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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Who used: Arjuna possessed but not used
Against whom: Not used
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.
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.
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.
Who used: Lord Shiva but not used
Against whom: Not used
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.
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.