For much of the story, Rama's weapon of choice is the bow and arrow. As such, bows and arrows in general are symbolic of Rama's great strength. This becomes particularly apparent when Janaka asks Rama to try to string Shiva's bow, a massive bow that any of Sita's suitors must be able to string in order to be considered worthy of marrying her. Rama not only strings the bow; he snaps it with his strength. In this situation, the bow is more than just a symbol of Rama's great strength; it also acts as a symbol for Rama's goodness, worthiness, and divine origins. This repeats later during the battle between Rama and Ravana, when Rama's arrows, which are imbued with prayers and Rama's goodness, neutralize or deflect all of Ravana's ill-begotten and evil weapons.
Bows and Arrows Quotes in The Ramayana
As time passed Janaka became anxious whether he would ever see his daughter married and settled—since the condition once made could not be withdrawn. No one on earth seemed worthy of approaching Shiva's bow. Janaka sighed. "I tremble when I think of Sita's future, and question my own judgment in linking her fate with this mighty, divine heirloom in our house."
The perfect man takes a false step, apparently commits a moral slip, and we ordinary mortals stand puzzled before the incident. It may be less an actual error of commission on his part than a lack of understanding on ours; measured in Eternity, such an event might stand out differently.
Rama at once invoked a weapon called "Gnana"—which means "wisdom" or "perception."
While he had prayed for indestructibility of his several heads and arms, he had forgotten to strengthen his heart, where the Brahmasthra entered and ended his career.