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Naga Astra
(also known as Nagaastra, Nagastra)

Nagastra is a celestial weapon in Hindu mythology used by the Nagas (snakes). In the Mahabharata during the Kurukshetra War, Karna used the Naga Astra in an attempt to kill his brother Arjuna. Karna was advised to aim at Arjuna's chest, but he was so confident in his own skills that he aimed for the neck. At the last moment Arjuna's charioteer Krishna caused the chariot to dip and the arrow struck Arjuna's crown instead. Karna promised his mother that he would only use the Naga Astra once during the war, so he did not try again.

In another version of the story the naga Aswasena entered Karna's quiver unbeknownst to him and pretended to be an arrow, or entered the arrow infusing it with his power. Karna fired and Krishna caused the arrow to miss, but once Karna discovered that the arrow was imbued with Aswasena's might he did not want to use it again.

Naga Astra can also refer to an ordinary arrow with an arrowhead that looks like the hood of a snake, or an ordinary arrow that has been dipped in poison.

Thanks to Jijith Nadumuri Ravi from Ancient Voice.

Astra, India, Mythology, Weapon


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