Dhanvin means armed with one bow, known as śārṅgi. He holds bow to establish virtues in the universe.
Dhanvi – The wielder of the bow
Basically this means the wielder of the bow. ‘Dhanurasya asti iti Dhanvee – He is called Dhanvee because he wields the bow expertly. His bow is the great ‘Saarnga’ because of which the Lord is also called ‘Sarangapani’.
His achievements as an archer were at their glorious best in his Rama Avatar. As a small boy He protects the sacrifice of Sage Vishvamitra from the demons earning encomiums such as:
‘mai vannat tharakki poril mazhai vannattu annale unkai vannam angu kanden kaal vannam ingu kanden.’
Later in in the forest Janasthana he is able to destroy fourteen thousand demons using only his Kodanda unassisted by even Lakshmana. Finally of course he vanquishes the mighty Ravana using the power of his bow.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavan says ‘Ramas shastra bhritaam aham – I am Rama among the wielders of the bow’ (Chapter 10 Verse 31). In Rama Avataar, His bow is known as ‘Kodanda’ and hence Rama is also known as ‘Kodandapani’.
Thyagaraja extols Rama by saying ‘oka baanamu, oka shabdamu, oka patni – He is a person of one arrow, one word and one wife’.
पवन: पवतामस्मि राम: शस्त्रभृतामहम् |
झषाणां मकरश्चास्मि स्रोतसामस्मि जाह्नवी || 31||
pavanaḥ pavatām asmi rāmaḥ śhastra-bhṛitām aham
jhaṣhāṇāṁ makaraśh chāsmi srotasām asmi jāhnavī
BG 10.31: Amongst purifiers I am the wind, and amongst wielders of weapons I am Lord Ram. Of water creatures I am the crocodile, and of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.
In nature, wind performs the work of purification very effectively. It converts impure water into water vapor; it carries away the dirty smells of the earth; it makes fire burn by fuelling it with oxygen. It is thus the great purifier of nature.
Lord Ram was the most powerful warrior on the earth and his bow was the deadliest weapon. Yet, he never once abused his dominant superiority. Every time he utilized his weapon, it was only for good. He was thus the perfect wielder of weapons. Ram was also an Avatār of God, and thus Shree Krishna identifies with him.
The Ganges is a holy river that has its beginning from the divine feet of the Lord. It descended on earth from the celestial abodes. Many great sages have performed austerities on its banks, adding to the holiness of its waters. Unlike normal water, if water from the Ganges is gathered in a vessel, it does not putrefy for years. This phenomenon was very pronounced earlier, but has reduced in intensity in modern times because of the millions of gallons of pollutants being poured into the Ganges.
Lord Vishnu carries all the tattvas in the world in the form of his weapons. Each weapon and ornament is a symbolism for each tattva.
The symbolism and significance of them are described in 7 verses in Vishnu Purana Chapter 22:
The glorious Hari wears the pure soul of the world, undefiled, and void of qualities, as the Kaustubha gem. The chief principle of things (Pradhána) is seated on the eternal, as the Srivatsa mark. Intellect abides in Mádhava, in the form of his mace. The lord (Íśwara) supports egotism (Ahankára) in its twofold division, into elements and organs of sense, in the emblems of his conch-shell and his bow. In his hand Vishńu holds, in the form of his discus, the mind, whose thoughts (like the weapon) fly swifter than the winds. The necklace of the deity Vaijayantí, composed of five precious gems, is the aggregate of the five elemental rudiments. Janárddana bears, in his numerous shafts, the faculties both of action and of perception. The bright sword of Achyuta is holy wisdom, concealed at some seasons in the scabbard of ignorance. In this manner soul, nature, intellect, egotism, the elements, the senses, mind, ignorance, and wisdom, are all assembled in the person of Hrishikeśa. Hari, in a delusive form, embodies the shapeless elements of the world, as his weapons and his ornaments, for the salvation of mankind.
So, each weapon or ornament corresponds to a tattva.
Kaustubha Gem : Soul (Purusha)
Sri Vatsa mark : Pradhana Prakruti
Kaumodaki Mace : Intellect (Buddhi)
Sharga bow : Egotism (Tamasa Ahankára) of elements
Panchajanya conch : Egotism (Saatvika Ahankára) of sense organs
Sudarshana Chakra : The mind (manas).
Vaijayanti Mala : Five elements of rudiments (pancha bhoota)
Arrows : Sense organs
Nandaka sword : Knowledge (Gnana)
Sheath of the sword : Ignorance (Agnana).
It is interesting to note that Sri Rudram abounds in glorious tributes to the power of Shiva’s bow in lines such as:
‘Namaste Astu Dhanvane Baahubhyaam Utate Namah
Yaa Ta Ishus Shivatamaa Shivam Babhoova te Dhanuh ‘
Salutations to your Ire, Rudra and also salutations to your arrow. Salutations to your bow and also to your both arms. Bless us with happiness our Lord, With that arrow of thine, which is holy, With that bow of thine, which is begetter of good, With that quiver of thine, which is sweet.’
