The Pashupatastra (IAST: Pāśupatāstra, sanskrit: पाशुपतास्त्र)[etymology?], 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. Some versions of Ramayana[which?] say that it was used against Lakshmana by Meghanada. According to Kurma Puran, in the battle between the Purusha and demonic forces, Narasimha avatar escapes a powerful weapon called Pashupata. It is returned without causing any harm since it can be used only to uphold Dharma. 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 the ultimate weapon (according to Shiv purana) and is unbeatable. It is the Lord Pashupati himself in the form of an astra.
- Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dallapiccola
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