Sage Vishvamitra satisfied with the behaviour of Rama in obliging the orders of elders and performing the act that is assigned to him, gives many weapons to Rama, called shastra, astra-s. The weaponry is categorised mainly into two types. One is shastra - a handheld weapon like sword, lance or mace. The other is astra - a projectile missile invoked by reciting hymns. This chapter lists out those missiles that are given to Rama and in next chapter an account of some counter-attack missiles, called upasamhaara astra-s is given which can be used to nullify the enemy's missiles. In the endnote of this chapter some verses describing the nature of astra-s are incorporated.
atha tām rajanīm uṣya viśvāmiro mahāyaśāḥ |
prahasya rāghavam vākyam uvāca madhura svaram || 1-27-1
1. atha = then; mahaa yashaaH = highly renowned; Vishvamitra; taam rajaniim uSya = that, night, on staying; prahasya = smilingly; raaghavam = to Raghava; madhura aksharam vaakyam uvaaca = sweet worded, sentence, spoke.
Then, on staying that night there in Tataka forest, on the next day morning the greatly renowned sage Vishvamitra, smilingly and wording sweetly spoke to Rama. [1-27-1]
parituṣṭo asmi bhadram te rājaputra mahāyaśaḥ |
prītyā paramayā yukto dadāmi astrāṇi sarvaśaḥ || 1-27-2
2. mahaa yashaH raajaputra = great, glorious, prince; pari tuSTaH asmi = highly pleased, I am; te bhadram = to you, let safety be; paramayaa priityaa yuktaH = utmost, affection, along with; astraaNi sarvashaH dadaami = divine missiles, all of them, I will give.
"I am highly pleased with you, oh, illustrious prince Rama, let safety be with you, I will now give you all of the divine missiles in utmost fondness of mine. [1-27-2]
deva asura gaṇān vā api sa gandharva uragān bhuvi |
yaiḥ amitrān prasahya ājau vaśīkṛtya jayiṣyasi || 1-27-3
tāni divyāni bhadram te dadāmi astrāṇi sarvaśaḥ |
3, 4a. yaiH = by which - weapons; deva asura gaNaan vaa api = gods, demons, scores of, or, even; gandharva uragaan = gandharva-s, urugaa-s; bhuvi = [or that are] on earth - earhling; a mitraan = un, friendly ones - enemies; aajau = in war; prasahya vashiikR^itya = by dominating, humbled down; jayiSyasi = conquers; taani divyaani = those, the divine [weaponry]; astraaNni sarvashaH = missiles, all of them; dadaami = I am going to give; bhadram te = safety, be with you.
"I am going to accord all of those divine missiles by which scores of gods, demons, or even from gandharva-s, uragaa-s and the like, or even earthlings are dominated, humbled down and conquered in war. Let safety be with you. [1-27-3, 4a]
daṇḍa cakram mahat divyam tava dāsyāmi rāghava || 1-27-4
dharma cakram tato vīra kāla cakram tathaiva ca |
viṣṇu cakram tathā ati ugram aindram cakram tathaiva ca || 1-27-5
vajram astram naraśreṣṭha śaivam śūlavaram tathā |
astram brahmaśiraḥ ca eva aiṣīkam api rāghava || 1-27-6
dadāmi te mahābāho brāhmam astram anuttamam |
4b, 5, 6, 7a. raaghava = oh, Raghava; mahat divyam = highly, divine one; daNDa cakram = Danda disc [Punisher disc]; tava daasyaami = to you, I will give; nara shreSTha = best of men; mahaa baahuH = oh, highly dexterous one; viira = oh, brave one; tataH = next; dharma cakram = Dharma disc [Virtue-disc]; tathaiva ca = likewise, also; kaala cakram = kaala cakram = Kala [Time disc]; tathaa = thus; viSNu cakram = Vishnu disc; tathaiva ca = like that, further; aindram cakram = Indra's, disc; vajram astram = Thunderbolt, missile; tathaa = further; shaivam = pertaining to Shiva; shuula varam = trident, the best; astram brahma shiraH = missile, called Brahma-crest; aiSiikam api = aiSiika, Grass-Blade-missile, even; ati ugram = highly formidable missile; an uttamam = un, excelled one; braahmam astram eva = Brahma, missile, that way; te dadaami = to you, I am going to give.
