Why Hanuman used Gada as a weapon?
Recently Lord Hanuman is in the news, thanks to the wonderful drawings of Karan Acharya. The images are very refreshing and much needed. The discourse being peddled is the influence of this image on some sort of militancy. I don’t know if those peddled this discourse themselves believe in that. The reason that image is resonant with so many people is that this image is so refreshing. He is not frowning or is angry, he is looking directly into your eyes, trying to make a conversation. Hanuman is not only a deity, he is a cultural icon as well. By trying to make an issue of things as innocuous as some people celebrating their culture, organizations as The Wire are exposing themselves and betraying their own larger goal of being an effective far-left media organization.
The questions should not be about any fictional militancy. Rather, it should be, why there is so little being done? Why there is only one image of Hanuman, why not more, why not images of other Hindu god and goddess? Why Hindu texts not being studied and analyzed in detail using modern scientific tools? There is just so much which needs to be done.
For some time, I have been interested in study about the weaponry used in Hindu mythology. I could not find any good and credible scientific or otherwise source which analyzes such weaponry. Here are my bits about the weapon used by Lord Hanuman, i.e. Gada. While many warriors have used Gada in Hindu texts, Hanuman is the most common warrior associated with it.
In its simplest form, Gada consist of a heavy spherical head mounted on a long shaft.
Gada is a melee weapon meant for crushing or in more technical terms it is a trauma weapon. It works by transferring its momentum to its victim during combat. Everyday life tools such as hammers or pestles are also based on similar principles. Momentum is the mass X velocity, or for layman understanding, weight X speed. So heavier the Gada, better it is and faster you can swing it, more effective it is. Those who might have studied elastic collision in school might remember the relevant physics. To swing such a heavy object faster, means you will need strong muscles. That is why Gada wearing warriors are typical shown as bigger men with strong body and muscles. And that is why, Hanuman is a natural deity for pehlwans (wrestlers). Thus Dara Singh playing Hanuman in Ramand Sagar’s Ramayana and film Bajrangi feels so natural.
While Gada was a very effective trauma weapon, it also had other advantages as well. Once molded, it needed little to no maintenance. While weaponssuch as swords could go blunt and would need regular sharpening, this wont be the case for Gada. It was circularly symmetric along its long axis. Thus you could be swung in any direction and with the same effect.
Thus, Gada was a very effective weapon for close combat. In Ramayana, humans were normally using bow/arrow and sword while vanars like Hanuman, Sugriv and others would use Gada. It could be as vanars in Ramayana were cave dwellers and must be dealing with stones, rocks etc. often, a Gada could double as a useful tool whenever needed.
Trauma weapons can be found in other cultures/mythologies as well. Outside Hinduism, Thor in Norse mythology uses a hammer named Mjölnir, which is also a trauma weapon. Other similar weapons are listed in Wikipedia.