Astras - 4 - Pashupatastra

Note:- An internal mail by my colleague G, is the starting point of this series.
This could be labelled as a religious post. Readers Discretion is advised.
I enjoyed researching and writing it.
Hope you enjoy reading it...!!!

So what do we know about Pashupatastra ?

Well, there are very very few documented usages of Pashupatastra.

Indrajit's usage on Rama and Lakshmana.
Arjuna's supposed usage against Karna and Ashwathama.

Wikipedia quotes it as
The Pashupatastra (IAST: Pāśupatāstra, sanskrit: पाशुपतास्त्र), in Hindu mythology, is the irresistible and most destructive personal weapon of Siva discharged by the mind, the eyes, words, or a bow. Never to be used against lesser enemies or by lesser warriors, the Pashupata is capable of destroying creation and vanquishing all beings.

Though, no known warrior has dared use Pashupatastra on his enemy, there is an interesting story as to how Arjuna came in its possession. When Arjuna was in exile for 12 years, for having interfered in the privacy of his elder brother, Arjuna was advised by Vyaasa to obtain Divyastras for the Great War that was coming. Arjuna decided to pray to Lord Shiva for the Pashupatastra. It was rumoured to be the most powerful of all weapons and was reusable n number of times, provided it was not used against a lesser enemy.

At that time, an asura, called Mukasura in the guise of a pig, tries to kill Arjuna. Being devoid, of his Gandeeva (as he was praying), throws arrows with precision onto the pig. The pig continues to harass him. Frustrated, he apologises to Shiva in his mind, and takes his Gandeeva. The pig takes him far and deep into the forest. When Arjuna is fed up of the pig's antics, He takes one arrow, and stretching the bowstring till his ear, Arjuna shoots it at the pig. At almost the same instant, another arrow hits the pig. It turns out to be that of a kiraata. The kiraata claims the pig to be his, whereas Arjuna claims that the kill was his. The argument intensifies and Arjuna and Kiraata fight with each other. Arjuna realises that the Kiraata is no ordinary tribal. His arrows seem to become stronger and faster with every passing second.

The Kiraata humiliates Arjuna by saying that he may be a Kshyatriya, but his fighting is like that of a Brahmin, and that he must learn how to fight. Arjuna realises that he is tired and decides to propitiate Shiva before fighting the Kiraata. Arjuna sits down in meditation and prays for the Pashupatastra. When he finishes his prayer, he decorates the Shiv Ling with Tripund and puts a maala (garland) on it. Arjuna picks up the Gandeeva and twangs the bowstring. The Kiraata comes from the bushes. Arjuna sees the Tripund on this forehead and the Garland on his neck. It does not take time for him to realise the game. He bends his head in shame and asks for forgiveness. Lord Shiva is pleased with his devotion and decides to give Arjuna the Pashupatastra, which he uses in his fight against Ashwathama, which is detailed here. (in Story 3)

Hey, this is the Fourth post in the series... :)

Comments are welcome... !!!

P.S:- Many thanks to G for his 'Ram-Ram' threads. This series on Astras is dedicated to him.
P.P.S:- I promise to do more research and provide some interesting food for thought.

Sunday, January 3, 2010 by Hari
Categories: , , , , , , | 4 comments

Comments (4)

  1. Jai Hari
    Dear friends. To my humble knowledge no sanskrit scholar has achieved a 100% accuracy in translating the mahabharata so far. K.M. Gangulys version comes closest to accuracy and according to hima Karna too had the Pashupat astra.Below incident reveals it
    “O bull of Bharata’s race, and supported by many Kuru heroes and many mighty Madraka car-warriors, protected Karna while the latter was engaged in battle with the Pandavas, the Pancalas, the Cedis, and Satyaki. Destroying that vast division with his sharp arrows, and crushing many foremost of car-warriors Karna succeeded in afflicting Yudhishthira., Karna caused his friends great joy.
    The son of Radha then, that crusher of foes, turning back from the pursuit, quickly covered Bhima himself with sharp arrows from every side. Then Satyaki, of immeasurable soul, O Bharata, placing himself on the side of Bhima’s car, began to afflict Karna who was in front of Bhima.
    Karna too, otherwise called Vaikartana, O Bharata, in that battle, resisted Bhimasena, and the Karushas, the Kaikayas, and the Srinjayas Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile Vikartana himself, resisting Bhimasena supported by the Pancalas and the Cedis and the Kaikayas, covered him with many arrows. In the very sight of Bhimasena, Karna, slew in that battle many mighty car-warriors among the Cedis, the Karushas, and the Srinjayas. Then Bhimasena, avoiding Karna, that best of car-warriors, proceeded against the Kaurava troops like a blazing fire towards a heap of dry grass The son of Radha, too, O monarch, singly resisted the Pancalas and the Pandavas and the (five) sons of Draupadi and Yudhamanyu and the mighty car-warrior Satyaki, in consequence of which feat he became the cynosure of all eyes.
    Yonder Karna urges forward the mighty car-warriors of the Dhartarashtras towards the son of Pritha with the weapons called Sthunakarna, Indrasjaha and Pasupata,” Quote end
    (here its sanctioned by Ganguli that Karna too had Pashupat astra.

    best wishes

  2. Hi ,

    There is a story of Bhishma using Pashupatastra against his guru parshuram .

  3. Hi ,

    There is a story of Bhishma using Pashupatastra against his guru parshuram .

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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