The Mahabharata Home
"Vrihannala said, 'That about which thou hath first enquired is Arjuna's bow, of world-wide fame, called Gandiva, capable of devastating hostile hosts. Embellished with gold, this Gandiva, the highest and largest of all weapons belonged to Arjuna. Alone equal unto a hundred thousand weapons, and always capable of extending the confines of kingdoms, it is with this that Partha vanquisheth in battle both men and celestials. Worshipped ever by the gods, the Danavas and the Gandharvas and variegated with excellent colours, this large and smooth bow is without a knot or stain anywhere. Shiva held it first for a thousand years. Afterwards Prajapati held it for five hundred and three years. After that Sakra, for five and eighty years. And then Soma held it for five hundred years. And after that Varuna held it for a hundred years. And finally Partha,
surnamed Swetavahana, 1 hath held it for five and sixty years. 2 Endued with great energy and of high celestial origin, this is the best of all bows. Adored among gods and men, it hath a handsome form. Partha obtained this beautiful bow from Varuna. This other bow of handsome sides and golden handle is Bhima's with which that son of Pritha, that chastiser of foes, had conquered the whole of the eastern regions. This other excellent bow of beautiful shape, adorned with images of Indragopakas, belongeth, O Virata's son, to king Yudhishthira. This other weapon with golden suns of blazing splendour shedding a dazzling effulgence around, belongeth to Nakula. And this bow adorned with golden images of insects and set also with gems and stones, belongeth to that son of Madri who is called Sahadeva. These winged arrows, thousand in number, sharp as razors and destructive as the poison of snakes, belong, O Virata's son, to Arjuna. When shooting them in battle against foes, these swift arrows blaze forth more brilliantly and become inexhaustible. And these long and thick shafts resembling the lunar crescent in shape, keen-edged and capable of thinning the enemy's ranks, belong to Bhima. And this quiver bearing five images of tigers, full of yellowish shafts whetted on stone and furnished with golden wings belong to Nakula. This is the quiver of the intelligent son of Madri, with which he had conquered in battle the whole of the western regions. And these arrows, all effulgent as, the sun, painted all over with various colours, and capable of destroying enemies by thousands are those of Sahadeva. And these short and well-tempered and thick shafts, furnished with long feathers and golden heads, and consisting of three knots, belong to king Yudhishthira. And this sword with blade long and carved with the image of a toad and head shaped as a toad's mouth, strong and irresistible belongeth to Arjuna. Cased in a sheath of tiger-skin, of long blade, handsome and irresistible, and terrible to adversaries, this sword belongeth to Bhimasena. Of excellent blade and cased in a well-painted sheath, and furnished with a golden hilt, this handsome sword belongeth to the wise Kaurava--Yudhishthira the just. And this sword of strong blade, irresistible and intended for various excellent modes of fight and cased in a sheath of goat-skin, belongeth to Nakula. And this huge scimitar, cased in a sheath of cow-skin, strong and irresistible belongeth to Sahadeva.'"
75:1 From the colour of his steeds.
75:2 Nilakantha spends much learning and ingenuity in making out that sixty-five years in this connection means thirty-two years of ordinary human computation.
Next: Section XLIV