Sharanga is the bow weapon of Lord Vishnu. Vishwakarma, the presiding deity of all architects, crafted this bow along with the Pinaka bow of Lord Shiva. Mahavishnu is depicted with other weapons including Sudarshana Chakra, Kaumodaki, Nandaka, and Panchajanya Shankha.
Lord Vishnu gave the Sharanga bow to sage Ruchika. The bow later came in to possession of Lord Parashurama, the grandson of Ruchika muni. Parasurama handed it over to Lord Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu. Sri Rama after completing his life’s mission gave it to Varuna, the god of water and ocean.
In the Mahabharata, Varuna gave Sharanga to Lord Krishna during the Khandava dahana. Krishna, just before his death, retuned the bow to Varuna by throwing Sharanga back to the ocean.
Mentioning of Sharanga can again be seen during the fight between Lord Krishna and demon Shalva.
७६. ॐ धन्विने नमः |
76. OM Dhanvine Namaḥ
Dhanvee -Lord Vishnu’s Divine Bow is called ‘Saarnga’ and it is described as the mightiest among the weapons. One who is having this Mighty Bow at all times is Dhanvee. It can also remind us of His incarnation as Sree Ramachandraji, when, in order to protect the world from the mighty Raakshasas of Lanka, He had to dedicate a substantial part of His life almost constantly wielding his bow: hence Sri Rama came to be known as Dhanushpaani; in His attitude of protection He is known as Kodandaraama. Thus, the term Dhanvee, the Wielder of the bow, is quite appropriate for Vishnu. “I am Sri Rama among the Wielders of the bow” –Geeta Ch.l0, St. 31.
Dhanuḥ asya asti / धनुः अस्य अस्ति The one armed with a very powerful Bow.
Bhavad Gīta – Chapter 10
Pavanaḥ pavatāmasmi rāmaḥ śastrabhr̥tāmaham,
Jhaṣāṇāṃ makaraścāsmi srotasāmasmi jāhnavī. (31)
:: भवद्गीत – विभूति योग ::
पवनः पवतामस्मि रामः शस्त्रभृतामहम् ।
झषाणां मकरश्चास्मि स्रोतसामस्मि जाह्नवी ॥ ३१ ॥
Of purifiers I am the wind, of the wielders of weapons I am Rāma, of fishes I am the Crocodile and of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.
INTERPRETATION GUIDED BY SANT VANI (WORDS OF SAINTS)
The wielder of the bow.
Dhanvī is one who has a dhanush, a bow. It is not just possessing a bow but having the
competence, skill and focus to wield the bow. In His avatāra as Śrī Rāma, He is famed as a great archer. Archery is not an ordinary thing. It calls for a lot of practice, precision in target, physical endurance, focus, concentration in the din of the battlefield while arrows and other mantra powered missiles are flying all over the place. Due to our dependence on electronic gadgets and the growing attitude of instant gratification in everything, we are losing the ability to apply dedicated focus in our pursuits.
For an archer, the bow is the main weapon that is a reflection of his competence, skill and attitude. For us, what are the main weapons? In our area of endeavour, there may be different skills and competences that are required. Overall, if we develop life competence, in being able to handle anything in life, picking up a skill based competence, be it handling tough projects or bringing up a child, is really no big deal. This competence does not come automatically. It requires a relaxed disposition, some exposure to the shastra and a recognition of Isvara.
That is why Bhagavān says in the Gītā, ‘I am (to be meditated upon as) Śrī Rāma among all those who wield weapons’ (10.31). Although I may not be an archer, when I visualize Śrī Rāma with his bow, I invoke the focus, dedication and the will to practice, required in my pursuits.
Lord Viṣhṇu is pictured as having the bow called Śāranga and Śrī Rāma is shown with the bow called Kodaṇḍa.
Again, the glory of any dhanvī, any archer, anywhere is the glory of the Lord. Therefore, the archer’s attitude should be, ‘that I could do this, is the glory of Īśvara given to me.’ Since any glory in any archer belongs only to the Lord, He alone is the Dhanvī.
He who wields the Bow (of Dharma). The owner of that mighty bow that protects all.
This name is a clear pointer to that specific Vibhava of Viṣṇu – Sri Rāma and specifically KodaṇḍaRāma.
Sri Rāma is never ever depicted without his bow and the quiver of arrows. Anyone who depicts Sri Rāma without his Bow doesn’t really understand the significance of this form of the Supreme Being – he is the Kodaṇḍi (कोदण्डी) the wielder of the Bow Kodaṇḍa and hence Kodaṇḍarāma. This bow is synonymous with Viṣhṇu’s bow Śāraṅga. Remember also that it is Sri Rāma who broke the great bow of Śivā called Pināka.
