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Story Of Aja And His Skill To Bring Out Gandharvas From His Bow And Arrow

In the ancient Indian epic tradition, the lineage of Raghuvamsa is renowned for its valor and righteousness. Among its illustrious members was King Aja, the father of the great King Dasharatha, who was, in turn, the father of Lord Rama. King Aja's tales of bravery and his extraordinary skills are well-celebrated, particularly the story of his remarkable bow and arrow, which had the magical ability to summon Gandharvas, celestial musicians and warriors.

The most famous episode demonstrating this magical ability occurred during Aja's marriage to Princess Indumati. The occasion was a grand swayamvar, a traditional ceremony where a princess chooses her husband from among a gathering of suitors. Indumati, renowned for her beauty and grace, was sought by many kings and princes who attended the swayamvar with high hopes.

As the ceremony progressed, Indumati made her choice, placing the ceremonial garland around Aja's neck, thus declaring him her chosen one. This decision, however, was met with dismay and anger by the other suitors as Aja was the youngest among but the most handsome. Unable to accept their defeat, they conspired to kill Aja and abduct Indumati.

As the jealous kings and princes surrounded the newlywed couple, intent on carrying out their nefarious plan, Aja stood resolute, his hand steady on his bow. In a decisive moment, Aja drew his unique arrow and released it into the air. To the astonishment of all present, a Gandharva warrior emerged from the arrow, resplendent and powerful.

This celestial being did not act alone. From every arrow the Gandharva shot, another Gandharva emerged. The air was soon filled with these celestial warriors, their numbers swelling with every moment. What had begun as a solitary act of defense swiftly transformed into a formidable army of Gandharvas, surrounding Aja and Indumati, protecting them from their aggressors.

The sight of this magical army instilled fear and awe in the hearts of the opposing kings and princes. Realizing they were no match for the celestial warriors, they fled the scene, abandoning their plans. The power of Aja’s bow and arrow, combined with the presence of the Gandharvas, ensured the safety of the royal couple and demonstrated Aja's unparalleled prowess and divine favor.

This extraordinary display of might and magic during the swayamvar not only secured Indumati's hand in marriage for Aja but also cemented his reputation as a heroic and favored king in the annals of the Raghuvamsha dynasty. The tale of Aja and his magical bow and arrow continues to be a testament to the extraordinary capabilities and divine blessings that often adorned the heroes of ancient Hindu epics.

This story is found in the Krittibasi Ramayana – Bengali version of Ramayana.