Was Brahmastra a nuclear weapon ?
There are many who say that Brahmastra used by Vishwamitra, Sri Rama and Ashwathama and also divine weapons such s Pashupatastra, Agneyaastra etc. were nuclear weapons. Their destructive power is enormous, but whether nuclear science in the modern sense was behind them is doubtful.
I am quoting from Dhanurveda samhita of Vasishta Mahrshi here.
The divine arrows or astras are of seven types – 1. Brahmastram
They have many variations.
A regular arrow is energized (abhimantranam ) with gayatri mantra chanted in the reverse order in a certain way (daadidaantam) 1,00,00,00,00,000 times. It becomes the powerful Brahmastra and will destroy all enemies.
In a similar way, an arrow is energized with gayatri mantra in reverse order with pravana in front and amuka (name / description of the enemy) shatrum hana hana hum phat at the end chanting 2,00,000 times. This is Brahmadandastram. Enemies as powerful as Yama can be destroyed with this.
Arrow energized with the three padas of gayatri mantra chanted in reverse order with pranava at the beginning and shatrunme hana hana hum phat at the end chanting 3,00,000 times become Brahmashirastram. It can destroy even devas and asuras.
For Pashupatastra, daadidaanata gayatri mantra followed by pranava and shleem pashu hum phat amuka shatroon hana hana hum phat is chanted 20,00,000 times to energize arrow.
For Vayavyastra, the mantra is Om vayavyaya ya vayavyayanyorvaya ya va amuka shatrun hana hana hum phat. To be chanted 20,00,000 times and can be disastrous even to devas.
The mantra for Agneyastra is Om Anistyata hridam sivam vanashvavini hagadasharupana sada ve hadati toyati ramamaso hitva van susedavedaya amukadeen. To be chanted 20,00,000 times.
The Narasimhastra mantra is Om vajranakhavajradamshtrayudhaya mahasimhaya hum phat to be chanted 1,00,000 times.
It is obvious that the power behind these weapons is mantras. The shooting of the physical arrow appears to be symbolic and what really works is the mantra. In the Atharvaveda, it is said that with the teeth as the bow and the tongue as the bow string when a mantra is shot like an arrow on the enemy, nothing can stop it.
Another interesting point is the target specification.It is not geographical. Individual names or groups can be specified. eg :- Ravana, the Kauravas. In the border areas with an enemy country where there is also presence of civilian population selective targeting must have been useful.