Brahma Astra (pron: Brahmaastra) means the "weapon of the creator". Indians treat Brahmastra as greater than the atom bomb used by US in the World War II. Some even go to the extent of claiming that the Indian weapon making methods were stolen by scientists who made the Atom Bomb. When the atom bomb was used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki thousands died and thousands suffered deformity and disease.
Mythologically, Ramayana describes a similar intensity for Brahmastra.
Context in Ramayana: Part 6 i.e. the Canto of War, Chapter 22, Verses 7 to 18 describe the drastic effects of the Brahmastra. Here are some: Darkness envelopes the world. Gloom spreads to all the eight directions of the horizons. Lakes and Oceans get agitated. The moon and stars move obliquely. Meteors fly with great light. Thunders reverborate. Colossal winds blow. Winds sweep away trees. Both visible and invisible creatures lie down in fear. When seas and oceans become tumultous and its wave spread to the other shore for a "yojana (15 km. approx.)".
(TSUNAMI? Then why limit the spread of waves just to 15 kms.?)
Here the Ocean surrenders to Rama and requests him to withdraw his Brahmastra. In return it promises to allow Rama and his monkeys a passage on the Ocean to Lanka (Island). Then Rama says that he cannot withdraw his weapon as it cannot go in vain and asks the Ocean where to drop the weapon? (Verse: 6/22/29).
OCEAN ASKS RAMA TO DROP IT ON ABHIRAS
"Just as you (Rama) are well known in the world, there is a place called "Drumatulya". It is to my North. Sinful robbers called "Abhiras" reside there. They drink my waters. (
How can they drink sea water? Can anybody drink sea water as a habit?
I am unable to bear their touch. Pl. drop your powerful weapon on Abhiras! (Verse Nos. 32 and 33). In verse 34 Rama releases the weapon. Verse 35 describes the evil effects of the weapon. It is like a thunder and thunderbolt. The place Drumatulya became a desert ("maru").
It seems that an earth quake occurred. There were craters in the earth. Sea water gushed out and evaporated. (Verses 36, 37, 38)
BOON OF GARDEN SPLENDOR
Verse 42 says that Rama gave a boon to the desert "Maru" to become suitable for grazing cattle. To have: Fruit bearing Trees. Milk and butter. Herbs.
DID ABHIIRAs (robber tribe) die?
Ramayana is silent.
Verse 2/4/18 of Vyasa Mahabhaagavata identifies Abhiras get themselves purified by worshipping Krishna.
EVIDENCE VERSE 2.4.18
kiraata huuṇ`a aandhra pulinda pulkasa
aabhiira-s`umbhaa yavanaaḥa khaasaadayaḥa
yee anyee ca paapaa yad apaas`rayaas`rayaaḥa
s`udhyanti tasmai prabhavisḥn`avee namahạ.
Verse 12/1/27 of the book Bhagavata identifies Aabhiras as future kings to follow. Supposed to be greedy kings.
das’a gaardabhinoo nripaaha
kankaaha shood`as’a bhuupaalaa
bhavishyanti ati loolupaaha.
Amara Kosha (a standard ancient thesarus in Sanskirt) says that Abhiras are synonymous to gopas (cowherds). Krishna grew in a village of cowherds. His foster parents were cowherds. Then how can Abhiras be cruel and greedy?
MAHA BHARATA, ARJUNA AND ABHIRAS
In Maha Bharata 16/9/10 its hero Arjuna was defeated by Abhiras. After death of Krishna and the destruction of Yadava City Dvaraka, Arjuna was bringing the Yadava widows to Hastinapura (the Capital of Pandavas). Presumably on the path from Gujarat to North West UP, about a 700 km. stretch of deserts and forests. Arjuna and his retinue was attacked by Abhiras. Arjuna could not protect the Yadava women. The poet Vyasa explains the failure of Arjuna as a weakness caused to him by the death of Krishna. According to Vyasa, Arjuna strength was Krishna.
SUMMARY: If Abhiras were wayside robbers both during Ramayana and Bharata times, they could not be annihilated by the Kings of both Ramayana and Maha Bharata. Then what is the use of so many weapons including Brahmastra! (Creator’s weapons). Hence hyperbolic description of weapons will not serve any purpose. This, the priests will never understand because they have to live by running temples.