Military system in accordance to Vedas

Military system in accordance to Vedas
We are here mentioning a detailed study of Military system as mentioned in Vedas. We request our readers to share this article so that each of your friends get acquainted to the remarkable concepts mentioned in great Vedas.

In his book, Defending India, Jaswant Singh wrote about the lack of strategic culture in India. DRDO wizard Dr Abdul Kalam had, during one of his talks wondered why Bharat had never invaded any other country in its 7,000 years plus history. While I am yet to find detailed answers to the questions posed by these men, I was always curious to know what the Holy Vedas said on such matters. I was fortunate to find a book from a Vedic Workshop by Inder Dev Khosla where he has briefly shared Military Science in the Vedas.

This article is dedicated to our late Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri. After the debacle of 1962, he led India to a great victory over Pakistan in 1965. When the Pakis invaded Jammu and Kashmir in 1965, he took the battle to the enemy’s camp by capturing Lahore. Unfortunately like many Indians before and after him, the gains made by our jawans were bartered away on the negotiating table, invariably for nothing in return. Our magnanimity of making unilateral concessions is probably unparalleled in world history even though we get harmed killed in the process. We have become so resilient that deaths of thousands of jawans and innocent Bharatiyas in India does not seem to make us angry.

While I have gone from the book have chipped in with my comments in between.

“When a nation is well protected through arms only then can all forms of knowledge and science flourish”. Well said. During the period when the Muslims ruled, dominated India, knowledge and education ceased to flourish. Renowned places of education in North India were destroyed by Muslim invaders for e.g. Nalanda. The effects are felt to this day. That is one of the reasons why South India is ahead of the North in terms of dance, music, culture, educational institutions and is in the forefront of India’s knowledge based industries, Information Technology and Biotechnology.

For the defence of a country there are abundant references in Vedas, to maintain a regular-armed force. It is also enjoined therein that the immediate control of this defence force should be under the command of a chief, who has been described by various names, like Rudra (Ath. 4.30.5) Arbudi and Nyarbudi etc. (See Sukta 9 of Atharvaveda). In respect of policy matter, relating to defence, committee of experts, known as (Samiti) (Sabha) (Sura) (Ath.15.8.9) (Ath.4.30.2 and Rig.10.125.3) is constituted. These committees are appointed by king (Hymn No.125 of tenth Mandala of Rigveda). This whole hymn deals with advisory bodies. The king has essentially to keep three advisory bodies for properly governing the country.


One of the three councils is to advise the king on matters of defence. (Rig.3.38.6)

Defence Planning
A Greek Scholar, Cireco very very aptly counseled and wrote that “armies can signify but little, unless there is a council or a wise management at home”. The efficiency of an army is thus very much dependent on the efficiency of the ministry of defence. There should be defence planners. No war is to be declared without the consent and clear directive of the Ministry of Defence.

In ancient India, defence was clearly divided into fighters and planners very much like operations and strategy. Today things are different however. The Armed Forces consists of fighters and planners supplemented recently with the National Security Advisory Board. The Ministry of Defence as I understand plays mainly a supervisory role, one of controlling the armed forces, the purse or must I say trying to play supercop. Bureaucrat’s run the ministry not military planners as was the case in ancient India. However, for reasons best known, as a nation we are so paranoid about increasing financial, executive powers to the Armed Forces that we have not delegated enough to our men in uniform. Perhaps the Military Coups in Pakistan and Bangladesh have increased our apprehension. 53 years after independence, it is perhaps time we trusted our Armed Forces with financial authority and more responsibility in strategic matters.

O members of the council, I know the nature of the powers, since you are called Narista (whose orders are bound to be obeyed). People shall obey your order. All the members of this council have to work collectively.

Here Rudraya means the commander-in-chief and Samiti issues instructions to him to fight out the enemy who is out to disturb peace in the country.
( Ath.4.30.5)

War when to be fought
According to Vedas, war with an enemy is normally to be started when he first attacks or intends to attack. It is not to be fought out simply to acquire the territory of any other country. At times of internal disturbances, the army is also required to suppress revolt etc. Army is intended for the help of the King under the eventualities.

Now this is very interesting. It says that a King will only attack to defend himself and not to conquer the territory of another country. Now compare this with Islam and Christianity. Both these religions have attacked the world as none other while India has never invaded any other country ever. While there are many reasons for India not having done so, the Vedas, the oldest schools of Indian thought pronounce a defensive approach. Since 1947, Bharat has fought 4 wars with Pakistan and not once did we start it. Even during the recently held Agra Summit it was the Pakis who were attacking the Indians by saying that Kashmir must be part of Pakistan, it was only after the Pakis attacked us did we respond. During the Summit, I did not hear India challenge the Pakistani position on the Accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India or non-adherence by Pakistan of the 1948 U N Resolution that Pakistan has been harping on for nearly 50 years.

