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Narayana Astra (also known as Narayanastra)

Narayana Astra is a celestial weapon in Hindu mythology. It is the personal weapon of Vishnu and has to be obtained directly from him. Furthermore the weapon can only be used once per battle. "When the weapon called Narayana was invoked, violent winds began to blow with showers of rain, and peals of thunder were heard although the sky was cloudless." Narayana Astra creates a shower of "millions" of arrows which attack the entire opposing army. The more resistance that is offered, the more intense the arrow shower becomes. The only way to survive is to lay down arms and surrender to the power of the weapon, at which point the target is spared.

In the Mahabharata, Aswatthaman unleashed the weapon upon the Pandavas, but Krishna knew how to nullify it so he instructed the army to lay down their arms and lie on the ground, which spared them. Only Bhima refused to surrender believing it to be a cowardly act, and smashed innumerable arrows before eventually tiring and being restrained by his brothers at the last moment.

If the Narayana Astra is invoked twice in the same battle, it is said that the shower of arrows will turn upon the invoker's own army.

Thanks to Jijith Nadumuri Ravi from Ancient Voice.

Astra, India, Mythology, Weapon


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