Ambiguous ‘शेषं’!. But will it solve the problem?

Shri Phadnis writes…

“I have carefully read the text of the shloka. Although I don’t claim deep knowledge of Sanskrit, I believe the shloka does not rule out a simple interpretation that ‘56 days remaining’ were from the event of the fall of Bheeshma, not from the day of this conversation.

The text does not say ‘शेषं’ from when unambiguously.”

My Response…

The reference under consideration is

Shanti GP ( &CE) 51:14

पंचाशतं शट च कुरुप्रवीर
शेषं दिनानां तव जीवितस्य
तत: शुभै: कर्मफलोदयैस्त्वं
समेष्यसे भीष्म विमुच्य देहं

The very reason for my including even minor chronological observations (references 111 through 129), in my book, was to specifically emphasize the sequence/timing/instance when specific timelines were uttered (either by Krishna, Vaishampayan or Bhishma).

These references (111 through 129) leads us to the conclusion that ~(36+ X) days had already elapsed, since Bhishma was on the bed of arrows, before Krishna stated (Shanti 51:14) that “Bhishma had (additional) 56 more days to live”.

The very reason to meticulously enumerate chronological sequence of Bhishma Nirvana was to eliminate and falsify arguments such as one stated by Shri Phadnis (“I believe the shloka does not rule out a simple interpretation that ‘56 days remaining’ were from the event of the fall of Bheeshma, not from the day of this conversation”).

I have come across alternate arguments such as “Krishna must have stated ’56 more days to live’ to Bhishma on 12th day of the War (i.e. 2 days after Bhishma fell down in the war and was resting on bed of arrows).

Again, very reason behind my (otherwise painful) exercise to list, sequentially, instances of Bhishma Nirvana, was to falsify arguments such as these.

Interested readers may also want to refer to ingenious, but decidedly false, argument/explanation  by Dr. P V Varak, for another attempt at solving the problem of ’56’ days, in his ‘Swayambhu’ or Chapter 10 – Theory of P V Vartak  in my book – When did the Mahabharata War Happen? The Mystery of Arundhati.

I would have no problem in accepting Shri Phadnis’s contention that “The text does not say ‘शेषं’ from when unambiguously.” 

But then this same argument can be made about every other chronological (especially those statements where specific number of days are stated….50, 56, 58 or a month.. all stated in the context of Bhishma Nirvana).

But even more critical, will this assumption solve the problem of either Bhishma Nirvana or the plausible timeline for Mahabharata War, with upper and lower bounds (11091 BCE and 4508 BCE) arrived via AV observation and resulting Epoch of Arundhati.

The answer is decisively ‘NO‘.

To his credit, Shri Phadnis has shown this to be the case, via two brilliant blog articles he wrote.  Here are the links…


One thought on “Ambiguous ‘शेषं’!. But will it solve the problem?

  1. I am not bothered about the ‘astronomical puzzles.’ That is your headache!
    I do not agree that Bhishma made a ridiculous statement that he spent 58 painful nights on deathbed when he had spent 91+ nights (if that was the truth). He had no occasion to be silly. You have never answered my question WHY Bhishma said so and why Vyasa has recorded it without contradiction. I have also pointed out that the number of days mentioned by Krishna agree far too closely with what Bhishma said. Others may not have noticed this surprisingly close agreement. Hence my explanation that ‘शेषं’ may have meant ‘from 10th day of war’ which is not ‘ruled out’ by the wording of the shloka.

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