Sri Krishna, the Great Warrior was matchless in physical strength, and this was apparent from the time he turned 12 years old. Besides physical prowess, Krishna’s teachings on how to strategically fight a war while having complete clarity on dharmic and adharmic practices, are the core of Sanatan Dharm.  Today on the occasion of Sri Krishn Janmashtmi, it is most appropriate in my opinion to talk and learn about the Kshatrya Martial traditions.

The Shastra Vidya or the science of weapons (which cut) is directly linked to the Hindu Puranic History.¬† Like all other Kalas of Bharath, the Shastra Vidya is also connected to Bhavan Shiva.¬† The first ever disciple of Shiva in this area were the Pashupats followed by the Kapaliks.¬†Alongwith the Kapaliks, the Kshatriya vidya ended up in Taxila, a city formed by Taksh, the son of Sri Bharath and nephew of Shri Ram. ¬†¬†The Nagavanshis were the earliest Martial dynasty, followed by the Suryavanshis and the Chandravanshis who carried this art forward. ¬†During the Huna invasion of the 5thcentury, the art was scattered all over Bharath, and was acquired by Rajputs, the new heroes of Bharath.¬† Alongside the Rajputs, the tradition was also brought forward through the Sadhus. ¬†The Rajputs had a tradition whereby one of the brothers in each family would become a Sadhu to mediate and advise on all family disputes.¬† The Sadhus took this art forward and brought it to the general public alongside the mandatory techniques of meditation and spirituality, which are essential to master this art.¬† The art then continued through the Nathas ‚Äď the Gorakshnatis, who were the first wall of defense against the invading Ottomans.

Our Kshatriya traditions are profound, rich and technical as the rest of our parampara including Shastriya sangeet as well as our knowledge derived from the Puranas and the Veds.  The Shastra Vidya involves a complete science of body mechanics that completely alludes modern- day forms of fighting

Until around the 16thcentury, it was very common for various villages to bring in Sadhus to teach various Vidyas of war. This was prevalent specially in the Punjab villages.  The Punjabis had to be ready to fight all the time due to Punjab being the border from where invaders always entered Bharath. As a consequence, martial valour and traditions were highly esteemed there. The arts or this Shastra flourished most formidably under our kings, as the Rajput kings followed the Kshatriyas, and then in time emerged the Marathas, the Jatts, the Sikhs. So this art was known all the way from the Taxila area right across to Varanasi, Bengal, Orissa, Northern Maharashtra, and so on. This northern part of Bharath is where Shastra Vidya comes from.

During the British raj, they managed to placate many Kinds and Nizams etc by giving them a life of luxury, turning them into habitual drug users, and through them, the lives and the ways of Bharti citizens were controlled. As a result, all the arts developed during the ancient times, began to decline under the British patronage. The Shastra devs were hunted down all over specially in Punjab, where Nahang Sikhs were the only community who refused to surrender their weapons to the British using sharp wit and hoodwinking techniques. During the British Raj, it was in their interest to subdue all the Kshatrya people, the warriors in Bharat. So unless you were in the British Army you could not keep any weapons on your person. ¬†Additionally, the British not only banned possession of weapons but subdued and suppressed all native martial traditions and systematically laid them to waste. They did not want this art to propagate among the masses as an uprising using these sensational techniques.¬†So in the Punjab, art came to be known as Jhatka Gatka ‚Äď A Gatka which kills with a Jhatka.

In India, there are two traditions of warriors ‚Äď one is the Turk tradition and the other is the Kshatriya tradition.¬† In the times of Akbar, these traditions started to mix with each other. The Kshatriya tradition is very swift and subtle. This battlefield science of armed and unarmed combat with one or multiple opponents has its essence in the Kshatriya Dharam.

The eternal knowledge of weapons is considered the deadliest form of fighting art ever practiced, and this is because of the Hindu science of using Chakras in each and every aspect of life.¬† The methodology requires all the Chakras to be synchronised in a manner that changes the movement of the body, making the moves completely unpredictable for the opponent.¬† Shastra Vidya does not require extreme flexibility or strength as in the western arts, and instead, it is based on tactical body positioning. The way it is pracitised, defies the traditional concept of gravity and movement of muscles, and thus the opponent is left guessing. The essence of the Shastra Vidya is Jhatka ‚Äď which refers to killing quickly. This is the method by which the Hindu warriors sacrifice in front of Maa Bhavani. So the focus on speed is essential when using this technique.

The basis of Shastar Vidiya is a five-step movement, which includes advancing on the opponent; hitting his flank, deflection of incoming blows, taking a commanding position, and striking. As a full combat martial art, it also includes both unarmed and armed combat techniques using swords, clubs, sticks, spears, daggers, and other weapons. It encompasses many different fighting styles which can be applied depending on the situation and terrain presented at the time of encounter. There is the use of some harmless-looking weapons which, when worn in the hand, can press on certain nerves in hand-to-hand combat, and render the opponent motionless. The various styles are named after the Sanatani parampara, associated with the Bhagwans, and some of them are mentioned here

Varaha Yuddha

Sheshnag Yuddha

Garud Yuddha

Nandi Yuddha

Narsingha Yuddha

Hanuman Yuddha

Baghdeva Yuddha
Chandi Yuddha
Shiva Yuddha

Ashvadeva Yuddha

The Martial art practices in various South Asian countries, all have their roots in Sanatani art of war and weaponry, and this fact is accepted by followers of these techniques. The way things are shaping around us, these techniques can be very useful to learn for everyone, in order to protect our communities and our girls.

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