TEXT 12
tarhy evātha muni-śreṣṭha
pāṇḍavāḥ pañca sāyakān
ātmano 'bhimukhān dīptān
ālakṣyāstrāṇy upādaduḥ
SYNONYMS
tarhi—then; eva—also; atha—therefore; muni-śreṣṭha—O chief amongst the munis; pāṇḍavāḥ—all the sons of Pāṇḍu; pañca—five; sāyakān—weapons; ātmanaḥ—own selves; abhimukhān—towards; dīptān—glaring; ālakṣya—seeing it; astrāṇi—weapons; upādaduḥ—took up.
TRANSLATION
O foremost among the great thinkers [munis] [Śaunaka], seeing the glaring brahmāstra proceeding towards them, the Pāṇḍavas took up their five respective weapons.
PURPORT
The brahmāstras are finer than the nuclear weapons. Aśvatthāmā discharged the brahmāstra simply to kill the Pāṇḍavas, namely the five brothers headed by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira and their only grandson, who was lying within the womb of Uttarā. Therefore the brahmāstra, more effective and finer than the atomic weapons, was not as blind as the atomic bombs. When the atomic bombs are discharged they do not discriminate between the target and others. Mainly the atomic bombs do harm to the innocent because there is no control. The brahmāstra is not like that. It marks out the target and proceeds accordingly without harming the innocent.

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