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In Ayodhya Kanda, Sita, while narrating her marriage episode to Anasuya, wife of Sage Atri, states that Janaka himself received a great bow from Varuna, the god of Water (rain-god), but not from Lord Shiva.

महा यज्ने तदा तस्य वरुणेन महात्मना |
दत्तम् धनुर् वरम् प्रीत्या तूणी च अक्षय्य सायकौ || (Ayodhya Kanda 118th Sarga 39th Sloka)

In ancient days, Janaka on the occasion of a great sacrifice, received with affection from Varuna (वरुणेन महात्मना) the rain-god, an excellent bow with two quivers that should never lack arrows.

असंचाल्यम् मनुष्यैः च यत्नेन अपि च गौरवात् |
तन् न शक्ता नमयितुम् स्वप्नेषु अपि नर अधिपाः || (Ayodhya Kanda 118th Sarga 40th Sloka)

That bow was so heavy in weight that no man could lift it up nor any of the kings were bale to bend it even in their dreams.

तच् च दृष्ट्वा धनुः श्रेष्ठम् गौरवाद् गिरि सम्निभम् |
अभिवाद्य नृपा जग्मुर् अशक्ताः तस्य तोलने || २-११८-४३

Seeing that excellent bow, resembling a mountain in weight, and being unable to lift it up, the princes offered salutation to it and went away.

सुदीर्घस्य तु कालस्य राघवो अयम् महा द्युतिः |
विश्वामित्रेण सहितो यज्नम् द्रष्टुम् समागतः || २-११८-४४
लक्ष्मणेन सह भ्रात्रा रामः सत्य पराक्रमः |

After a very long time, this Rama born in Raghu dynasty with a great splendour possessing a true valour, along with his brother Lakshmana together with a sage Visvamitra, came to witness a sacrifice.

इत्य् उक्तः तेन विप्रेण तद् धनुः समुपानयत् || २-११८-४७
निमेष अन्तर मात्रेण तद् आनम्य स वीर्यवान् |
ज्याम् समारोप्य झटिति पूरयाम् आस वीर्यवान् || २-११८-४८

Hearing the words of Vivamitra, Janaka caused the bow to be brought there. The mighty and the valiant Rama bent that bow merely within an instant and immediately stringed the bow with the bow-cord and drew the bow to the full.

Now, the question is, whose bow did Sri Rama actually break? The prevalent story is Sri Rama broke Shiva's bow.

  • Don't tell me even this is interpolated. – Surya Oct 21 '15 at 3:29
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    @Surya: I am not offering my opinion here. I just posed a question to the readers. If you know the answer, please let me know. – srimannarayana k v Oct 21 '15 at 4:11
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    Actually I was saying that as a general statement; not as yelling at you.... – Surya Oct 21 '15 at 4:55
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If you read Bala Kanda, canto 66, verses 7 to 12, King Janaka says about the origin of the Bow. In verse 11 - 12, he clearly says the following:

Full of grace, Rudra or Shiva deposited the bow upon the high souled gods. Then the celebrated bow (of Shiva) was deposited with Devarata (forefather of King Janaka).

So, the bow was first bestowed with gods and then they entrusted it to King Devarata of Mithila dynasty.

In canto 71, of Bala Kanda, when King Janaka described his lineage, he says the following in the verse 15-16.

King Sudhanva came all the way from the town of Sankasya and besieged Mithila (verse 15)

He sent a word to me saying "The superb bow of Lord Shiva as well as your lotus-eyed daughter may be kindly be given to me".

On refusal, o great, he fought with me and was killed by me (King Sudhanva is killed by King Janaka) (verses 16-17)

So, it's again clear that it was the bow of Shiva.

In canto 75, of Bala Kanda, Parashurama relates the history of bows of Lord Shiva and Vishnu. Parashurama says the following (verses 20-21).

Feeling enraged Lord Rudra entrusted his bow which was passed on to King Devarata of Mithila.

So, from all this it is very clear that it was the bow of Lord Shiva only.

In Ayodhya Kanda, in canto 118, Sita on request by Anasuya, gives a summary of events from her descent to earth, how she was found by King Janaka and her subsequent marriage to Lord Rama.

In verse 38, Sita says the following.

At a great sacrifice, an excellent bow, as well as a pair of quivers were given to King Devarata, by Varuna.

So, the bow was passed on to devathas by Rudra, which in turn was passed on to Devarata through Varuna (as an agent of gods as enjoined by Shiva, whom the gods had previously approached for the bow)

So, by considering all the above verses, IT WAS BOW OF RUDRA or SHIVA ONLY, which was passed on to devathas, who in turn through Varuna passed it on to King Devarata.

So, RAMA BROKE THE BOW OF SHIVA AND NOT THAT OF VARUNA.

  • Then what about Sita telling her story to Anasuya, wherein she mentioned it as that of Varuna's? – srimannarayana k v Oct 21 '15 at 9:08
  • @srimannarayana k v - I have clearly provided the verses and also provided the conclusion. It was passed on to devathas, who inturn thru Varuna passed it on to King Devarata. So, seetha is referring to Varuna delivering the Bow as an agent. Seetha nowhere says it belonged to Varuna. – user808 Oct 21 '15 at 9:13
  • ?????? is it so? – srimannarayana k v Oct 21 '15 at 9:14
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    @srimannarayana k v - People who are sane enough will understand a bit of english, i suppose, unlike some guys who pretend and act. For pretenders and actors nothing is palatable except NETI, NETI.. – user808 Oct 21 '15 at 9:17
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    Also, seetha never referred to bow belonging to Varuna...So, if you take all the verses, you can see that it is bow of SIVA only. Seetha is just summarizing to Anasuya. If seetha doest refer to it as bow of RUDRA, it doesnt make it the bow of Varuna. King Janaka is right, Parashurama is right and seetha is also correct. It is that you need to reconcile. – user808 Oct 21 '15 at 9:24
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In 75th sarga of Bala Kanda of Ramayana, Parashurama narrates to Sri Rama the tale of Vishnu fighting with Shiva. To cut the story short, Shiva's bow was benumbed by the bow of Vishnu when Vishnu utters a battle cry "hum". After this battle, Shiva placed his bow and arrow with his devotee King Devaratha in the country of Videha (the kingdom of King Janaka).

Later, King Janaka was gifted with two bows and quivers containing an inexhaustible stock of arrows by Varuna. (which also mentioned to Lakshmana when he accompanies Sri Rama to forest).

So the modern version might have been altered with the story of King Janaka's ancestor receiving the great bow of Lord Shiva with the story of Varuna's bow.

References:

  1. http://redzambala.com/ramayana-valmiki/ramayana-bala-kanda-chapter-75.html
  2. https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/SriRangaSri/conversations/topics/5221
  • Are you saying Janaka had 3 bows - 1 from Shiva and 2 from Varuna? Also what do you mean by the modern version of the story? – sv. Oct 21 '15 at 16:58
  • Yes ,you are right. King Janaka had 3 bow-1 from his forefather and 2 from Varuna .please check the hyperlinks given. – Ganesh Oct 23 '15 at 5:36
  • I don't mind reading the references but your answer should be self-explanatory or clear enough without having to dig deep into the references. Plus your references may not be "online" a few years later. Just a thought. – sv. Oct 23 '15 at 16:35

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