The Pashupatastra (IAST: Pāśupatāstra, sanskrit: पाशुपतास्त्र), in Hindu History, is an irresistible and most destructive personal weapon of Shiva and Kali, discharged by the mind, the eyes, words, or a bow. Never to be used against lesser enemies or by lesser warriors, the Pashupatastra is capable of destroying creation and vanquishing all beings. Pashupatastra is the weapon of Pashupatinath, the most important of all Shiva temples, located in Kathmandu, Nepal.
In the Mahabharata Arjuna obtained this weapon from Lord Shiva but did not use it because this weapon would destroy the entire world, if used against a mortal enemy. Arjun used this astra to slay Jayadaratha. It is said that the mantra to obtain and discharge the astra is sealed by Shiva to prevent its misuse in the Kali Yuga. It is said that no one in the three worlds can resist lord Shiva when he shows his prowess.Apart from Arjun,no other warrior possessed this weapon.
A Narrative from KMG translation of Mahabharat regarding the power of Pashupatastra:
O thou of mighty arms, that weapon(Pashupatastra) is superior to the Brahma, the Narayana, the Aindra, the Agneya, and the Varuna weapons. Verily, it is capable of neutralising every other weapon in the universe. It was with that weapon that the illustrious Mahadeva had in days of yore, burnt and consumed in a moment the triple city of the Asuras. With the greatest ease, O Govinda, Mahadeva, using that single arrow, achieved that feat. That weapon, shot by Mahadeva's arms, can, without doubt consume in half the time taken up by a twinkling of the eyes the entire universe with all its mobile and immobile creatures. In the universe there is no being including even Brahma and Vishnu and the deities, that are incapable of being slain by that weapon.
Using this weapon,the heroic Arjun could have ended the kurukshetra war in moments.
- Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dallapiccola
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