The Sudarshan Chakra is the most divine and powerful weapon ever used in the celestial world. Su means auspicious, and darshan means vision. Wielded by the Supreme Preserver and protector Vishnu, his avatars also held the Sudarshan Chakra, notably his eighth avatar, Sri Krishna.
Stories and myths revolve around the divine disc known to be controlled by its wielder even after it leaves the source. Some sources believe that the Sudarshan Chakra was a combined force of the Trinity- Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Shiva.
In some scriptures, it is mentioned that Lord Krishna procured the Sudarshan Chakra from the Devata Mandal (demi-Gods). Others are of the opinion that Sri Krishna obtained the divine wheel from Agni, the God of Fire.
The sacred disc is always in a spinning motion and has 108 serrated edges. The Sudarshan Chakra is used for the destruction of evil and negative forces. The movement of this sacred wheel is initiated by mind control and the power of the will. Once the Chakra leaves the finger, it is still under the control of the wielder. The sacred wheel goes after the enemy relentlessly and does not return until the task at hand is accomplished. The sacred disc follows the path of zero stress nature and can reach the target within the blink of an eye. The Sudarshan Chakra is noiseless, and in case of any obstacle in the path, it amplifies the speed. The Chakra has tremendous spiritual and supernatural powers.
The Sudarshan Chakra has six spokes and the Vajra at the center. The Chakra finds occasional mention in the ancient holy Vedic texts of the Rigveda, Yajurveda, and Puranas. The Sudarshan Chakra is a symbol of preserving law and order and annihilates the enemy.
How Sri Krishna Received the Sudarshan Chakra
The Hindu epic Mahabharata mentions that both Sri Krishna and the famous Pandava Arjuna assisted Agni Deva in burning the Khandava forest. Agni Deva was believed to be suffering from a severe stomach ailment. Brahma, the Creator, advised the Fire God to consume the Khandava forest, which was rich in herbs. However, Agni Deva found it difficult to enter the forest as Takshaka, the serpent king, resided in the Khandava forest. He was close to Indra, the King of Gods.
When Agni Deva tried to consume the forest, Indra would send thundershowers to extinguish the fire of Agni Deva. Sri Krishna and Arjuna arrived at the place one day. Donning the guise of a Brahmin, Agni Deva approached them for help, and they agreed. To fight Indra and his divine army, Agni Deva presented Sri Krishna with the divine Sudarshan Chakra and gave Arjuna the Gandheevam. Sri Krishna and Arjuna helped the Fire God burn down the Khandava forest. Thus, Sri Krishna received the Sudarshan Chakra.
Slaying of Shishupala
In the epic Mahabharat, Sri Krishna is believed to have released the sacred wheel, for beheading Shishupala, for his avaricious behavior. At the Rajasuya Yagna celebration of King Yudhishthira, Shishupala started behaving unforgivably. Although Sri Krishna cautioned him, Shishupala recklessly went on to insult and mock at everyone, and his behavior was rapacious. Each of the mistakes he committed, 100 of them in all, was worthy of death.
Shishupala was the son of the King of Damagosha, a Chedi king. He was born with three eyes and four hands, and his voice resembled that of a mule. His parents were terrified, but a divine voice assured them that the infant would go on to become a mighty king. The voice stated that the extra limbs would disappear when the infant Shishupala sat on the lap of an individual. However, that individual would go on to slay Shishupala later in life. Sri Krishna came to see the infant, and when Shishupala sat on his lap the extra limbs disappeared. Shishupala’s mother was the sister of Sri Krishna and Balaram’s father. Shishupala’s mother was terrified of knowing Sri Krishna was the slayer and begged him to spare her son. Taking pity on her, Sri Krishna promised her that he would be ready to bear a hundred offenses and pardon Shishupala.
Shishupala was invited to the grand Rajasuya Yagna being performed by Yudhisthira. Bheeshma suggested that the Arghya (sacred water offered to wash hands and feet of the most highly esteemed) should be offered to the foremost person present, Sri Krishna. Yudhishthira readily agreed, and Sahadev offered the first Arghya to Sri Krishna.
