When we look at the Chatur-Bhuja (four-handed) form of Lord Vishnu in the above image, We notice an object in each hand. Each object has a special significance. The objects are Shanka (conch), Sudarshana Chakra (weaponized spherical disc), Lotus, and a Gada (mace). However, In some cases, we can also see a Tulsi Mala instead of a Lotus.
In this article, we shall know about the story of Sudarshana Chakra and its significance.
What is Sudarshana Chakra ?
The Sudarshan Chakra is the divine weapon of Lord Vishnu. The holy discus consists of two discs rotating in opposite directions. Each disc has more than a million sharp spikes on its edges. The Puranas state that Sudarshana Chakra
The word ‘Sudarshana’ consists of two Sanskrit words. ‘Su’ means good or divine and ‘Darshan’ means vision.
Features and Structure of Sudarshana Chakra
The powerful chakra is not only used as an ordinary weapon. It is projected by the power of the mind. It traverses towards the enemy with willpower. Besides, The Chakra is round and bears spikes of arrows circling its flames. It has the greatest spiritual authority to destroy everything that comes in the way of intent. The Chakra revolves very fast when sent. It won’t return till the task accomplishes or until the person who has sent orders it to return.
Sudarshana Chakra is also associated with noble attributes of knowledge, stability, vision beyond samsara and upholding the righteous apart from destroying the evil.
Story of Origin of Sudarshana Chakra
The story of origin of Sudarshana Chakra is from Linga Purana. According to the this Purana, Lord Shiva gave Vishnu his weapon. Once upon a time, the devas were defeated by the armies of asuras. Asuras had the power to heal their battle wounds due to Sanjeevani Vidhya of Asur Guru Shukracharya. Hence Vishnu decided to face the asuras himself. He fought the countless asuras for an eternity, but then realised his efforts were futile. Vishnu visited Mount Kailash, for Shiva’s help. But Shiva was deep in meditation, and Vishnu knew disturbing Shiva during his tapasya would result in chaos.
So he decided to wake him up through devotional means. Vishnu collected a thousand petals of lotus as an offering to the God of destruction. He performed a prolonged vrat for several days. Everyday Vishnu offered a thousand petals of lotus to Lord Shiva. On the last day of the vrat a strange thing happened. While offering the lotus petals, Vishnu realised that he had one less petal. Vishnu searched in the entire universe for that lost or missing petal. His all search efforts failed. Vishnu, who is also Kamalnayani, meaning ‘the one with lotus-shaped eyes’, sacrificed his one eye to complete a thousand petals and compensate for the missing petal. It was actually Shiva himself who had hidden that last petal with his maya to test Vishnu.
Shiva immediately woke up from his tapasya and praised Vishnu for his sheer devotion. Shiva returned the sacrificed eye back to Vishnu. To help the God win the fight against the asuras, Shiva gifted him the Sudarshan Chakra with the power to slice one’s opponent into two. Later Vishnu killed the asuras with this Chakra and re-established Dharma.
Since then, Vishnu has used the divine discus in various stories. Vishnu passed on this same Sudarshana Chakra to his different Avatars like Varah, Mohini and then to Bhagwan Parshuram who passed it on to Shri Krishna in Dwaparyuga.
After Shiva’s wife Devi Sati, immolated herself, the grieving Shiva, roamed the universe with the incinerated body of his departed wife. Vishnu, unable to see the suffering of the other God, used his chakra to destroy the body of the goddess. The various parts fell on the different locations on the Earth. These places are known as Shakti Peeth.