“I do not instruct you regarding duty from what I have learned from the Vedas alone;
What I have told you is the result of wisdom and experience, it is the honey that the learned have gleaned.
Kings should collect wisdom from various sources,
One cannot go successfully in the world with the help of a one sided morality;
Duty must originate from understanding, the practices of the good should always be determined.
A king by the help of his understanding and guided by knowledge gathered from various sources,
should so arrange that moral laws may be observed.”
—Bhisma to Yudhisthira, Shanti Parva, Mahabharata Book xii.142.3-7
On the last night of the Mahabharata war, Ashwatthama killed numerous sleeping warriors on the Pandava side. The next day, Bhima went in search of Ashwatthama. Krishna and Arjuna also joined Bhima. Ashwatthma was eventually caught and humbled. All Kuru ladies rushed to the battlefield in search of the bodies of their beloved. Yudhishthir arranged final fire rights for the bodies of the dead and then left, along with Pandavas and others, for the bank of Ganga.
Yudhishthir spent about a month on the bank of Ganga and then returned to Hastinapur. He was crowned a king and at this time, Krishna reminded Yudhisthhir to go and visit Bhishma. Yudhisthir went to Kurukshetra, along with pandava brothers, Krishna, Satyaki, Kripa and Sanjay to meet Bhishma.
Bhishma was already lying on the bed of arrows for about 40 days (9 + 27-30 + X), when Yudhishthir went to Bhishma, at the suggestion of Krishna.
On this day, Krishna told Bhishma that latter had 56 more days to live, i.e. there were ~56 more days for the day of Uttarayan (day of winter solstice).
The majority of Mahabharata researchers remain in delusional ignorance for this timeline. These Mahabharata researchers have neither comprehended the importance of this incident/duration for the timing of Mahabharata War nor shown awareness of related references from the Mahabharata text.
Those few who are aware of this timeline think that Bhishma-Yudhishthir samvad (discussion) continued for 56 days leading to the day of Winter Solstice.
The claimed duration of 56 days by few researchers (e.g. ‘Mahabharata’ by G N Dandekar-affectionately called ‘GONIDA'(page 297) or ‘Bharatiya Yuddha’ by D G Limaye (page 213)) for Bhishma-Yudhishthir samvad is NOT CORRECT.
In fact, Bhishma-Yudhishthir samvad occurred for total of 6 days (6-11 December 5561 BCE). On the 6th day (11 December 5561 BCE), Yudhishthir came to Bhishma to meet him for the last but one time. Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, his ministers and many others also visited Bhishma on this day.
11 December 5561 BCE (Tithi: Ekadashi)
The day was that of Ekadashi. On this day, Bhishma recited ‘Vishnu-Sahasra-Nama’ to Yudhishthir and to all those present in the gathering. Bhishma requested Yudhishthir to return to Hastinapur and to come back to visit Bhishma only when the Sun turned northward, i.e. after the day of Winter Solstice.
Yudhishthir returned to Hastinapur, along with his entourage, and lived in Hastinapur for 50 nights, before returning to Bhishma on 31 Januaary 5560 BCE, one day after the day of Winter solstice (30 January 5560 BCE).
Day Bhishma fell down in the battlefield: 25 October 5561 BCE (10th day of the War)
Day of Winter Solstice : 30 January 5560 BCE
Day of Bhishma Nirvana: 31 January 5560 BCE
Total duration for Bhishma on the bed of arrows (25 October 5561 BCE – 31 January 5560 BCE) = 98 NIGHTS
Duration of Bhishma-Yudhishthir samavad was equal to 6 days.
This remains my small and important contribution in establishing the timeline for the incidents related to the Mahabharata War.