The unknown and untold story of Krishna’s Sudarshan Chakra
1 What kind of weapon was Krishna’s Sudarshan Chakra?
The word Sudarshan Chakra is derived from two words, ‘su’ and ‘darshan‘. It means the vision (Darshan) which is auspicious (Su). The word chakra is derived from ‘chruhu’, which means movement and ‘kruhu’, which means to do. Thus, chakra means something which is mobile. Of all divine weapons, this is the only one which is constantly in motion but not much is written about its source, make and abilities. Read on to uncover the unknown…
2 The origin of Sudarshana Chakra
There are various schools of thought regarding the creation of the divine discus. Some scriptures say that it was created by the combined energy of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and Brahaspati, the Guru of the deities, gave the discus to Lord Vishnu. Other scriptures state that Sri Krishna procured it from the demi gods (devata mandal). As per the Mahabharata, Krishna and Arjun assisted the fire lord (Agnidev) in burning the Khandav forest. In return He presented Krishna with a discus and a Koumodaki mace.
3 Special features of Sudarshana Chakra
Krishna usually perched the discus on His little finger while Lord Vishnu on His index finger. It is believed that once the divine chakra has destroyed its enemy, it returns to the attacker. This means that even after the launch, it remains within the control of the warrior. It travels along the path of zero stress nature and can reach anywhere within a moment. Sudarshan Chakra is silent and when an obstruction is posed in its way, the speed of the discus amplifies.
4 Legends behind the origin of Sudarshan Chakra
Since the word Sudarshana collectively means “vision of which is auspicious”. Lord Sudarshana is generally worshiped during Holy Yagyas to ward off negative energies or vibrations. There are various mythological stories that narrate how this divine weapon came into being. One such legend says that Sudarshana Chakra was made by the architect of gods, Vishvakarma. Viswakarma’s daughter Sanjana was married to Surya, the Sun God. But, due to the Sun’s blazing light and heat, she was unable to go near him.
5 Made of Sun Dust
She complained to her father about this. Viswakarma took the Sun and made him shine less so that his daughter could live a normal married life. The left over Sun “dust” was collected by Viswakarma and he created three divine things out of it. The first one was the famous aerial vehicle Pushpaka Vimana, the second being the Trishula (Trident) of Lord Shiva, and the third was the Sudarshana Chakra of Lord Vishnu.
6 Sudarshan Chakra was not Lord Krishna’s weapon
This is another story of how the Sudarshan Chakra came into existence. There was a time when asuras, or demons, tortured the cosmic gods almost every other day. The cosmic gods were suffering so much that they went to see Lord Vishnu to seek his help and defeat the demons once in for all. However, Vishnu told them that he doesn’t have enough power to destroy the demons and he will have to ask Lord Shiva for help. When Vishnu went to Shiva, he found Lord Shiva in trance.
7 Lord Vishnu’s devotion
Vishnu did not want to disturb Shiva’s meditation, so he started praying to Shiva with the hope that his voice would reach Shiva one day. Many years passed by but Vishnu didn’t give up; he prayed and chanted Shiva’s name with great devotion. He offered one thousand lotus blossoms to Shiva every day. In the meanwhile the gods were being mercilessly tortured by the demons. Finally, after many long years, Shiva came out of his trance.
8 An act to please the Lord
Lord Vishnu ran to gather one thousand lotus blossoms so that he could worship Lord Shiva. Shiva had already decided that he would grant Vishnu whatever he wants, but first he wanted to play a trick on Vishnu. He secretly went to the spot where Vishnu had placed the lotus flowers and stole one of them. While offering his prayers, when Lord Vishnu realized that one flower is missing, he immediately plucked out one of his eyes and placed it before Shiva.
9 Lord Shiva gave Sudarshan Chakra to Lord Vishnu
When Shiva saw that Vishnu had such devotion for him, he said, “I will grant you anything that you ask for.” “Please give me something that will help me to conquer the asuras,” said Vishnu. Shiva replied, “I give you this round disc. It will help you to conquer all your enemies. No matter how many demons come to attack you and the other gods, you will be able to defeat them all with this disc.”
10 The make of Sudarshan Chakra
The Chakra comprises 10 million spikes in two rows moving in opposite directions to give it a serrated edge. The Sudarshana Chakra is not thrown. With will-power it is sent against the enemy. It rotates very, very fast after leaving the finger and chases the enemy. The chakra itself is round and has something like the points of arrows all around its edge. It has tremendous occult and spiritual power to destroy everything.
11 Composition of the divine discus
It is said that the discus has six spokes and its center is composed of Vajra. It is believed that the words, “Sahasrat hum phat” are inscribed on each of the spokes. A novel description of the discus has been written in the Vaman Puran (82.23-26). Mr. Vasudevsharan Agraval expresses it as: The discus has been described as the discus of time (Kalachakra). It consists of twelve spokes and six navels. The twelve spokes represent the twelve months and the six navels represent the six seasons.
