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Story – How Arjuna Received the Brahmasiras Weapon in the Mahabharata?

The story as to how Arjuna received the Brahmasiras weapon took place when young Arjuna was taking lessons in archery from Dronacharya. Guru Drona became the Acharya, or Teacher, of Pandavas and Kauravas after he showed his expertise with bow and arrow.

One day Guru Drona went with his students to take bath in the Ganga. When Drona plunged into the water, a huge and powerful crocodile grabbed him by the shin.

Dronacharya could have easily saved him but he wanted to use the occasion to test his students.

He ordered his students to kill the crocodile and save him.

While the students were in great confusion, Arjuna killed the crocodile with five arrows.

Drona was pleased with the alertness and quickness of Arjuna and blessed him with the Brahmasiras weapon. Dronacharya taught him how to release and return it. Arjuna was told to use the arrow only against a superhuman foe.

Brahmasiras is like a modern day missile it can be released using a mantra and also from a bow.

Brahmastra and Brahmasiras

Some scholars equate Brahamasiras with Brahmastra. The term literally means head of Brahma. It had the power to destroy the world like a modern day nuclear missile.

Note - In some stories the Pashupatastra given by Shiva to Arjuna is also named as Brahmasiras.

Brahmastra is believed to have been fashioned out of the fifth head that was nipped out by Bhairava Shiva.

Drona Gave Brahmastra to Both His Son and His Favorite Disciple

The above said story is interesting because Guru Drona had taught Brahmastra to his son Ashwatthama. He used it against the Pandavas when they were chasing him after he had brutally killed all the sons and relatives of the Pandavas at night on the 18th day of the battle in the Mahabharata.

When the Brahmastra is released by Ashwatthama, Bhagavan Sri Krishna asks Arjuna too to release the Brahmastra.

Both Arjuna and Ashwathama were taught by Drona to release the divine arrow. But both did not know how to take it back. The arrow send out by Arjuna was taken back by Sri Krishna. But the arrow of Ashwatthama he directed it against the womb of Uttara who was carrying the grandson of Pandavas. Again Sri Krishna protects the womb of Uttara.

Symbolically, the story explains that power should not be given to someone who is not following Dharma even if it is your son.

For this unpardonable sin Ashwathama was cursed to roam around the earth and he is believed to be still alive.

Story of Nagapasha or Nagastra