Ancient Indian Weapons and Warfare4 Other Weaponry
The Pasa was a loop killing the enemy at one stroke, of two or three ropes used as a weapon attributed to the god Varuna. It was triangular in shape and embellished with balls made of lead. It was associated with three kinds of movements. The Agni Purana described eleven ways of turning it to one's own advantage by deftness of hand.
The Masundi was probably an eight sided bludgeon. It was furnished with a broad and strong handle. The word 'Masundi' apparently came from the root meaning to cleave or break into pieces. Th word 'Masundi' was similar to the word Musala. All these and more were found used in one battle or another both in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.
The first of the Amukta weapons was the Vajra or the thunderbolt. The origin of this weapon has been given in the Rirthayatra portion of the Mahabharata. It was made out of the backbone of the Rishi Dadhici freely given by him to Indra. Originally it had six sides and made a terrible noise when hurled.
The Parasu was the battle-axe attributed to the famous Parshuram. Its blade was made of steel and had a wooden handle. There were six ways of manipulating it to one's own advantage.
The Gada was a heavy rod of iron with one hundred spikes on the top. One of the four cubits was able to destroy elephants and rocks. It could be handled in twenty different ways. By means of gun powder it could be used as a projectile weapon of war. Its principal use was to strike the enemy either from a raised place or from both sides and strike terror into the enemy especially of the Gomutra array.
The Mudgara was a staff in the shape of a hammer. It was used to break heavy stones and rocks. According to Kautilya, this too, was a movable machine.
The Sira was a bucket-like instrument curved on both sides and with a wide opening made of iron. It was as long as a man's height. The Pattisa was a razor like weapon.
The Sataghni literally meant that which had the power of killing a hundred at a time. It looked like a Gada and is said to be four cubits in length. It is quite similar to the modern cannon and hence was a projectile weapon of war. It was generally placed on the walls of a fort and was also included among the movable machines by Kautalya.
Asi or the Swords - The best sword measured around fifty inches. They were usually made of Pindara iron found in the Jangala country, black iron in the Anupa, white iron in the Sataharana, gold colored in the Kalinga, oily iron in the Kambhoja, blue-colored in Gujarat, grey-colored in the Maharashtra while the reddish white in Karnataka. The Asi was also known as Nistrimsa, Visamana, Khadga, Tiksnadhara, Durasada, Srigarbha, Vijaya and Dharmamula, meaning cruel, fearful, powerful, fiery, unassailable, affording wealth, giving victory, and the source of maintaining dharma respectively. These are generally the attributes of a sword.
It was commonly worn on the left side and was associated with as many as thirty-two different movements. It measured 50 thumbs in length and four inches in width. In the Santiparva, Bhisma was asked as to which weapon in his opinion was the best for all kinds of fighting. To this he replied that the sword was the foremost among arms 'Agryah praharananam,' but the bow came first or 'adyam.'