"Raghava, I am going to give the highly divine Danda disc [Punisher disc]; next, oh, best one among men, Dharma disc [Virtue-disc,] and like that kaala disc [Time-disc]; then oh, brave one, Vishnu disc; similarly oh, dextrous Rama, Indra disc and Thunderbolt missile; the best trident pertaining to Shiva; the missile called Brahma-shira [Brahma-crest]; the missile called the Aishiika missile [Grass-Blade missile,] and that way oh, Raghava, I am going to give the unexcelled and highly formidable missile called Brahma missile. [1-27-4b, 5, 6, 7a]
aiSiika missile is dried blade of grass, which by invoking with hymns will become a projectile weapon. Rama uses on Kakasura. In Mahaa Bharata Ashvadhaama also uses this at the final stage of war, which Krishna nullifies.
gade dve caiva kākutstha modakī śikharī śubhe || 1-27-7
pradīpte naraśārdūla prayacchāmi nṛpāatmaja |
7b, 8a. kaakutstha = oh, Rama; nara shaarduula = manly-tiger; nR^ipa aatmaja = king's son - prince; pradiipte = radiant ones [the maces]; dve gade caiva = two, maces, also, thus; modakii shikharii subhe = Modaki - Beater, Shikhari - Tower of Protection brilliant ones; pra yacChaami = well, I accord.
"Oh manly tiger prince Rama, I am going to accord two maces that are brilliant by their radiance called, the Modaki, [the Beater,] and Shikhari, [the Tower of Protection.] [1-27-7b, 8a]
dharma pāśam aham rāma kāla pāśam tathaiva ca || 1-27-8
vāruṇam pāśam astram ca dadāmi aham anuttamam |
8b, 9a. raama = Rama; aham = I; dharma paasham = dharma, noose [Virtue-noose]; tathaiva ca = like that, also; kaala paasham = Kala, the noose [Time-noose]; vaaruNam paasham = Rain god's, noose; anuttamam astram ca = unequalled, missile, also [of Rain-god]; dadaami = I will give.
"Oh, Rama, like that I will be giving three nooses called Dharma paasha and kaala-paasha and Varuna paasha, [Virtue noose and Time noose, Rain god's noose] as well as an unequalled missile called Varuna astra, Rain-god's missile. [1-27-8b, 9a]
aśanī dve prayacchāmi śuṣka ārdre raghunandana || 1-27-9
dadāmi ca astram painākam astram nārāyaṇam tathā |
9b, 10a. raghunandana = Raghu's scion; shuSka = Shushka, [Drier]; aardre = Aardra, [Drencher]; dve = two of them; ashanii = bolts; painaakam astram = Pinaaka, missile; pra yacChaami = well, I give; tathaa = likewise; naaraayaNam astram ca dadaami = Narayana, missile, also, I will give.
"Oh, Raghu's scion, I will also give two projectile bolts, one called shushka, [The Drier] and the other aardra, [The Drencher,] and even the missiles of Pinaaka and that of Narayana, [the missiles of god Shiva and Narayana,] I will give. [1-27-9b, 10a]
āgneyam astram dayitam śikharam nāma nāmataḥ || 1-27-10
vāyavyam prathamam nāma dadāmi tava ca anagha |
10b, 11a. anagha = oh, impeccable one; naamataH = one which is well-known one; shikharam naama = the Tower, known as; dayitam = [Fire-god's] fond; aagneyam astram = one belonging to Fire-god, missile; prathamam naama = Prathama [Blower,] known as; vaayavyam [astram] = Air-god's, [missile]; tava = to you; dadaami = I will give.
"Oh, impeccable Rama, thus a well-known missile shikhari [The Tower,] and another the fond of Fire-god known as prathama [The Blower,] and a missile of Air-god too, I will be giving. [1-27-10b, 11a]
astram hayaśiraḥ nāma krauñcam astram tathaiva ca || 1-27-11
śakti dvayam ca kākutstha dadāmi tava rāghava |
11b, 12a. kaakutstha = of Kakutstha-s; raaghava = Raghava; astram haya shiraH naama = missile, Haya-shira [Horse-head,] named; tathaiva ca = like that, also; krauncam astram = Krouncha [Wrester,] missile; shakti dvayam ca = impellers, two, also; tava dadaami = to you, I will be giving.
