[Advaita-l] Bhagawat Gita an obscure text?

saha niranjan sahaniranjan at yahoo.co.in
Tue Nov 13 21:49:43 CST 2012

Though the Poona critical edition of the Mahabharata (The Bhagavadgita Being Reprint of Relevant Parts of Bhismaparvan, edited by Shripad Krishna Belvalkar, second reprint, BORI, Poona, 1968, footnote, p. 77) does not recognise the five and half verses of Adhyaya 43 of the Bhishma Parvan beginning with the words 'Gita sugita..', which refer to the existence of 745 verses in the Gita, they are available in other editions (like Mahabharata, vol. 4, Bhismaparva, translated by M.N.Dutt, eds. Ishwar Chandra Sharma and O.N. Bimali, Parimal Publications, Delhi, 2006, p. 115).

As you all are aware, there is a difference of opinion if these lines form part of the genuine Mahabhara. But the Mahabharata commentator Nilakantha remarks that the Gauda (Northern) recession of the Mahabhara goes without
 these lines. The Southern recension of the Mahabharata, where these lines occur, might have been used by Keshava Kashmiri Bhatta and other Kashmirian commentators ('The Computation of the Bhagavadgita' by Pandit R. M. Shastri, Allahabad University Studies XII, Arts and Science, 1936, pp.67-68), though while commenting on the Gita they follow the Vulgate text containing 700 hundred verses only.

With regards,
Niranjan Saha 

--- On Wed, 14/11/12, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Bhagawat Gita an obscure text?
To: "Advaita List" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Wednesday, 14 November, 2012, 2:16 AM

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 (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 (vedavyAsaH ... ... saptabhiS Sloka-Satair 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
> 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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