From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

The weapons and implements that gods hold in their hands are often given special names. Iconographical works describe them with a definite form and certain features. Śārṅga is the name of the bow wielded by Viṣṇu. It is the same as the Kodaṇḍa is of Rāma and Gāṇḍīva is of Arjuna.

In the personified form he is shown as a dvārapālaka[1] on the left side of the entrance usually in the fifth enclosure. He is a napuṅisaka[2] with body in five colors. He wears red garments and carries a bow on his head which he symbolizes. His dhvaja[3] has an arrow on it.


  1. Dvārapālaka is the doorkeeper.
  2. Napuṅisaka means hermaphrodite.
  3. Dhvaja means banner.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore