How I Obtained the Pinaka (My Bow) and Its Influence on Rama
My bow is also known as the Pinaka. It carries great significance in that its use will destroy creation. It has happened hundreds of times and will happen hundreds of times again. See for yourself the story of the Three Hundred Ramayanas. My bow is also known as "Shiva Dhanush." I obtained my bow from Vishwakarma, the lord of architecture. He made me, Vishnu, and Indra each our own bows. Mine happens to just destroy creation is all. Do not bother yourself about Indra's and Vishnu's bows. Look elsewhere for those answers. You may hear other stories of how my bow was made, for example that I made it to kill off Prajapati Daksha, Brahma's son and creator of beings, because he forgot to invite me to his ceremony. This caused Sati, the love of my life, to kill herself. But do not fret, she reincarnated as Parvati and she is clearly still the love of my life, or eternal being if we are being technical here. So, people are claiming that I made this bow to kill Prajapati. But that is for you to decide which is true. For now I will tell you about how Rama came to break my bow and what this meant for his future in his story.
How King Janaka Obtained the Pinaka
And How It Reached Rama's Hands
Once I obtained my bow, I handed it off to my greater devotees, God Parashurama and King Devarath. God Parashurama took my bow and killed off Kings who were not kind and fair. Essentially fought the bad guys, if you will. He did this every so often, ten years or so. He then decided to come back to me to return my bow. Before I met with him at my home in Mount Kailesh, he encountered my son Ganesh and fought him. After they got over their petty fight and became friends, I told Parashurama to hand off my bow to yet another devotee. The best, of course. The choice lay between King Janaka of Videha or Ravana in Lanka. So, Parashurama chose Janaka after witnessing Ravana's selfishness and abhorrent behaviors. I do not mean to get distracted, but let me just say that Lanka was my home for Parvati and me prior to us handing it over to Ravana. Let me diverge for a moment to tell you how he obtained Lanka from us.
How Lanka Fell in the Hands of Ravana
A Small, Yet Important Side Note
It was a wonderful day. Parvati and I had just gotten married. It was the moment I had been waiting for since she literally jumped in the fire. I was so excited about our re-marriage, and I built her this lovely palace. It glowed an ominous yet enticing golden color. We called it "Sone ki Lanka," or Golden Lanka. We needed someone to do our housewarming rituals, but we could not find a pundit. Luckily, Ravana had been such a devotee and was indeed a priest. After all, Ravana was a Brahmin and spent a portion of his life dedicated to me and the other Gods. Anyways, we summoned him for our Grihapravesh ritual, the housewarming rituals. He had done a marvelous job, so we asked him if he would want anything in return, as I am the greatest of all bestowers, believe me. He asked for Lanka, and I gave it to him. Short story, but that is how he ended up there. Now, let me continue about the bow.
Rama, Sita, and the Bow
Where it all begins to go downhill (a bit).
So, anyways, King Janaka is given the bow. He keeps it in his palace, as no one can truly lift it. Sita was playing one day and knocked over the table with the bow, causing her father King Janaka to become worried. For she has strength, and that would be ill-suited for her in times of finding a spouse. So he immediately called for a Swayamvara, or marriage search if you will, to get her married quick. Now, Sita's power only made her want someone who contained equal strength or more. This seemed impossible, however. As the ceremony began, many suitors tried and failed to lift and string my bow. Silly mortals. However, Rama, fulfilling his destiny, came around and not only did he pick up my bow, but he also broke it. An unfortunate scene, I must say. The moment in which he broke the Pinaka is where the importance of its consequences comes about. Breaking my bow brings about karma. The concept of karma is that whatever actions you take, the consequences of those actions will come back to you, whether it is good or bad. This breaking of the bow most definitely brings about a consequence. As a bow allows an arrow to shoot forward, actions shoot forward consequences.
So, What Happens, Shiva?
Well, let me just tell you.
Rama was considered unfit to be a king since he broke my bow, which is not surprising. So he was exiled for fourteen years to learn how to be a king and learn the ways of one. His strength and kindness were unmatched, but he needed to learn control. While in exile, Rama lost Sita to Ravana, who captured her from their abode in the woods. This was karma. Rama losing Sita was a consequence of breaking the bow, while Sita bearing the troubles of Ravana was a consequence for being the cause of the breakage of my bow. You may think I am being excessive. But really, this bow destroys mankind. Why destroy it? Silly Vishnu did not remember who he was as Rama, what can we do? I cannot blame him, nor can I let him pass. Karma runs its own story. So the torture of Rama chasing after Sita and Sita bearing the unbearable was all due to breaking the Pinaka. It is all destiny, my friends. It was bound to happen one way or another. I hope this teaches a lesson: be mindful of your actions and respect my power. For I, Maha Shiva, do not as you say play around when it comes to the unity of the three worlds. The Pinaka is important. It served as a symbol of me. Although it brought about consequences, other symbols that I present can be beneficial. My essence as the Pinaka in this story seems cruel, but many of my other forms serve to help others. An example of a more helpful form of myself appears again later in Rama's story. Read on, devotees.
The story of Shiva's bow is one of great importance in the Ramayana. A small detail travels a long way in this story. I wanted to retell the story, of course, in Shiva's perspective. So his own background is given about the bow along with how it affected Rama in the Ramayana. There are so many details to this bow that I could not possibly fit it into a page without writing a book first, so I decided to simply give as much synopsis as possible with a slight sense of humor. I cannot really tell this story in actual Lord Shiva's point of view, but he is of course wise and imminent. His voice in these stories is simply to retell, not ones of anger or need or any other feelings. He knows it is destiny and it is bound to happen. He has no regrets of losing anything (Lanka) because to obtain moksha, or eternal happiness, one must let go of the things that cause desire. So, Shiva being the great Maha Shiva, he willingly gives up Lanka and I want that story to portray that. I hope that this page delivers the message that this seemingly small detail of a bow had a greater impact than marriage to Sita. Shiva is present in the most amazing ways, and this is one of them. The Shiva is in the details (LOL).