O brave warriors, rise with your banners and prepare yourself for (battle) to protect the territorial boundaries of the country. O snake like swift warriors, O demons like men and other people, chase the enemy who attempts to attack.
(Rig.5.54.14) (Ath.11.10.1)

O warriors, you cannot be conquered by any one, you can not be killed or subdued by any one; but you do not trouble any one nor plunder any area. You are assigned to protect the Kingdom.
Qualifications of a Commander: In Vedas, / commander-in chief is mostly addressed as Rudra or Maruta. Both these words indicate his quality. Rudra means fearless and Maruta means swift in action. He is to be a man of strong will, sturdy and of impressive physique, should be able to command and protect the country from internal as well as from external invasions.

O commander-in-chief! You are capable of taking to task the wicked persons. You possess the capacity and power to annihilate the enemy. You are equipped with requisite weapons. We pay our respect to you.
(Yaju 16.1)

Some of the qualities required for a chief of an army are dealt in detail, in Rig. Veda 2.33, Ath.11.2. Only a few of them are noted below:

(1) (Kavim). Fully conversant with the art of fighting a war (Rig.1-114-4)
(2) (Shvitichey)-Possessing exemplary character. (Rig.2-33-8)
(3) (Vajrabahu)-Whose arms are like that of a sword. (Rig.2-33-3)
(4) (Pururupa)-Capable of handling all sorts of situations. (Rig :2-33-9)
(5) (Sahasrakshaya)-Possessing a very watchful eye. (Yajur Veda)
(6) (Avevirah)-Outstanding warrior. (Ath.:19-12-2)

O commander-in-chief, you possess the capacity to fight out the enemy. You deploy weapons for destroying the enemy and protect the boundaries from invasion.
(Yaju 16.3)
O brave warriors! March on fast, attack the enemy according to command of your officer, chase the enemy as a wolf worries the sheep, let not the enemy go out of your clutches alive, Stop his breath (kill him).
( Ath.5.8.4.)

Qualifications of a Warrior
Foremost qualification of warrior is that he must be deeply in love with his motherland. It is only then he can put his whole soul to save his motherland from all sorts of troubles. A good warrior has almost the same qualities, which are possessed by the army commander.

(i) (Urga) (Rig.1.19.4)-Swift to take action.
(ii) (Rig.1.19.4) Indomitable courage.
(iii) (Rig.1.19.5) fearless.
(iv) (Rig.1.37.2) Bright.
(v) Who is prepared to die for his cause? (Rig.1.37.1)

The warrior should be brave, expert in the use of weapons, capable of defeating the enemy, should be expert (in driving and riding etc.) and in full know of army rules and affairs.
Valiant women are also to be recruited in the army who are bodily fit like men.

O queen, the slayer of foes, organize the band of the army of women, that may bewilder the hearts of the forces of the enemy, remain aloof from sin, convey him to thy Soldiers, burn down the foes, whereby they may abide in utter darkness with hearts full of grief.
(Yaju 17.44)
Can we Indians forget the heroics of the Rani of Jhansi or Ahilyabai Holkar.

General National Service
The idea of General National Service, as envisaged in the Indian constitution (Part IV-A), is not a new one and is derived from Vedas. The security of a country is the responsibility of every citizen. He must give a few years of his life for service to the Nation. In Vedic age brahmacharis (Scholars) were given military training in Ashramas. Hymn 8 of Rig. Veda indicates this fact by the use of the words which means the general public (Rig.5.53.10 and 5.58.1) New recruits are to be taken every year to be posted at different places and in different cantonments of the same age and Maruta Swift like the wind. National service, which is times of danger, develops into a nation in arms. Nationalism and National service grow hand in hand.

