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.
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.
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…