Divine Bow

Shiva had his favorite bow named Pinaka (Not Vijaya)

Shiva had another bow Ajagava, after that Prithu held that bow. (Vishnu Puran – http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/vp/vp048.htm#page_101)

Shiva had another bow Named Shiva Dhanush broken by Rama in Sita Swayamvar

Krishna/Vishnu had Saranga bow

Indrayudha is Indra’s bow or the rainbow

Karna had most powerful Divine bow Vijaya (as per Karna’s statement)

Yudhishthira’s had a celestial bow called Mahendra

Bhimasena had celestial bow called Vayavya

Arjuna had Divine bow called Gandiva

Nakula had Vaishnava bow

Sahadeva had Aswina bow

Ghatotkacha had Paulastya bow

Prativindhya had Raudra bow

Sutasoma had Agneya bow

Shrutakarma had Kauverya bow

Shatanika had Yamya bow

Shrutasena had Girisa bow

Abhimanyu had Rudra bow from Balarama

Drona had a celestial bow from Angiras (6 Cubits long) another from Rama (Dhanurveda)

Rukmi had Divine Vijaya bow

Satyaki had also divine bow (Dhanurveda)


Above mentioned bow were the Divine and celestial bow which is mentioned and used in Mahabharata war.

I’m leaving the bow of Shiva, Krishna and Indra and starting from Karna’s bow Vijaya because it was used in Great war (Mahabharata).

As per Karna’s statement, it was more powerful then Gandvia (Arjuna bow), so let us examine the statement of Karna, or he was lying with Duryodhna that he has the bow called Vijaya. 
I have a doubt that he possessed that bow or not, because It was Karna’s statement only regarding Vijaya bow, before that there is no narration about the Vijaya bow by Vaishmapayna or Sanjya or Vyasa (i.e. Aadi, Sabha, Vana, Udyoga, Bhisma and Drona Parva) regarding Karna Vijaya bow (Except Rukmi bow and Shiva Dart). Vijaya bow of Karna is not mentioned in Purana’s, either with Indra or Parshurama. Karna even didn’t used it earlier, so doubt is genuine.    

What could be the reason of lying, there is Psychological reason behind it. When he fought on 16th Day and gained nothing and Duryodhna become cheerless, so he claimed to Duryodhna that he has not good Charioteer, but he has Great and Superior weapon then Arjuna and Bow called Vijaya which was Superior then Gandiva (No one is knowing before that). Then Duryodhna did multiple request to Shalya and Shalya became Charioteer of Karna. (17th Days – He fought with Vijaya)

First of all, how many Vijaya bow or Weapon used/mentioned in Mahabharata or Purana’s.

  1. Vijaya aka Trishula (Shiva Dart) – Lord Shiva had Trishula named as Vijaya – Markandya statement
  2. Vijaya Bow – Lord Indra’s bow, finally reached to Rukmi – Vaishmpayana Statement
  3. Vijaya Bow – Lord Indra’s bow, finally reached to Karna – Karna statements

So now we have three Bow or weapon mentioned in Mahabharata named as Vijaya. (There were multiple individual, who had the name Vijaya. i.e. Vishnu, Shiva, Arjuna, Durga, Dhritarashtra son, etc.. )

Before we go furthermore…. What is the origin of Vijaya bow?
There is some most important incidents mentioned before Karna’s Learning started:

  • Indra had numerous battle with Daityas but nowhere mentioned about Vijaya bow.
  • Parshurama fought with Kartvirya Arjuna, nowhere Vijaya bow again.
  • Parshurama slain Haihyas and defeated other kings (21 times won the whole earth), even won the Anga as well, but nowhere he used Vijaya bow.
  • Battle between Parshurama and Bhisma, and Parshurama’s bow broken by Bhisma, nowhere Vijaya bow.
  • Drona acquired every weapon from the Parshurama with Divine bow (Dhanurveda) and axe (Tatparya Nirnya), but nowhere Vijaya bow.


Now a new Question:
Really Parshurama had any Divine bow or Vijaya bow?