Shishupala vehemently opposed this honor to Sri Krishna, pointing to the virtues of other kings asking why they were not worthy of the first Arghya. He opposed Bheeshma, Yudhishthira, and Sri Krishna, and his aggressive behavior and words became harsher. Yudhishthira tried to convince Shishupala with soothing words but to no avail. Sahadev became furious, and he asked if anyone in the Sabha supported Shishupala. None would come forward, and Shishupala continued his tirade, asking Sri Krishna about the people he had killed and questioned his superiority. The whole Sabha was shaking in fear, and the situation had gone to the point of no return.
Sri Krishna listened patiently to Shishupala, and as he crossed 100 mistakes, he slew him with the Sudarshan Chakra. The sacred disc severed Shishupala’s head from his body. Shishupala was none other than Jaya (one of the Dwarapalakas of Vishnu who was cursed by the Sanat Kumaras), reborn to be killed by Vishnu in one of his avatars.
Sri Krishna Uses Sudarshan Chakra to Lift Govardhan Mountain
According to the ancient Puranas, Sri Krishna held up the mighty Govardhan mountain when he was a child. The elderly people of Braj, including his father Nanda Maharaj, were preparing for the pooja for Indra, King of Gods, when the child Sri Krishna asked them the purpose of the preparations. They explained that the pooja was performed every year to please Indra so that he would bestow abundant rain whenever they required. Sri Krishna replied that the farmers should concentrate on fulfilling their duties, by focusing on farming and protecting their cattle, instead of conducting poojas for a natural phenomenon such as rain. Upon hearing this, the villagers were convinced and did not perform the pooja.
Indra became furious, and he punished the people of Braj for listening to Sri Krishna. He sent terrible rainclouds and heavy showers to flood Vrindavan. The King of the heavens called upon the Samavartaka clouds of destruction to lash Vrindavan with torrents of rains and thunderstorms that would cause extensive damage to the crops and livelihood of the villagers. The thunderstorms and torrential rains lashed Vrindavan, which became submerged. Frightened villagers ran to Sri Krishna for help. Understanding the situation immediately, the child Sri Krishna lifted the Govardhan mountain at once with his left finger. He held it up like an umbrella, and all the villagers and their cattle took shelter under the mountain. For seven days, the villagers and cattle stayed safe under the mountain, without hunger or thirst, surprisingly. They were astounded and completely taken aback to see a child lift a mighty mountain with his finger.
It is said that Sri Krishna used the divine Sudarshan Chakra to support the Govardhan mountain from below as he lifted the mountain with his finger. It is said he used the celestial and sacred disc below the mountain for support. A stunned Indra called back the clouds of devastation. The skies became clear, and Sri Krishna bade the villagers return to the village with their cattle. Later, Indra came down and, with folded hands, asked Sri Krishna for forgiveness. Sri Krishna bestowed his grace upon Indra and enlightened him about Dharma and his duties.
Sri Krishna Creates False Sunset in Kurukshetra War Using Sudarshan Chakra
Sri Krishna is believed to have used the Sudarshan Chakra in the epic Mahabharat, during the Kurukshetra war. Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu had been brutally killed by the Kauravas the previous day in war, and Arjuna had vowed to avenge his son’s death. Jayadrath was the main culprit. Arjuna had taken a terrible vow to kill Jayadrath before sunset the next day. If he failed in his mission, he would jump into a burning pyre and end his life. The Kauravas had planned to give all protection to Jayadrath as they knew the Pandavas, especially Arjuna would want revenge. They kept Jayadrath in hiding until it was time for sunset. The sun set, and Jayadrath came in front of Arjuna, confident the latter has lost the challenge. The sun suddenly reappeared, and Sri Krishna advised Arjuna to shoot an arrow at Jayadrath quickly. Arjuna sent an arrow that beheaded Jayadrath. The sun stayed on for a while during this process and then set a second time.
It is widely believed that Sri Krishna used the divine Sudarshan Chakra to create a false sunset the first time around, forcing Jayadrath out into the open, lulling him into a false sense of security that Arjuna had lost the challenge. As the eighth avatar of Vishnu, Sri Krishna used the Sudarshan Chakra on a few occasions. However, it is believed he never used the divine disc directly in the Kurukshetra battlefield to kill anyone.