I would like to narrate the journey of Bhishma, on the bed of arrows, as stated in the pages of Mahabharata.
This series, when completed, will be employed as a reference in discussing implications of the duration of Bhishma on bed of arrows for numerous aspects of Mahabharata research, specifically, the timing of Mahabharata War.
The evidence presented in this series, for the duration of Bhishma on the bed of arrows, will decisively FALSIFY all alternate claims (~130+) for the timing of Mahabharata War.
The evidence will also be a good starting point for rational discussion of some of the conflicting observations/statements of Mahabharata, conflicting for my proposed timeline of the War.
I will ,deliberately, count in a conservative fashion, with the aim of providing full benefit of doubt to alternate claims for duration of Bhishma on the bed of arrows (48 or 58 nights! and such).
In this part 1, I want to assert that Bhishma fell down in the battle on the 10th day of the War and then remained on the bed of arrows until the day of Winter solstice.
War continued for 8 more days and thus counting the night of the 10th day of the War, Bhishma was on the bed of arrows for 9 nights (10th through 18th) during the Mahabharata War itself.
Ashwatthama killed many warriors of the Pandava side during the night of the 18th and the last day of the War.
Bhima and Arjuna, along with Krishna, humbled Ashwatthama the next day. At this point, Kuru women ran to the battlefield in search of the bodies of their beloved. Yudhishthir arranged funeral pyres for the fire-rights of the dead warriors.
Mahabharata text is not explicit the duration of time spent taking care of the above. Since my goal is to assert ‘minimum’ duration of Bhishma on bed of arrows, let’s assume this time to be equal to ZERO days, i.e. On the day after the War was over, all of the above were accomplished and Yudhishthir party left for the bank of Ganga this very day.
Thus Bhishma was on the bed of arrows for 9 nights, When Yudhishthir left for the bank of river Ganga, along with his brothers, Krishna, Satyaki, Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, Kunti and others.
End of Part 1 of 7
Brief outline of parts to come….
Part 2 of 7
Yudhishthir spending about a month on the bank of Ganga
Part 3 of 7
Yudhishthir returned to Hastinapur, along with his brothers. He was crowned a king. He established his team, assigned palaces, honored Krishna and compensated to the families of those deceased in the Mahabharata War.
Part 4 of 7
Krishna reminded Yudhishthir to visit Bhishma. Yudhshthir went from Hastinapur to Kurukshetra, along with his brothers, Krishna, Satyaki, Sanjaya, Kripacharya to visit Bhishma. This is the time when Krishna told Bhishma that Bhishma had 56 more days to live.
Part 5 of 7
In this part, I will narrate the instances of Bhishma-Yudhishthir Samvad, that lasted for 6 days, i.e. 56 through 51 days before the day of Bhishma Nirvana, as stated by Krishna.
Part 6 of 7
After 6 day long Bhishma-Yudhishthir samvad was over, Bhishma asked Yudhishthir to return to Hastinapur, and only return when the Sun turned north (i.e. the day, or one day after, of Winter Solstice). Accordingly Yudhishthir returned to Hastinapur and stayed in Hastinapur for 50 nights, before returning to Kurukshetra on the day of Winter Solstice.
Part 7 of 7
Details of the day of Bhishma Nirvana, including Bhishma’s own utterance that ‘he was on the bed of arrows for 58 days and it felt like a long time”
At this point, I will re-establish the minimum duration for Bhishma on the bed of arrows.
I may state, briefly, few key implications of this evidence for the timing of Mahabharata War and how this evidence FALSIFIIES every single alternate claim for the timing of Mahabharata War.
This is exciting stuff.