Brahmastra, aka: Brahman-astra, Brahmāstra; 7 Definition(s)

Introduction

Brahmastra means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Dhanurveda (science of warfare)

Brahmastra in Dhanurveda glossary... « previous · [B] · next »

Brahmāstra (ब्रह्मास्त्र) refers to a weapon created by Brahmā. It is a Sanskrit word defined in the Dhanurveda-saṃhitā, which contains a list of no less than 117 weapons. The Dhanurveda-saṃhitā is said to have been composed by the sage Vasiṣṭha, who in turn transmitted it trough a tradition of sages, which can eventually be traced to Śiva and Brahmā.

Source: Wisdom Library: Dhanurveda
Dhanurveda book cover
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Dhanurveda (धनुर्वेद) refers to the “knowledge of warfare” and, as an upaveda, is associated with the Ṛgveda. It contains instructions on warfare, archery and ancient Indian martial arts, dating back to the 2nd-3rd millennium BCE.

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Purana

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Brahmāstra (ब्रह्मास्त्र).—This is known by another name Brahmaśirāstra also. This weapon was given to Agastya by Śiva. It is mentioned in Mahābhārata, Ādi Parva, Chapter 138, Stanza 9, that Agastya gave this weapon to Agniveśa, who gave it to Droṇa and Droṇa gave it to Arjuna and instructed him about the use of it as follows:

"You should never shoot this arrow at man. If it is used against mean people the three worlds would be destroyed. It is said that this weapon has no parallel in the world. Keep this pure, and give ear to what I say. If an enemy, other than human being attacks you, this weapon may be used to kill him in battle."

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Brahmāstra (ब्रह्मास्त्र).—In Janaloka; given to Paraśurāma by Śiva;1 employed by Aśvatthāma against Parīkṣit in his mother's womb.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 32. 57.
  • 2) Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 20. 52.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Katha (narrative stories)

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Brahmāstra (ब्रह्मास्त्र) is the name of a weapon (astra), capable of repelling the Brahmāstra, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 115. Accordingly, “... then Brahmā, seeing that his [Vidyuddhvaja’s] asceticism was becoming capable of upsetting the system of the world, came to him, and at his request gave him the weapons of Brahmā. He said: ‘This weapon of Brahmā [named Brahmāstra] cannot be repelled by any weapon except the weapon of Paśupati Rudra, which is unattainable by me. So, if you desire victory, you must not employ it unseasonably’. When Brahmā had said this, he went away, and that Daitya went home”.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Brahmāstra, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

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Brahmāstra (ब्रह्‍मास्‍त्र): A divine weapon, irresistible, one given (=created) by Lord Brahma himself.

It is sometimes known as the Brahma Astra (Astra means 'weapon'). As described in a number of the Puranas, it was considered the deadliest weapon. It was said that when the Brahmastra was discharged, there was neither a counter attack nor a defense that could stop it, except by Brahmadanda, a stick also created by Brahma. The Brahmastra never missed its mark and had to be used with very specific intent against an individual enemy or army, as the target would face complete annihilation.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

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brahmāstra (ब्रह्मास्त्र).—n (S) Weapon of Brahma, an arrow, a straw, or anything charmed and endowed by the recitation over it of a mantra. Ex. narakēṃ bra0 sōḍilēṃ jāṇa || tēṃhī giḷilēṃ avalīḷā ||. 2 The curse or imprecation of a Brahman.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

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Brahmāstra (ब्रह्मास्त्र).—a missile presided over by Brahman.

Derivable forms: brahmāstram (ब्रह्मास्त्रम्).

Brahmāstra is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms brahman and astra (अस्त्र).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

Search found 1402 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Brahman
Brahman (ब्रह्मन्).—n. [bṛṃh-manin nakārasyākāre ṛto ratvam; cf. Uṇ.4.145.]1) The Supreme Being...
Brahmacarya
Brahmacarya (ब्रह्मचर्य), or “stage of studentship” refers to the first of the four Āśramas (“s...
Brahmaloka
Brahmaloka (ब्रह्मलोक).—the world of Brahman. Derivable forms: brahmalokaḥ (ब्रह्मलोकः).Brahmal...
Brahmavihara
Brahmavihāra (ब्रह्मविहार).—a pious conduct, perfect state; Buddh. Derivable forms: brahmavihār...
Brahmayajna
Brahmayajña (ब्रह्मयज्ञ).—A special sacrifice to be performed by a Brāhmin only. The rules and ...
Astra
Astra (अस्त्र).—After killing the demoness, Tāṭakā, Viśvāmitra reveals to Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa the...
Brahmanda
Brahmāṇḍa (ब्रह्माण्ड).—The word Brahmāṇḍa means the aṇḍa of Brahmā (aṇḍa-egg), the Supreme Bei...
Brahmapurana
Brahmapurāṇa (ब्रह्मपुराण).—(brāhmapurāṇa) This is a great book of twenty-five thousand verses...
Brahmarakshasa
Brahmarākṣasa (ब्रह्मराक्षस).—a kind of ghost, the ghost of a Brāhmaṇa, who during his life tim...
Brahmasthana
Brahmasthāna (ब्रह्मस्थान).—A holy place. It is mentioned in Mahābhārata, Vana Parva, Chapter 8...
Brahmarandhra
Brahmarandhra (ब्रह्मरन्ध्र, “cranial apperture”) refers to one of the sixteen types of “locus”...
Brahma-muhurta
Brāhmamuhūrta (ब्राह्ममुहूर्त).—The period of forty-eight minutes before the sunrise is called ...
Agneyastra
Āgneyāstra (आग्नेयास्त्र).—A powerful weapon or missile. One night Arjuna fought against a gand...
Brahmahatya
Brahmahatyā (ब्रह्महत्या).—Killing a Brāhmaṇa is called Brahmahatyā. In ancient India killing a...
Brahmajnana
Brahmajñāna (ब्रह्मज्ञान).—knowledge about Brahman; वेदान्तसाङ्ख्यसिद्धान्त- ब्रह्मज्ञानं वदाम्...

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