— Answer is yes he had Divine bow, but that was Vishnu bow or Shiva bow, but not Vijaya bow.  It’s is mentioned in Ramayana and Dhanurveda and other Purana’s.

  • He possessed Vishnu bow and using that bow he defeated Kshatriyas 21/37 times. -Ramayana
  • He had Divine bow, which was five cubits and half  long and that went to Rama (Dashratha son). – Dhanurveda
  • He received Vishnu Bow and Axe from Vishnu. – Padma Puran
  • He learnt archery from Shiva and also got an Axe (Not bow). – Vishnu and other Puran                                                                      ************

Proof for Vishnu bow

  1. From Ramayana:

इदम् च वैष्णवम् राम धनुः पर पुरम् जयम् || १-७५-२१
ऋचीके भार्गवे प्रादात् विष्णुः स न्यासम् उत्तमम् |

“Oh, Rama, this alone is that enemy-citadel conquering longbow of Vishnu, and Vishnu handed over this to Sage Riciika, the son of Bhrigu, as a trustworthy trust… 

ऋचीकः तु महातेजाः पुत्रस्य अप्रतिकर्मणः || १-७५-२२
पितुः मम ददौ दिव्यम् जमदग्नेः महात्मनः |

“That great-resplendent Sage Riciika on his part has handed over this divine bow to his son with unmatchable deeds of religious merit, who is my father Sage Jamadagni…

न्यस्त शस्त्रे पितरि मे तपो बल समन्विते || १-७५-२३
अर्जुनो विदधे मृत्युम् प्राकृताम् बुद्धिम् आस्थितः |

“Adhering to a barbarous mentality Kaartvaviirya Arjuna put my father to death, when the ascetically powerful father of mine has isolated himself from arsenal…

वधम् अप्रतिरूपम् तु पितुः श्रुत्वा सु दारुणम् |
क्षत्रम् उत्सादयन् रोषात् जातम् जातम् अनेकशः || १-७५-२४
पृथिवीम् च अखिलाम् प्राप्य काश्यपाय महात्मने |
यज्ञस्य अन्ते तदा राम दक्षिणाम् पुण्य कर्मणे || १-७५-२५
दत्त्वा महेन्द्र निलयः तपो बल समन्वितः |

“Oh, Rama, on hearing the unregenerate and highly perfidious murdering of my father, I rancorously extirpated Kshatriya-s as and when they are born, that too not for one time, but I did so for thirty-seven times going around the earth… and on getting the entire earth under my control I performed Vedic-ritual, and at the end of that Vedic-ritual, I gave all that earth to sage Kashyapa, a sage with divine soul and with pious observances, as a ritualistic-generosity… and I am at present on Mt. Mahendra practising ascesis and thus conjoined are the powers of ascesis in me…

  • Here it is mentioned that Parshurama used Vishnu Bow, which he received from his ancestor. (Not Vijaya bow
  • Using Vishnu bow he slew Kshatriya’s (37 times)
  • Finally gave it Rama


2. From Dhanurveda:


  • A bow measuring five cubits and a half is considered to be the best one and that type is called a ‘divine one’, and that was held by Sankara in ancient days.


  • Then the bow was taken by Parasurama and from him it came to Drona and then it was received by Partha from Drona, and thereafter it was taken by Satyaki.


  • During golden age (satyayuga) that divine bow was held by Mahadeva. In the silver age (treta yuga) it was held by Raghava. During the bronze age (dvapara yuga) it was taken by Drona, who was a Brahmana by caste.

*** So here it is mentioned in Dhanurveda, that Divine bow held by Shiva in Sata-Yuga, In Treata it came Rama trough Parshurama, Then in Dwapra it came to Drona again through Parshurama. (Here are two possibilities, It could be Vishnu Bow as mentioned in Ramayana or another bow of Shiva) Definitely not Vijaya bow  


3. Padma Puran

Rama wanted to avenge his father’s death and did a tremendous penance to please Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu became pleased by his devotion and presented many divine weapons to him. The weapons included the famous axe–Parshu and Vaishnav-bow. After acquiring Parshu from Lord Vishnu, Ram became famous as Parshuram. He had vowed to kill all the Kshatriyas, which he did only, the clan of Ikshavaku was spared by him as he had promised his mother that he would not harm Ikshavaku and his clan.

