Vishnu with Sudarshana Chakra in his right rear hand
|Affiliation||Weapon of Vishnu|
The Sudarshana Chakra (Sanskrit: सुदर्शन चक्र) is a spinning, disk-like super weapon with 108 serrated edges used by the Hindu god Vishnu. The Sudarshana Chakra is portrayed on the right rear hand of the four hands of Vishnu, who also holds a Shankha (a conch shell) in his left rear hand, a Gada (mace) in his right fore hand, and a Padma (lotus) in his left fore hand.
According to the Puranas, Sudarshana Chakra is used for the ultimate destruction of an enemy. The depiction of Vishnu with Sudarshana Chakra also means that Vishnu is the keeper-owner of the celestial bodies and heavens.
The word 'Sudarshana' is derived from two Sanskrit words - Su (सु) meaning divine and Darshana (दर्शन) meaning vision. Hence, the word 'Sudarshana' collectively means vision of which is auspicious. Lord Sudarshana is generally worshiped during Homas to ward off the devil and negative powers or vibrations. The word chakra is derived from the word Chruhu (चृ:) meaning movement and kruhu(कृ:) meaning to do. Hence, chakra collectively means the one which is mobile. Among all the Vedic weapons, Sudarshana Chakra is the only mobile weapon.
There are many mythological versions about the origin of Sudarshana Chakra, here are a few :
- Second mythological version
According to another version, the Sudarshana chakra was made by the architect of gods, Vishvakarma by utilizing Mahesha (Shiva) .
Viswakarma's daughter Sanjana was married to Surya, the Sun God. Due to the Sun's blazing light and heat, she was unable to go near the Sun. She complained to her father about this. Viswakarma took the Sun and made him shine less so that his daughter would be able to hug the Sun. The left over Sun "dust" was collected by Viswakarma and he made three 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.
The chakra comprises 10 million spikes in two rows. One row of spikes moving in the opposite direction to give it a serrated edge.
It was also used to cut the dead body of Goddess Sati, consort of Lord Shiva into 51 pieces after she gave up her life by throwing herself in a yagna which was held at her father, Prajapati Daksha's place. It is said that Shiva, in grief, carried around her lifeless body and was inconsolable. Vishnu, then, directed Sudarshana Chakra to cut the Goddess' body into 51 parts, which were then tossed in different parts of Bharatvarsha and subsequently came to be known as Shakti Peethas.
The use of Sudarshana Chakra is occasionally mentioned in the Hindu texts of Rigveda, Yajurveda and Puranas, as an ultimate weapon to eliminate the enemy of law, order and preservation. Such enemies are enumerated variously as rakshasas, asura, and vikrutatma. In one such instance, as scribed in the stanzas of the Mahabharat, Lord Shri Krishna, the Avatar of Lord Vishnu, beheads Shishupala with the use of the Sudarshana Chakra, for his rapacious behaviour (committing 100 mistakes each worthy of death) at the Rajsuya yagna celebration of Emperor Yudhishthira. It was also used to cut the celestial mountain Mandrachal Parvat for churning of the ocean of milk (Samudra Manthan).
Presented to Krishna by Agni
Agni-deva (Fire God) had been suffering from a severe stomach ailment. As a remedy, Lord Brahma advised him to consume the herb-rich Khandava forest. However, Takshaka the Serpent-king and a close friend of Lord Indra, was residing there. Whenever Agni tried to consume the forest, Lord Indra’s thundershowers quickly extinguished the fire.
Once, Krishna and Arjuna arrived at this place. Appearing as a Brahmana, Agni-deva sought their help and they agreed. To fight Indra and His divine army, Agni-deva presented the divine weapon " Sudarshana Chakra " to Krishna and Gandheevam to Arjuna .
In the Tamil Language, 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 the weapon.
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.
Temples of Sudarshana
- Chakrapani Temple, Kumbakonam
- Thirumogur Temple, Madurai
- Chakkarathalwar at Srirangam, temple
- Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, "How did Lord Krishna acquire Sudarshan Chakra?" and the composition of Sudarshan Chakra
- Vishnu’s Flaming Wheel: The Iconography of the Sudarsana-Cakra (New York, 1973) by W. E. Begley
- "Ancient Vishnu idol found in Russian town", Times of India (4 Jan 2007)
- Sudarshana Homa. Durvasala. http://www.durvasula.com/Taranga/sudarshan_homa.pdf. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
- HJS. "Origin and Meaning of Sudarshana Chakra". http://www.hindujagruti.org/hinduism/knowledge/article/how-did-lord-krushna-acquire-sudarshan-chakra.html. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
- HJS. "Creation and history". http://www.hindujagruti.org/hinduism/knowledge/article/how-did-lord-krushna-acquire-sudarshan-chakra.html. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
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