"Oh, Raghava of Kakutstha-s, I will give you two missiles named Haya-shira [The Horse-head] and Krouncha [The Wrester,] and two Impellers, one presided over by the power of Vishnu, and the other by the power of Rudra. [1-27-11b, 12a]
kaṃkālam musalam ghoram kāpālam atha kinkiṇīm || 1-27-12
vadhārtham rākṣasām yāni dadāmi etāni sarvaśaḥ |
12b, 13a. ghoram kankaalam musalam = deadly, Kankala named, Pounder; kaapaalam = Kapaalam named Rod; atha = next; kankaNam = Kankanam named Rod; yaani = which are; [asuraaH dhaarayanti = by demons, wielded]; raakshasaam vadha artham = demons, elimination, for purpose of; etaani = such of them; sarvashaH dadaami = all of them, I will give.
"I will be giving all those weapons that are wielded by demons, namely the deadly Pounder named Kankaalam, and Rods named as Kapaalam and Kankanam, for the elimination of those very demons. [1-27-12b, 13a]
vaidyādharam mahā astram ca nandanam nāma nāmataḥ || 1-27-13
asi ratnam mahābāho dadāmi nṛvarātmaja |
13b, 14a. mahaabaahuH = mighty armed one; nR^I vara aatmaja = best, king's, son, [the prince]; vaidyaadharam = Vaidyadhara named as; mahaa astram ca = great, missile, also; naamataH nandanam = Nandana; naama = by name, Nandana, named as; asi ratnam = sword, gemlike one; dadaami = I am giving.
"Oh, mighty armed son of the best king, I am giving a great missile named Vaidyadhara by its name, and a gem of sword named Nandana. [1-27-13b, 14a]
gāndharvam astram dayitam mohanam nāma nāmataḥ || 1-27-14
prasvāpanam praśamanam dadmi sauṃyam ca rāghava |
14b, 15a. raaghava = Raghava; gaandharvam astram = Gandharva's, missiles; naamataH = by name; mohanam naama = mohana, named as; dayitam = liked very much by Gandharva-s; prasvaapana = Prasvapana [Inducer of Sleep]; saumyam prashamanam ca = gentle, Prashamana, [Pacifier,] also.
"Thus, the missile which is very much liked by Gandharva-s, namely Mohana, [The Stupefier,] the missile called Prasvapana [The Inducer of Sleep,] and the gentle Prashamana, [The Pacifier of enemy's anger.] [1-27-14b, 15a]
varṣaṇam śoṣaṇam caiva saṃtāpana vilāpane || 1-27-15
mādanam caiva durdharṣam kandarpa dayitam tathā |
gāndharvam astram dayitam mānavam nāma nāmataḥ || 1-27-16
paiśācam astram dayitam mohanam nāma nāmataḥ |
pratīccha naraśārdūla rājaputra mahāyaśaḥ || 1-27-17
15b, 16, 17. mahaa yashaH = oh, highly fortunate one; nara shaarduula = manly-tiger; raja putra = prince; varSaNam = Varshana [Rainer,] missile; shoSaNam = shoshana [Drainer,] missile; santaapana vilaapane = santaapana [Humidifier,] vilaapana [Weep-inducer.]; gaandharvam astram dayitam = gandharva, missile, fond one; naamataH maanavam naama = by name Manava [Humane,] named; tathaa = likewise; durdharsham = unassailable one; kandarpa dayitam maadanam = Manmadha's, dear missile, an intoxicator; naamataH mohanam naama = by name Mohana [Rager,] named missile; dayitam = a dear missile [of pishaaca-s say, monsters; = paishaacam astram = pertaining to pishaaca-s, say monster's, missile; pratiicCha = take them.
"Oh, highly fortunate Rama, takes these missiles namely, varshaNa, [the Rainer,] shoshana [the Drainer,] santaapana [the Humidifier,] vilaapana [the Weep-inducer,] and oh, prince, an unassailable intoxicator and a dear missile of Manmatha, namely Mohana [The Intoxicator,] and another the fond missile of gandharva-s namely maanava by its name, [The Humane missile,] and oh, tigerly man, a missile dear one to pishaaca-s, monsters, namely paishaca [The Monster missile.] [1-27-15, 16, 17]
tāmasam naraśārdūla saumanam ca mahābalam |
saṃvartam caiva durdharṣam mausalam ca nṛpātmaja || 1-27-18
satyam astram mahābāho tathā māyāmayam param |
sauram tejaḥprabham nāma para tejo apakarṣaṇam || 1-27-19
soma astram śiśiram nāma tvāṣṭram astram sudāruraṇam |
dāruṇam ca bhagasya api śiteṣum atha mānavam || 1-27-20
17b, 18, 19, 20. nara shaarduula = manly-tiger; nR^ipa aatmaja = prince; mahaa balam taamasam = greatly powered, taamasa missile; saumanam ca = saumana, also; durdharsham = indomitable one; samvartam = samvarta missile; caiva = also, like that; mausalam ca = mausala, also; satyam astram = satyam missile; param = then; maayaa mayam = maayaa-maya; mahaabaahuH = oh, mighty-armed one; tathaa = like that; sauram = of Solar; tejaH prabham = teja-prabha [Radiator]; naama = named; para tejaH apa karSaNam = others, brilliance, sequestrator of; shishiram naama = shishira [Cooler,] named; soma astram = Moon's, missile; su daaruNam = very, deadly one; tvaaSTram astram = tvaShta's; [sudaamana = sudaamana named] missile; bhagasya api = of Bhaga, even; daaruNam ca = dangerous, also; shiteshum = shiteshu missile; atha maanavam = then, Maanava missile - if Manu the earlier ruler of mankinbd; I will give.
