Weapons Used In Mahabharata War List

The Mahabharata war between the Kauravas and Panadvas was of epic proportions and it lasted for eighteen days.

Millions were killed and only a few remained alive after the war.

Please read my post on this.

What were the weapons used 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.( This is under dispute, I shall be posting on this)

Solar eclipse also happened on that day and this Muhurth was kept by SriKrishna 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.

2.Vishnu/Krishna’s Disk.

Though Krishna vowed not to bear arms in the mahabharata War, he became angry at the rate Bhishma was killing the Pandava 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.


A chentu is a horse whip which looks like a crooked stick, and is a typical attribute of  Lord Ayyanar, Krishna in his aspect as Rajagopala, and Shiva with Nandi.

The attribute of chentu, which is etymologically derived from a Tamil word, generally appears in Southern India, especially in Hindu images of Tamil Nadu state, India.

This was used by all the warriors in the War.

4.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.

5.Kandiva, 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.

6.Khatvanga 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, Pasupatastra, 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.

8.Brahmastra-Though not used in the Mahabharata war, it is one of the Great weapons.

Please read my post on this.


Though this was obtained by Arjuna from Lord Shiva, Karna from Parasurama, Arjuna did not have the occasion to use this and Karna could not as he

was cursed to forget the launching Mantra, by Parasurama.

10.Aindra astra:
Presiding Deity: Indra, the god of weather
Weapon’s Effect: Would bring about a shower of arrows from the sky.

Used by both the sides.


Presiding Deity,Varuna, Water.

This will ensure heavy downpour.


Presiding Deity, Vayu, God of Wind.

This will create uncontrollable winds.

13.Vasvi astra: A deadly weapon like Pasupata.

Karna used this.

14.Vajra: Indra’s favorite weapon.
Arjuna used this.


A powerful missile used to scatter the opposing army.
Users. Arjuna,Drona, Ashwatthama, Yudhishthira.


Naga astra:
Presiding Deity: The Nagas
Weapon’s Effect: The weapon would have an un-erring aim and take on the form of a snake, proving deadly upon impact.

Karna used this unsuccessfully against Arjuna.

Krishna saved Arjuna from its wrath.

Apart from these traditional weapons like Sword, Spear, Bows and Arrows, Gada, Dagger were used.




Image Credit.


14 responses to “Weapons Used In Mahabharata War List”

  1. If i remember correctly, Karna used pasupathartha against arjuna and Lord Krishna saved him by his thumb. Because Krishna sent Kundhi devi to karna and get three vows. One of them is, If karna uses pasupathartha, that should be against arjuna and it is only once as directed by Lord Krishna.


      • Karna never had the knowledge of invoking pasupatastra. Pasupatastra was a divine weapon of Lord Shiva which can be obtained from only him directly. Hence in Mahabharata only Arjuna had this weapon which he directly got from shiva. In fact in Shiva’s armory this weapon was the 3rd most powerful weapon apart from his thrisul, jatta and 3rd eye . This speaks about the sheer power of this weapon .One more person who had this weapon in mahabharat time was guru parasuram who got this again from Lord shiva to clean asuras from the world . Even bheesma, karna and drona did not have this even though they were students of guru parasurama as only lord shiva could have directly given this . In ramayana , only indrajit and Rama had this weapon. Indrajit who was a great devotee of lord shiva infact used this weapon against lakshman. But as he was on adharma side , this did not work . Arjuna never used this weapon as shiva advised him to use only when there are no alternate available . In fact Arjuna used this to destroy asuras post mahabharat war which was fought in patal loka, away from the world .. One interesting fact of mahabharat was had arjuna used pasupatastra against kauravas , the war could have been ended in one day itself as this weapon had the power of shiva to destroy including arjuna himself the entire world . Even ichamrutyu of bheesma and immoratility of aswathama would have not been of any use as the world itself would have been destroyed . This weapon had no counter except lord vishnu’s chakra, shiva’s thrisul .and brahmadand of brahma which Drona had , which was defensive weapon created by brahma to counter top 3 astras of mass destructions like pasupat, brahmastra, narayanastra . So even when nagastra or vasava shakti was with karna , Arjuna had to use other astras to counter them as they were mere person target astras, not weapons of mass destruction .Hence lord krishna used tricks to ensure that karna’s these two person specific astras get exhausted without harming arjuna . Arjuna had no option of using pasupatastra or even brahmashira or brahmastra to counter vasava and nagastra of karna as those weapons were like Weapon of mass destruction, cannot be used as a personspecific target astras like vasava & Naga astra. Also they can destroy the world in one shot once launched . Apart from the 3 astras of mass destruction which arjuna had , he had no more powerful personspecific target astra to counter vasavi shakti of karna which was given to him by indra .. hence krisha ensured that the astra is forced to be used by karna on ghatatkocha . Once used , karna had no other astra which could have faced arjuna’s astras . Hence in the final war , karna saw all his divyastras were effectively countered by arjuna and left with no choice ,he tried invoke brahmastra as last resort ,which due to curse of Lord parasuram failed . Apart from brahmastra, karna had no knowledge of other WMDs like brahmasira, naryanastra and pasupatastra.Hence left with no weapon , he was defense less .

        Weapons of mass destruction and who had in mahabharat:

        Arjuna had maximum:- Pasupatastra, brahmastra, brahmashira. He did not have narayanastra though some authors say he had one which he got from Lord krishna himself .He had also indra vajra and the mace of yama which no other had .

