I had presented ‘short version’ of Bhishma Nirvana timeline here: https://nileshoak.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/bhishma-nirvana-timeline-short-version/
Shri Phadnis writes…
“One can clearly see that the various references and days mentioned or estimated are repetitive, meandering and confusing.”
“A definitive time line of events between end of war and Bhishma’s death can not be built based on these various references.”
This assessment of Shri Phadnis regarding chronology of Bhishma Nirvana is incorrect. Reader will recognize that none of the references or days mentioned or estimated are repeatitive, meandering and confusing.
Of course, I encourage readers to comment (or write) if they find any of the references stated below, confusing.
Chronology of Bhishma Nirvana (specifically, minimum number of days for Bhishma to be on the bed of arrows) can be calculated with the help of six (6) crisp, non-repeatitive, non-confusing and non-meandering statements.
I present slightly expanded (still a short version) in this round:
We will begin with 9 days/nights of Bhishma on the bed of arrows (from 10th day of war when Bhishma fell down in the war through last day (18th day of war) of the war. (9 days)
After this, Pandava party spent about a month long time on the bank of Ganga. Taking this duration, by conservative estimate, equal to 27 days (sidereal lunar month). It could be up to ~ 30 (29.53) days (synodic lunar month). (27 days)
Pandava party returned to Hastinapur, Yudhishthir had Rajyabhishek and then went to meet Bhishma. We do not know exact number of days spent in these activities. Let’s call them ‘X’ days (X days)
When Pandava party met Bhishma, Krishna stated that Bhishma had 56 more days to live. (56 days)
Yudhishthir continued to meet Bhishma for the next few days, seeking counseling and guidance (Rajadharma and other subjects) from Bhishma. These discussions went on for few days and ended with Bhishma reciting ‘Vishnu-Sahasranama’ to Yudhishthir and all others (Gandhari, Dhritarashtra, Krishna, Pandava brothers, etc.) present.
On this day, Bhishma asked Yudhishthir to go back to Hastinapur and return only when the Sun turned north. (day or day after winter solstice).
Since we do not know the exact duration of this Yudhishthir-Bhishma Samvad (we actually do know the exact duration, as we will see), let’s assume this equal to ‘Y’ days. (Y days)
Mahabharata text tells us that Yudhishthir went back to Hastinapur, with his entourage, on this day (9+27-30 + X + Y) and stayed in Hastinapur for 50 nights before returning to Bhishma! (50 days)
End of specific six (6) Mahabharata text references for this expanded (short) version.
Mathematically, combining statements of (4), (5), and (6) leads us to the following.
Y + 50 = 56, and thus Y = 6
I have shown relevant references for at least 5 of these 6 days of Bhishma-Yudhishthir Samvad.
Timeline for 6 days of Bhishma-Yudhishthir samvad
Timeline for 5 days of Bhishma-Yudhishthir samvad
Let’s do the addition.
Number of days Bhishma remained on the bed of arrows =
9 + 27 + X = 56 = 92 + X = >92 days
Expanded (short version)
9+27 + X +(Y+50) = 86 + X + Y = >86 days
Of course, while uncertainty about duration of ‘X’ is justified, no such need when it comes to duration of Y. Duration of Y can be (and is been) precisely calculated to be equal to 6 days.
Minimum number of days Bhishma remained on the bed of arrows = 92 days