In the translation of Mahabharata by K. M. Ganguli, we see a paragraph note in the page which states:

The Santi Parva is a huge interpolation in the Mahabharata, in the genre known as 'wisdom literature.' The narrative progression is placed on hold almost from the first page. Instead we get a long and winding recapitulation of Brahmanic lore, including weighty treatises on topics such as kingcraft, metaphysics, cosmology, geography, and mythology. There are discussions of the Sankya and Yoga philosophical schools, and mentions of Buddhism. It is apparent that the Santi Parva was added to the Mahabharata at a later time than the main body of the epic.

Is it possible? Because it is not normal that such sections suddenly talk of cosmology and philosophies in detail.

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    Btw who has authority to state whether Shanti Parva is interpolation or not?.. – Tejaswee Mar 13 '17 at 13:14
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    @Tezz the same authority based on which the translation has been made. – Rakesh Joshi Mar 13 '17 at 13:22
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    shanti parva is a dialogue between bhishma & yudhishtira.. where bhishma gives lot of advice to yudhishtir since he does not have peace even after winning the war. so what's the need for narrative (3rd person historical) progression ? also, i personally dont believe translations very much. the words of saints can only be understood by other saints or disciplined spiritualists. linguists can only read lines, while saints can read in between them to get true meaning.. for e.g yaksha prashnam - all answers given by yudhishtir seem ordinary but cryptic messages are hidden in each. – ram Mar 13 '17 at 17:27
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    @KeshavSrinivasan the less we talk of these acharyas the better it is. – Rakesh Joshi Mar 14 '17 at 6:56
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    @RakeshJoshi In this instance, problem is not with the acharyas but the interpolated scriptures were considered "the written law" by their gurus and the gurus' gurus etc. The Monkeys and Ladder experiment explains this very well... :) BTW, I heard in a recent discourse where the learned speaker was saying how peacock and peahen mate using tears and not the natural way :P It's funny how some users are still spreading this false theory on this site also - see this answer. – sv. Mar 14 '17 at 18:38

Ganguli was right. Irawati Karve in her book Yugānta also states that Śānti-parva is an interpolation and not part of Vyāsa's original Mahābhārata:

Even at the end Bhishma's fate pursued him. He did not die by Arjuna's arrows. He only fell down wounded. Now he could have used his father's gift and found release. But the sun was in the south; dying souls could find no rest. Bhishma had to use his blessing to prolong his death for six more months. For six months Bhishma's body lay immobilized, but his eyes could see, and with them he had to watch the carnage of the Kuru clan. He could hear, and with his ears he had to hear the laments of the widowed Kuru women. He could talk. And with his lips, later authors made him speak the banalities of Shantiparva.

Had Bhishma accomplished anything in keeping his vows? The question remains.

Also, it appears there were originally 4 slightly-different versions of the Mahābhārata:

In this story, too, the Kshatriya hero came out better than Parashurama. Without complaint Karna accepted the curse, as he had accepted the training of his teacher. This story does not deserve much attention. At the time of the cattle raid on the Viratas, Arjuna had completely routed Karna in an open battle. It was, therefore, hardly extraordinary that he should have defeated him again in the last fight. The object of the story is obviously to show that Karna was a great warrior and he would not have been defeated except for the curse of Parashurama. According to legend, each of the four disciples of Vyasa has given a slightly different version of the Mahabharata story. The present version is supposed to have been told by Vaishampayana. The same story is also said to have been told by Jaimini. The Kauravas and the Pandavas quarrelled, they fought a war, the Pandavas won, and their descendants ruled Hastinapura — these were facts that Jaimini could not deny. But his version of the story is said to be partial to the Kauravas. Of this version only the Ashvamedha chapter is extant. In it he shows that Arjuna was defeated many times, and each time had to be rescued by Krishna and others. The fact that Karna was killed by Arjuna was indisputable. The story of the curse is obviously an invention to avoid the conclusion that Arjuna was the greater hero. In this whole episode there is nothing that contributes to the main story of the Mahabharata.

She further explains how exactly the original Mahābhārata was interpolated:

The late Professor V. S. Sukthankar has pointed out that the Mahabharata saga came into the hands of the Bhrigus, a Brahman clan. These Brahmans inserted the stories of their own family into the narration of the Mahabharata. All the Brahman stories referred to above are part of these later interpolations. They have no relationship whatsoever with the original story of the Mahabharata. We can, therefore, dismiss them. If all these accretions are dropped, the Mahabharata gains in beauty, economy, and movement.

Did Bhishma really live for another 6 months?

This is what the Ganguli tr. says:

Having slain in that battle, O monarch, (his foes) by hundreds and thousands, there was not in Bhishma's body space of even two fingers' breadth that was not pierced with arrows.

Imagine a 90-year old getting stabbed 100 times in his torso. What are the chances of him surviving for another 6 months with or without medication? Very slim.

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