Ranbir Kapoor with trident
Ranbir Kapoor with trident

Recently, I enjoyed watching the film Brahmastra. It was a typical Bollywood film with song & dance, a love story, and in this sub-genre, some quasi-spiritual content.

The story revolved around astras, which are ancient celestial weapons that can be manifested using attention, intention, and mantra.

We could say astras are a sub-group of celestial objects with varied purpose. They can include things like conchs, broaches, and shoes.

If you ran into such an object physically, it would be inert unless you knew how to activate it. You’d also usually need permission.

Such objects have several modes:
– as a very long-lasting celestial object
– manifested as a physical form
– the physical form expressing its celestial qualities
– extending the celestial qualities

For example, a ruby broach designed to amplify universal love. It can remain a subtle object, manifest as a physical broach, amplify love, and can fill the space it’s in with love. It can soothe, but also offer protection.

Another example is of an actual astra, a sword. It can remain subtle, manifest as a physical sword, become a sword of fire, and we can extend the blade of fire as required. Depending on the qualities of the sword and holder, it could cut almost anything on any level. They can make a good demon slayer.

flame sword by Alhuynh
flame sword by Alhuynh

And yeah, this isn’t just fantasy.

A conch may be an astra or have more peaceful uses. For example, an astra could take down heavy fortifications or cause earthquakes. Whereas another may create peace and harmony. Or herald an event. Or purify an area. Sound can be very powerful.

You see examples of such objects scattered throughout the Puranas and in the stories of many traditions. The opening chapter of the Bhagavad Gita names many people drawn up in battle formation. But it also names several objects like swords and conchs. Those objects have names because they’re astras that are revered.

The objects held by the gods are also of this class. Avatars like Krishna and Rama carried many of them. Handily, you don’t have to carry them all physically yet can call them forth as required. This is reminiscent of some video games.

They don’t give everyone such an object as we’re not all warriors. The guru or deity gives astras based on qualification, need of the time, and prior lifetime use. I suspect they can be inherited too. As the movie portrayed, it takes practice to get to know how to use one, but the holder will have a natural affinity with the object.

The movie doesn’t portray their nature too accurately, but gets a bit right. For example, the holder will influence the astra, expressing their qualities. In the film, the colour of the expressed energy changes with the holder, which is accurate. This colour seems to relate partly to ones “ray”, although there’s a lot of nonsense on that topic. (Theosophy has garbled it.)

The movie also mentioned the power of love as being the greatest power. I agree. Love can surpass any astra. It is the power that gives rise to our universe and purifies any darkness.

We have lost much knowledge of such objects in the dark age, but this is gradually correcting. With a greater number of people awakening, those carrying such tools are increasing…

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  1. Tulie Melody

    Hi David, great post, thank you:)
    Have you experienced or perceived an Astra ( in action) in this physical realm or do Astras only manifest in the subtle realms ( i’m thinking flame sword here in the hands of an Avatar).
    Also I was considering the Tibetan Dorje as a symbolic object in rituals for example – that points us to a symbolic meaning of power – we can get the sense that the power wielded is dependant on the ‘invocation’ (sound as activating principle) and the invoker ( the ‘empowered’ lineage holder). Perhaps this is more tangible example for myself to perceive and experience?
    Best wishes,

    1. Hi Tulie
      I’ve not experienced a physical astra in action in this life but have in prior lives. In this life, I’ve experienced them operating on a number of other levels.

      An actual sword astra has denser flames than the image above. The sword Christ carries, as described in Revelations, is an astra.

      I’d agree, some symbolic objects may originally have been astras or similar. The principles are still there but the ability to invoke has been lost. I know people who have astras and can use them but not yet manifest them physically.

  2. Jewellene H

    Wow, that’s amazing.

    This isn’t related, but I just want to ask you something because you represent hope to me.

    I saw an energy healer who told me I never would have let go of my children unless the situation got as bad as it did.

    She said we have relationships based on karma, or soul family, and she seemed to be gently insinuating that my children were karmic relationships to me.

    I’ve had an easy time cutting ties with everyone in my family except for my sons. I have struggled with feeling responsible for their plight, and indebted to them as their mom, even though they’re grown.

    They don’t want a relationship with me, and I think I don’t want a relationship with them either, but is that okay?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Jewellene
      Relationships are certainly where a lot of karma shows up for some people. While I can’t offer much in a comment, we can see it varies widely what kind of relationships we have with our children.

      Some come into this life only briefly. Some become very close with the parents for life. Some are never close. Some are close, then pulled apart. Perhaps they work and marry overseas. Or there’s a rift in the family, like a nasty divorce. Sometimes kids choose sides. Or sometimes they just drift away. Many have little interest in their parents in their 20’s and don’t reestablish an adult relationship later. Many things are possible.

      Those on a spiritual path sometimes move through a lot of karma in a short time. So kids can come into the life, we resolve the karma we had with them, and then they just move on. Trying to maintain a relationship when the connection is no longer there feels forced.

      It can be difficult if a relationship was purely karmic as when that connection resolves, life will tend to pull you away to move on to other stuff.

