What is the pashupatastra

What is the Pashupatastra? Did Arjuna use it in the Kurukshetra war?

1) What is Pashupatastra?

Pashupatastra is Lord Shiva's personal favorite weapon.

Just like Lord Brahma's weapons

= Brahmastra, Brahmashirastra, etc ...

Weapons of Lord Vishnu,

= Narayanastra, Vaishnavastra etc.

similar to weapons of Lord Shiva,

= Pashupatastra, Maheswarastra, Raudrastra etc.


Pasupatastra = weapon of Pasupati

So there can be two categories. One is special Pasupatastra (which Arjuna received) which is very powerful. A general category can be called a weapon of Pasupati (that is, it can be any weapon that contains the power of Pasupati).

The general category of Pasupatastra is described once in Mahabharat. It was used by Drona and Arjuna just destroyed it. It wasn't the special pasupatastra that Arjuna received as Arjuna simply cuts it. Also, Lord Shiva had said, "Nobody knows ..." while giving Arjuna Pasupatastra. So it's not that special Pasupatastra. It is only used to denote weapons that are presided over by a subtle power from Pasupati.

When Drona did not gain ascent over the son of Pandu, the son of Bharadwaja, this warrior, who was familiar with the course of all weapons, exclaimed the Weapons aindra, Pasupata, Tvashtra, Vayavya and Yamya into life. As soon as these weapons came out of Drona's bow, Dhananjaya quickly destroyed it.[Drona Parva chapter 188]

However, when we name Pashupatastra, it is generally understood to mean the special weapon (which Arjuna received).

Lord Shiva himself describes here what Pashupatastra is:

Bhava replied: 'O mighty one.I'll give you my favorite weapon, the pasupata. Oh son of Pandu, you are able to hold it, fling it, and withdraw it. Neither the chief himself of the gods, nor Yama, nor the king of the Yakshas, ​​nor Varuna or Vayu know it.How could men know about it? But, oh son of Pritha, this weapon should not be thrown without a just cause. because when hurled at an enemy of little power, it can destroy the entire universe.In the three worlds, with all their movable and immobile creatures, there is no one who is unable to be killed by this weapon.And it can be flung from the mind, the eye, the words, and the bow. '" [VanaParva Chapter 60]

2) Why did Lord Shiva get it in the first place?

It is a personal weapon owned by Pasupati. It is always like that with him.

Bhava replied, 'O Mighty One. I'll give you my favorite weapon, the pasupata. Oh son of Pandu, you are able to hold it, fling it and withdraw it. Neither the chief himself of the gods, nor Yama, nor the king of the Yakshas, ​​nor Varuna or Vayu know it. How could men know about it? [VanaParva Chapter 60]

Lord Shiva had associated Pasupatastra with Shaft used in the Tripura Dahana incident:

Then Sarva, after drawing his bow and pointing it at the shaft with which he had united the pasupata weapon, waited at the triple city. And, O king, when Rudra stood like this, holding his bow, the three cities were united during that time. When the three cities, which had lost their own characters, were united, tumult became the joy of the high-souled gods. Then all the gods, the siddhas and the great rishis uttered the word jaya and worshiped Maheshwara. [Karna Parva chapter 34]

3) Was it the omniscient Krishna who urged Arjuna to acquire this astra?

Arjuna had received Pasupatastra twice from Lord Shiva. For the first time, in the words of Indra, Arjuna begins penance for Lord Shiva:

So addressed spared the hunter of the Vritra, who is revered by the worlds and comforts him with gentle words, the son of Pandu and says: " If you can see the three-eyed trident-bearing Shiva, the lord of all creatures, Then, oh child, I will give you all the weapons of heaven. Therefore strive to see the highest of the gods; because only after you've seen him. Oh son of Kuntis, that you receive all your wishes. 'After Sakra had spoken to Phalguna like this, he would disappear here and there, and Arjuna, who was devoted to asceticism, stayed there. " [VanaParva Chapter 37]

But when a long time had passed, Arjuna forgot to know how to invoke Pasupatastra during the Kurukshetra war. Thus, before the day of Jayadratha Vadh, Lord Krishna led him on the path of yoga to Kailash in order to receive Pasupatastra again.