12 What kind of weapon was Krishna’s Sudarshan Chakra?
Sudarshan chakra startlingly resembles the Chakram, which is a throwing weapon from India. It is circular in shape with a sharpened outer edge and ranges in size from approximately 12–30 centimeters in diameter. The Chakram is primarily a throwing weapon but can also be used hand-to-hand. It was later used extensively by the Sikhs as recently as the days of Ranjit Singh. It came to be associated with Sikhs because of the Nihang practice of wearing chakram on their arms and around the neck.
13 From the scriptures
The use of the Sudarshana Chakra is occasionally mentioned in the Hindu texts of Rigveda, Yajurveda and Puranas, as an ultimate weapon of law, order and preservation to eliminate the enemy. Such enemies are enumerated variously as rakshasas, asura, and vikrutatma. In one such instance, as scribed in the Mahabharat, Lord Shri Krishna, beheads Shishupala with Sudarshana Chakra, for his rapacious behavior. It was also used to cut the celestial mountain Mandrachal Parvat for churning the ocean of milk (Samudra Manthan).
14 Various accounts of Sudarshan Chakra
As per the legends, when Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan mountain for support He held the discus below it. Sudarshan Chakra was also used to create an artificial sunset so that Jayadrath could be annihilated. However, Lord Krishna did not use it in the Bharatiya war (battle of Mahabharata) or in any other battle to slay anyone. It is quoted in a Holy text of the Nath sect that once Gorakh Nath had stopped the discus.
15 Sudarshan Chakra created Shakti Peeths
It was also used to cut the parts of Goddess Sati, consort of Lord Shiva into 51 pieces after she gave up her life by throwing herself in a Yagna (worshipful fire ritual) which was held at his father’s place. It is said that Shiva, in grief, carried around her lifeless body and was inconsolable. The 51 parts of the Goddess’ body were then tossed about in different parts of Bharatvarsha and came to be known as “Shakti Peeths”.
16 Parts of the divine discus and their implied meaning
The middle stable part: It is named bhruvi (equality), bhag (radiance), nirdesh (speed) and sampada (endowed with the nectar of nutrition). The spokes: It has twenty-seven spokes charged with the runa energy of the twenty-seven feminine principles created from Prajapati. These spokes contain the yoginipanchak – the basic components of the five cosmic elements. The energy in all feminine principles is beyond the restrictions of direction and time.
17 The edge and the shape
Parigh (periphery): This is constituted by the eight masculine principles. Shape of the discus: It is so tiny that it can be kept on the tip of a leaf of the tulsi (sacred basil, occimum sanctum) plant. At the same time it is so vast that it can encompass the entire universe.
18 Statue of Sri Krishna with the Sudarshan Chakra
The statue of Sri Krishna sporting the discus is fearsome. It has sixteen arms adorned with the discus, a conch, a bow, an arrow, an axe, a sword, a pike, a noose, a goad, fire, a horn of a rhinoceros, a shield, a plough, a pestle, a mace and a spear as weapons. In some places it is customary to consider the statue sporting a discus as that of Lord Vishnu’s.
19 Other names of Sudarshan Chakra
In the Tamil, the Sudarshana Chakra is also known as Chakkrath Azhwar (translated as Ring/Circlet of God). The Chakri Dynasty, the current ruling house of Thailand, is named after this weapon.
20 Sudarshana Homam
This homam is performed by invoking Lord Sudarshana along with his consort Vijayavalli into the sacrificial fire. This homam is very popular in South India.
21 An expression of infinity and ultimate truth
The chakra, as an expression of infinity and ultimate truth, is intimately connected with the spiritual and cultural life of India from time immemorial. This is the symbol that has found an important place in the mythologies of many nations. In our ancient religious literature, particularly Vedic, Tantric, Buddhist and to some extent, Yogic – the wheel constitutes a mystic symbol of esoteric and secret doctrines. As the sun, time and life move without stopping, they are allegorically termed ‘wheels’ by the ancient people.
22 The deeper meaning
The Rig Veda treats the wheel primarily as a symbol of the sun and of time and in a few references, as a sign of sovereign authority. The origin of the later symbolic representations and expressions of the wheel can be traced back to Rig Vedic concepts. The word ‘Chakra’ means turning or revolving. Chakra is allegorically applied to time which never stops and the sun with its never-ceasing movement.
23 The Chakras in our body
The nervous centres in our body which are the potential sources of vitality for development of energy and spiritual power are termed as wheels by the mystics and these wheels or centres are concealed in the different parts of our body. The Yoga Upanishads generally speak of the six mystic Chakras such as Muladhara, Swadhistana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha and Ajna besides the Sahasrara which has thousand spokes.
24 Sudarshan Chakra is regarded as a deity
The four deities on the Ratnasinghasan of Srimandir, – Sri Jagannath, Sri Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Sri Sudarshana are known as Chaturddhamurthi in general. Here the shape of Sri Sudarshan is like a pole. Both the wheel and pole shapes of Sri Sudarshana have different Mythological back-grounds. Sri Sudarshana is worshipped as the deity of energy and power.