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Story Of The Two Bows

19 Oct 2023
Story Of The Two Bows

The Epic of Ramayana 

Ramayana is one of the two important epics in Hinduism from ancient India, the other one being Mahabharata. It is a poem written in Sanskrit by Maharishi Valmiki. It describes the life of Shri Ram the prince of Ayodhya in the Kingdom of Kosala. Valmiki’s Ramayana comprises 24,000 verses that are divided into seven chapters (Kanda). Here are some interesting instances from the timeless epic of Ramayana that highlight the virtues of Shri Ram. Check out The House of Ram’s exquisite art collection inspired by the timeless epic of Ramayana hand painted by renowned artist Raghu Vyas.

The Divine Bows: Sharanga and Pinaka 

Sharanga and Pinaka were the two divine bows crafted by the celestial architect and weapon maker Vishwakarma for Lord Shiva and Vishnu. While Sharanga also known as Kodanda belonged to Lord Vishnu, the Pinaka belonged to Lord Shiva.

The Legend of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu's Duel

According to the legend, once Brahma wanted to know who is a better archer among the two so he created a duel between Lord Shiva and Vishnu. The impact of the fight was such that it disturbed the balance of the universe. There was an announcement from the sky that this could lead to the destruction of the universe, bringing the fight to a halt. Upset with the interruption Shiva angrily threw his bow the Pinaka away on earth. This bow is said to have landed in Mithila. Lord Vishnu also decided to do the same and gave his bow Sharanga to sage Richika, and after being passed down through generations it finally reached Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Pinaka in Mithila 

According to Ramayana, once while walking through the forest King Devratha came across a bow and instantly knew that it was no ordinary one. He soon ordered his guards to transport the bow to the palace but no one could lift it. Many warriors had to come together to lift the bow. The Pinaka remained in Mithila for many years as no one was powerful enough to lift it. His descendant King Janka had also seen the weapon many times. One day he was spellbound when he saw that his daughter Sita had effortlessly picked up the Pinaka out of sheer curiosity. From that day he knew that Sita was meant for greater good and decided to find her a match that would be equal in all aspects. When Sita came of age King Janka organised a swayamvara for her marriage, he announced that Sita would marry the man who is able to lift the Pinaka. Several men tried but failed miserably; they couldn’t even move an inch of the weapon. Finally Ram, the prince of Ayodhya and the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu, was the only one who was able to lift the divine Pinaka but while trying to string the bow, he snapped it into two. Delighted to see this, King Janaka knew that he was the one for his daughter. Lord Rama had not only fulfilled King Janka’s wishes but also won Sita’s heart and soon they were married.

Lord Rama's Encounter with the Sharanga Bow

On hearing the stories of Shri Ram’s valour and his feat with the Pinaka in Mithila, Sage Parashurama decided to challenge him to string Lord Vishnu’s bow also known as the Sharanga to prove his might. This is a fascinating episode where the two avatars of Lord Vishnu, Parashurama, and Shri Ram, cross paths in a forest while Shri Ram is returning to Ayodhya with Sita. It is here that Parashurama confronts Ram and asks him to string the Sharanga or accept defeat. Shri Ram effortlessly strings the Sharanga. Upon witnessing this incredible feat, Parashurama realised that Shri Ram is indeed no ordinary mortal. He is deeply impressed by his humility and willingly hands over the Sharanga to him before departing.

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