Shri Phadnis writes…
“Remaining references 121 to 130.
These references pinpoint some events during the conversation between Bhishma and Yudhishthir in Shanti and Anushasan Parva. Mention is made of Yudhishthira returning at end of first and second day and of his going to Bhisma on the second day. No other breaks at end of day are highlighted. Did he visit only on 2 or 3 days? The possibility cannot be ruled out. After the end of the dialogue, Bhishma asks Yudhishthira to go back to Hastinapur and return when Uttarayan occurs. Ref 129 describes Yudhishthira returning with many others to Hastinapur. How many days were actually spent in this dialogue? There is no way to establish.”
While Shri Phadnis claims….
“No other breaks at end of day are highlighted. Did he visit only on 2 or 3 days?”
“How many days were actually spent in this dialogue? There is no way to establish.”
Against this claim of Shir Phadnis….
I assert that six (6) days were spent in Bhishma-Yudhishthir dialogue.
Shanti Parva GP 51:14
Krishna states to Bhishma that the latter had 56 more days to live, i.e. there were 56 more days for the day of Winter solstice.
Anushasan Parva GP 166:6-7 and also 166:14-17
Yudhishthir met Bhishma, last but one time on a day when Bhishma recited ‘Vishnu Sahasranama. Yudhishthir, returned to Hastinapur, along with Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, royal priests and ministers, at the end of this day.
Anushasan Parva GP 167:1-6
After returning to Hastinapur, Yudhishthir spent 50 nights in Hastinapur, before returning to Kurukshetra for his final meet with Bhishma, on the day of Bhishma-Nirvana.
Combining above 3 Mahabharata references leads us to:
Number of days spent in Bhishma-Yudhishthir dialogue = 56 (Shanti, GP 51:14) – 50 (Anushasan GP 167:1-6) = 6 days.
End of Exhibit 1.
I made this discovery of ‘duration of Bhishma-Yudhishthir samvad’ equal to 6 days (based on references mentioned in Exhibit 1 sometime 2009-2011 CE).
Once I made the discovery, I wondered if Mahabharata text also included any clues/references (independent of those mentioned in Exhibit 1) that also led to this conclusion.
I began reading descriptions of Mahabharata text, looking for specific references (end of a day, beginning of new day, descriptions of sunrise and/or sunset, phases/nakshatra and/or timing of Moonrise, etc.) and by luck, I did find specific references (references 121-129, in my book) that corroborated conclusion reached in Exhibit 1.
I have described this in my book. Let’s reproduce it here. It is critical enough and thus worth repeating, as many times as is required.
Let’s look at specific references.
(1) Krishna told Bhishma, on the first day the party met Bhishma, that latter had 56 more days to live. When the sun was about to set, the party took leave of Bhishma and left for Hastinapur. There were many members in the party, besides significant army personnel.
As the party rode towards Hastinapur, the moon rose in the sky and pleased the army with its rays. They reached Hastinapur, late at night, utterly exhausted. (Shanti GP 52:26-34)
This indicates the end of day 56th before the day of Bhishma Nirvana.
(2) Next morning, (55 days before Bhishma Nirvana) Yudhishthir decided not to take the army and rest of the entourage with him as he proceeded to meet Bhishma. Yudhishthir thought it unwise to take all common men with him since it would disturb Bhishma and he also thought it wise to seek counseling in private as Bhishma would be consulting him in ways of Rajaniti and other critical matters, and proceeded to Kurukshetra only with his brothers, Krishna and Satyaki. (Shanti GP 53:1-28)
Yudhishthir and party took leave of Bhishma (55 days before Bhishma Nirvana) and performed their ‘Sandhya’ at ‘Drishtavati’ on their return journey to Hastinapur. (Shanti GP 58:27-30)
This indicates the end of day 55th before the day of Bhishma Nirvana.
(3) Next day, Yudhishthir along with his brothers, Krishna and Satyaki left for Kurukshetra in the morning to meet Bhishma. This was 54th day before Bhishma Nirvana. (Shanti GP 59:1-3)
The Mahabharata text does not explicitly records return of Yudhishthir to Hastinapur, at the end of 54th day before Bhishma Nirvana.
However, absence of such reference does not pose any difficulty in establishing chronology of events. We will see why this is so.
(4) Note that Yudhishthir had gone to meet Bhishma, along with his brothers (Shanti GP 59:1-3) on the 54th day before the day of Bhishma Nirvana.
The Mahabharata text preserves an interesting reference where Yudhishthir spent a day discussing various subject matters with Bhishma, and at the end of the day returned to Hastinapur to discuss it further with his brothers. (Shanti GP 167:1)
I have interpreted this observation as follows. The description of Yudhishthir returning to Hastinapur to ‘discuss it with his brothers’ suggest that he had gone to see Bhishma alone, i.e. without the company of his brothers. Since we have a reference of his brothers accompanying him to see Bhishma on 54th day before Bhishma Nirvana (Shanti GP 59:1-3), I interpreted the day, when Yudhishthir returned to Hastinapur, after discussing various subjects with Bhishma, and do discuss them further with his brothers, as 53rd day before Bhishma Nirvana. (Shanti GP 167:1)
This indicates the end of day 53th before the day of Bhishma Nirvana.
(5) Next day (52nd day before Bhishma Nirvana) Yudhishthir returned to Bhishma, after consulting with his brothers, for additional discussion and to seek guidance. (Shanti GP 167:50-51)
The Mahabharata text does not explicitly records return of Yudhishthir to Hastinapur, at the end of 52th day before Bhishma Nirvana.
However, again this lack of records does not pose any problem.
(6) Note that Yudhishthir had gone alone (even without his brothers) to meet Bhishma on 53rd and 52nd day before the day of Bhishma Nirvana.
Yudhishthir visited Bhishma for last but one time, on the 51st day before Bhishma Nirvana, along with extended entourage that included Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, royal priests and ministers. (Anushasan GP 166:6-7 & GP 166:14-17)
Bhishma asked them to come back when the sun would turn north and Yudhishthir returned to Hastinapur, Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, his royal priests and ministers. (Anushasan GP 166:14-17).
This indicates the end of day 51th before the day of Bhishma Nirvana.
Thus Mahabharata text preserves specific references that allows us validate ‘the duration of Bhishma-Yudhishthir Samvad’ equal to six (6) days.
End of Exhibit 2.