Army alike these days, is divided into three categories viz. land, sea and air. We will deal with them one by one briefly.
(a) Land forces : (The queen of battle field) :
Land and the people residing on it, shiver when the brave warriors march over, with all their equipments, bands, etc.
Brave warriors you gracefully go both on land and in air. The vehicles will follow your path ___
(Rig 1.55.7)
O Commanding Officer! You are the holder of these lethal weapons, which have three edges, three effects and are effective against the enemy on earth, outer space etc. People on earth. And in air or in other heavenly regions accept your power.
Warriors of the country, countless in numbers and in a very great strength march on the earth in lines and are posted at different places.
(Yaju 16.54)
(b) Air force :
Those warriors (air men) who come by aeroplanes are free from the effect of dust
O warrior! You come through the shining sky.
Warriors! Your enemy cannot trace you out in the space.
(Rig 1.39.4)
We bow to you, O soldier, who flying in the outer space protects those living beings there.
(Ath 11.2.4.)
(c) Sea force
The ships (sea horse) carry away necessary wealth, ration etc. for those soldiers who are stationed beyond sea.
In this mantra a warrior is described as bird who travels in the sea under water, which fact indicates that soldiers go under the sea, viz. in submarines.
Special Honor for Brave Warriors
Vedas lay down that special respect; honor should be accorded to army men, as they are the protectors of the country.

Respect for the warrior, respect to the commander, respect for all the ranks. Every essential item needed, should be offered to those who are in the vehicles and also to those who drive these vehicles Full honor should be bestowed on all those who fight the enemy either on land, in air or in the sea. This mantra also establishes the fact that the army is divided into three categories land force, air force and sea force. Not mere honor, but all kinds of facilities are to be provided to army men. Special type of clothing, proper nursing, food, living accommodation, clubs, play ground, hospitals, places for the prayers and educational facilities are to be provided to them.
(Yaju 16.26)

When this mantra is interpreted in relation to a soldier it means as under: –
1. There should be assemblies of warriors.
2. They should be given chance to address others.
3. They should be taught to speak a well-considered and cultured language.
4. They should perform Agnihotra (sacrificial fire).
5. (Rig.1.66.2): They should play in playgrounds.

B. Hospital, Medical Aid
O you Maruta! The commander will arrange for you all those medicines, which are pure and useful for the betterment of your health.
(Rig 2.33.13)
There is a simile in this verse. Just as children run hither and so also the soldiers, during war go on all sides to save themselves from onslaught. All those soldiers who are tired wounded, torn of their parts or the tainted ones should be removed immediately from the field and taken to safe places for providing them medical treatment for the dead, proper arrangements for their cremation are to be made.
(Yaju 17.48)
C. Military training
O warrior! You learn viz. training for parade etc. This whole hymn, seventh of eight mandala of Rigveda deals with the training and equipment of soldiers.
O warrior! You sometimes disguise yourself as human, sometimes as a horse and at other times as a pigeon to befoul the enemy.
(Rig 5.52.11)
This mantra refers to the training of the soldiers to entrap the enemy in a winding coil like circle.
(Ath. 11.9.5.)

The soldiers walk in line (parade) just as the birds do. (Rig. 5.59.7.)
Like men, women are also to be given military training.
O wife of the commander-in-chief! Expert in the art of archery, trained by learned person, on persuasion, go afar, encounter the force of the enemy, and achieve victory by slaying them. Let not even one of those distant foes escape.
(Yaju 17.45)
D. Arrangement of Food
Soldiers are served with curd.(Rig 1.64.2)
(Rig.1.87.1) Soldiers are provided with Elixir.
(Rig. 1.85.3) During journey, soldiers are to be provided with food, butter etc. ___ Varieties of food to be given to them.

E. Clothing (Uniform):
Warriors’ bodies should be well protected and provided with uniforms to look graceful.
Soldiers should look graceful there with their well-built bodies and good dresses. They should be provided with bulletproof jackets.
(Rig 1.166.9)
F. Accommodation:
For accommodating large force of Army ruler is required to build cantonments.
(Rig.1.64.10), (Rig 1.165.1) and (Rig 5.87.4).

The first two above indicate that the soldiers are to live in the same type of house. The third mantra means that the soldiers go out of the same type of an accommodation viz. barracks.

Oath Taking:
Devoid of all misdeeds we vow to serve the motherland.
(Yaju 12.12)
Military Band
Hymns twelfth and twenty-first of fifth Kanda of the Atharva Veda deal mostly with war drums bands.

Let the war drums, which are meant for quick victory and known to all, roar loudly like oxen marked by strength among the cattle. Let these drums pierce the hearts of the adversaries with sorrow and let our routed enemies desert their villages.

The war-drums are also useful in the battlefields as they play great part in frightening the enemy and his forces.
Let the roar of the war-drums be loud spreading their noise all-around between earth and sky; let their sharp notes spread out in all directions, let them reign at the enemy to frighten him and his forces. They also encourage our army and our allies.

