आपणास माझे लेखन आवडते आहे असे ब्लॉगला भेट देणारांच्या वाढत्या संख्येवरून वाटते. विषेशकरून कर्णकथेला वाचक पुष्कळ मिळाले. आपल्या प्रतिक्रिया जरूर मिळावयास हव्यात! त्याशिवाय लिहीत राहण्याचा उत्साह कसा टिकून रहाणार?
I changed over from Marathi to English for my comments on Shri. Oak's book recently. I continue to get readers but there are no comments! Wonder whether I am boring!

Last Seven Days

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San Ramon and Mumbai, California and Maharashtra, United States
ज्येष्ठ नागरिक. साहित्य व संगीत प्रेमी. Senior Citizen

Saturday, September 26, 2015

BheeshmaNirvan. Did Bhishma spend 95+ days on deathbed?

Shri Oak has made a strange claim in his book that Bhishma spent 95+ days on his death-bed or bed of arrows. Having started with 16th Oct (Julian) as the first day of war and winter solstice for the year of war, viz. 5561 BCE, being on end Jan. the arithmetic is simple. Shri Oak always claims that he has a long list of references from Mahabharata to support this claim. I will first take a look at the Mahabharat References quoted by him in his book and comment on them. They are numbered from 108 to 130 in the book. They are mostly from Shanti and Anushasan Parva.
108 – Shanti, GP47-1 – 4.
Bheeshma’s life ended on start of Uttarayana. – Accepted. No comment needed.
109- Anu, GP167 – 26-28
Bheeshma says he spent 58 nights on deathbed. – My mainstay. No comment needed.
110 – Shanti, GP47 -3 -Additional Text.
Cant say whether this is authentic. It seems it is not found in CE, only in GP. It is probably inserted by someone much later to suit his theory. It gives a tithi reference for the day of Bhishma’s death which may or may not be correct.
111- Stree GP26 – 24-43
Description of mass burning of all bodies and last rights of some sort or other –Pandavas fulfilling their obligation. How many days elapsed in this is not clear. This period should be counted 20th day onwards, since 19th day had kept Pandavas fully busy with Ashvatthama.
112- Stree GP26- 44
Yudhishthir along with Dhritarashtra goes towards Ganga.
Presumably all other pandavas also went. Here, there is no mention of the no. of days spent in travelling. Ganga is fairly distant from Kurukshetra or Hastinapur. All men and large no. of women also probably went so the journey could have taken a few days. Stree - GP27 says that after reaching bank of Ganga, ‘all’ gave jalanjali to their dead relatives. How many days it took? Presumably only a day. The purpose of going to Ganga thus seems to give jalanjali. All these descriptions under 110 to 112 don’t help in deciding the exact no. of days gone since end of war on 18th day till the day of jalanlali.
113 – Shanti GP1- 1-2
After udakakriya or jalanjali (I presume same), Pandavas stayed on bank of ganga for a month. Did Dhritarashtra and many others like Vidura or Gandhari/Kunti stay? They had participated in jalanlali. The word कृतोदकाः and mention of Vidura etc. indicates all stayed. In any case, Pandavas stayed. At which place near Ganga? Not mentioned. No month or tithi is mentioned for the jalanjali day or for the last day of stay at Ganga bank.
114 – Shanti GP37 – 30
Yudhishthira, along with Dhritarashtra, enters his Town, meaning Hastinapur. Apparently, Dhritarashtra had also stayed at Ganga. No comment is needed except that there is no mention of month name or tithi of this day. Lack of mention of month name or tithi for any of the activities after end of war till now does not permit any estimation of days gone.
Here Shri. Oak has not mentioned a significant earlier reference. (If he has mentioned, I have missed it). A little prior to entering Hastinapur, in Shanti - GP37 itself, shlokas12-16 say that Vyasa told Yudhishthira to meet Bheeshma and seek knowledge of Rajadharma ‘before he ends his life’. Yudhishthira replied that he was afraid of or ashamed of meeting him. He blamed himself for Bheeshma’s impending death. (Here Krishna also advises him to do what Vyasa said. Question is, Krishna was not accompanying Pandavas at Ganga. How he appears in the picture suddenly? This mention of Krishna appears a latter-day interpolation to give credit to Krishna for everything.) After this dialogue, Yudhishthir enters Hastinapur. Dhritarashtra, also Gandhari rode ahead of him on elephant. Kunti is not mentioned but must be there. It means that till now, entire Kurukula (or what was left of it) had abandoned the capital. There is no mention whatsoever of even anyone other than Pandavas going to meet Bheeshma till this day. This is a bit strange.
115 – Shanti GP37 – 35-36
Yudhishthir and his entourage enter Hastinapur. Even here, there is no mention of month name or tithi.
116 – Shanti GP 38 – 2.
Welcome to Yudhishthira. No timeline issue. No comment.
117 – Shanti GP38-16
Yudhishthir surrounded by brahmanas like bright moon surrounded by stars. Yet another upama.
118 – Shanti GP47- 105-108
After a lot of irrelevant Krishna Mahatmya prior to these shlokas, text says Yudhishthir finally went to meet Bheeshma. Here also there is no mention of tithi or month. Here the list of visitors includes many names, besides Pandavas and Krishna-Satyaki. Some further Krishnamahatmya follows.
How many days have passed since end of war before this visit? It is not specifically mentioned. Inferences can be drawn but some variation will remain as, how many days had passed since Pandavas’ entry into Hastinapur before this visit, is not mentioned.
Here I wish to draw attention to another reference I came across. Shanti GP 45-1 to 11 says Yudhishthira settled administration and started ruling Hastinapur. Text does not state how many days it took. However very many actions of Yudhishthira as a king and as a head of the Kurus are described in detail which should take several days between Yudhishthira entering Hastinapur and making a visit (at last) to Bhishma.
Thereafter I find in Shanti - GP46 – 11 to 23 that Krishna advises Yudhishthira to meet Bheeshma and seek Rajadharma advice. The mention here that Bheeshma was seeking Krishna Darshan and Krishna understood it by Antardnyan is all just Krishna Mahatmya (bullshit in other words). Either this is a latter day interpolation to give credit to Krishna for everything or, reallistically, Krishna merely reminded Yudhishthira to follow Vyasa’s earlier advice to meet Bhishma without delay. Why the reminder? Matters were obviously reaching urgency level as not many days of dakshinayana remained. Shri Oak has not mentioned this reference in his list.
Any of these references are not much useful to conclusively fix the month name or tithi of the Day of Yudhishthira’s visit to Bheeshma or days lapsed till then, from end of war on 18th day.
119 Shanti GP 48 – 1-6
When the Visitors reached Kurukshetra where Bhishma was lying, they saw on the way many remains of dead bodies of humans and animals lying around. This is a bit surprising as many days had passed since end of war. Pandavas had dealt with dead bodies of Kurus. Large common funeral pyres had also been arranged. Followers of prominent persons from other families of kings, presumably, would have taken similar action. Flesh-eating animals would have also been in action since kurukshetra was abandoned.
120 Shanti GP 51 – 14
After Pandavas and others reach Bhishma’s death-bed, Krishna says to Bheeshma that your life on bed of arrows is 56 days balance. (Literal meaning).
This particular reference is the crux of the problem and needs careful scrutiny. I will take this up in the next post.

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