Military Techniques in Mahabahrat (Ancient Indian WAR) Military Formation Techniques (Vyuha)
Vajra Vyuha ( in the shape of the thunderbolt)
Chakra shakata vyuha
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 .
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.
Chakra Vyuha : Well known vyuha. Abhimanyu died in this vyuha. The thirteenth day of the war came. Again the Trigartas challenged Arjuna early. Drona arranged his army in chakra Vyuha 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.
Bhima led the Pandavas attack. All other Pandavas warriors were following him, they tried to break the vyuha by a frontal attack but Drona frustrated them. The arrows of Drona began to melt away the Pandavas army. Yudhsithira was at his wits ends.
Arjuna was facing the only Samasaptaka who was surviving. Sursarma and his army went on fighting and kept Arjuna occupied. Young Abhimanyu, seeing Yudhisthira worried, said that he knew the technique of entering the Chakravyuha but did not know how to come out of it. Bhima said that if they could get the entry once, the rest should be left to him and his mace. Yet Yudhisthira was hesitant to sent the sixteen years old son of Arjuna, in absence of his father in such a deadly trap of death.
But Abhimanyu was very confident and so was Bhima. After taking permission and blessings of the elders, Abhimanyu went to break the vyuha with Bhima and others warriors following him closely.
Abhimanyu chariot went with lightening speed and before Jayadrattha could understand his move he was inside the vyuha. He was successful in breaking in to it. But an alert Jayadratha stopped Bhima and all other Pandavas from entering the vyuha. However hard they tried. While Kauravas had panicked by breaking into the Vyuha by Abhimanyu, now the Pandavas were desolate. Arjuna’s son was inside the Vyuha all alone and they were kept outside.
Drona and all other warriors rushed to Abhimanyu to check his advance. Duryodhana, Dussasan, Salya and Karna were fighting him, all at once. Abhimanyu gave them a very tough fight. He could hurt even Karna. Single handedly, he kept all of them at bay. His valor even surpassed that of Arjuna. Kauravas were amazed to see his skill and prowess.
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. Now, Bhima was very sorry for his recklessness in encouraging Abhimanyu to go into the Vyuha.
All the warriors of the Kauravas side could not have defeated the lone warrior despite their best efforts. Now they were getting frustrated. Karna deceitfully attacked him from behind and cut the string of his bow. Then Drona cut down his chariots wheels. Then Abhimanyu jumped out with a sword and shield in his hand. Drona too cut that down. Then he took a wheel of his chariot and rushed towards them. Abhimanyu killed Lakshamana, the son of Duryodhana. Now the Kauravas were willing to throw out all the rules of fair fighting six Maharathi, Karna, Drona, Ashvatthama attacked him together. Abhimanyu was very tired, from behind, son of Dussasan, hit Abhimanyu with his mace. Abhimanyu fell down and died. Abhimanyu’s killing was the most treacherous and darterdly act of the Karuavas warriors like Drona Kripa and Karna.
Death of Abhimanyu gave rise to loud cheers and sounding of conches drums and trumpets. The Pandavas had a premonition that the worst fears had come true. Soon the terrible news was confirmed. Yudhisthira and Bhima fell down lamenting inconsolably. They had sent Abhimanyu to his death. The Pandavas side had never sunk so deep in despair and sorrow, since the beginning of the war. They were unable to face Arjuna on his return.
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.