Top 5 Gadas in Hindu Mythology
Gadas In Hindu Mythology
Gada is the Indian name for a blunt mace or club made of wood or metal, which is used as a weapon. It has a spherical head mounted on a shaft and a spike on the top.
Many deities in Hinduism have different kinds of weapons. For instance, Lord Shiva has the Trishul, Lord Vishnu has the Sudarshana Chakra, Lord Indra has the Vajra, and so on. Other weapons include the Brahmastra, Pashupatastra, Nagapash, and Agni Astra. All these weapons are very lethal. Similarly, the Gada is also a weapon, and it is the weapon of the Monkey God, Hanuman.
Hanuman is renowned for his strength and for this reason, is the favorite deity of wrestlers in South and Southeast Asia. Vishnu also carries a gada called Kaumodaki in one of his four hands. In the Mahabharata epic, Bhima, Duryodhana, and Jarasandha were experts in using the gada for fighting.
Let us take a look at the top 5 Gadas in Hindu mythology.
Gada is a Hanuman weapon. The deity carries it in his right hand as per popular iconography. It represents self-sovereinty, authority, and the power to rule. The gada is Hanuman's main weapon.
When Hanuman Gada is in the right hand and in an upraised position, it signifies disorder and that a guiding power is needed to bring the situation back to normal. It was Lord Kubera who gifted the powerful Gada to Hanuman.
The Ramayana has many references to the power and authority of this gada. Eminent personages like Bheema, Ravana, and Shani Dev were not able to defeat it. Hanuman's gada even rescued Surath, the king of Kashi, from the arrows of Rama.
Kaumodaki is the weapon found in Lord Vishnu's lower left hand. Vishnu's divine power and physical and mental strength come from it. It also represents Vishnu's power to end all the undesirable elements inside a person's mind that prevent them from attaining God. This weapon was used by him to purify our souls and liberate us from materialistic bonds. It is omnipotent and has great power, which makes it impossible to defeat. The Vishnu Purana claims that the gada is the power of knowledge. Kaumodaki supposedly intoxicates the mind.
Shri Krishna possessed it as well. In the Mahabharata, Agni, the Fire God, obtained the Kaumodaki Mace from Varuna, the Sea God, and gave it to Krishna to fight against Indra and burn the Khandava forest.
The Khandava forest had many kinds of medicinal herbs. Agni needed to consume the herbs because he had indigestion from eating too much ghee. A king named Swetaki had performed a great sacrifice in which a lot of ghee was offered into the fire. This made Agni sick. Lord Brahma suggested that he would get well if he ate the herbs in the Khandava forest. Agni made many attempts to consume the forest but failed. This was because Lord Indra would cause heavy rainfall to prevent it. His aim was to save his friend, Brahma told him that he would succeed if he could gain the assistance of Krsna and Takshaka, the king of the Nagas, who dwelt in the forest. When Arjuna and Lord Krishna went to the Khandava forest once, Agni appeared before them as a Brahmin and asked them to burn the forest down. Then he gave the Kaumodaki to Krishna.
Kaumodaki is sometimes represented as a woman called Gadadevi or Gadanari in sculptures of Vishnu.
Bhima was one of the five Pandava brothers in the Mahabharata. He was very strong and also quite short-tempered. He was a disciple of Lord Balarama and was an expert in fighting with the Gada.
But he lost his gada and even broke it many times. His first gada was left along with other weapon in Vaarnavart, and then he got his black gada. His golden gada was restored to him after he returned from the forest. Then he broke it in the Dyut sabha before he lost to Shakuni. During the Pandavas' exile, he got another gada, but Hanuman broke it.
Bhima slew all his Kaurava cousins with his Gada. He also killed other warriors like Jarasandha, Keechaka, Kirmira, Bakasura, Hidimba, Manimanta, etc.
Ironically, Duryodhana, his greatest foe, gave him the best compliment on his skills with the mace. He named Bhima first before Balarama, Keechaka, and Shalya as the best mace warrior.
Like Bheema, Duryodhana was also strong and a skillful mace fighter. The Gada was his favorite weapon, and he had spent his entire life trying to excel in fighting with the Gada. Hence he did not focus on other weapons. He was also the favorite of Balarama.
On the 18th day of the Kurukshetra war, Bheema and Duryodhana, who were arch-rivals, began to engage in a Gada-Yuddh near Dwaipayan Sarovar. Though they were well-matched, it was Bheema who won the battle with some help from Krishna. This is one of the most gripping battles in Hindu mythology between two warriors.
Lord Ganesha's Gada
Ganesha is usually associated with an Ax or Mahaparashu. But in some avatars, he is seen carrying a Gada. One of his names is Gadadhara, the divine Mace Wielder. He also destroys many demons with his mace.
Lord Ganesha has the power to remove obstacles in our life. His Gada is a symbol that our past sins are pursuing us. By worshipping Ganesha, we can get relief from our sins.
Gada-yuddha is the name for the martial art of fighting the gada. The Agni Purana and Mahabharata mention many Gadu-yuddha techniques like Aahat, Namita, Gomutra, Prabrita, Vamadakshina, Kamalasan, Udarvagatra, etc. In the old days, this weapon was used by the strongest army commanders who could kill their opponent with just one blow.
An Asura called Gada
Gada was also the name of a powerful demon or asura who unleashed terror on humanity. But he had a charitable side, too. Gada would never turn down a request, even if it were absurd. Once, Lord Vishnu approached him in the form of a Brahmin and requested Gada to lend him his bones. Gada immediately ripped himself apart and gave his bones to Vishnu. Vishnu took the bones and fashioned one of the grandest maces ever created. Since it was made with the bones of Gada, the word 'gada' came to mean 'mace' in Sanskrit.