Let these war drums be victorious in battles, loudly roaring and becoming the means of seizing whatever may be seized and be witnessed by all. Let these war drums sound wonderful note and let the army commander capture all the possessions of the enemies.
May these one-minded wondrous armies holding the flag marked with sun, subjugate our enemies. (Whatever uttered herein is correct.)
Let the red flag wave high in the sky when the army equipped with Trisandhi (three types of army, viz. land force, airforce and sea force) come out victorious.
Flags should fly on each vehicle carrying young commander or other warriors to distinguish as to whether it is our or that of the enemy’s vehicle.
Attack the enemy having flying flags.
(Ath. 11.10)

Equipment for the army
Unless the army is fully equipped with in all respects it is not possible to win the war. Soldiers are, therefore, to be provided with all the necessary weapons, quick transport, medical facilities, requisite number of tanks and other carriers, aeroplanes, ships, etc. and above all, proper and adequate ration for the front. Weapons and carriers are to be manufactured in ordnance factories and supplied from other supply depots. What happened in 1962, you may ask? So much was this nation of ours taken by the Gandhian concept of non-violence that Nehru and his comrades like Acharya Kriplani neglected the defence needs of our country? Here, Gandhi did not follow the Vedas or the holy Geeta.

O you the producers of arms and ammunitions : (ordnance factories) and you the supplier of the same, vouchsafe that the arms you are supplying are in good condition and shall never fail while in use by the warriors who are wholly and perfectly devoted to defend their mother land.
(Yaju 16.10)

A brief list of army weapons, referred to in Vedas, is given below:

(1). (Yaju 33.46) equivalent to modern bomb. (2) (Yaju 10.21). (3) (Yaju 10.22). (4) It emits rays to destroy the enemy. (5) (Yaju 16.11). It is not thrown like a bomb but used in fighting (6) (Yaju 15.16). It is a very strong weapon. (7) (Ath.11.10.2). It consists of three joints almost like a rocket. (8) (Ath.11.10.3). In this weapon small pieces of iron are attached (9) (Ath.11.10.3). It has a pin like nail at the mouth. (10) (Ath.11.10.1). This weapon spreads smoke. (11) (Ath.11.10.7). This weapon makes the enemy senseless. (12) (Ath.11.9.7). It emits tear gas. (13) (Ath.11.9.19). It emits fire.

Besides the above-referred ones, there are various kinds of (traps) mentioned in Vedas, which are to be used to capture the enemy. To name a few of them (Jaiyapasha) (Ath.11.10.25), (Kavach Pasha) (Ath.11.10.25) (Naga Pasha) (Chakra Pasha), (Padma Pasha).

O the effluent commander, you with your hundred kinds of weapons and Pashas can push the enemy back.
O commander-in-chief, the thousands of weapons and traps that you possess can tear off the enemy.
(Yaju 16.52)

Army Tactics
May your arms, namely your cannons, rifles, bow and arrows, swords, spears and all other war weapons be strong and firmly wielded by you to repel the wicked foe, bent upon injuring you as well as for opposing and setting at naught the force of his machinations against you? May your army, the strength of nation, be worthy of praise.
(Rig 1.39.2)

O Commanding-chief! if the enemy makes strong hold of the physical forces (against us) and through science produces effective means of shelter (trenches, forts etc.) taking all steps for the shelter of their persons, conquer him and take necessary steps to defeat him.(Ath. 11.10.17)

Cut off supplies, including food of the enemy’s army. Kanda sixth and Mandal 65th and 66th of Athrvaveda deal with the subject of defeating the enemy’s army by taking away or destroying his arms and ammunitions.
O commander! You make the enemy sick by use of gas or poison.
By creating weakness, misfortune, pain, fatigue, languor, drowsiness___ I defeat the enemy. (Ath.8.8.9.)
Let the wings with tongues of fire and crest of smokes go conquering foe.
O enemy, there are spread the trap of death or the fatal missiles, of which you can never escape, and this complicated device would smite and slay thousands of your soldiers.
O Foe! get your share of the flame of death, hunger, exhaustion, slaughter and fear. Let the electricity and fire destroy you with snares and nets prepared specifically for the job.
Let the army of the foe of the ground be troubled in the eyes with smoke and gases and let them cry.
O brave and winner commander! you rise with your army, breaking the nests of the enemy and surround him as snake surrounds the prey with its winding coils.
(Ath 11.9.5)
In case of need use of chemicals for destroying the enemy is allowed.

Deadly poison may be mixed in the food or in the milk, or in the fruits etc.
To kill the enemy there is instructions that the powder glass be administered orally in a bomb etc.

Please join me praying to Ishwar that Indian leaders learn to take tough decisions, hurt – kill our opponents who do Adharmic acts, allow the Indian Army to hit back hard and mercilessly.

Hindu Jaagruti
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