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Gandiva Bow – Power and Characteristics of the Bow of Arjuna

Gandiva, the bow of Arjuna, has been described as strong, sleek, and long, gold-tipped, and shining with different colors. The power and characteristics of the bow were extolled by both gods and demons. The history of Gandiva bow was narrated by Arjuna in the Virata Parva (43.1 – 7) of the Mahabharata.

Power and Characteristics of the Bow of Arjuna

  • Gandiva Bow was designed by Lord Brahma.
  • It passed through the hands of Prajapati, Indra, Chandra and Varuna before Agni gave it to Arjuna.
  • Arjuna got the Gandiva Bow as a gift from Agni. Arjuna and Krishna had helped Agni in burning the Khandava forest. Varuna had given it to Agni on request.
  • It was characteristic of the Gandiva that its power increased or decreased exactly the same as that of the enemy.
  • Arjuna respected Gandiva so much that he would not tolerate any insults to it. In the Karna Parva (68.30 and 69.1), Arjuna took arms against Yudhisthira, his elder brother, when he spoke disparagingly about it.
  • In the end, when the Pandavas were preparing to exit the world, the Gandiva and inexhaustible quiver of arrows were deposited in waters, thus returned Varuna.