By Swami Harshananda
Most of the gods are shown with weapons of various kinds. One of the common weapons is the gadā or mace. The gadā of Viṣṇu is named as ‘Kaumodakī’. It is named so since it gives ‘moda’ or happiness to ‘ku’ or the earth by protecting it against the asuras demons and other evil forces.
It was framed from the extremely strong bone of an asura called Gadā. He gave up his body in deference to the wishes of Brahmā, the father of creation. Then Brahmā got it made by Viśvakarmā, the celestial engineer. It was then deposited with the god Varuṇa.
When Kṛṣṇa got the Khāṇḍava forest consumed by Agni, with the help of Arjuna Agni requested Varuṇa to give it to Kṛṣṇa as a sign of his gratitude towards Kṛṣṇa. Iconographical works show Gadā as a female deity. Symbolically, it stands for cosmic intellect.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore