Ashtbuja Deva Yudhan (Styles of the goddess)

Since ancient times in India, the primordial power of the universe has been represented by a curved sword, which then has in turn been personified as a beautiful eight-armed goddess. Known as 'Devi', the goddess, she is also referred to as Chandi, Chandika, Kali, Kalika, Durga, Bhawani, Jagdambeh Mata, and many more. The supreme divine mother of the universe, she is worshipped by all Kshatriya Hindu warriors of India, including the Akali Nihangs � the devotees of the sword. Guru Gobind Singh is quoted as follows:

"He who has never worshipped mother Chandika; though living, he is dead. Contemplate, contemplate the great giver of gifts; she will rescue you from [this] great hell."
(Sarbloh Guru Granth Sahib, 1:1:52)

As a practical and scientific principle of the art, the Devi represents 'gatti shakti' (kinetic energy). Ashtbhuja Deva style has four subdivisions:

Just as the Chandi incarnation of 'Ashtbhuja Deva' is young and beautiful this style too embodies grace and elegance. It can be employed both unarmed and armed. At this level of combat only the most well-balanced and finest of swords, spears and bows are utilised. Lower grades of weapons are seen as acceptable for the lesser Yudhan - but not Chandi. Like a beautiful woman seeking to beguile her opponent, she takes control of the kinetic energy of the opponent, and directs it back against him � destroying him. Chandi is perfect for engaging multiple opponents.

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  • Kalika Yudhan

This form is the contracted version of Chandi; far sharper, and quicker in achieving the kill. Kalika's demeanour is far more vicious than elegant Chandi; if Chandi is a happy mother, Kalika is the furious mother.

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  • Jagdambeh Yudhan

'Jagdambeh' translates as the 'mother of the world', and employs quick-footed circular movements around opponent. With ever-changing directions of attack, she angles off and gathers up an opponent's kinetic energy only to whiplash it back at the target.

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  • Kalika Vambrolah Yudhan

Literally translates to as 'the whirlwind'; this is a more compact and aggressive form of Jagdambeh Yudhan.

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The 'Bhujangi Singhs' (who were considered the elite) utilised Ashtbhuja Deva Yudhan to penetrate and smash through enemy battle formations. Together with the application of tactics and strategy, they were able to venture deep behind enemy lines in order to disrupt enemy supply lines, or destroy key targets, or for pure reconnaissance.