The Story of Gandiva

Gandiva was the most powerful bow ever created. The qualities of the unbreakable bow are glorified in several Hindu scriptures. It is believed that the Gandiva comes along with two quivers of arrows, which never get exhausted. Hence, the user of Gandiva could shoot arrows at his enemies relentlessly. The weapon was considered to be sacred as it was supposedly made by the Brahman, the energy that flows through all our bodies. The Brahman gave the Gandiva to Prajapati. There are different interpretations of Prajapati in Hindu mythology. Some believe Prajapati to be Prajapati Daksha, the father of Sati, while some scriptures mention Lord Indra and Lord Brahma as Prajapatis. In other scriptures, all the great sages are also combinedly referred to as Prajapatis.

Legend has it that the Prajapati passed on the Gandiva to the Moon God or Soma Deva who in turn passed it on to Lord Varuna, the God of water. During the Mahabharata time, Agni Dev, the God of fire, sought the help of Lord Sri Krishna and Arjuna as He was prevented from devouring the great Khandava forest by Lord Indra. Arjuna knew that he needed the Gandiva to fight Indra. In order to help Arjuna, Agni Dev prayed to Lord Varuna and obtained the Gandiva from Him. From then onwards, Arjuna became the owner of the Gandiva, which he used to good effect in the Mahabharata war. After the war, Agni Dev appeared before Arjuna, took back the Gandiva and returned it to Lord Varuna. Legend has it that Lord Varuna possessed the Gandiva since then.

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