Countering the vyuhas - an example

Countering the Vyuhas


Advanced war techniques of Mahabharata period

Countering Krauncha vyuha with Makara Vyuha


In Krauncha Vyuha formation, the entire army is shaped in the form of a bird (crane). And i Makara Vyuha formation, the entire army is shaped in the form of a fish/crocodile.

The army is concentrated in the center and two Maharathis are given the responsibility of the wings (flanks). This vyuha is designed to be both offensive and defensive and depending on the situation, the commander will decide how the wings will work.


When this formation attacks the army, it looks like an entire sea of army is invading. The concentration is not that much in the wings but it appears to the army that an overwhelming force is attacking. When the wings lose their men, re-inforcements are sent to either side from the middle column.


The commander is placed at the head of the bird and other warriors follow him up to the neck. Now I will explain the offensive attack of this bird, let’s take the example of 6th day when Kauravas decided to use Kraunch Vyuha against Makar Vyuha made by Pandavas

The offensice strategy of the bird is that it will penetrate the opponent in the center with it’s beak. While the beak is penetrating in the middle, the wings will cover the army from two sides and prevent it from escaping or expanding.


The counter measure of “makara” vyuha is that the Fish or Crocodile will allow the bird to pierce the middle. Once the bird has entered the middle, the mouth of the fish will expand and swallow the beak of the bird. Then the tail of the fish will expand to that point that it can encircle the head of the bird and prevent it from escaping.

This is the offensive of the Bird while defensive of the Fish. Once the war started and each side expanded into executing their plan, it would look something like this

It appears as if the Fish has consumed the bird, deliberately allowing it to pierce the middle and then cutting down it’s wings. The center column of the bird continuosly re-inforces the wings and strengthens the center, allowing the beak to go deeper into the enemy territory and hit the tail of the fish.


The goal of the fish is to cut down the wings of the bird and then capture the lone beak. The tail of the fish continuously expands and challenges the wings of the bird to chase it and come closer, thereby increasing it’s distance from the beak. The tail of the bird prevents the jaws of the fish from expanding too much.


This is just an overview of the offensive formation of a Vyuha. This Vyuha can turn defensive as well, when one of the wings or both wings are weakened. Then the beak of the Vyuha slowly withdraws from the center and aligns with the two wings to form a firm center column, keeping no distance from the wings.


This is the defensive of the Kraunch vyuha, the center and the wings have come closer and the bird is not trying to overpower the enemy by spreading it’s wings but it decides to form a strong center and slowly withdraw from the battle.


This is just an overview of 2 Vyuhas strategized against each other. Each of them can be arranged and countered in so many other ways as well