Boycott Brahmastra: Really why? Have we become such imbeciles that we will boycott just about anything. And have been become so blind in our hatred towards Bollywood that we are ready to Boycott Brahmastra, a movie that celebrates our ancient glory. To boycott or not to boycott is an individual call but let us try and understand the concept of Astras first to make a more educated decision about Project Boycott Brahmastra.
खड्गं चक्र-गदेषु-चाप-परिघाञ्छूलं भुशुण्डीं शिर: शंखं:
This is a part of a Devi Stuti which was sang by Brahma ji for the first time. It means “Devi has in her 10 hands – Khadga, Chakra, Gada, Baan, Dhanush, Parigh, Shool, Bhushundi, a severed head and Shankha.” Let us try and understand these weapons.
- Khadga means sword. It’s a close range hand to hand combat weapon.
- Chakra means spiked discus. It’s a long range weapon which is normally projected on to a target
- Gada means mace: It’s again close range hand to hand combat weapon.
- Baan means arrow: It’s a long range weapon which is normally shot on to a target
- Dhanush means Bow and it is used to shoot arrows
- Parigh is a special mace: It’s a close range weapon too, used in hand to hand fight.
- Shool means spear: it can be used as a close range as well as a projectile. Trishul is a type of Shool.
- Bhushundi is a type of catapult: It’s a long range weapon
- Severed head is not a weapon but it’s supposed to instill fear in the hearts of foes.
- Shankha is not a weapon, it is blown to mark the start and end of a battle day, it is also blown when a Rathi/Maharathi or Atirathi goes down in a battle.
This excerpt of Devi mantra is perhaps the best way to understand Astra, Shastra and other concepts of ancient Indian “aayudh”.
Out of the 10, 1,3 and 6 are Shashtras. 2,4,5 and 8 are Astras. 9 and 10 are not weapons. And 7 is both an Astra and a Shashtra. Simply put, Shashtras need to be held (although there is a class of Mukta, muktāmukta that can be thrown as well but let us not get into it) while fighting and Astras need to be used as projectiles and/or projection systems.
For the sake of simplicity let us only focus on Baan (arrows).
The simplest baan is a Naarach (an arrow with a pointed iron head). Most of the arrows shot in any battle were Naarach. In the hands of a skilled bowman, Naaraches can be super deadly, for instance Bhagwan Shri Ram killed Khar, Dooshan, Trishira and their army of 14000 Rakshasas using only Naaraches (that too in 72 minutes flat. Woah!! Jai Shri Ram)
Then there were Divine Baans or Divyastras. These were invoked using Mantras. The launch codes of modern day nukes can be taken as an example to understand the concept of Divyastras. Some of the most potent Divyastras were:
- Agneyastra: this Astra used to rain fire on enemy lines
- Parjanyastra: this Astra used to inundate enemy lines with torrential rains
- Vayavyaastra: this Astra used to blow away enemies with devastating winds
- Pannagastra: this Astra used to rain venomous snakes on enemy lines
- Garudarastra: This Astra was the Antidote of Pannagastra as snakes used to run away at the mere sight of Pakshiraj Garuda
- Brahmastra: The Astra of Brahma. This Astra was achook (won’t miss the target). It was not Akaatya (can’t be neutralized). It could be stopped with another Brahmastra which would lead to widespread destruction.
- Narayanastra: The Astra of Narayan. It was both Achook and Akaatya. Once fired, it had the power to destroy almost every single soul on the planet.
- Pashupatastra: The Astra of Mahadeva. It was both Achook and Akaatya. Once fired, it had the power to annihilate the whole planet.
Very few archers in India’s ancient history have possessed the last 3 Astras.
Divyastras were not weapons made of special material, their specialty lied in their way of invocation and the degree of damage they caused. Hence, they were virtually theft proof.
Now let’s come to the movie and this ludicrous concept called Astraverse. The cool term has been borrowed from Hollywood who have their DCVerse (Universe with Justice League Superheroes) and Marvelverse (Universe with Avengers superheroes). Astraverse simply put, means a universe of Astras. Bleh! It didn’t even exist in Ramayana or Mahabharata period. Arrows resided in the quivers of Dhanurdhars and Divyastras inside their minds.
Brahmastra’s main plot point is that a secret society of intellectuals guard Astras from falling in the hands of evil people. Brahmastra is the foremost among Astras and Ranbeer Kapoor (who plays Rumi now known as Shiva) is a weapon himself.
There are mentions of Astras like Vanarastra which has powers of Hanuman ji? And Nandiastra which has powers of Bhagwan Shankar’s mount Nandi the bull.
Nothing called Vanarastra has ever been mentioned in any text and it’s super bizarre to even think of something like this. Also, Hanuman ji is not supposed to be thrown on to enemies. If anything, it’s a mockery of Shri Ram’s Param Bhakt Hanuman Ji.
Nandiastra is again a ridiculous concept. First some grammar lesson. नंदी ends with ई and अस्त्र begins with अ. So ई/इ + अ is not अ, it’s य् + अ, for instance यदि + अपि = यद्यपि. It’s यण संधि part of स्वर संधि method. So नंदी+अस्त्र should be नन्द्यासत्र and not नंदीअस्त्र. And just like Vanarastra, nothing called Nandiastra has ever been mentioned in any text and it’s super bizarre to even think of something like this. Also, Nandishwar ji is not supposed to be thrown on to enemies. If anything, it’s a mockery of Shivji’s favourite Gan and his chief mount Nandi.
If Ranbir Kapoor is playing the role of a fidayeen (suicide bomber), then it is justified to call him an Astra (actually self-guided Shashtra), in any other case it is plain stupidity.
Also, Brahmastra has been referred to as Sikandar of Astras. I have no ideas how Alexander is related to Divyastras but I am assuming he has been used to refer to Brahmastra as the king of Astras. Well, it is not. There is no Kingdom of Astras and Brahmastra is a lot less powerful than Narayanastra and Pashupatastra. And again, Alexander really?
All in all, Karan Johar’s magnum opus Brahmastra has nothing to do with ancient India’s weaponry. It treats Divyastras as purely physical objects and at times as humans, both of which are ridiculous concepts. And this movie is set to demean Hanuman ji, Nandishwar and I don’t know how many other Devi Devtas.
This movie doesn’t need to be boycotted for all the boycott reasons that have been used till date. This movie needs to be boycotted for an absolute lack of common sense, research, and even basic understanding of Bhartiya Ayudh Vigyan. I’ll stay a mile away from any theater that screens it.
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