"Oh, manly-tiger Rama, greatly powered taamasa and saumana missiles, the indomitable missiles like samvarta, mausala, satya, and then the maaya-maya missile; like that oh, mighty armed Rama, a solar missile the sequestrator of others' brilliance namely teja-prabha; next, the missile of Moon-god named shishira [The Cooler]; and a very deadly missile of tvaSTa namely sudaamana; and even the dangerous missile of bhaga namely shita-iSu, these and the maanava missile of Manu, the earliest ruler of mankind, I will be giving. [1-27-17b, 18, 19, 20]
etān rāma mahābāho kāma rūpān mahābalān |
gṛhāṇa paramodārān kṣipram eva nṛpātmaja || 1-27-21
21. mahaabaahuH = dextrous one; nR^ipaatmaja = prince; kaama ruupaan = disguise-wizards; mahaabalaan = greatly powered ones parama udaaraan = highly, providential ones; raama = Rama; etaan = them the missiles; kSipram eva = forthwith, thus; gR^ihaaNa = take them.
"These missiles are, oh, dextrous prince, disguise-wizards, greatly powered, and highly providential ones, oh, Rama, you may take them forthwith." So said sage Vishvamitra to Rama. [1-27-21]
sthitaḥ tu prāṅmukho bhūtvā śucir munivaraḥ tadā |
dadau rāmāya suprīto maṃtra grāmam anuttamam || 1-27-22
22. tadaa = then; muni varaH = sage, pre-eminent; shuciH = becoming purified - on performing his personal holy depuration; praan mukhaH sthitaH tu = east, facing, on staying, but; bhuutvaa = on becoming; su priitaH = verily, gladdened; raamaaya = to Rama; anuttamam mantra graamam = extraordinary, hymns, village - a mixed collection; dadau = gave.
That pre-eminent sage Vishvamitra on performing his personal holy depuration then gave the assortment of extraordinary hymns to Rama facing eastward. [1-27-22]
sarva saṃgrahaṇam eṣām daivataiḥ api durlabham |
tāni astrāṇi tadā vipro rāghavāya nyavedat ||1-27-23
23. eSaam sarva sangrahaNam = of which hymns, total, comprehending; daivataiH api [saango paa~Na vidhinaa = sections and subsections of procedures]; durhlabham = for gods, even, impossible [by their sections and subsections]; taani astraaNi = such, missiles - hymns of missiles; tadaa vipraH raaghavaaya nyavedat = then, that Brahman, to Raghava, dedicated.
The comprehension of which invoking hymns of the missiles is impossible even to gods with their sections and subsections of procedures, that Brahman dedicated such hymns to Raghava. [1-27-24]
japataḥ tu muneḥ tasya viśvāmitrasya dhīmataḥ |
upatasthuḥ mahā arhāṇi sarvāṇi astrāṇi rāghavam || 1-27-24
24. dhiimataH tasya vishvaamitrasya muneH = intelligent one, that, Vishvamitra, the saint; japataH tu = on chanting, but; mahaa arhaaNi = highly, venerable ones; astraaNi sarvaani = missiles, all of them; raaghavam upa tasthuH = at Raghava, came nigh of - stood accessible to.
While that intelligent saint Vishvamitra chanted the hymns, all of those highly venerable missiles came nigh and stood accessible to Raghava in their astral form. [1-27-24]
ūcuḥ ca muditā rāmam sarve prāṃjalayaḥ tadā |
ime ca paramodāra kiṃkarāḥ tava rāghava || 1-27-25
yad yad icchasi bhadran te tat sarvam karavāma vai |
25, 26a. parama udaaraH = highly, obliging ones - missiles; [parama udaaraa = oh, most, noble Rama]; sarve = all of the missiles; tadaa praanjalayaH = then, with palm-fold; muditaaH ca = gladdened, also; raamam uucuH = to Rama, spoke; raaghava = oh, Rama; ime tava kinkaraaH = these are - here are, your, thralls - servants[ yat yat icChasi = what, what, you wish [whatever you wish us to do]; tat sarvam karavaama vai = that, all, we do, indeed; bhadram te = safe, you be.
