Nitiprakasika (Critical Analysis)

by S. Anusha | 2016 | 34,012 words

This page relates ‘Analysis of Vyuha’ of the study on the Nitiprakasika by Vaisampayana which deals primarily with with Dhanurveda, i.e., the science of war, weapons and military strategies of ancient Indian society. It further contains details on Niti-shastra, i.e., the science of politics and state administration but most verses of the Nitiprakashika deal with the classification and description of different varieties of weapons, based on the four groups of Mukta, Amukta, Muktamukta and Mantramukta.

Analysis of Vyūha

In the Asaṃhata type, it can be seen that there are two figures to denote Vajra vyūha. The spiked figure of this vyūha reminds one of the legend of Dadhīci. The ṛṣi sacrificed his backbone so that Indra could make a weapon out of it–Vajrāyudha. Since this vyūha resembles that weapon it is called so.

Kāmandakīya nītisāra, Arthaśāstra and the Agnipurāṇa provide comprehensive systems of classification which are almost similar. Manu and Śukra provide superficial classification systems. Among these formations, some have more than one name to denote them. For instance, Acala vyūha is also called as Vajra vyūha. Vyāla, Ahisañcāri or Sarpasāri–all these names refer to the snake-like formation. It is interesting to note that there are two types of Durjaya vyūhas–one in Daṇḍa and another in Maṇḍala variety. The Cakra vyūha is also called as the Padma vyūha. The array which Kauṭilya calls as Cāpakukṣi is called as Kukṣi in the Agnipurāṇa.

With regard to grouping of the different types of arrays under a class, certain deviations are observed. Kauṭilya defines a fish array Jhaṣāsya as Daṇḍa array and the other fish array, Makara as a Bhoga formation. He names 17 types of staff arrays whereas the Agnipurāṇa puts forth 19 varieties of staff arrays. The latter includes three new varieties–Sarpākṣya, Sthūṇapakṣa and Dhanupakṣa and leaves out Jhaṣāsya type mentioned in the former. It is noted that,that which Agnipurāṇa puts under the Maṇḍala class are put into two different categories of Maṇḍala and Asaṃhata types in the Arthaśāstra. Kauṭilya classifies Vajra as a Asaṃhata array whereas Agnipurāṇa calls it a Daṇḍa array. Only in the Agnipurāṇa and Kāmandakīya Nītisāra there is mention of the Ardhacandra array. Kāmandaka’ s system of classification agrees completely with that of Kauṭilya’s but for the Ardhacandra vyūha. The Khātaka type of staff array finds mention only in the Agnipurāṇa and is said to counter the Asahya formation.

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