dhanus धनुस्

Definition: The ‘ bow,’ frequently mentioned in the Rigveda and later, was the chief weapon of the Vedic Indian. The last act of the funeral rite included the removal of the bow from the right hand of the dead man. The weapon was composed of a stout staff bent into a curved shape (vakra), and of a bowstring (Jyā) made of a strip of cowhide which joined the ends. The tips of the bow, when the string was fastened, were called Ártnī. Relaxed when not in actual use, the bow was specially strung up when needed for shooting. The stages of the process are given in detail in the Vājasaneyi Samhitā : the stringing (ā-tan) of the bow, the placing (prati-dhā) of the arrow, the bending (<ū-yam) of the bow, and the shooting (as). The arrow was discharged from the ear, and is hence called karna-yoni, having the ear as its point of origin.’ The making of bows was a regular profession (dhanus-kāra, dhanus-krt). For the arrow see Isu, and for the handguard Hastaghna.


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