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In the epic wars like Ramayana and Mahabharata, How would warriors know what astra is being fired on them?

It is just a matter of time till the astra reaches the warrior. So, how would one anticipate what is invoked on them to invoke counter astra immediately?

  • Well, I suppose they could look at the Astra as it's being aimed by the other person. – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 2 '15 at 15:30
  • How could they? When Astras are magical chantings which can be invoked using any arrow or even grass, How would one know what astra is invoked on them? – Bharat G Nov 2 '15 at 15:33
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    Well, in a worst case scenario where nothing else is available, then yeah, people would invoke the mantra on an ordinary arrow or a blade of grass. But the Astras are also distinct arrow of their own, so the standard practice would be to actually use (say) a Brahmastra arrow rather than invoking the Brahmastra mantra on an ordinary arrow. I think using Astra arrows may have been more effective then just using the Astra mantra. – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 2 '15 at 15:37
  • So, one can trick others by chanting mantra of one astra and using different arrow?? – Bharat G Nov 2 '15 at 15:44
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    I think there are some changes in the environment for e.g. a nagpashastra might give some signs of snake hiss from akasha etc, so by closely meditating on the environment in yudhabhoomi (battlefield) one could easily know what is being fired and counteract. – Yogi Nov 2 '15 at 16:19

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