  • Used Vishnu bow and Axe


4. Vishnu Puran

Parashuram had received arms training from none other than Lord Shiva. He was very obedient to his father and had beheaded his own mother by the Parashu (axe) that he had received from Lord Shiva at the dictate of his father. In due course Parashuram not only got Ravan released from captivity but also killed Sahastrarjun.

  • Used Axe and bow (defiantly not Vijaya bow)


5. Agni Puran

Kartavirya was so enamored of the kamadhenu that he asked the sage to give it to him. But Jamadagni refused. Kartavirya then abducted the cow by force and a war started between Kartavirya and Parashurama. In this war, Parashurama cut off Kartavirya’s head with his axe (parashu) and brought the kamadhenu back to the hermitage. After some time, Parashurama was away when Kartavirya’s sons arrived at the ashrama and killed Jamadagni. On the death of his father, Parashurama’s anger was aroused. He killed all he kshatriyas in the world twenty-one times. On the plains of Kurukshetra, he built five wells which were filled with the blood of kshatriyas. Eventually, Parashurama handed over the world to Kashyapa and went and lived on Mount Mahendra.

  • Used Axe (No other weapon mentioned)


6. From Mahabharata:

* Rama the son of Dasaratha, took in anger from the hands of Rama of Bhrigu’s line that celestial bow that had dealt death to the foremost of Kshatriyas. And, O Bharata, the mighty hero smilingly strung that bow without the least exertion, and with its twang loud as the thunder-rattle, affrighted all creatures. And Rama, the son of Dasaratha, then, addressing Rama of Bhrigu’s said, ‘Here, I have strung this bow. What else, O Brahmana, shall I do for thee?’ – Vana Parva – SECTION XCIX

  • Again not Vijaya bow just mentioned Celestial bow

** O Rama, hast adopted! When a Brahmana taketh up weapons, he becometh a Kshatriya. Behold now the power of my bow and the energy of my arms! Speedily shall I cut off that bow of thine with a sharp shaft!–Saying this I shot at him, O bull of Bharata’s race, a sharp broad-headed arrow, And cutting off one of the horns of his bow
with it. I caused it to drop on the ground. – Udyoga Parva – SECTION CLXXXII

  • Fight between Bhisma and Parshurama and his(Rama) bow were broken
  • Rama had taken another bow
  • And Finally Rama defeated by Bhisma (Nowhere is mentioned Vijaya bow in whole fight scene.)

So as per above references, Vijaya bow has no origin and no one said about anything regarding Vijaya bow, except Karna.

Did he really possess Vijaya bow: – No

Did he lie to Duryodhana:- Yes

Why he did lie to Karna:- To just cheer-up the Duryodhna and another reason, it was his nature to lie. (Latter Interpolation could be also a possible reason) 


Next is Mahendra Bow……………………….

Shree Hari..

Deepak Kumar Jha (A Learner)


5 thoughts on “Divine Bow

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  4. Rana Raudra Pratap Singh

    Karna really poses Vijay bow Mahabharat mentioned Karna fighting with Vijay bow on 17th day and Arjuna was unable to match the speed of it even failed to cut the string of Vijay bow.
    And lie is not the solution to cheer up Duryodhan because Devine bows contains devine qualities if he don’t have a devine bow then Duryodhan will automatically get to know about it on the next day in the war. So there is no question of lie.

    So finally the conclusion is

    Did Karna poses the Vijay Bow – Yes
    Did Karna lied to Duryodhan – No

    Discussion is Over.


    1. Thanks for your conclusions, however, your conclusion is not sufficient to prove it.

      As far as concern with matching with Arjuna, Karna never had ability to match with Arjuna.

      Karna was nowhere equal to Arjuna’s pupils -Pradyumana, Samba, Abhimanyu and Satyaki. Let leave aside Arjuna.
      For more, refer to the index of Victory and Defeats.

      Thanks for visiting and your inputs.


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