[Advaita-l] Bhagawat Gita an obscure text?

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 13 19:46:02 CST 2012

It is not true that the commentary "Tattva Prakashika" on the Bhagavad Gita by Keshav Kasahmiri Bhattacharya gives the 745 verses. I obtained a copy of Keshav Kashmiri's commentary on the Bhagavad Gita  published from Vrindavana and that contains only 700 verses. The url :<http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/Gita/Commentaries/kumara-intro.html>  makes a false claim on that. A few years ago I challenged them to show me where they found it and they failed to meet the challenged

In some of the editions of the Mahabharata, such as in the Gita-Press Edition, there is the verse which says  that the Bhagavad Gita has1 verse by Dhritarashtra, 67 verses by Sanjaya, 57 verses by Arjuna and 620 verses by Lord Krishna. (see page 2823 in the Bhshma Parva, 43rd Chapter in the Gita Press edition of the Mahabharata). This verse is one of the five verses spoken by Vaishampayana to Janmmejaya after the Bhagavad Gita discourse was over. The text of the verse is as follows:
षट्शतानि सविंशानि श्लोकानां प्राह केशवः

अर्जुनं सप्तपंचाशत सप्त षष्ठि च संजयः
धृतराष्ट्र श्लोक मेकं गीतायां मान मुच्यते

It is obvious that considering the common availability of the version with 700 verses the editors of some of the editions dared not to incorporate the verses which Vaishmpayana spoke in the beginning of the Chapter 43 of the Bhishma parva. However if we consider that  by saying "vedavyāsah ... ... saptabhih shlokashatairoopanibabandha" in the introduction Adi Sankaracharya made only a general statement, then it could be that someone subsequent to Adi Sankaracharya edited the Bhagavad Gita and that is how we have the vulgate edition with 700 verses.

Sunil KB

 From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com>
To: Advaita List <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> 
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 12:46 PM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Bhagawat Gita an obscure text?

Actually, I am curious where the mahAbhArata verses are to be found, which specify the total number of verses in the gItA as well as individual counts for the various speakers. Such counts are given by Kesava Kashmiri in his commentary to the gItA (Such counts are given by Kesava Kashmiri in his commentary to the gItA 
(1 by Dhritarashtra, 67 by Sanjaya, 57 by Arjuna and 620 by Krishna).). These counts are not given anywhere in the mahAbhArata itself, as far as I know.

That apart, there is no basis to conclude (or even suppose) that Adi Sankara edited the gItA down to 700 verses, in any sense of the term edition. The gItAbhAshya, as you are well aware, is silent on the entire first chapter and the first few verses in the second chapter. After the introduction, the commentary really picks up only at the verse aSocyAn anvaSocas tvam, with one short summary statement about everything that precedes this verse. And what he says in the introduction about the number of verses in the text (vedavyāsah ... ... saptabhiS shloka-shatair upanibabandha) is a general statement as well. All it intends to do is to give an estimate, not an exact count for the number of verses. 

As for what Swami Vivekananda is supposed to have written about this: 
A look at http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info/vivekananda/volume_4/lectures_and_discourses/thoughts_on_the_gita.htm shows that all Swami Viivekananda said was to quote somebody else and note "some infer that Shankaracharya was the author of the Gita, and that it was he who foisted it into the body of the Mahabharata." He does not offer this as his own opinion. It is merely a verbal note of what some people, scholarly and otherwise, were saying at the time. From the 1700s onwards, there has been a lot of secondary literature in European languages on the Gita and its place in the Mahabharata. A wide variety of opinions has been offered by people, some insightful, some thought-provoking, some half-baked, some downright ignorant. All that Swami Vivekananda had said was to point to one such opinion about it. For Sri Phulgendu Sinha (quoted by Sri Abhishek Madhyastha) to make much more of it than this and to project it as if it is Swami Vivekananda's own
 view is neither accurate
  nor fair.

So, to get back to my basic point, to conclude that Adi Sankara somehow edited down a 745 verse text to a 700 verse text is simply not supported by the evidence. 


> Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2012 09:52:36 -0800
> From: sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
> To: rajaramvenk at gmail.com; advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Bhagawat Gita an obscure text?
> Dear Shri Rajaram,
> 1)
> There is no doubt that the version of the Bhagavad Gita on which Adi Sankaracharya bhashya is based, has 700 verses. That is why he said that the Bhagavad Gita (of course, which he presented) had 700 verses.
> 2)
> That does not mean that Adi Sankaracharya had not edited the Bhagavad Gita of 745 verses. He himself stated clearly why the earlier scholars failed in their attempts to write commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita. After Adi Sankaracharya's work there came out hundreds of people who could write commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita. What do you think, then, is the reason why the earlier scholars could not write commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita? Do you think the scholars earlier to Adi Sankaracharya were not as intelligent as the scholars subsequent to Adi Sankarachaya?  
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