All of those highly obliging missiles in astral bodies, gladdening to come under the aegis of Rama, then spoke to him making palms-fold, "here are your thralls, Sire, we are here to accomplish whatever you bid us to do, let safety be with you." So said the deities presiding over the missiles to Rama. [1-27-25]
tato rāma prasanna ātmā taiḥ iti ukto mahābalaiḥ || 1-27-26
pratigṛhya ca kākutsthaḥ samālabhya ca pāṇinā |
manasā me bhaviṣyadhvam iti tāni abhyacodayat || 1-27-27
26b, 27. tataH = then; prasanna aatmaa raamaH = with a pleased, soul, Rama; prati gR^iihya = having received them; sam aalabhya ca paaNinaa = well, patted, also, with palm; kaakutsthaH = Kakutstha Rama; taiH mahaa balaiH = to those, mightily, forceful ones; iti uktaH = this way, said; manasaa me bhaviSyadhvam = in cognisance, of mine, be manifested; iti taan abhya codayat = thus, them, verily, motivated - sent them off.
On receiving them with a pleased heart, then Rama patted them with his palm, and that Rama of Kakutstha-s also spoke this way to those mightily forceful missiles in ethereal bodies saying, "you may manifest yourselves in my cognisance whenever I need you," and he motivated them to take leave and to come back at his beck and call. [1-27-26b, 27]
tataḥ prīta manā rāmo viśvāmitram mahāmunim |
abhivādya mahātejā gamanāya upacakrame || 1-27-28
28. tataH = then; mahaa tejaa = highly, resplendent Rama; priita manaa = with thankful, heart; vishvaamitram mahaa munim abhivaadya = to Vishvamitra, great sage, revering him; gamanaaya = to journey on; upacakrame = readied himself.
That highly resplendent Rama revered sage Vishvamitra with a thankful heart and readied himself for further journey. [1-27-26]
The nature of some astra-s - missiles
There are some verses that depict the nature of these astra-s. A few of them are given under. Though we may not actually acquire a projectile power with these verses, they may at least detail what these missiles are. The source of these verses is untraceable, but they are said to be in puraaNaa-s, and Shiva informs Sage Narada, about the missiles as below:
vaantam vahni samaayuktam vyomahaalaa samanvitam |
meSha dvayam danta yutam haalaahalam ataH param |
ghana aadyam vaayu puurvam ca danta yuktam athaanvitam |
saram R^ikSha poaryaayam bhaantam bhR^igu mataH param ||
ambaram vaayu sa~NyuktaH ari mardanam apyutaH |
pradiiptam atha avaktavyam paramam ca padam tataH |
tat ete pade prayoktavye gaayatryaa madhyamam tataH |
pada trayam prayoktavyam etat brahma astram iiritam ||
"It contains air, fire and cosmic poison, two goat-like fangs, full of poison, weighty, emits air, contains mercury, fiery, sparkling, sky is filled with air, enemy-killing, greatly radiant and it is projected with three hymns, Gayatri at its centre, it is known as brahma-astra
karuNam maayayaa yuktam vaantam vaaruNa sa~Nyutam |
yuupaantam vahninaa yuktam modhasaagni rathaa triyuk |
dhaantam kaala aatmane iti etat cakraa eti param tataH |
phaDantam eSha mantrastu kaala cakram prakiitritam ||
"Renders a piteous state of the enemy, full with magical powers, ending in air, and water filled, ends in craters with fire, generates fire and and it is known as Time disc"
taara puurvam ca hR^idayam bhaagyaat antau vana aadimaH |
caNDiisha yukta aaShaaDha tiivra tejasa iti api |
paryaayam lakSha sa~NkhyaayaaH aareti ca padam tataH |
bhiiShayeti api vaktavyam viShNu cakram idam viduH ||
"It first sparkles with cosmic holes, contains high degree radiance, revolves with one lakh revolutions per foot, very panicking is its projection"
iti vālmīki rāmāyaṇe ādi kāvye bāla kāṇḍe saptaviṃśaḥ sargaḥ
© 2001, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : July 04]
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