      If someone doesn’t want a relationship with you, you can’t force it. It can certainly be disappointing and we can feel we’ve not been a “good parent” or similar. The best you can do is leave the door open and move on. It’s not your fault. Trying to hold on to what’s no longer there just leads to suffering for everyone. So yeah, it’s OK.

      I’m a parent myself so I understand. Life happens…

    2. Dear Jewellene
      I recommend finding a systemic constellation facilitator for a session or attending a family constellation workshop. the process may help clarify what you all are dealing with in your lineage from the past that is out picturing today. As the saying goes in this work – “It didn’t start with you”
      All the best

        1. Harrison Snow

          True and very True and I am sure we all agree that all methods depend on the skill, awareness and maturity of the practitioner from car or home repair to legal help as well as any type of healing or coaching. Best way to go in IMHO is a personal recommendation from someone you trust and then verify with your own inner guidance.

          1. Agreed, Harrison. One of the big benefits of spiritual development is reliable inner guidance. It doesn’t always make sense to the mind but as you learn to trust it, you discover how valuable it is. I’ve made some major decisions that way that turned out better than anything I could have planned.

  3. Lewis

    Rama and Lakshman taught by Vishvamitra in all of the weapons and had an ever filling quiver of arrows…. Hanuman had immeasurable power but could only use it if reminded of who he is. His devotion to Ram also was key to his abilities. He even became Panchmuki Hanuman containing 3 Avatars; Hiyagriva, Vahara, Narasimha as well as himself and Garuda in order to save Ram and Lakshman.

    1. Hi Lewis
      Yes, the first would have been astras. The second though is more about siddhis (abilities). And yes, you have to be in the right mind and orientation. Also need of the time in play. Using them for personal reasons can create very difficult karma.

    1. Lewis

      PS As a side note….. The Ancient Alien people think that the astras etc. are about high tech aliens and their battles. But back to the original theme…. Were they common among the Kṣatriyas during the higher Yugas? Also there are mantras people use for personal (and even group) safety and protection now like those of Durga, Narasimha, and Hanuman, right? Even meditation to bring peace and protection as you noted in a previous blog post.

      1. Right – the idea of higher ages or subtle beings is all explained by aliens. Met a woman where she and her son were rescued from a sinking car by light beings. She described them as aliens for awhile as she couldn’t accept angels. Eventually came to terms with it.

        I know siddhis were common in higher ages. Not sure how widespread astras were.

        Right. Invoking protective laws of nature is another category. As is group practice as it invokes presence itself.

    2. Also worth noting that in the film, they describe the star as an astra himself because he doesn’t need an object to invoke the ability. I’d class that as a siddhi rather than an astra as there’s no celestial object involved.

  4. Reggie

    The movie is interesting, I have seen ritual implements that have been used in ceremonies have some dramatic effects on consciousness and various beings in their environments. In my experience it appears to be mundane, but can be felt when you enter the room of the objects or shrine area.

    1. Hi Reggie
      This could be because they’re a dormant but manifest subtle object. But more often it’s because they’re “blessed.” They’ve been used in powerful ceremonies for a long time. This gives them Shakti or a “charge” that can alter consciousness if we’re open.

      In a similar way, even mistranslated prayers, if used widely for a long time, gain power. Ditto locations where surrender is given.

      A meditation space or room can develop a vibe that supports future practice. Places where retreats are held regularly or where people woke up. And so on.

  5. Bojan

    Hi David
    You’ve mentioned several times on your blog a precipitous fall of consciousness which happend many thousands of years ago. Is it possible that back then people terribly missused this astras in wars? Some of the battles with advanced weapons are desribed in some ancient texts. Or maybe there was involved high tech weapons and such occult powers as well.

    1. Hi Bojan
      At the start of that fall, there was a global war but this was already a lower age. There was quite sophisticated technology used, like vimanas (craft that flew using coherent magnetic fields) and so forth. But I’m not aware of astras being used.

      The battle of Kurukshetra was probably the last time. So many died, including many supporting higher collective consciousness. So the knowledge was lost and many objects were no longer manifest. I know that some of those have been passed on since but just used on the subtle levels.

  6. Gina

    Your comment about love being the greatest power brought to mind a poem that Ganesh downloaded to me on a full moon in May one year.
    The Great Power of Love
    Love is your strongest ally; it is your greatest strength.
    Never block it in any way. Your love is pure, never feel it’s too much.
    Love freely, love well, and all will come out perfectly.
    Sight is not necessary, hearing is a vehicle,
    But it is Love that brings you to Enlightenment.
    Feel free to love whom you will, never hold back;
    It is pure on all levels in every form from gross to subtle,
    Just Love, Love, Love.
    Your Love is like gold and diamonds,
    Pure, untarnishable, and stronger than any substance in the Cosmos.
    No one and nothing will ever be able to take it from you,
    Because it is your very Nature.
    Love will see you through every test, every temptation.
    Just remember Love, and you will never fail. You will always triumph.
    “Love conquers all,” and so you shall

  7. Wow, as an Indian kid we’re told about the powers of conchs and the ability of Hanuman to grow to the size of many men etc, but having grown up in the West we scoff at this. I’m amazed to read there might have been some truth in it.

