Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Vyuhas in the Mahabharatha

We Have been talking too high of the Foreign Battle Techniques, but we havent ever bothered to look into our own techniques form the past... This is just a bit of info about the various battle formations used in the Mahabharatha known as Vyuhas...
The chakravyuha was the most famous and complex of the vyuhas. There are many other vyuhas.

Krauncha vyuha(Krauncha - a Bird)

Pandava army was arranged in this vyuha on the second day. Drupada was at the head and Kuntibhoja was placed at the eye. The army of the satyaki formed neck of the Kauncha bird. Bhima and Dhristadhymna formed both the wings of the Vyuha. The sons of Draupadi and Satyaki were to guard the wings. The formation of the army phalanxes in this manner was very formidable.
Bhishma also decided to arrange his army in Krauncha Vyuha. Bhurishrava and Salya were to guard the wings. Somdatta, Ashwatthama, Kripa and Kritavarma were positioned at different important place in the formation.

Garuda Vyuha(Garuda - The Mighty Bird)
on the second day Bhishma arranged his army in Garuda vyuha. Bhishma was its beak. Drona and Kritavarna were the eyes. Kripa and Ashvatthama were at the head. The Trigartas the Jayadratha with their armies made the neck. Duryodhana, his brothers, Vinda and Anuvinda made the body. King of Kashala, Brihadbala formed the tail.

Ardha Chakra Vyuha(Ardha Chandra - Half Cresent)
Arjuna observed this arrangement. He arranged the Pandavas army in consultation with Dhristadhymna, made the Ardha-chandra vyuha. cresent form. At the right end was Bhima, Along the ups were placed the army of Drupada and Virata. Neel, Dhristaketu, Dhristadhymna and Shikandi were placed next to them. Yudhisthira was at the centre. Satyaki, and five sons of Draupadi. Abimanyu were at left end, Ghatatkacha and Kokaya brother was there too. At the tip was Arjuna at his Chariot with Krishna.

Makara Vyuha ( Makara - Crocadile)
On the fifth day of the war, Bhishma chose to arrange his army in Makarvyuha. Arjuna, Yudhisthira and Dhristadhyumna decided for the Hawk formation of their Army. All the warriors of both sides were assigned to specific places in the formations with special responsibilities.
One the sixth day it was the Pandavas who preferred the Makara Vyuha . The Kauravas chose Krauncha Vyuha. It is said that on this day Bhima was coming in and out of the Vyuha of the kauravas, killing soldier at will, swinging his terrible mace.

Mandala Vyuha (Mandala - Circle)
On the seventh day of the war Bhishma made Mandala Vyuha. It was circular formation very difficult to penetrate. The Pandavas countered it by Vajra Vyuha. On the dawn of the eighth day of the war, it was Oormi Vyuha for Kauravas, meaning ocean. It was the formation in which their army was arranged. It spread on the either side like waves of the sea. Arjuna chose
Sringataka Vyuha .

Sarvatobhadra Vyuha (Sarvatobhadra - Safe from all sides)
on the ninth day Bhishma went for a Vyuha called Sarvatobhadra Vyuha which meant safe from all sides. Bhishma was in the front, Guarded by Kripa, Kritaverma, Shakuni, Jayadratha, Kamboja and sons of Dhritarastra. Trigartas were also there. The Pandavas formed a Vyuha in shape of a constellation. The Pandavas and sons of Draupadi were leading from the front. Shikhandi Chekitan and Ghatotkacha were holding important positions to defend. Abhimanyu, Kekaya brothers and Drupada were guarding the rear.

On the tenth day the Kauravas army chose, Asura Vyuha and the Pandavas countered it by arranging their army in Deva Vyuha.In the lead was Shikandhi with Bhima and Arjuna to protect his sides. Behind him were Abhimanyu and the children of Draupadi. Satyaki and Dhristadhyuma were with them. Virata and Drupada had two charge of the rest of the army. Kekayu brothers, Dhristaketu and Gatotkacha were in their ranks. The Pandavas had the single pointed aim to kill Bhishma and were successful in that.

On the twelfth day of the war, the Kauravas chose Garuda Vyuha and the Pandavas countered it by going for the Ardha-Chandra Vyuha.

The thirteenth day of the war came. Drona arranged his army in ChakraVyuha (wheel)formation.Duryodhana was at the centre and other warriors were in different layers. Jayadratha was there guarding the gate of the Vyuha with his army. In a chakravyuha warriors formed concentric circles (the circles of proportion of the circles of death)and the enemy had to penetrate all the circles to reach the core to defeat his opponent and then come out.

It is said that the chakravyuha had six concentric circles under the six Maharathis (Karna,Drona,Ashvatthama,Dushashana,shalya,Kripacharya)with duryodhana at the center and jayadratha guarding the gate.Abhimanyu had already penetrated the chakravyuha. Mean while at the gate of the Vyuha, Bhima, Yudhisthira, Shikhandi, Drupad, Dhristadhymna, Virata, Nakula etc. were making determined effort to break into the vyuha but without any success. Jayadratha had obtained a boon from lord Shiva that enabled him to defy all the Pandavas when Arjuna and Krishna were not there.

The fourteenth day of the war came. Arjun had already taken an oath to kill Jayadrata. Drona made a triple layered Vyuha . First was the Chakravyuha where he was standing guard himself. That Vyuha opened in to the second Sakatavyuha the charge of which was in the hands of Duramarshana, the brave brother of Duryodhana. At the third tier was the Soochimukha Vyuha (shaped like the mouth of a needle) with Karna, Bhurishrava, Ashvatthama, Salya, Vrishasena, Kripa to guard it and Jayadratha was at the very end of the Vyuha.And the rest is History...