As a snake captures a mouse or Garuḍa captures a very venomous snake, Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva captured Hiraṇyakaśipu, who could not be pierced even by the thunderbolt of King Indra. As Hiraṇyakaśipu moved his limbs here, there and all around, very much afflicted at being captured, Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva placed the demon on His lap, supporting him with His thighs, and in the doorway of the assembly hall the Lord very easily tore the demon to pieces with the nails of His hand.
Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva’s mouth and mane were sprinkled with drops of blood, and His fierce eyes, full of anger, were impossible to look at. Licking the edge of His mouth with His tongue, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nṛsiṁhadeva, decorated with a garland of intestines taken from Hiraṇyakaśipu’s abdomen, resembled a lion that has just killed an elephant.
- Srimad Bhagavatam 7.8.29-30
Kali slaughters the demons and drinks their blood.
Frederick Horniman purchased this papier-maché figure in 1894 during a three-month tour of India and Ceylon. It is from Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), a city named after the goddess Kali, derived from ‘Kali Ghat’ meaning ‘Kali’s steps’.
The figure depicts Kali, the mother goddess and consort of Shiva, accompanied by a jackal. Kali personifies death and destruction. She is depicted with blood-red eyes, her tongue lolling out of her mouth to catch blood, and four arms. Kali holds a curved sword in one hand, the severed head of a demon in another, with her remaining two hands raised in blessing. Kali wears a necklace of severed heads and a girdle of severed hands. She is standing on Shiva, who clutches a discus in one hand and has snakes wrapped around his arms and waist. Both Kali and Shiva have a third eye in their foreheads.
Intolerant of the offenses committed, the infuriated Goddess Kālī flashed her eyes and displayed her fierce, curved teeth. Her reddish eyes glowed, and she displayed her fearsome features. She assumed a frightening body, as if she were prepared to destroy the entire creation. Leaping violently from the altar, she immediately decapitated all the rogues and thieves with the very sword with which they had intended to kill Jaḍa Bharata. She then began to drink the hot blood that flowed from the necks of the beheaded rogues and thieves, as if this blood were liquor. Indeed, she drank this intoxicant with her associates, who were witches and female demons. Becoming intoxicated with this blood, they all began to sing very loudly and dance as though prepared to annihilate the entire universe. At the same time, they began to play with the heads of the rogues and thieves, tossing them about as if they were balls.
- Srimad Bhagavatam 5.9.18
Yamadutas just trying to do their job.
brāhmam astraṁ pradarśitam
naivāsau veda saṁhāraṁ
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Know from Me that this is the act of the son of Droṇa. He has thrown the hymns of nuclear energy [brahmāstra], and he does not know how to retract the glare. He has helplessly done this, being afraid of imminent death.
The brahmāstra is similar to the modern nuclear weapon manipulated by atomic energy. The atomic energy works wholly on total combustibility, and so the brahmāstra also acts. It creates an intolerable heat similar to atomic radiation, but the difference is that the atomic bomb is a gross type of nuclear weapon, whereas the brahmāstra is a subtle type of weapon produced by chanting hymns. It is a different science, and in the days gone by such science was cultivated in the land of Bhārata-varṣa. The subtle science of chanting hymns is also material, but it has yet to be known by the modern material scientists. Subtle material science is not spiritual, but it has a direct relationship with the spiritual method, which is still subtler. A chanter of hymns knew how to apply the weapon as well as how to retract it. That was perfect knowledge. But the son of Droṇācārya, who made use of this subtle science, did not know how to retract. He applied it, being afraid of his imminent death, and thus the practice was not only improper but also irreligious. As the son of a brāhmaṇa, he should not have made so many mistakes, and for such gross negligence of duty he was to be punished by the Lord Himself.
na hy asyānyatamaṁ kiñcid
jahy astra-teja unnaddham
astra-jño hy astra-tejasā
O Arjuna, only another brahmāstra can counteract this weapon. Since you are expert in the military science, subdue this weapon’s glare with the power of your own weapon.
For the atomic bombs there is no counterweapon to neutralize the effects. But by subtle science the action of a brahmāstra can be counteracted, and those who were expert in the military science in those days could counteract the brahmāstra. The son of Droṇācārya did not know the art of counteracting the weapon, and therefore Arjuna was asked to counteract it by the power of his own weapon.
śrutvā bhagavatā proktaṁ
spṛṣṭvāpas taṁ parikramya
brāhmaṁ brāhmāstraṁ sandadhe
Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: Hearing this from the Personality of Godhead, Arjuna touched water for purification, and after circumambulating Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, he cast his brahmāstra weapon to counteract the other one.
āvṛtya rodasī khaṁ ca
When the rays of the two brahmāstras combined, a great circle of fire, like the disc of the sun, covered all outer space and the whole firmament of planets.
The heat created by the flash of a brahmāstra resembles the fire exhibited in the sun globe at the time of cosmic annihilation. The radiation of atomic energy is very insignificant in comparison to the heat produced by a brahmāstra. The atomic bomb explosion can at utmost blow up one globe, but the heat produced by the brahmāstra can destroy the whole cosmic situation. The comparison is therefore made to the heat at the time of annihilation.