By his grace you shall obtain this rich possession. 'When Dhananjaya heard these words from Krishna, he sat with concentrated mind on the earth and thought of the god Bhava. After sitting with his mind strained at that hour and being called Brahma more auspicious signs, Arjuna found himself traveling through heaven with Kesava. [Drona Parva Chapter 80]

Then both Lord Shiva satisfied and Arjuna received Pasupatastra once more.

And the god also granted him the terrible pasupata weapon and the fulfillment of his vow. After this the invincible Arjuna had received the pasupata weapon again from the supreme god , he considered his business already done. Then Arjuna and Krishna joyfully fulfilled their worship of the great God by bowing their heads. And allowed by Bhava both Arjuna and Kesava, these two heroes returned to their own camp almost immediately, filled with transports of joy. [Drona Parva Chapter 80]

4) Did Arjuna really use it in the Kurukshetra war? If not, why did he get it from Lord Shiva?

Pashupatastra was never used in the Kurukshetra war. There is a common misconception that Arjuna used it to kill Jayadratha. It is not true.

The arrow that killed Jayadratha was as follows:

The son of Pandu harassed those mighty auto-warriors of your army so much and took up a terrible arrow of fiery splendor. This impressive arrow looked like the lightning bolt of Indra and was inspired by divine mantras. He could take any load. And it was always worshiped with incense and garlands of flowers. This descendant of Kuru, namely the mightily armed Arjuna, inspired it (through mantras) with the power of lightning aimed at Gandiva. [Jayadratha Vadh Parva]

Then why did Lord Krishna bring him to Kailash to receive Pasupatastra before the day of Jayadratha Vadha?

It is so because just knowing how to invoke Pasupatastra is enough to make one victorious and powerful. It works subtly.

And then this hero with eyes like lotus leaves and great energy said these words for the benefit of Pandu's son, who had decided to slaughter the ruler of the Sindhus: “O Partha, there is an indestructible, supreme weapon called Pasupata. With this the god Maheswara killed all Daityas in battle! If you remember now, you should be able to kill Jayadratha tomorrow. If it is unknown to you (now), worship in your heart the God who has the bull as a sign. When you think of that god in your head, remember him, oh Dhananjaya! [Drona Parva Chapter 80]

Furthermore, Pasupatastra is not a weapon intended to be hurled at mortals. It should only be used in extreme emergencies.

Then the god Tryamvaka said to me: I will give. O Pandava, my own weapon Raudra will partake in you. 'Thereupon Mahadeva, very pleased, granted me the mighty weapon Pasupata. And after granting this eternal weapon, he also said to me: This must never be hurled at mortals.If given off by a low energy person, it would consume the universe. Should you be under pressure (at any point), you can discharge it. And when all of your guns are completely stunned, you can fling them. ' [Vana Parva Chapter 166]


Good answer, but I'm not convinced of # 4. It seems the pasupata could have been used to counter Karna's Shakti, but Krishna didn't believe it. Even if Pasupata had worked subtly, Arjuna did not have to rely on Krishna to temporarily mask the sun and kill Jayadratha.


@sv. Counter of Vasavi sakti was not possible. It was a blessing from Indra. See my answer here. Hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/12502/. Pasupata worked subtly because that day there was a need for mass destruction. Arjuna killed most of the soldiers that day ... if Pasupata wasn't working subtly, then why did Krishna take Arjun to get Pasupatastra back? ... we cannot say that Krishna did the thing for no logic / reason. ..


When Krishna said, "If you remember it now, you shall be able to kill Jayadratha tomorrow." and then he didn't have to help Arjuna, but he did. By the way, it is mentioned in SB that Shiva himself used the Pasupata on Krishna and that this was counteracted. So it can definitely be used against Indra's Shakti. Shiva also says to Arjuna, "Should you be under pressure (at any point) you can unload it. And when all your weapons are completely taken aback, you can hurl it." - So he could have used it against Karna.


@sv. If Arjuna countered Shakti from Karna ... then what would happen to Prarabdha Karma from Ghatotkacha ... he was destined to die with this weapon from the hand of Karna ... so why should Krishna change someone's Prarabdha karma .. .? In the battle of Jarasandha Krishna also fought with him 17 times, but did not kill him ... when Balarama asked why ne did not kill ... then he said: "He is destined to get out of the hand of Bhima So, I spare him ... "... so that God doesn't interfere with anyone's Prarabdha Karma ...