    I also suspect the pyramids were built using some kind of advanced technology that has since been forgotten. I’ve heard it was sound based too…

    1. Hi Sasanka
      Growing up in Canada, we got comic book superheros instead. Yes, behind many of the worlds myths and legends is some truth. And many do have faint memories of higher ages.

      Right – the pyramids appear to have been built by a retreating group from a land that sank. Their pinnacle was at the start and the quality descended from there. Hieroglyphics appear to have been added later, when the original builders had already become myth. The sphinx had a match across the river and is quite a bit older. It shows water erosion from a time when the area was green.

      The golden age is when we’re most in harmony with source and nature. That leads to the least remaining artifacts. Many of the monuments were built in the later silver Treta age.

      1. Sasanka

        Coincidentally Graham Hancock’s Ancient Apocalypse has just now been put on Netflix (in the UK).

        Regarding the land that sank in the Atlantic Ocean, I see allusions to it in a lot of films and TV series, even Game of Thrones felt like that.

        But there might have been another land that sank in the Eastern hemisphere, and this is not really alluded to in our popular culture. There are some vague Tamil references to it though.

        Thanks for the interesting blog.

        1. Hancock is interesting, drawing from less-mainstream discoveries. But he has a habit of putting his own concepts ahead of the exploration. And his emphasis tends to be dark.

          Yes, there was another land to the east that was around in the last golden age. Some suggest a corner is where modern Mt Shasta is but I don’t think it was that large or north.

              1. Sasanka

                Amazing that you can remember that. I’m guessing it was a time before the mind developed fully, (that might have happened on the other island) – but I’m guessing they were still very advanced in other ways.

                1. Well – that’s developed over decades. More amazing to me is meeting someone I remember from back then and comparing notes. And realizing they didn’t feel the same way about the experience, as now. (laughs) And yes, on the other continent.

                  The mind was fully developed. It was only that life was very fulfilling so there was little desire for stuff like we have now. Desires were easily fulfilled.

                  The western model of evolution is largely linear but it’s actually cyclic. We’ve been around longer than science yet recognizes, although some things have changed.

              2. Olli

                Weird reading this conversation. I once had a dream that I still remember.
                There was this continent somewhere maybe above Australia and Papua New Guinea and I remember the culture, clothing and all that seeming like a mix between Peruvian and Indian looks. Climate probably was tropical or at least warm. I don’t know.. might just be silly dream stuff.
                But when I woke up from that dream I just had to check the world map if there actually was some country I had totally forgotten about. Well of course there wasn’t, but it felt so familiar somehow.

                Later I told my friend about that dream and he was a bit amazed because he had had similar dreams sometimes.
                Heh. Who knows..

  8. Love this topic and the prayers and comments here. Perhaps there’s a link to crystals, sacred pipes and crucifixes and other objects or relics that are used by healers? Maybe besides missiles we need to send some Astras to Ukraine if we can manifest them and the spiritual warriors there qualified to use them? I am saying this sorta tongue in cheek but not completely. Given the very real difference in virtue on this battlefield and the global implications of the outcome the situation does seem to call for Divine Intervention.

    1. Hi Harrison
      Most unused celestial objects would not be still manifest but there are probably a few. As I mentioned in comments above, an object can become potent from regular use in spiritual practices, etc.

      One of the tracks Nature uses is balance. Adding something like astras into the mix there would dramatically alter the balance and cause unintended extremes. And more deaths. Subtler levels are more adaptable and so astras don’t create the degree of imbalance they would on the surface.

      Plus, there is the karma and learning playing out. Nature would resist short-cutting that.

      To the experience here, the Divine is involved but rarely directly on the surface for similar reasons. The power difference is too great. Sometimes, we have to be patient and let the process work itself out. And sometimes, we need to take right action. But with conflict, look to restore balance.

  9. Harrison snow

    Interesting David that your comment is posted on Veteran’s Day here in the States – Certainly there have been a lot of conflicts here over 400 years of history since the English landed in Jamestown. Maybe the civil war in 1860 had a lot to do with restoring the imbalances caused by slavery and the oppression some would say genocide of the Native Americans? There is the usual meme that “God is on Our Side” that often both sides of conflict share. I participate in an online prayer group for Ukraine that affirms love, lights and healing for the whole region. In a way it’s a form of asking for or invoking Divine Intervention but surrendering what that looks like to the Divine. My sense of the Astra’s is if we use or invoke one from the limited egoic perspective then there’s the risk of karma or a short curcuit in restoring balance. I have seen some rare healers who seem to have a mandate at times to express the wrathful aspect of Durga or Shiva and energetically eliminate negative or perhaps asura like aspects that a person is carrying. But I haven’t seen that invoked in an actual shooting war in modern times. In pre-historical times the gods were physically involved in human conflicts according to the different myths or epics. They were also invoked through ritual before a battle in early history which we have detailed accounts of.. Even today we have the chaplain corp in the US Army and each battalion of troops has one and his assistant. “There are no atheists in foxholes.”

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