|For Illustrative Purpose Only|
WHEN it comes to ancient India and war and weapons, two words are quite common, “astras” and “shastras”. Shastra literally referred to weapons in physical form which are to be wielded by a warrior. These include the usual suspects such as swords, mace, whips etc. “Astras” on the other hand are projected towards the enemy. They are the modern equivalent of missiles. You need to fire them towards your enemy.
Perhaps the most legendary, famous and feared astra would be the ‘Bramhastra’. The weapon was supposed to be created by ‘Bramha’ the creator himself. The weapon is supposed to be so powerful that the target would be utterly destroyed. Why would a creator create a weapon that is designed for total destruction? It was never intended to be a purely destructive weapon. Brahmastra was created for the purpose of upholding Dharma and Satya, to be used by anyone who wished to destroy an enemy who would also happen to be a part of Brahma's creation. It was not a weapon to be lightly used to settle petty enmity.
For a weapon of such legendary power, the acquisition of the knowledge to acquire and use it will naturally be very rare. One of the most accepted way of using the Bramhastra in ancient India was by invoking the Gayatri Mantra. It was said that the rhythm, the tone and specific stresses during the reciting would create such waves as could transform even a blade of grass into a feared weapon. The frequencies in the vibrations of the mantra itself would affect any material at the molecular level and free up the potential energy of each atom.
But then why would you or me today even after knowing the Gayatri Mantra are not able to invoke the Bramhastra? The answer lies in siddhi. One has to gain siddhi on a particular mantra before it works miracles for him. It may also involve the mantra being taught to him by a person who is already a ‘siddha’ in the mantra. Now what is siddhi and who is a siddha? Every mantra needs a particular no. of repetition after which it becomes 'Siddh'. Siddhi is nothing but when a sadhaka chants with full concentration a particular mantra for a particular number of times (the number varies and is either in thousands or lakhs or crores for each type), it gives him siddhi in that. Siddhi is nothing but that particular person himself becomes charged with that mighty energy.
But then how does siddhi work in actual practice? We all chant various mantras and shlokas and do pooja but never see the physically transformative effects materialize. The answer in this case lies in the nature of sound. There are two types of sound: un-struck/un-heard sound and struck/heard sound. Un-struck sound is a vibration of ether, the upper or purer air near the celestial realm. The enlightened yogis seek the unstruck sound called “Anaahata Nada”, and only they can hear it. The struck sound or “Aahata Nada”, is the vibration of air in the lower atmosphere closer to the earth. It is any sound that we hear in nature or man-made sounds, musical, and non-musical. So to release Brahmastra it's the Anahata sound which is used to chant Gayatri and not the normal Aahata sound which we use for puja. Along with siddhi, the invoker also needs to be a powerful person in his own right and a person who is in tune with the Anahata sound. The Bramhastra unleashed say by Arjun will never have the potency of the astra released by the Bramha the creator himself.
Modern science has been able to go close in terms of destructive power to the Bramhastra. We now have nuclear weapons that use the principles of physics and chemistry to unlock the potential energy locked within each and every atom. But the efficiency of this conversion is extremely low. Only 1/3000th of matter is converted into destructive energy in a nuclear bomb. The Bramhastra as the legends say was very destructive even when a single blade of grass was used.
Leave the ancient history and the theory behind the Astra. Also disregard the modern nuclear weapons. What about modern times? Why don’t we have something as efficient as Bramhastra? The most probable answer to that would be that we have simply lost the skill and the siddhi required to use the Bramhastra? Perhaps all that knowledge has been lost to the ravages of history and there have been no great gurus who passed on the knowledge to a worthy disciple in the Kaliyuga. Perhaps the invocation only is not sufficient and something else is required?
What could that ‘something else’ be? Where would the ancient knowledge have gone? How did great kings such as Alexander and Chandragupta, and great mystic scholars such as Chanakya fare in their hunt for the Bramhastra? Was anybody close to being successful? To know more about this you will need to grab a copy of the forthcoming historical fiction, the page turner “The Indus Challenge”. Soon to hit the bookstores…