Gandiva, The Bow of Arjuna

    So I must admit that I heard those last comments that were made about me by Gada. I can’t say I’m very offended though because that boisterous mace doesn’t even know me very well. I am Gandiva, the famous bow that has been handled by Arjuna and many before him. Unlike Gada, who was only used by Vishnu, I have been handed down between many of the greatest Indian gods in existence. Not to brag or anything, but my slender self was created by the spirit known as Brahman. Brahman is a great spirit that created the universe. Take that Gada!

Brahman carried me for about one thousand years. Now it definitely seems that Gada’s comments had no basis in fact, am I right? Following Brahman, I was carried by other famed gods such as Prajapati, Indra, Soma, Varuna and Agni before finally being handed to Arjuna. While I really bonded with many of the others who wielded me, Arjuna and I always had the strongest of those bonds. I was given to Arjuna during the battle of Khandava Forest. Agni simply wanted to burn the Khandava forest and handed me to Arjuna in order for Arjuna to ward off Indra while he burned the forrest. Indra tormented Agni and constantly provided rain when Agni tried to burn the forest, making Agni’s efforts fail. One of the things that makes me the greatest bow in existence is that I also come with two quivers of inexhaustible arrows. The quivers lie right here next to me. You can try to count how many arrows are there, but you will simply end up counting forever as they will replace themselves.

Arjuna and I formed such a strong bond that I decided I would not allow anyone else to be able to use me in the mortal world. I trusted Arjuna fully, and his skill was unparalleled by any of the gods.There was just something different about the way he picked me up with grace and power. The only other being I felt somewhat comfortable with handling me was Krishna. Every time my string is twanged, I make the extraordinary sound of thunder. If that isn’t considered intimidating, I don’t know what is. Would you like to hear it now? No? I didn’t think so.

As you can see, my appearance is quite grand as well. I am covered with small golden discs called bosses. When light hits me, all those who stare are briefly blinded by my radiance. My appearance is so grand that I am even worshipped by other gods. How many of the other weapons in this shrine can say that?

However there did finally come a time where Arjuna and I had to part ways. Agni asked Arjuna personally to return me to Varuna, the god of the ocean. We agreed that this was an acceptable action and Arjuna did just that. This was the end of an era. It was considered the end of Arjuna’s time of heroism. It was not long after that when I retired to this shrine. Despite my many handlers, I will always associate myself as the bow of Arjuna.

It looks as though I have finally exhausted all of our time together. The shrine has instructed me to show you out now that our time is over. Unfortunately I don't think you are currently able to handle the rest of what lies in this shrine.

Image Info: Krishna and Arjuna
Web Source: Sikh-heritage


Author’s Note: Once again, as with a lot of Hindu history and mythology, I found many different sources that all differed from one another on the history of Gandiva. It makes it very difficult to choose what is the best origin to use. In the end, I ended up using most of the information from Wikipedia to create this story. The reason for that is because most of that information is what aligned with what we have read in the Mahabharata. I had to add some different things though. For example, the Wikipedia article claims that it was Varuna that gave Gandiva to Arjuna, but in the Mahabharata, it says that Agni is the one that presents Gandiva to Arjuna. Aside from that, most of the information lined up. This story turned into more of a historical lesson about Gandiva but I felt it was acceptable because this weapon has a much richer history than some of the other weapons. The fact that Gandiva was in the possession of so many other Hindu gods was really quite fascinating. I am just hoping that in the next story there are enough differences to create something entirely different in the story of Rama’s bow. Hopefully so, or else I can always try to research some different weapons.

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