“The club and disc are meant for the nondevotees, but because the Lord is the Supreme Absolute, the resultant action of all His weapons is one and the same. With the club and the disc He chastises the miscreants so that they may come to their senses and know that they are not all in all. Over them there is the Supreme Lord. And by bugling with the conchshell and offering blessings with the lotus flower, He always assures the devotees that no one can vanquish them, even in the greatest calamity.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 17)
जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्
ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च
तस्माद् अपरिहार्ये ऽर्थे
न त्वं शोचितुम् अर्हसि
jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur
dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca
tasmād aparihārye ‘rthe
na tvaṁ śocitum arhasi
“For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.27)
There is enough documented history that throughout the iterations, upon reaching maturity in thought and education man is able to realize his mortality. In other words, he knows he is going to die, that one day everything will be finished.
He understands that life continues in the place he leaves behind. This is based on personal observation. He witnesses the continuation when another person departs first. He understands the many departures from the past, based on documented accounts.
Therefore, it is natural for man to question the meaning to it all. He wonders if there is a Supreme Being in charge. Is there a God? If so, what does He look like? Perhaps more importantly, what is His disposition?
In other words, is God mean or nice? On which side does He fall with respect to observation? Does He view the rampant quarrel and hypocrisy with anger and disgust? Does He keep the doors to the spiritual world locked based on the countless errors man has committed?
Some speculate that God is the nicest of all. If anyone were to have a forgiving spirit, it would be Him. If He were to accept a single person back into His shelter, He must do the same for everyone else. After all, is anyone really better? We each have our flaws. We make our mistakes. We succumb to illusion, and sometimes we cheat.
The Vedas provide many visions into the spiritual world, with one of them being Lord Vishnu. He is known as Bhagavan, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The same Vishnu might descend from the spiritual world on occasion and provide a specific vision while within the manifest world.
While there is the good fortune of the saguna feature accompanying Vishnu, the immediate impression is that the confusion remains. This is because the beautifully adorned, blue-complexioned Vishnu has four arms. In two of them are items of peace: a lotus flower and a conch. In the other two He carries what would be considered weapons: the disc and the club.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains that the big club is for hammering on the head of the atheist. This would align with the speculation that God is angry at what He sees. Vishnu uses the club to punish. There is documented history of such interaction.
Perhaps more amazing is the disc. This is known as sudarshana-chakra. It is a spinning disc with the most auspicious vision. In other words, a person is lucky to come in contact with it. The same applies to the club, but there is subtlety and nuance to the interaction.
The punishment to the atheists is for their own good. Vishnu already crushes dissent in a passive way through the force known as time. The Sanskrit word for time also refers to death: kala. This force is the great subduing agent, and it is the way that the person who denies the existence of God is finally forced to meet Him.
The wise person realizes that all four items held by Vishnu are auspicious. When the atheists get personally taken down by Vishnu, such as through Narasimha, Krishna, or Rama, the people who witness the glorious event pass on their observations to others. In this way, those slayings are celebrated.
There is protection for the devotees on the other side. Vishnu does not use His weapons without a purpose. The weapons uphold dharma, they give confidence to the suras, and they are an indication of the eventual triumph of good over evil.
Despite many years to sin,
Good eventually to win.
Seen in Vishnu of four,
Arms with items for.
Peace but also punishment fierce,
Like club and disc to pierce.
Auspicious all four the same,
Since merging into ultimate aim.