        Drona:- Brahmastra , Brahmashira (4 times powerful than Brahmastra ) which he got directly from Lord Brahma and then passed on the vidya to arjuna & aswathama. He had one defensive weapon called Brahmadand which was created by Brahma to counter all weapons except Bishnu chakra, Shiva’s thrisula.He never taught this to both arjuna and aswathamma to maintain his supremacy.

        Aswathama:- Brahmastra, Brahmashira and narayanastra . Narayanastra was given by lord krishna to aswathama when aswathama before mahabharata war went to ask lord his chakra to fight the war. Krisha taunted him saying even his favorite arjuna never asked this ultimate weapon.. However without disappointing him, krishna asked him to ask for any other weapon as he can’t handle the chakra. without wasting time aswathama asked narayanaastra which was lord vishnu’s second most powerful weapon after chakra. Aswathama used this weapon against pandav . However as pandavas surrendered before this weapon, this weapon did not do any harm . Lord vishnu knew this remedy of the weapon and told pandavas about the same. Probably knowing its remedial , lord gave the weapon to aswathamma. Brahmashira was used at the end of the war by aswathama to kill pandavas which was countered by arjuna thru another brahmashira .However with divine interventions knowing that these two weapons will destroy the universe , arjuna was forced to call back the weapon to his armory and aswathama redirected the weapon to kill parikshit in the womb.

        Bheesma & Karna:- Only Brahmastra. Bheesma had one more very powerful astra called paras which can make the other enemy unconscious which he used against Lord parasuram in his duel . Karna had one very powerful person specific astra call vasavi shakti given by indra . He used the same to kill ghatatkocha as he as well drona could have not used WMDs like brahmastra, brahmashira to kill ghatatkocha as they would have ended the world and were not meant to kill a specific person. With nagastra used already by karna against arjuna , both karna and drona had no other person specific astra which could have killed ghatotkacha. Hence karna had no choice but to invoke the vasava which at that time was the only person target astra in entire kaurav army capable of killing ghatotkacha . .Otherwise war would have ended by ghatotkacha on the same day itself . Karna had one very powerful astra call Bhargava astra given by Lord parasuram who was the creator of this weapon meant to destroy armies. karna invoked this to destroy pandava army, but effectively countered by satyaki , another great warrior of pandava camp . This weapon was more to destroy large army and can’t be used against any maharathi like arjuna who had many astras like indra’s vajra , anjalika etc to nullify this astra. In fact Arjuna used anjalika to kill karna finally.

        Judhistira & Bheema:- Some authors say both had brahmastra. But no authentic proof

        Satyaki:- Had brahmastra , but never used

        Abhimanyu:- Had all weapons which arjuna had except the top 3 WMDs like brahmastra, brahmashira & pasupatastra. He had Narayanastra given by lord krishna who was his guru . However he never used it though he invoked the same to counter bheesma , but later retracted knowing its impact on others .

        Bhagadatta:- Had only one astra called vaishnavastra, another very powerful astra created by lord vishnu after chakra and narayanastra. This astra was only with Bhagadatta as no other warriors had this. This astra had no answer as it was a highly person specific targeted weapon. Bhagadatta used his against Arjuna to kill him and Arjuna had no astra ( again can’t use his 3 WMDs ) which could have nullified this weapon.Hence Lord krishna stood infront of the weapon to nullify its impact .


  2. not pasupatastra it is nagastra karna used pasupata was with arjunaarjuna got pasupath astra from lord siva


  3. Bhramastra was used by Ashwathama after dhuriyodhana’s death. It was used to kill parikshit (son of Abhimanyu, grandson of Arjuna). However, Lord Krishna saved him.

    It was said that Arjuna used Pasupatastra against Ashwathama’s Bhramastra, However, if both the astra meets, the whole world would have been burnt. So as per the advice of Rishi Vyasa and Krishna Arjuna will get back his Astra. However, Ashwathama don’t know to get back the astra, so he will change the direction of the astra to kill the Fetus with Uthra(wife of Abhimanyu)


    • To my knowledge Arjuna did not use Pasupatastra.He used Brahmastra through a Dharpa to kill the childern of Panadvas and Abhianyou was saved.You are probably referring to the Narayanastra used by Aswathama and Arjuna conuntered it with another Naraynastra.Chaos ensued.Krishna advided the Pandavas how to escape it,had Arjuna withdraw it.
      In the process, Aswathama was cursed with Immortality


    • Both Arjuna and Aswathama had the knowledge of Brahmashira weapon ( 4 time powerful than brahmastra ) which the launched on each other . This weapon was created by Brahma and only Drona, Arjun and Aswathamma had the knowledge of this weapon. It was not brahmastra and pasupatastra as you have mentioned.


      • While Sastras denote conventional weapons like Bow and Arrow,Mace(Gatha)`,Swords of different type…, Astra denote weapons that are energized by Mantras.

        Some of these Astras do not any supportive conventional weapon like Bow and Arrow.

        Mere uttering of the words will do.

        Another type is the one used frequently in Indian legends are the Astras that are used with a bow and arrow simultaneously reciting the Mantra ascribed to the Arrow.

        These weapons are to be learnt from a Guru.

        The Bow, Dhanus and the Arrows are to be worshiped daily.

        Only then they will be effective.

        Important fact is that the user must be spiritually inclined and should have attained the status of an effective Sadhaka.



    • According to our puranas, they were destroyed when Dwapara yuga ended.However as Astrascare Mantra based I am of the opinion that they can be used even today using Dharbha with correct intonation of the specoc mantras learnt from a Guru.


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