Kṛṣṇa asserts in the Bhagavad-gītā that among the warriors and the wielders of the bow (and weapons in general) he should be identified with Rāma
पवन: पवतामस्मि राम: शस्त्रभृतामहम् |
झषाणां मकरश्चास्मि स्रोतसामस्मि जाह्नवी || 10-31||
pavanaḥ pavatām asmi rāmaḥ śhastra-bhṛitām aham
jhaṣhāṇāṁ makaraśh chāsmi srotasām asmi jāhnavī
Among the wielders of weapons (the warriors), know that I am Rāma (rāmaḥ śhastra-bhṛitām aham)
Of the 108 names of Sri Rāma, one of them is “Om Dhanurdharaya namaha” – The bearer of the bow. In the Yuddha Kanda of Srimad Valmiki Ramayana, it is said that the havoc wrought by Rāma‘s arrows were such that one could only see the stream of arrows from that great Bow which was wielded by that warrior with long and sinewy arms. Such was the stream and so thick did the arrows fly that all one could see were the dead bodies of the Rakshashas and the blanket of arrows but not Rāma! Sometimes he emerged (from that blanket of arrows) as the Sun appears from behind the clouds…
The bow of Sri Rāma is depicted for a specific reason. that form is specifically to preserve, protect and promote Dharma. Not for nothing is Ayodhya considered such an important kṣétra – it is the kṣétra of the protector of our Dharma.
Sri Rāma Jaya Rāma Jaya Jaya Rāma!
In the words of Swamiji:
“It’s possible to master any skill with a great deal of effort but that does not necessarily lead to an expansion of one’s consciousness. Becoming good at what you do does not always equate with the realization of your full potential, for that requires a more holistic approach.”
There are three factors that play a crucial role in building this strength:
True mental toughness or the brain power is something that’s essential to breaking free of the shackles of mind, comes from challenging my beliefs about what I think I can do and then decimating them by doing more or better than what I ever thought I could do. And, to accomplish such a feat I must be prepared to train my mind.
Meditation, yoga and numerous other spiritual practices are aimed at that. On their own, however, they are never sufficient. Look around at you and you’ll discover a world where we have plenty of meditators, spiritual and religious people and yet they aren’t any calmer, better or more competent than the average Joe Blow on the street.
Here’s the golden question you can ask yourself to accomplish just about anything in life. Whenever you feel you can’t do something, simply ask yourself:
How can I do it?
Relentlessly ask yourself, “how can I do it?” and let it brew till your mind agrees to spill the answer to you. Whatever it is that you are struggling with in your life, any mental, physical, emotional, social or spiritual barrier that you can’t seem to cross, keep asking yourself, “how can I do it?” and be amazed how incredibly powerful your mind is in coming up with answers to difficult questions.
This power is harnessed and multiplied by shedding self-limiting beliefs, building self-discipline and leading a righteous life.
The conventional time of Durga Puja is during the Basanta Ritu, or the spring season. The custom of celebrating this festival in the autumn (or the Hemanta Ritu) was indeed initiated by Lord Ram in the Ramayana. Here’s the story about this ‘Akaal Bodhon’, the untimely evocation of Goddess Durga.
The story of Akaal Bodhon
Ravana, the king of Lanka, had a special blessing of Goddess Parvati (an avatar of Durga) that no enemy of his could defeat him in a battle with the Goddess’s permission. Because of this boon, Lord Ram was unable to slain Ravana in the war to rescue his wife Sita.
When Ram came to know of this boon from Ravana’s brother, he decided to pray to the Goddess and seek her blessing in winning the war. Hence, despite it being the season of autumn, Ram initiated the ritual of worshiping Goddess Durga .
So, what did Goddess Durga do about Ram’s prayer?
One of the key requirements in Durga puja is the use of 108 blue lotuses, or Neel Kamal. Since blue lotuses were very rare and available only in the lake of Debidaha, Lord Ram sent Hanuman to fetch them. Hanuman returned with 108 of them and the rituals of Durga Puja began.
As Ram neared the end of the rituals, he realised there were only 107 lotuses. Fearing his worship would go in vain without that one last lotus, Ram decided to make a sacrifice instead. Known for having lotus-shaped eyes (Kamala Nayana), Ram felt his eye would replace the missing lotus in his ritual.
As he brought an arrow close to his eye ready to be released from his Kondanda, Goddess Durga appeared and stopped him. Delighted at Ram’s devotion and humbleness, the Goddess blessed him and promised to lift her protection from Ravana, so that he could defeat him.
So that is the story of Akaal Bodhon, the untimely worship of Goddess Durga in the season of autumn.