10 Most Powerful Weapons in Hindu Epic Mahabharata

If you’ve ever read Mahabharata or if you have even seen it or if you have even the slightest hint of Mahabharata, then you know that most of the story revolves around battles and wars.

Here are some of the most powerful weapons used (in descending order) in the epic:

Mahabharat Weapons

10. Vasavi Shakti

Who used: Karna

Against whom: Ghatokacha

Outcome: Mortally injured Ghatokacha expanded high in the sky and his body crushed 218700 (1 Akshauhini) Kaurava warriors

Vasavi Shakti belonged to Indra and had the power and certainty to kill anyone that was used against him. It was loaned to Karna to use it for one time and he preserved it so that he could kill Arjuna. However, by some tactical maneuvering, Karna was forced to use it against Ghatokacha instead. Thus, it was one of the only few weapons that threaten Arjuna.

Vasavi Shakti
Lord Indra gave Vasavi Shakti to Arjuna

9. Vajra

Who used: Lord Indra

Against whom: Vritra

Outcome: Vritra (who took the form of a serpent) was slayed

Vajra is Indra’s most powerful weapon and is made from the spine of Sage Dadhichi. In the story, Indra used the weapon to kill the demon Vritra. Vajra is so powerful that the gods used it as an adjective to glorify power, for instance, in Gita, Lord Krishna claims that he is Vajra. Not only is it powerful, but it is also indestructible too.

Lord Indra used Vajra to kill Vritra

8. Narayanastra

Who used: Ashvatthama

Against whom: Pandava army (especially Bhim)

Outcome: Nearly Killed Bhima but Lord Krishna restrained him

Narayanastra is Lord Narayan’s weapon and is said to have the capacity of self-splitting into millions of self-guiding missiles with strong power of impact that’s proportional to the resistance offered. The only way to combat the weapon is to disarm it. Else, surrender! Drona, his son, and Krishna were the ones who knew about the weapon, and when Ashwattama used it against the Pandava armies, Krishna disarmed it as he knew the trick.


7. Brahmastra

Who used: Karna

Against whom: Arjuna

Outcome: Couldn’t use due to curse

Brahmastra is very very rare. Though possessed by many gods and demigods, it was only used once in the entire epic of Mahabharata. The weapon had power similar to that of a nuclear bomb: the complete annihilation of the place implanted, people get contaminated and suffer across generations. Hence, the use is restricted amongst the mortal. Once, Karna decided to use it against Arjuna, but could not do so because of his mother’s pleading and also his teacher’s curse.

The destruction of Brahmastra

6. Brahmashira

Who used: Ashwattama

Against whom: Pandavas

Outcome: In the process of retracting, the weapon was directed toward Parikshit who was saved by Lord Krishna

This weapon was used by Ashwattama against Pandavas, and in defense, by Arjuna. When the nuclear fallout occurred, Sages Narada and Vyasa ordered to contain the effect. Only Arjuna was able to retract the weapon, but Ashwattama couldn’t and sent it to attack Arjuna’s unborn grandson Parikshit. Parikshit was then saved by Lord Krishna.

5. Pashupatastra

Who used: Arjuna possessed but not used

Against whom: Not used

Outcome: Nothing

Pashupatastra belonged to Lord Shiva and is considered to be indestructible. It could destroy any creation. The use is prohibited against mortals. Arjuna once obtained the weapon from Lord Shiva directly but was never used in the epic.

Lord Shiva gave Pashupatastra to Arjuna

4. Brahmadanda

Who used: Vishwamitran

Against whom: Vasistha

Outcome: Vasistha blocked it with Brahmastra

The person who used Brahmastra in no. 4 was King Kaushika, later called Sage Vishavamitran a conflict against Sage Vashista. Brahmadanda was the weapon that swallowed it and acted as a nuclear shield.

Brahmadanda used by Vishwamitra to Vasistha

3. Sudarshana Chakra

Who used: Lord Krishna

Against whom: Sisupala

Outcome: Killed Sisupala instantly

This weapon belonged to Lord Vishnu and was once used by Krishna to destroy Sisupala at Yudhisthira’s Rajasuya Yagna. Sisupala was angry with Pandavas and Krishna as Pandavas decided Lord Krishna to be a special honorary guest in the Yagna. Sisupala committed many sins doing so and on his 101st sin committed, Lord Krishna instantly killed him with Sudarshana Chakra.

Sri Krishna with Sudarsana Chakra

2. Trishul

Who used: Lord Shiva but not used

Against whom: Not used

Outcome: Nothing

Well, with everything above, it leaves with one ultimate powerful weapon, the Trishul. It is the most powerful weapon of the God of destruction, Lord Shiva. It was used to sever the original head of Ganesha too.

Lord Shiva and his Trishula

1. Buddhi, Mind

Who used: Every king, queen, leader, army chief, soldier, god, and even spectator of Mahabharata

Against whom: Against anyone who was an enemy or threat

Outcome: Devastating war of Kurukshetra

There is still one more powerful weapon than the most powerful weapon possessed by the God of destruction, and it’s the mind. “The mind is higher than the senses, intelligence is higher than the mind, and the soul is even higher than the intelligence,” an English translation of Krishna’s statement in Bhagavad Gita reads.

Then he adds, “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.

Thus, the mind is the most powerful weapon of them all.

Chariot Sanjay Narrating Kurukshetra War to Dhritarastra

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