The two wikipedia articles says

The earliest known depiction of cannon appeared in Song dynasty China as early as the 12th century, however solid archaeological and documentary evidence of cannon do not appear until the 13th century.

The first primitive firearms originated in 10th-century China .

Now i am interested in mentioning of these two in Hinduism Scriptures like Purana , Itihasa etc. Of Course here i am not expecting a kind of canon or firearms as we knew today. The another point is also I am here not asking about the Divya Astras which are mentioned in Ramayana or Mahabharata etc. But just only expecting mention of such a kind of weapon , whose basic principle is same as the above two.

So my question is - Do Hinduism scripture mentions any kind of mechanism / weapon similar to Guns , Cannons etc.

1 Answer 1


Firearm , Cannons and hand-Guns are mentioned in Hinduism scriptures like Ramayana And mahabharata. The word used for Cannons in scripture is shataghnii -शतघ्नी .

This śataghnī literally is that which can kill a thousand people, and it is said to be a canon.

Mentioning of canons in Ramayana.

Valmiki Ramayana is mentioning about cannons deployed in city of Dasharatha in -Book I : Bala Kanda - Sarga 5- The Youthful Majesties .

सूत मागध संबाधाम् श्रीमतीम् अतुल प्रभाम् |
उच्चाट्टाल ध्वजवतीम् शतघ्नी शत संकुलाम् || VR .1.5.11||

suuta maagadha sambaadhaam shriimatiim atula prabhaam | ucchaaTTaala dhvajavatiim shataghnii shata samkulaam ||

She that prosperous city Ayodhya is muchly crammed with many a eulogist and panegyrist, yet she is highly splendorous with many a bastion, flag and hundreds of batteries of canons, and Dasharatha dwells therein. [1-5-11]

Note that here the word "shataghnii " is used for canons .

Mentioning of Cannons and Hand Guns in Mahabharata.

Similarly Mahabharata is also describing this canon called shataghnii . It is mentioned in Mahabharata Adi Parva - Viduragamana Parva - Chapter 199.

भीमोतमहाचक्रं बृहतटटालसंवृतं |
दृढप्राकारनिर्युहं शतघ्नीजालसंवृत्तं ||

Here there are big giant wheels which are frightning. The slabs of the entrance gates of this city is pretty much strong. And this city is surrounded by series of Shatagni cannons .

And here is different verse from same chapter

तीक्ष्णाङ्कुश शतघ्नीभिर यन्त्रजालैश च शॊभितम |
आयसैश च महाचक्रैः शुशुभे तत पुरॊत्तमम ||33||

tīkṣṇāṅkuśa śataghnībhir yantrajālaiś ca śobhitam
āyasaiś ca mahācakraiḥ śuśubhe tat purottamam

here Mahabharata is mentioning a series of mechanism which are similar to cannons.

Mahabharata is also mentioning about hand cannons and hand guns. It is mentioned in Mahabharata -Adi-Parva - khandav Dahan Parva - Chapter 226 - Verse - 25. In the description of war between Devas and Krishna-Arjuna during Khandav Dahana episode.

अय:कणपचक्राश्म भुषुण्डयुद्यतवावह: |
कृष्णपार्थो जिघांसन्त: क्रोधसम्मुर्छतौजस || 25||

Somebody was holding the mechanism which were propelling balls made up of iron (handguns ,cannons etc.) and others were equipped with Chakra , Stones and bhusundi. Angrily they approached towards Shree Krishna and wanted to kill both.

And here is Sacred Text translation of above verse.

iron balls and bullets, and catapults for propelling huge stones, and rockets, See p. 443

  • shataghni is a missile, Pushkar. Not necessarily a cannon.
    – user1195
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:15
  • @moonstar Yes , One or two sources are saying that it's a missile , but most of the sources i have linked are saying that it's a cannon. Apr 2, 2018 at 16:26

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