Firm Bow – Self-Knowledge | Vibheeshana Gita

– Understandings from Swami Swaroopanandaji’s talk for Youth Empowerment Programme – 6th batch

Ees bhajanu saarathi sujaana
Birati charm santosh kripaana
Daan parasu budhi sakti prachanda
Bar bigyaana kathina kodanda

is the avadhi word for Sanskrit word ‘Para’. Bigyaan (Vigyaan) means Knowledge. Bara bigyaan means ‘Paravidya’ Self-Knowledge. Kodanda means Bow (bow of bow and arrow). Kathin kodanda means ‘firm bow of Rama’

In Mundakopanishad (2.2.3), Bow refers to Pranava (Om / The Self). Vishnu Sahasra Nama verse #92 is Om Dhanurdharaaya Namah; Meaning: The wielder of the bow.

What’s so significant about the bow? Bow is signifies Self-Knowledge. Self-Knowleldge is the only weapon that can kill the ultimate enemy ‘Ignorance’. But why is Self-Knowledge considered the most important? To understand this, we need to discuss about ignorance.

If we try to analyse the cause of all negative actions, emotions, desires, etc, we can see that all of the rise from ignorance. All our actions are prompted by two aspects of the mind: Dukha Nivritti (removal of sorrows) and Sukha Prapti (achieving happiness). That means all our actions are aimed at achieving maximum happiness. Some feel power gives happiness, some feel wealth, some feel its pleasure, some feel its fame. Whatever is one’s thought accordingly one performs the actions to enjoy happiness. Be it a nation attacking another, be it a man who likes drinking, be it siblings fighting over property matters, be it a celebrity striving for fame, all are running a race in which they feel that if they achieve their goal, then they can be happy. No doubt they can be, but the question is – For how long? Will they be satisfied after they achieve their goal? Will the objects they run after give them happiness at all moments of time? If happiness resided in the objects, it should give happiness to everyone.

Any intelligent person will say that all the above statements are not true. Objects cannot give permanent happiness. If happiness is in an object, say Music, then will music give happiness to a person when he has lost a dear one? Is it necessary that the same music will give happiness to another person? So, music, or any object, cannot give happiness to everyone nor can it give happiness to the same person at all points of time. Hence, the Rishis concluded that Happiness does not reside in the objects. If that is so, then how can we find permanent happiness when we are looking for that in the wrong place?

It was on such questions the Rishis enquired and realised that Happiness is in the Subject, it’s in Us. We discover this happiness when we come in contact with something that we like and it disappears when we lose contact with it. But it is sure that Happiness resides within us. In fact, Happiness is nothing but our True nature – Bliss! We become sad when we view the world from our body (B), mind (M) or Intellect (I) thinking that we are the BMI.

In the discussions between the teacher and the student of the Upanishads, this Self-Knowledge is revealed. That is why we are advised to study the Upanishads. Once a person is Self-Realised, he lives in the world but is never of the world. The ever-changing world no longer affects his level of Happiness. He has come to a point where he is beyond the BMI. Just like how gravity pulls everything that is within its purview but cannot touch anything that has gone beyond its reach.

There were others who carried the bow, but there was none like Rama. That’s why Rama is given the name – Dhanurdhara Rama: the wielder of the Bow of Self-Knowledge.


2 thoughts on “Firm Bow – Self-Knowledge | Vibheeshana Gita

  1. parag


    This is not to argue or question views but my aspiration to understand deeper meaning of things here. Here’s my doubt,

    Are Mind , Intellect , Thought three different things?
    What are Sanskrit equivalent aspects?
    Per me, Mind is “Mana” which actually is origin of other two. Thought is application part of it, and Intellect is ability to think itself.
    At the root of it, the Mind (mana) is the core of each form( human form).

  2. Mind is defined as ‘flow of thoughts’. No Thoughts = No Mind.
    When the thoughts are in a doubting condition/wavering, it is called the mind. When the thoughts are firm-rooted or rationale, it becomes the intellect. According to Vedanta, Mind and Intellect are not two, but one. We use different terms for a better understanding and inorder to avoid confusion. Its like how we study Algebra and Geometry as different subjects initially. But later, we understand that both are nothing but different forms in which Mathematics can be expressed.
    I hope your question has been answered.

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