Weapons used in Mahabharata and with what effect?

The war started on Kartheeka Bahula Amavasya (end of the Kartheeka and the start of the Margasira lunar month), moon on Jyesta star, on Tuesday early morning.

Solar eclipse also happened on that day and this Muhurth was kept by Sri Krishna himself.

As usual Krishna did not directly fix the Muhurta.

Mahabharata War.Image.jpg.

Mahabharata War.


Sahadeva fixed it and Krishna manipulated the Solar Eclipse to happen a Day earlier, knowing well it was started on the Day of Solar Eclipse the one who  chooses that date  would win.

Duryodhana was tricked into fixing this date.

This day was not the Amavasya, when Solar Eclipse happens, but a Day earlier.

This Amavasya is called the Bodhayana Amavasya.


Asi , Special Sword of Brahma


Brahma performed a Yagna, when a demon-like being sprang from the midst of the sacrificial fires scattering flames all around.His teeth were sharp and terrible, stomach lean and skinny ,very tall ,slim and very powerful.Simultaneously, the earth started shaking, there were turmoil in the oceans, the forceful winds started howling all around, the trees started falling and being torn apart, and the meteors started blazing through the skies!

Brahma declared: The ‘being’ I have conceived is Asi. It shall effect the destruction of the enemies of the gods and restore the Dharma.Upon this, the creature assumed the form of a blazing, sharp-edged sword, glowing like the flames at the end of the Kalpa.(Shantiparva,Mahabharata)


Sudarsan Chakra


Though Krishna vowed not to bear arms in the mahabharata War, he became angry at the rate Bhishma was killing the Panadava Sena, He bore the Disk on His hand .

As Bhishma Bowed and prayed Krishna reminding subtly that He had vowed not to bear arms Krishna withdrew it.


 The elephant/hathi goad or Ankusa (Sanskrit)


A tool employed in the handling and training of elephants. It consists of a hook (usually bronze or steel) which is attached to a handle.

The hook is inserted into the elephant’s sensitive skin, either slightly or more deeply, to cause pain and induce the elephant to behave in a certain manner.


Gandiva, the Bow of Arjuna


This was given to him by Agni after Ajuna allowed Agni(Fire) to devour the Kandava Forest.

This was kept in the custody of Varuna.

Beside Lord Krishna no one except Arjuna could wield the bow in the mortal world.




It is a long, club or staff created to be used as a weapon.

It is a divine weapon of polysemic significance and accoutrement of chthonic deities and ‘left-handed path’ (Sanskrit: vamamarga) holy people in Dharmic Traditions such as Shaivism.




One of the three Great weapons of Mass destruction, others being Brahmastra, Pasupatasta, Narayanstra would destroy anything and the only way to escape its wrath is to drop all the weapons and prostrate before it.

Aswathama used it unsuccessfully and under instructions from Krishna Arjuna had it withdrawn.





Considered to be the supreme weapon that can be possessed. Very very rare. Possessed by many people and used by just one person in the epic. Effects similar to nuclear fallout – areas become barren, people suffer, effect propagates across generations. Use restricted against mortals. Karna planned on using it against Arjuna, but due to several reasons (his mother’s request, his teacher’s curse) could not do so.


Pashupatastra final

Indestructible and irresistible weapon of Lord Shiva that contains the power to destroy all creations. Use prohibited against mortals. Possessed by Arjuna who obtained it directly from Shiva. Never used in the epic..




Indra’s all powerful weapon – prepared out of the spine of Sage Dadhichi and used to kill the demon Vritra. Superlatively powerful so much so that most of the weapons are glorified using this as the adjective.

So powerful that, in the Gita, Lord Krishna claims that amongst weapons, he is Vajra



Vasavi Astra


Indra’s weapon that was loaned for a one-time use to Karna. Sure to kill the target, no matter what/who it may be. Karna preserved it to use it against Arjuna but was forced by some smart tactical moves to use it against Ghatotkacha instead.

One of the most powerful weapons that appear in the epic, and one of the few that seriously threaten Arjuna.









Image Credit.




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