupada. He came among us just like sun rises and removes the darkness of the night. All our illusions to enjoy this material world were crushed under his lotus feet. And we recieved diamomd i.e. love of Godhead, when we were running after pieces of glass. And all this became possible when I came in contact with Krishna Consciousness in 2014 through the grace of most merciful Prabhu, Sriman Madhudvisa Dasa through his online forum Whatever little attachment I had left for Krishna after so much Mayavadi Contamination, that little spark of attachment turned into fire by his causeless mercy. I will eternally be grateful to him. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
    Jan 6

  • Madhudvisa dasa These days some devotees are questioning the shape of the earth. It does appear in Srimad-Bhagavatam that the description of the earth given there does not seem to be that of a globe spinning in space. So I do not know. So to investigate this in more detail I have made a new website:
    Jan 2

  • Aman Pandey "The materialistic way of pious activities like charity is recommended in the smṛti-śāstras as quoted by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura. Money given in charity to a suitable person is guaranteed bank balance in the next life. Such charity is recommended to be given to a brāhmaṇa. If the money is given in charity to a non-brāhmaṇa (without brahminical qualification) the money is returned in the next life in the same proportion. If it is given in charity to a half-educated brāhmaṇa, even then the money is returned double. If the money is given in charity to a learned and fully qualified brāhmaṇa, the money is returned a hundred and a thousand times, and if the money is given to a veda-pāraga (one who has factually realized the path of the Vedas), it is returned by unlimited multiplication. The ultimate end of Vedic knowledge is realization of the Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa, as stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ [Bg. 15.15]). There is a guarantee of money's being returned if given in charity, regardless of the proportion. Similarly, a moment passed in the association of a pure devotee by hearing and chanting the transcendental messages of the Lord is a perfect guarantee for eternal life, for returning home, back to Godhead. Mad-dhāma gatvā punar janma na vidyate. In other words, a devotee of the Lord is guaranteed eternal life. A devotee's old age or disease in the present life is but an impetus to such guaranteed eternal life." ~ Purport, SB 2.3.17 All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
    May 24, 2018

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