Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Association of the Week: The Bow

Author: Paulo Coelho

Undoubtedly one of the first weapons developed by man (together with the harpoon and the spear), the bow very quickly was endowed with a myriad of symbols and became one of the majors representatives of human’s ingenuity and cleverness.

In order to use the bow, one has to ally physical strength as well as dexterity in order to hit the target. Its curvature and cord also render the bow the archetype of musical instruments such as the lyre and the harp.

Homer in the Odyssey describes the sound of Ulysses bow as the cry of the swallow.

The bow is also one of the main elements of Indian thought. In the Bhagavad Gita, the bow is Arjuna’s weapon and is compared to the lightning. Furthermore, the sacred syllable “om” is considered as the mystical bow that propels man towards Brahman as well as the spear that, shoot from the human bow, is able to transpierce the veil of Maya and grant us the ultimate reality.

In Japan and all of the Far East, the art of Kyudo is considered a meditation. I mention this tradition in one of my books – conceived for the internet: The Way of Bow

Now you take the floor: what do you associate with the bow?

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